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Front Immunol. 2012 Oct 9;3:312. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2012.00312. eCollection 2012.

All PI3Kinase signaling is not mTOR: dissecting mTOR-dependent and independent signaling pathways in T cells.

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1
Department of Oncology, Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD, USA.

Abstract

The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is emerging as playing a central role in regulating T cell activation, differentiation, and function. mTOR integrates diverse signals from the immune microenvironment to shape the outcome of T cell receptor (TCR) antigen recognition. Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) enzymes are critical mediators of T cell activation through their generation of the second messenger phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5) triphosphate (PIP3). Indeed, PIP3 generation results in the activation of Protein Kinase B (PKB, also known as AKT), a key activator of mTOR. However, recent genetic studies have demonstrated inconsistencies between PI3K disruption and loss of mTOR expression with regard to the regulation of effector and regulatory T cell homeostasis and function. In this review, we focus on how PI3K activation directs mature CD4 T cell activation and effector function by pathways dependent on and independent of mTOR signaling. Importantly, what has become clear is that targeting both mTOR-dependent and mTOR-independent PI3K-induced signaling distally affords the opportunity for more selective regulation of T cell differentiation and function.

KEYWORDS:

CD4 T cells; PI3K; effector function; mTOR pathway; tolerance

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