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Blood. 2013 May 30;121(22):4473-83. doi: 10.1182/blood-2012-06-435412. Epub 2013 Apr 17.

MicroRNA-17~92 regulates effector and memory CD8 T-cell fates by modulating proliferation in response to infections.

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  • 1Center for Molecular Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Department of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences and The Huck Institutes of Life Sciences, The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA.


The precise microRNAs and their target cellular processes involved in generation of durable T-cell immunity remain undefined. Here we show a dynamic regulation of microRNAs as CD8 T cells differentiate from naïve to effector and memory states, with short-lived effectors transiently expressing higher levels of oncogenic miR-17-92 compared with the relatively less proliferating memory-fated effectors. Conditional CD8 T-cell-intrinsic gain or loss of expression of miR-17-92 in mature cells after activation resulted in striking reciprocal effects compared with wild-type counterparts in the same infection milieu-miR-17-92 deletion resulted in lesser proliferation of antigen-specific cells during primary expansion while favoring enhanced IL-7Rα and Bcl-2 expression and multicytokine polyfunctionality; in contrast, constitutive expression of miR-17-92 promoted terminal effector differentiation, with decreased formation of polyfunctional lymphoid memory cells. Increased proliferation upon miR-17-92 overexpression correlated with decreased expression of tumor suppressor PTEN and increased PI3K-AKT-mTOR signaling. Thus, these studies identify miR17-92 as a critical regulator of CD8 T-cell expansion and effector and memory lineages in the physiological context of acute infection, and present miR-17-92 as a potential target for modulating immunologic outcome after vaccination or immunotherapeutic treatments of cancer, chronic infections, or autoimmune disorders.

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