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Immunity. 2001 May;14(5):523-34.

T cell-specific loss of Pten leads to defects in central and peripheral tolerance.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Osaka University, 565-0871, Osaka, Japan.


PTEN, a tumor suppressor gene, is essential for embryogenesis. We used the Cre-loxP system to generate a T cell-specific deletion of the Pten gene (Pten(flox/-) mice). All Pten(flox/-) mice develop CD4+ T cell lymphomas by 17 weeks. Pten(flox/-) mice show increased thymic cellularity due in part to a defect in thymic negative selection. Pten(flox/-) mice exhibit elevated levels of B cells and CD4+ T cells in the periphery, spontaneous activation of CD4+ T cells, autoantibody production, and hypergammaglobulinemia. Pten(flox/-) T cells hyperproliferate, are autoreactive, secrete increased levels of Th1/Th2 cytokines, resist apoptosis, and show increased phosphorylation of PKB/Akt and ERK. Peripheral tolerance to SEB is also impaired in Pten(flox/-) mice. PTEN is thus an important regulator of T cell homeostasis and self-tolerance.

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