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Int Immunol. 2002 Oct;14(10):1215-23.

Activation-dependent T cell expression of the X-linked lymphoproliferative disease gene product SLAM-associated protein and its assessment for patient detection.

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Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Toyama, Toyama 930-0194, Japan.


X-linked lymphoproliferative disease (XLP) is an inherited immunodeficiency characterized by extreme vulnerability to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection, resulting in fatal infectious mononucleosis, dysgammaglobulinemia and malignant lymphoma. Recently, mutations in the SH2D1A gene, which encodes SLAM-associated protein (SAP), have been found to cause XLP. Although the molecular events behind XLP are largely unknown, there is evidence that affected males exhibited some immunohematological abnormalities, such as hypogammaglobulinemia or lymphoma, even prior to EBV infection. Because of the poor prognosis in XLP, an early diagnosis to patients and families is clinically of great importance. A glutathione-S-transferase-SAP fusion protein was used to immunize rats and generate mAb against human SAP to investigate its pathogenic role in XLP and develop a flow cytometric assay for detection of XLP. By flow cytometric and Western immunoblot analyses using an established anti-SAP mAb, termed KST-3, we determined that SAP was expressed intensely in thymocytes, but at lower levels in peripheral T cells and NK cells. In contrast, expression of SAP was negligible in B cells, monocytes or granulocytes. We found that SAP expression in T cells increased upon in vivo as well as in vitro activation. In two XLP survivors with SH2D1A mutations, a flow cytometric evaluation of activated T cells using KST-3 could demonstrate SAP deficiency as a diagnostic indicator of XLP. Through this approach, we identified three novel XLP families with SH2D1A mutations in Japan. A flow cytometric assessment of SAP expressed in activated T cells would lead to easy detection of XLP patients.

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