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Eur J Immunol. 2012 Apr;42(4):831-41. doi: 10.1002/eji.201141690.

Effective T-cell recall responses require the taurine transporter Taut.

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Department of Dermatology, University of Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany.


T-cell activation and the subsequent transformation of activated T cells into T-cell blasts require profound changes in cell volume. However, the impact of cell volume regulation for T-cell immunology has not been characterized. Here we studied the role of the cell-volume regulating osmolyte transporter Taut for T-cell activation in Taut-deficient mice. T-cell mediated recall responses were severely impaired in taut(-/-) mice as shown with B16 melanoma rejection and hapten-induced contact hypersensitivity. CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells were unequivocally located within peripheral lymph nodes of unprimed taut(-/-) mice but significantly decreased in taut(-/-) compared with taut(+/+) mice following in vivo activation. Further analysis revealed that Taut is critical for rescuing T cells from activation-induced cell death in vitro and in vivo as shown with TCR, superantigen, and antigen-specific activation. Consequently, reduction of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells in taut(-/-) mice upon antigen challenge resulted in impaired in vivo generation of T-cell memory. These findings disclose for the first time that volume regulation in T cells is an element in the regulation of adaptive immune responses and that the osmolyte transporter Taut is crucial for T-cell survival and T-cell mediated immune reactions.

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