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Mol Immunol. 2011 Jan;48(4):472-80. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2010.10.001. Epub 2010 Nov 1.

Deficiency of SHP1 leads to sustained and increased ERK activation in mast cells, thereby inhibiting IL-3-dependent proliferation and cell death.

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Department of Immunology and Signal Transduction, Tokyo Metropolitan Institute for Neuroscience, Tokyo Metropolitan Organization for Medical Science, Fuchu, Tokyo, Japan.


SHP-1 plays an important role for the regulation of signaling from various hematopoietic cell receptors. In this study, we examined IL-3-induced cell proliferation and IL-3 depletion-induced apoptosis in bone marrow-derived mast cells (BMMC) established from motheaten (me) that lack SHP-1 expression, viable motheaten (me(v)) expressing phosphatase-deficient SHP-1, and wild-type (WT) mice. When BMMC were stimulated with IL-3, increased ERK activation was evident in resting state and sustained in me-BMMC relative to WT-BMMC. ERK is known to be involved in the regulation of cell proliferation and apoptosis in some cells. In accordance with sustained ERK activation, apoptosis was decreased in me- and me(v)-BMMC compared with WT-BMMC. In contrast to the predicted role of ERK as a pro-survival molecule, IL-3-induced cell proliferation was much lower in me- and me(v)-BMMC than WT-BMMC. Stimulation with lower concentration of IL-3 or addition of PD98059, a MEK inhibitor, to the culture resulted in the suppression of decreased apoptosis and cell proliferation in me- and me(v)-BMMC. Collectively, these results suggest that SHP-1 positively regulates IL-3-dependent mast cell proliferation and apoptosis by inhibiting ERK activity through its phosphatase activity. Furthermore, our results indicate that ERK would act as a negative regulator for cell proliferation and induce apoptosis when its activity is highly increased.

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