SCIMP, a transmembrane adapter protein involved in major histocompatibility complex class II signaling.
Formation of the immunological synapse between an antigen-presenting cell (APC) and a T cell leads to signal generation in both cells involved. In T cells, the lipid raft-associated transmembrane adaptor protein LAT plays a central role. Its phosphorylation is a crucial step in signal propagation, including the calcium response and mitogen-activated protein kinase activation, and largely depends on its association with the SLP76 adaptor protein. Here we report the discovery of a new palmitoylated transmembrane adaptor protein, termed SCIMP. SCIMP is expressed in B cells and other professional APCs and is localized in the immunological synapse due to its association with tetraspanin-enriched microdomains. In B cells, it is constitutively associated with Lyn kinase and becomes tyrosine phosphorylated after major histocompatibility complex type II (MHC-II) stimulation. When phosphorylated, SCIMP binds to the SLP65 adaptor protein and also to the inhibitory kinase Csk. While the association with SLP65 initiates the downstream signaling cascades, Csk binding functions as a negative regulatory loop. The results suggest that SCIMP is involved in signal transduction after MHC-II stimulation and therefore serves as a regulator of antigen presentation and other APC functions.