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Eur J Immunol. 2009 Jan;39(1):78-84. doi: 10.1002/eji.200838734.

Differential requirement for CARMA1 in agonist-selected T-cell development.

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  • 1Center for Immunology and Inflammatory Diseases, Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02114, USA.


Caspase recruitment domain-containing membrane-associated guanylate kinase protein-1 (CARMA1) is a critical component of the NF-kappaB signaling cascade mediated by TCR engagement. In addition to activation of naïve T cells, TCR signaling is important for the development of agonist-selected T-cell subsets such as Treg, NKT cells, and CD8-alpha alpha T cells. However, little is known about the role of CARMA1 in the development of these lineages. Here we show that CARMA1-deficient mice (CARMA1(-/-)) have altered populations of specific subsets of agonist-selected T cells. Specifically, CARMA1(-/-) mice have impaired natural and adaptive Treg development, whereas NKT cell numbers are normal compared with wild-type mice. Interestingly, CD8-alpha alpha T cells, which may also be able to develop through an extrathymic selection pathway, are enriched in the gut of CARMA1(-/-) mice, whereas memory-phenotype CD4(+) T cells (CD62L(low)/CD44(high)) are present at reduced numbers in the periphery. These results indicate that CARMA1 is essential for Treg development, but is not necessary for the development of other agonist-selected T-cell subsets. Overall, these data reveal an important but differential role for CARMA1-mediated TCR signaling in T-cell development.

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