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J Biol Chem. 1991 Jul 5;266(19):12216-22.

Interrelationships between mevalonate metabolism and the mitogenic signaling pathway in T lymphocyte proliferation.

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Department of Pathology, Stanford University School of Medicine, California 94305.


Upon stimulation with antigen or antibodies directed at the CD3.T cell receptor complex, T lymphocytes undergo a series of biochemical events that result in DNA synthesis and cellular proliferation. The purpose of the current study was to explore the role of mevalonic acid and its metabolites in this process. Stimulation of freshly isolated human T cells with immobilized anti-CD3 monoclonal antibody (mAb) results in the induction of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase message, with maximum induction occurring at 24 h of culture, approximately 12 h before the onset of DNA synthesis. Protein kinase C (PKC) probably mediates this induction, as H7, which inhibits PKC and cyclic nucleotide-dependent protein kinases, but not HA1004, which inhibits all of these protein kinases except PKC, completely abrogates the appearance of HMG-CoA reductase message. The importance of HMG-CoA reductase induction and mevalonate production in cell cycle progression was demonstrated by the observation that either 25-hydroxycholesterol, which inhibits this induction, or lovastatin, a competitive inhibitor of HMG-CoA reductase, inhibited anti-CD3-induced T cell mitogenesis in a dose-dependent manner. The presence of lovastatin during the first 24-36 h of culture results in a progressive delay of cell cycle progression, whereas this agent, when present only for the first 12 h of culture, had no effect on T cell proliferation. These results suggest that mevalonate is required for cell cycle progression from mid-G1 into late G1. Exogenous mevalonate overcomes the antiproliferative effect of lovastatin but not of 25-hydroxycholesterol. Since 25-hydroxycholesterol suppresses the metabolism of mevalonic acid at multiple points, this result suggests that one or more metabolites of mevalonate, rather than mevalonate itself, plays an essential role in cell cycle progression. One metabolite of mevalonate, farnesol pyrophosphate, may play such a role, since free farnesol suppresses anti-CD3 mAb-induced T cell proliferation in a concentration-dependent manner. In mAb is associated with PKC-dependent induction of HMG-CoA reductase which, in turn, leads to the generation of mevalonic acid and its metabolites, one or more of which play a requisite role in cell cycle progression.

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