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Int Immunol. 2000 Dec;12(12):1749-57.

Potential pathways for regulation of NK and T cell responses: differential X-linked lymphoproliferative syndrome gene product SAP interactions with SLAM and 2B4.

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Division of Immunology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


SAP, the gene that is altered or absent in the X-linked lymphoproliferative syndrome (XLP), encodes a small protein that comprises a single SH2 domain and binds to the cell-surface protein SLAM which is present on activated or memory T and B cells. Because defective NK cell activity also has been reported in XLP patients, we studied the SAP gene in NK cells. SAP was induced upon viral infection of SCID mice and shown to be expressed in NK cells by in vitro culturing in the presence of IL-2. Moreover, SAP was expressed in the NK cell lines YT and RNK 16. Because SLAM, the cell-surface protein with which SAP interacts, and 2B4, a membrane protein having sequence homologies with SLAM, also were found to be expressed on the surfaces of activated NK and T cell populations, they may access SAP functions in these populations. Whereas we found that 2B4 also binds SAP, 2B4-SAP interactions occurred only upon tyrosine phosphorylation of 2B4. By contrast, SLAM-SAP interactions were independent of phosphorylation of Y281 and Y327 on SLAM. As CD48, the ligand for 2B4, is expressed on the surface of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-infected B cells, it is likely that SAP regulates signal transduction through this pair of cell-surface molecules. These data support the hypothesis that XLP is a result of both defective NK and T lymphocyte responses to EBV. The altered responses may be due to aberrant control of the signaling cascades which are initiated by the SLAM-SLAM and 2B4-CD48 interactions.

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