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Cell Signal. 1991;3(1):25-33.

Pertussis toxin-sensitive G-proteins are not involved in activation of T-lymphocytes.

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INSERM U210, Faculté de Médecine Pasteur, Nice, France.


Multiple effects of pertussis toxin (PT) on Jurkat T-cells can be distinguished on the basis of their dose-response and their kinetics. High concentrations of PT deliver to cells an activating signal resulting in a rapid rise in [Ca2+]i followed by IL-2 synthesis. This activation is accompanied (within 2 h) by a down-regulation of the CD3/TCR complex from the cell surface. Cells then become refractory towards stimulation by CD3 mAb or PHA. All these effects, referred to as 'mitogenic effects', present the same dose-response curves with an EC50 of 0.5 micrograms/ml. Short term effects (PT-induced Ca2+ movements, down-regulation of CD3/TCR complex and inhibition of PHA and CD3-induced Ca2+ signal) are observed under conditions where no PT-induced ADP-ribosylation can be detected. In contrast, ADP-ribosylation of the 40,000 alpha-subunit of G-proteins requires a sustained (18 h) incubation of intact cells in the presence of low concentration (EC50 = 0.3 ng/ml) of PT. Dose-response curves for PT-dependent ADP-ribosylation and mitogenic effects are separated by three orders of magnitude. Covalent modification of G-protein has no effect on CD3-induced increase in [Ca2+]i and IL-2 synthesis induced by a combination of phorbol ester and either CD3 mAb, PHA or calcium ionophore. These data indicate that transduction of the mitogenic signal does not involve a PT-sensitive G-protein. Furthermore, inhibition of mitogenic signals following PT treatment results from a PT-induced activation leading to a down-regulation of the CD3/T cell receptor complex.

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