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EMBO J. Jun 1990; 9(6): 1867–1872.
PMCID: PMC551892

Transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation of TcR, CD4 and CD8 gene expression during activation of normal human T lymphocytes.


We previously showed that the turnover rates of the messengers coding for the T cell receptor (TcR) alpha, beta and gamma, CD4 and CD8 molecules composing the multireceptor complex vary in normal human mature T lymphocytes according to their state of activation. Activation by soluble anti-CD3 which does not induce proliferation, promotes a weak up-modulation of the corresponding five mRNAs. In contrast, activation signals such as anti-CD3 + PMA, which lead to lymphokine mRNA expression and T cell proliferation, promote a decrease of the TcR, CD4 and CD8 mRNA levels within 4 h post-activation, followed by their gradual re-expression. Here we show that the down-modulation of these mRNAs results from early regulation controls at transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels, i.e. through a concomitant inhibition of transcription and destabilization of the mRNA. Moreover, later re-expression of the mRNA results from recovery of transcription and marked increase of the mRNA stability. Finally, down-modulation is specific for TcR, CD4 and CD8 mRNAs, all submitted to similar regulation processes. These results strongly suggest a direct correlation between down-modulation of the multireceptor complex mRNAs, and lymphokine mRNA expression, and cellular proliferation.

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