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Immune receptors signal by recruiting (or tethering) enzymes to their cytoplasmic tails to catalyse reactions on substrates within reach. This is the case for the phosphatase SHP-1 that, upon tethering to inhibitory receptors, dephosphorylates diverse substrates to control T cell activation. Precisely how tethering regulates SHP-1 activity is incompletely understood. Here, we measure binding, catalysis, and molecular reach for tethered SHP-1 reactions. We determine the molecular reach of SHP-1 to be 13.0 nm, which is longer than the estimate from the allosterically active structure (5.3 nm), suggesting that SHP-1 can achieve a longer reach by exploring multiple active conformations. Using modelling, we show that when uniformly distributed, receptor-SHP-1 complexes can only reach 15% of substrates but this increases to 90% when they are co-clustered. When within reach, we show that membrane recruitment increases the activity of SHP-1 by a 1000-fold increase in local concentration. The work highlights how molecular reach regulates the activity of membrane-recruited SHP-1 with insights applicable to other membrane-tethered reactions.

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Journal article


Biophys J

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