Cellular signalling

RhoH modulates pre-TCR and TCR signalling by regulating LCK.

PMID 20851766


Pre-T-cell receptor (pre-TCR) and TCR signals govern the development of T-lymphocytes. RhoH, a hematopoietic-specific and GTPase-deficient member of the RhoGTPase family, is required in the development of T-lymphocytes. Here we found that RhoH binds and modulates LCK, the non-receptor tyrosine kinase crucial in initiating pre-TCR and TCR signallings. In both pre-TCR and TCR signalling transduction, LCK is phosphorylated by CSK to maintain the inactive state of LCK at rest. Upon being activated, CSK phosphorylation is removed and LCK autophosphorylation leads to LCK activation and further phosphorylates ZAP70 to initiate further downstream signalling. At rest, LCK may be recruited to the plasma membrane by RhoH, which also binds CSK, resulting in LCK inactivation. Additionally, the presence of RhoH enhances the inactivation phosphorylation of LCK by CSK. RhoH was found to bind preferentially inactive LCK, indicating that, upon ligand-mediated TCR activation, LCK is dephosphorylated resulting in LCK autoactivation and its release from RhoH. Thus RhoH is a critical part of the microenvironment for maintaining the inactive state of LCK. Furthermore, we found that the reduction of RhoH levels results in LCK autoactivation and constitutive activation of the TCR pathway. Our findings indicate that RhoH is a key adapter protein that maintains LCK in the inactive state, contributing to the regulation of both pre-TCR and TCR signalling during T-cell development. The data also supports a model for ligand-independent signal transduction by pre-TCR.