The Tec family of tyrosine kinases transduces signals from antigen and other receptors in cells of the hematopoietic system. In particular, interleukin-2 inducible T cell kinase (Itk) plays an important role in modulating T cell development and activation. Itk is activated by receptors via a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-mediated pathway, which results in recruitment of Itk to the plasma membrane via its pleckstrin homology domain. We show here that membrane localization of Itk results in the formation of clusters of at least two molecules within 80 Å of each other, which is dependent on the integrity of its pleckstrin homology domain. By contrast, the proline-rich region within the Tec homology domain, SH3 or SH2 domains, or kinase activity were not required for this event. More importantly, these clusters of Itk molecules form in distinct regions of the plasma membrane as only receptors that recruit phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase reside in the same membrane vicinity as the recruited Itk. Our results indicate that Itk forms dimers in the membrane and that receptors that recruit Itk do so to specific membrane regions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology