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Blood. 2010 Apr 29;115(17):3498-507. doi: 10.1182/blood-2009-07-235754. Epub 2009 Dec 23.

Critical requirement for the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein in Th2 effector function.

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  • 1David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, Aab Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Rochester, NY, USA.


Patients with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS) have numerous immune cell deficiencies, but it remains unclear how abnormalities in individual cell types contribute to the pathologies of WAS. In T cells, the WAS protein (WASp) regulates actin polymerization and transcription, and plays a role in the dynamics of the immunologic synapse. To examine how these events influence CD4 function, we isolated the WASp deficiency to CD4(+) T cells by adoptive transfer into wild-type mice to study T-cell priming and effector function. WAS(-/-) CD4(+) T cells mediated protective T-helper 1 (Th1) responses to Leishmania major in vivo, but were unable to support Th2 immunity to Nippostrongylus brasiliensis or L major. Mechanistically, WASp was not required for Th2 programming but was required for Th2 effector function. WAS(-/-) CD4(+) T cells up-regulated IL-4 and GATA3 mRNA and secreted IL-4 protein during Th2 differentiation. In contrast, cytokine transcription was uncoupled from protein production in WAS(-/-) Th2-primed effectors. WAS(-/-) Th2s failed to produce IL-4 protein on restimulation despite elevated IL-4/GATA3 mRNA. Moreover, dominant-negative WASp expression in WT effector T cells blocked IL-4 production, but had no effect on IFNgamma. Thus WASp plays a selective, posttranscriptional role in Th2 effector function.

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