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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997 Jun 10;94(12):6216-21.

A new member of the tumor necrosis factor/nerve growth factor receptor family inhibits T cell receptor-induced apoptosis.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Medicine, Pathology and Pharmacology, University of Perugia, Medical School, Via del Giochetto, 06100 Perugia, Italy.


By comparing untreated and dexamethasone-treated murine T cell hybridoma (3DO) cells by the differential display technique, we have cloned a new gene, GITR (glucocorticoid-induced tumor necrosis factor receptor family-related gene) encoding a new member of the tumor necrosis factor/nerve growth factor receptor family. GITR is a 228-amino acids type I transmembrane protein characterized by three cysteine pseudorepeats in the extracellular domain and similar to CD27 and 4-1BB in the intracellular domain. GITR resulted to be expressed in normal T lymphocytes from thymus, spleen, and lymph nodes, although no expression was detected in other nonlymphoid tissues, including brain, kidney, and liver. Furthermore, GITR expression was induced in T lymphocytes upon activation by anti-CD3 mAb, Con A, or phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate plus Ca-ionophore treatment. The constitutive expression of a transfected GITR gene induced resistance to anti-CD3 mAb-induced apoptosis, whereas antisense GITR mRNA expression lead to increased sensitivity. The protection toward T cell receptor-induced apoptosis was specific, because other apoptotic signals (Fas triggering, dexamethasone treatment, or UV irradiation) were not modulated by GITR transfection. Thus, GITR is a new member of tumor necrosis factor/nerve growth factor receptor family involved in the regulation of T cell receptor-mediated cell death.

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