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J Immunol. 1987 Oct 15;139(8):2755-60.

The role of protein kinase C in transmembrane signaling by the T cell antigen receptor complex. Effects of stimulation with soluble or immobilized CD3 antibodies.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, San Francisco 94143.


Phorbol esters, such as phorbol myristate acetate (PMA), are known to be potent co-stimulants with calcium ionophores for activation of T lymphocytes. The most extensively studied intracellular effect of PMA is its ability to activate the cytoplasmic enzyme protein kinase C (pkC). Herein, we examined the role of pkC activation during T cell activation. During physiologic activation, this enzyme is activated by diacylglycerol which is generated through the hydrolysis of polyphosphoinositides. Therefore, we studied the activation of T lymphocytes induced by a synthetic diacylglycerol, dioctanoylglycerol. In contrast to PMA, this compound can be metabolized in T cells and presumably more closely mimics physiologic activation of pkC. Dioctanoylglycerol together with reagents that induce increases in intracellular free Ca2+ concentration, Ca2+ ionophores, or anti-cluster designation (CD)3 monoclonal antibodies (mAb) were able to induce interleukin 2 receptor expression and proliferation of T lymphocytes. Previous studies have demonstrated that the stimulation of T cells via the CD3/T cell antigen receptor complex by mAb against CD3 leads to an increase in cytoplasmic free Ca2+ and to an activation of pkC. Paradoxically, however, soluble CD3 antibodies do not cause proliferation of resting purified T cells. Inasmuch as immobilization of CD3 mAb has been shown to influence the agonist properties of such antibodies, we compared the ability of soluble and immobilized CD3 mAb to activate pkC. We demonstrated herein that soluble CD3 mAb cause only a very transient activation of pkC in the T cell leukemic line Jurkat. This pkC activation is markedly prolonged when Jurkat cells are stimulated with immobilized rather than soluble CD3 antibodies. These studies suggest that activation of pkC plays a major role in T cell activation and that the activation of pkC is influenced by the form in which CD3 mAb is presented to T cells.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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