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Immunity. 2001 Sep;15(3):457-66.

The Src-like adaptor protein downregulates the T cell receptor on CD4+CD8+ thymocytes and regulates positive selection.

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Departments of Microbiology and Immunology, University of California at San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


In this report, we show that the Src-like adaptor protein (SLAP) plays an important role in thymocyte development. SLAP expression is developmentally regulated; it is low in CD4-CD8- thymocytes, it peaks in the CD4+CD8+ subset, and it decreases to low levels in more mature cells. Disruption of the SLAP gene leads to a marked upregulation of TCR and CD5 expression at the CD4+CD8+ stage. The absence of SLAP was also developmentally significant because it enhanced positive selection in mice expressing the DO11.10 transgenic T cell receptor. Moreover, SLAP deletion at least partially rescued the development of ZAP-70-deficient thymocytes. These results demonstrate that SLAP participates in a novel mechanism of TCR downregulation at the CD4+CD8+ stage and regulates positive selection.

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