Cell behavior is controlled through spatio-temporally localized protein activity. Despite unique and often contradictory roles played by Src-family-kinases (SFKs) in regulating cell physiology, activity patterns of individual SFKs have remained elusive. Here, we report a biosensor for specifically visualizing active conformation of SFK-Fyn in live cells. We deployed combinatorial library screening to isolate a binding-protein (F29) targeting activated Fyn. Nuclear-magnetic-resonance (NMR) analysis provides the structural basis of F29 specificity for Fyn over homologous SFKs. Using F29, we engineered a sensitive, minimally-perturbing fluorescence-resonance-energy-transfer (FRET) biosensor (FynSensor) that reveals cellular Fyn activity to be spatially localized, pulsatile and sensitive to adhesion/integrin signaling. Strikingly, growth factor stimulation further enhanced Fyn activity in pre-activated intracellular zones. However, inhibition of focal-adhesion-kinase activity not only attenuates Fyn activity, but abolishes growth-factor modulation. FynSensor imaging uncovers spatially organized, sensitized signaling clusters, direct crosstalk between integrin and growth-factor-signaling, and clarifies how compartmentalized Src-kinase activity may drive cell fate.
Keywords: E. coli; FRET; Fyn kinase; S. cerevisiae; biochemistry; biosensor; cell biology; chemical biology; compartmentalized; human; mouse; pulsatile; src kinases; virus.