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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Jul 3;104(27):11382-7. Epub 2007 Jun 21.

T cell-specific deletion of the inositol phosphatase SHIP reveals its role in regulating Th1/Th2 and cytotoxic responses.

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Laboratories of Immunogenetics, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Rockville, MD 20852, USA.


The 5'-phosphoinositol phosphatase SHIP negatively regulates signaling pathways triggered by antigen, cytokine and Fc receptors in both lymphocytes and myeloid cells. Mice with germ-line (null) deletion of SHIP develop a myeloproliferative-like syndrome that causes early lethality. Lymphocyte anomalies have been observed in SHIP-null mice, but it is unclear whether they are due to an intrinsic requirement of SHIP in these cells or a consequence of the severe myeloid pathology. To precisely address the function of SHIP in T cells, we have generated mice with T cell-specific deletion of SHIP. In the absence of SHIP, we found no differences in thymic selection or in the activation state and numbers of regulatory T cells in the periphery. In contrast, SHIP-deficient T cells do not skew efficiently to Th2 in vitro. Mice with T cell-specific deletion of SHIP show poor antibody responses on Alum/NP-CGG immunization and diminished Th2 cytokine production when challenged with Schistosoma mansoni eggs. The failure to skew to Th2 responses may be the consequence of increased basal levels of the Th1-associated transcriptional factor T-bet, resulting from enhanced sensitivity to cytokine-mediated T-bet induction. SHIP-deficient CD8(+) cells show enhanced cytotoxic responses, consistent with elevated T-bet levels in these cells. Overall our experiments indicate that in T cells SHIP negatively regulates cytokine-mediated activation in a way that allows effective Th2 responses and limits T cell cytotoxicity.

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