The high affinity immunoglobulin E receptor (Fc epsilon RI) and the B and T cell antigen receptors (TCR) are multimeric complexes containing subunits with cytoplasmic antigen recognition activation motifs (ARAMs). The presence of multiple motifs may be a way to amplify a single signal or provide independent activation modules. Here we have compared the signaling capacity of the same Fc epsilon RI gamma motif in the context of two different receptors, Fc epsilon RI and TCR/CD3, simultaneously reconstituted on the surface of the same zeta-deficient T cell line. Both reconstituted receptors mediate early (phosphorylation) and late (interleukin [IL]-2 release) signals. Mutation of the two tyrosine residues of ARAM gamma alters early signaling by both receptors, but the set of substrates phosphorylated via ARAM gamma is different for each receptor and is thus dependent on the receptor context. Furthermore, the mutations prevent Fc epsilon RI- but not TCR/CD3-mediated IL-2 release. These data demonstrate that ARAM gamma is necessary for allowing both receptors to phosphorylate the complete set of substrates, and that the CD3 complex, unlike the Fc epsilon RI beta chain, contains activation modules capable of compensating for the absence of a functional ARAM gamma in generating late signals such as IL-2 release.

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