Upon engagement of the T cell receptor with an antigen-presenting cell, LCK initiates TCR signaling by phosphorylating its activation motifs. However, the mechanism of LCK activation specifically at the immune synapse is a major question. We show that phosphorylation of the LCK activating Y394, despite modestly increasing its catalytic rate, dramatically focuses LCK localization to the immune synapse. We describe a trafficking mechanism whereby UNC119A extracts membrane-bound LCK by sequestering the hydrophobic myristoyl group, followed by release at the target membrane under the control of the ciliary ARL3/ARL13B. The UNC119A N terminus acts as a "regulatory arm" by binding the LCK kinase domain, an interaction inhibited by LCK Y394 phosphorylation, thus together with the ARL3/ARL13B machinery ensuring immune synapse focusing of active LCK. We propose that the ciliary machinery has been repurposed by T cells to generate and maintain polarized segregation of signals such as activated LCK at the immune synapse.
Keywords: ARL13B; ARL3; GDI; LCK; Src kinases; UNC119; cilia; immunological synapse; protein trafficking; small GTPases.
Copyright © 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.