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Cell Cycle. 2008 Apr 1;7(7):904-8. Epub 2008 Jan 18.

Repression of hedgehog signal transduction in T-lineage cells increases TCR-induced activation and proliferation.

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Immunobiology Unit, UCL Institute of Child Health, London, United Kingdom.


Hedgehog proteins signal for differentiation, survival and proliferation of the earliest thymocyte progenitors, but their functions at later stages of thymocyte development and in peripheral T-cell function are controversial. Here we show that repression of Hedgehog (Hh) pathway activation in T-lineage cells, by expression of a transgenic repressor form of Gli2 (Gli2DeltaC2), increased T-cell differentiation and activation in response to TCR signalling. Expression of the Gli2DeltaC2 transgene increased differentiation from CD4(+)CD8(+) to single positive thymocyte, and increased peripheral T cell populations. Gli2DeltaC2 T-cells were hyper-responsive to activation by ligation of CD3 and CD28: they expressed cell surface activation markers CD69 and CD25 more quickly, and proliferated more than wild-type T-cells. These data show that Hedgehog pathway activation in thymocytes and T-cells negatively regulates TCR-dependent differentiation and proliferation. Thus, as negative regulators of TCR-dependent events, Hh proteins provide an environmental influence on T-cell fate.

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