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Mol Cell Biol. 2005 Dec;25(24):11145-55.

Targeted deletion of integrin-linked kinase reveals a role in T-cell chemotaxis and survival.

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  • 1Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases, Massachusetts General Hospital, Charlestown, 02129, USA.


Integrin-linked kinase (ILK) is a serine/threonine kinase that is important in cell-matrix interactions and cell signaling. To examine the role of ILK in leukocyte trafficking and survival, we generated T cell-specific ILK knockouts by breeding ILK(flox/flox) mice to transgenic mice expressing Cre recombinase under control of the Lck proximal promoter. Thymic T cells from Lck-Cre(+)/ILK(flox/flox) mice had a marked reduction (>95%) in ILK protein levels. Thymic cellularity was comparable in 3- to 4-week-old mice, but a threefold diminution of thymic T cells became evident by 6 to 8 weeks of age in the T cell-specific ILK knockout mice due to increased cell death of double-positive (DP) T cells. Analysis of peripheral T cells by quantitative PCR and by breeding Lck-Cre(+)/ILK(flox/flox) mice to a YFP-transgenic reporter strain demonstrated an approximate 20-fold enrichment of ILK-competent cells, suggesting these cells have a competitive advantage in trafficking to and/or survival in peripheral lymphatic organs. We explored mechanisms related to altered cell trafficking and survival that might explain the decreases in thymic cellularity and enrichment for ILK-competent cells in the spleen and lymph nodes. We observed a >50% reduction in chemotaxis of ILK-deficient T cells to the chemokines CXCL12 (stromal cell-derived factor [SDF]-1alpha) and CCL19 (macrophage inflammatory protein [MIP]-3beta), as well as enhanced apoptosis of ILK-deficient cells upon stress. Signaling studies in ILK-deficient T cells demonstrated diminished phosphorylation of Akt on the activating phosphorylation site, Ser 473, and a concordant decrease in Akt kinase activity following stimulation with the chemokine SDF-1. Rac1 activation was also markedly diminished in ILK-deficient T cells following chemokine stimulation. These data extend the role of ILK to immune-cell trafficking and survival via modulation of Akt- and Rac-dependent substrates, and have implications for cell recruitment in both homeostatic and pathological processes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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