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J Immunol. 2000 Jan 1;164(1):144-51.

CD28 costimulation mediates T cell expansion via IL-2-independent and IL-2-dependent regulation of cell cycle progression.

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  • 1Department of Adult Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Division of Medical Oncology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


In the presence of TCR ligation by Ag, CD28 pathway mediates the most potent costimulatory signal for T cell activation, cytokine secretion, and T cell expansion. Although CD28 costimulation promotes T cell expansion due to IL-2 secretion and subsequent signaling via the IL-2 receptor, recent studies indicate that the dramatic T cell expansion mediated through the unopposed CD28 stimulation in CTLA4-deficient mice is IL-2 independent. Therefore, we sought to dissect the effects of CD28 and IL-2 receptor pathways on cell cycle progression and determine the molecular mechanisms by which the CD28 pathway regulates T cell expansion. Here we show that CD28 costimulation directly regulates T cell cycle entry and progression through the G1 phase in an IL-2-independent manner resulting in activation of cyclin D2-associated cdk4/cdk6 and cyclin E-associated cdk2. Subsequent progression into the S phase is mediated via both IL-2-dependent and IL-2-independent mechanisms and, although in the absence of IL-2 the majority of T cells are arrested at the G1/S transition, a significant fraction of them progresses into the S phase. The key regulatory mechanism for the activation of cyclin-cdk complexes and cell cycle progression is the down-regulation of p27kip1 cdk inhibitor, which is mediated at the posttranscriptional level by its ubiquitin-dependent degradation in the proteasome pathway. Therefore, CD28 costimulation mediates T cell expansion in an IL-2-independent and IL-2 dependent manner and regulates cell cycle progression at two distinct points: at the early G1 phase and at the G1/S transition.

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