Groves Lab

This section is being updated. Please see our publications page and highlighted paper abstracts below for information regarding our work. Thank you for your patience!

Mechanism of SOS PR-domain autoinhibition revealed by single-molecule assays on native protein from lysate, Nature Communications (2017), Young Kwang Lee, Shalini T. Low-Nam, Jean K. Chung, Scott D. Hansen, Hiu Yue Monatrice Lam, Steven Alvarez & Jay T. Groves



The guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) Son of Sevenless (SOS) plays a critical role in signal transduction by activating Ras. Here we introduce a single-molecule assay in which individual SOS molecules are captured from raw cell lysate using Ras-functionalized supported membrane microarrays. This enables characterization of the full-length SOS protein, which has not previously been studied in reconstitution due to difficulties in purification. Our measurements on the full-length protein reveal a distinct role of the C-terminal proline-rich (PR) domain to obstruct the engagement of allosteric Ras independently of the well-known N-terminal domain autoinhibition. This inhibitory role of the PR domain limits Grb2-independent recruitment of SOS to the membrane through binding of RasĀ·GTP in the SOS allosteric binding site. More generally, this assay strategy enables characterization of the functional behaviour of GEFs with single-molecule precision but without the need for purification.

Phosphotyrosine-mediated LAT assembly on membranes drives kinetic bifurcation in recruitment dynamics of the Ras activator SOS, PNAS (2016), William Y. C. Huang, Qingrong Yan, Wan-Chen Lin, Jean K. Chung, Scott D. Hansen, Sune M. Christensen, Hsiung-Lin Tua, John Kuriyan and Jay T. Groves



The assembly of cell surface receptors with downstream signaling molecules is a commonly occurring theme in multiple signaling systems. However, little is known about how these assemblies modulate reaction kinetics and the ultimate propagation of signals. Here, we reconstitute phosphotyrosine-mediated assembly of extended linker for the activation of T cells (LAT):growth factor receptor-bound protein 2 (Grb2):Son of Sevenless (SOS) networks, derived from the T-cell receptor signaling system, on supported membranes. Single-molecule dwell time distributions reveal two, well-differentiated kinetic species for both Grb2 and SOS on the LAT assemblies. The majority fraction of membrane-recruited Grb2 and SOS both exhibit fast kinetics and single exponential dwell time distributions, with average dwell times of hundreds of milliseconds. The minor fraction exhibits much slower kinetics, extending the dwell times to tens of seconds. Considering this result in the context of the multistep process by which the Ras GEF (guanine nucleotide exchange factor) activity of SOS is activated indicates that kinetic stabilization from the LAT assembly may be important. This kinetic proofreading effect would additionally serve as a stochastic noise filter by reducing the relative probability of spontaneous SOS activation in the absence of receptor triggering. The generality of receptor-mediated assembly suggests that such effects may play a role in multiple receptor proximal signaling processes.

Direct single molecule measurement of TCR triggering by agonist pMHC in living primary T cells, eLife (2013), Geoff P. O'Donoghue, Rafal M. Pielak, Alexander A. Smoligovets, Jenny J. Lin, Jay T. Groves



T cells discriminate between self and foreign antigenic peptides, displayed on antigen presenting cell surfaces, via the TCR. While the molecular interactions between TCR and its ligands are well characterized in vitro, quantitative measurements of these interactions in living cells are required to accurately resolve the physical mechanisms of TCR signaling. We report direct single molecule measurements of TCR triggering by agonist pMHC in hybrid junctions between live primary T cells and supported lipid membranes. Every pMHC:TCR complex over the entire cell is tracked while simultaneously monitoring the local membrane recruitment of ZAP70, as a readout of TCR triggering. Mean dwell times for pMHC:TCR molecular binding of 5 and 54 s were measured for two different pMHC:TCR systems. Single molecule measurements of the pMHC:TCR:ZAP70 complex indicate that TCR triggering is stoichiometric with agonist pMHC in a 1:1 ratio. Thus any signal amplification must occur downstream of TCR triggering.


Physical Chemistry in Living Systems

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