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J Clin Invest. 2004 Apr;113(8):1176-87.

Altered lipid raft-associated signaling and ganglioside expression in T lymphocytes from patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.

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Centre for Rheumatology, Royal Free and University College Medical School, University College London, London, United Kingdom.


Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is characterized by abnormalities in T lymphocyte receptor-mediated signal transduction pathways. Our previous studies have established that lymphocyte-specific protein tyrosine kinase (LCK) is reduced in T lymphocytes from patients with SLE and that this reduction is associated with disease activity and parallels an increase in LCK ubiquitination independent of T cell activation. This study investigated the expression of molecules that regulate LCK homeostasis, such as CD45, C-terminal Src kinase (CSK), and c-Cbl, in lipid raft domains from SLE T cells and investigated the localization of these proteins during T cell receptor (TCR) triggering. Our results indicate that the expression of raft-associated ganglioside, GM1, is increased in T cells from SLE patients and LCK may be differentially regulated due to an alteration in the association of CD45 with lipid raft domains. CD45 tyrosine phosphatase, which regulates LCK activity, was differentially expressed and its localization into lipid rafts was increased in T cells from patients with SLE. Furthermore, T cells allowed to "rest" in vitro showed a reversal of the changes in LCK, CD45, and GM1 expression. The results also revealed that alterations in the level of GM1 expression and lipid raft occupancy cannot be induced by serum factors from patients with SLE but indicated that cell-cell contact, activating aberrant proximal signaling pathways, may be important in influencing abnormalities in T cell signaling and, therefore, function in patients with SLE.

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