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Blood. 2009 Jun 11;113(24):6128-37. doi: 10.1182/blood-2008-10-182329. Epub 2009 Feb 3.

Cytoskeletal protein 4.1R negatively regulates T-cell activation by inhibiting the phosphorylation of LAT.

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Red Cell Physiology Laboratory, New York Blood Center, New York, NY 10065, USA.


Protein 4.1R (4.1R) was first identified in red cells where it plays an important role in maintaining mechanical stability of red cell membrane. 4.1R has also been shown to be expressed in T cells, but its function has been unclear. In the present study, we use 4.1R-deficient mice to explore the role of 4.1R in T cells. We show that 4.1R is recruited to the immunologic synapse after T cell-antigen receptor (TCR) stimulation. We show further that CD4+ T cells of 4.1R-/- mice are hyperactivated and that they displayed hyperproliferation and increased production of interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon gamma (IFNgamma). The hyperactivation results from enhanced phosphorylation of LAT and its downstream signaling molecule ERK. The 4.1R exerts its effect by binding directly to LAT, and thereby inhibiting its phosphorylation by ZAP-70. Moreover, mice deficient in 4.1R display an elevated humoral response to immunization with T cell-dependent antigen. Thus, we have defined a hitherto unrecognized role for 4.1R in negatively regulating T-cell activation by modulating intracellular signal transduction.

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