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J Immunol. 1999 Apr 1;162(7):4037-44.

Regulation of CD154 (CD40 ligand) mRNA stability during T cell activation.

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  • 1Division of Life Sciences, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Piscataway 08854, USA.


The CD154 protein (CD40 ligand), which is critical to the regulation of both humoral and cellular immune responses, is expressed transiently on the surface of activated CD4+ T cells. To determine whether control of mRNA stability contributes to the highly regulated expression of CD154 during T cell activation, CD4+ T cells were isolated from human peripheral blood and stimulated for various lengths of time with plate-bound anti-CD3 mAb. At early times after anti-CD3 activation, the CD154 message was found to be very unstable, however, the stability measurably increased after 24-48 h of activation. Similar analyses of TNF-alpha and c-myc mRNA decay throughout a time course of T cell activation revealed patterns of regulation that were distinct from CD154. Similar to the effect on TNF-alpha mRNA, stimulation of T cells with PMA + ionomycin greatly increased the stability of CD154 message. However, CD154 message stability was only modestly increased in T cells coactivated with anti-CD3 and anti-CD28 at 5 h and not increased by costimulation at 24 h. Finally, an analysis of both mRNA and surface protein expression over a time course of T cell activation with anti-CD3 revealed a rapid induction of expression early after activation. This induction was followed by a more gradual decrease in expression over the next 48 h. Together, these data support a role for posttranscriptional regulation in the control and overall expression of CD154 in activated T cells.

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