The Tec family kinases are critical downstream regulators of antigen receptor signals in lymphocytes. As kinases, they act on critical substrates to regulate signals such as calcium increase leading to activation of transcription factors such as NFAT, NFκB and SRF. We now show here that ITK, a member of the Tec family of tyrosine kinases, has a kinase independent function. Mutants of ITK that lack kinase activity or a kinase domain can rescue cells lacking Tec family kinases for antigen receptor induced SRF activation, but not for NFAT, AP-1 or NFκB activation. Furthermore, expression of these mutants in WT cells enhanced SRF activation. This kinase independent function required the SH2 domain since a mutant lacking both the kinase and SH2 domains was much less effective at rescuing SRF activation. This kinase-deleted mutant could partially rescue ERK activation, and interact with multiple tyrosine phosphorylated proteins during antigen receptor signaling, suggesting that ITK uses a scaffolding function that regulates signals leading to specific regulation of SRF activation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Structural Biology
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology