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Cell Mol Life Sci. 2013 Sep;70(17):3067-75. doi: 10.1007/s00018-012-1208-x. Epub 2012 Dec 12.

Heterogeneity of gangliosides among T cell subsets.

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Division of Glycopathology, Institute of Molecular Biomembrane and Glycobiology, Tohoku Pharmaceutical University, 4-4-1 Komatsushima, Aoba-ku, Sendai, 981-8558, Japan.


Gangliosides are major components of highly organized membrane microdomains or rafts, yet little is known about the role of gangliosides in raft organization. This is also the case of gangliosides in TCR-mediated activation. Comprehensive structural analysis of gangliosides in the primary thymocytes and CD4(+) T and CD8(+) T cells was not achieved due to technical difficulties. We have found that CD8(+) T cells express very high levels of o-series gangliosides, but on the other hand, CD4(+) T cells preferably express a-series gangliosides. In the TCR-dependent activation, CD4(+) T cells selectively require a-series gangliosides, but CD8(+) T cells do require only o-series gangliosides but not a-series gangliosides. Ganglioside GM3 synthase-deficient mice lacking a-series gangliosides neither exhibited the TCR-dependent activation of CD4(+) T nor developed ovalbumin-induced allergic airway inflammation. These findings imply that the distinct expression pattern of ganglioside species in CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells define the immune function of each T cell subset.

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