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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Oct 2;109(40):16264-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1207528109. Epub 2012 Sep 17.

Development of promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger-expressing innate CD4 T cells requires stronger T-cell receptor signals than conventional CD4 T cells.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.

Abstract

MHC class II-expressing thymocytes and thymic epithelial cells can mediate CD4 T-cell selection resulting in functionally distinct thymocyte-selected CD4 (T-CD4) and epithelial-selected CD4 (E-CD4) T cells, respectively. However, little is known about how T-cell receptor (TCR) signaling influences the development of these two CD4 T-cell subsets. To study TCR signaling for T-CD4 T-cell development, we used a GFP reporter system of Nur77 in which GFP intensity directly correlates with TCR signaling strength. T-CD4 T cells expressed higher levels of GFP than E-CD4 T cells, suggesting that T-CD4 T cells received stronger TCR signaling than E-CD4 T cells during selection. Elimination of Ras GTPase-activating protein enhanced E-CD4 but decreased T-CD4 T-cell selection efficiency, suggesting a shift to negative selection. Conversely, the absence of IL-2-inducible T-cell kinase that causes poor E-CD4 T-cell selection due to insufficient TCR signaling improved T-CD4 T-cell generation, consistent with rescue from negative selection. Strong TCR signaling during T-CD4 T-cell development correlates with the expression of the transcription factor promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger protein. However, although modulation of the signaling strength affected the efficiency of T-CD4 T-cell development during positive and negative selection, the signaling strength is not as important for the effector function of T-CD4 T cells. These findings indicate that innate T-CD4 T cells, together with invariant natural killer T cells and γδ T cells, receive strong TCR signals during their development and that signaling requirements for the development and the effector functions are distinct.

PMID:
22988097
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3479572
Free PMC Article
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