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Eur J Immunol. 2013 Jun;43(6):1659-66. doi: 10.1002/eji.201243140. Epub 2013 Apr 12.

PKC-θ exists in an oxidized inactive form in naive human T cells.

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Department of International Health, Immunology and Microbiology, Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.


PKC-θ plays a central role in TCR-induced IL-2 production and T-cell proliferation. The aim of the present study was to analyse how PKC-θ is regulated in human T cells during T-cell activation and differentiation. We show that PKC-θ is found in a high-molecular disulfide-linked complex in naïve T cells, and that PKC-θ most likely is inactive in this form. In parallel with the accumulation of the major redox regulators, glutathione and thioredoxin, PKC-θ is gradually reduced to the 82 kDa active form during T-cell activation. We demonstrate that PKC-θ is recruited to the plasma membrane in the disulfide-linked form in naïve T cells, and that activation of PKC-θ is redox dependent and requires de novo synthesis of glutathione. This is the first study that shows that the activity of PKC-θ is regulated by the intracellular redox state, and that PKC-θ is recruited to the plasma membrane in an inactive form in naïve T cells. Our observations underscore the existence of major differences in TCR signaling in naïve versus primed T cells.

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