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J Biochem. 2002 Mar;131(3):319-26.

Proteasome inhibitors block Ras/ERK signaling pathway resulting in the downregulation of Fas ligand expression during activation-induced cell death in T cells.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Tokyo Dental College, Masago, Mihama-ku, Chiba 261-8502, Japan.


Activation-induced cell death (AICD) plays a critical role in the maintenance of homeostasis and peripheral tolerance in the immune system, and is mediated by Fas ligand (FasL) expression and the interaction between Fas and FasL. In the present study, we examined the role of the ubiquitin-proteasome system in AICD using T cell hybridoma N3-6-71 cells. The peptidyl aldehyde proteasome inhibitor carbobenzoxyl-Ile-Glu(O-t-butyl)-Ala-leucinal (PSI) blocked T cell receptor (TCR) stimulation-induced apoptosis in the T cell hybridoma. Fas and FasL gene expression and mouse FasL promoter activity following TCR stimulation were suppressed by PSI pretreatment. Deletion or point mutation of the kappaB site in the FasL promoter region did not suppress inducible FasL promoter activity effectively. PSI blocked extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activity induced by TCR stimulation, but had no effect on c-jun N-terminal kinase activation. ERK activation was essential for FasL expression and AICD. The initial tyrosine phosphorylation steps following TCR stimulation, i.e., phosphorylation of CD3zeta and Vav, were not altered by PSI. These data suggest that the ubiquitin-proteasome system has some regulatory function at an intermediate step between the initial tyrosine phosphorylation steps and ERK activation in AICD.

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