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Nat Immunol. 2006 Jul;7(7):763-72. Epub 2006 May 28.

Regulation of naive T cell function by the NF-kappaB2 pathway.

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The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


T cell activation involves the orchestration of several signaling pathways, including that of the 'classical' transcription factor NF-kappaB components NF-kappaB1-RelA. The function of the 'nonclassical' NF-kappaB2-RelB pathway is less clear, although T cells lacking components of this pathway have activation defects. Here we show that mice deficient in NF-kappaB-inducing kinase have a complex phenotype consisting of immunosuppression mediated by CD25(-)Foxp3(-) memory CD4(+) cells and, in the absence of those cells, hyper-responsive naive CD4(+) T cells, which caused autoimmune lesions after adoptive transfer into hosts deficient in recombination-activating genes. Biochemical studies indicated involvement of a cell-intrinsic mechanism in which NF-kappaB2 (p100) limits nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB1-RelA and thereby functions as a regulatory 'brake' for the activation of naive T cells.

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