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J Invest Dermatol. 2013 Aug;133(8):2013-22. doi: 10.1038/jid.2013.86. Epub 2013 Feb 26.

SOCS1 prevents potentially skin-reactive cytotoxic T lymphocytes from gaining the ability to cause inflammatory lesions.

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Division of Immunology, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada.


Suppressor of cytokine signaling 1 (SOCS1) is a critical regulator of T lymphocyte homeostasis. SOCS1-deficient mice accumulate CD8(+) T cells, which display a memory-like phenotype and proliferate strongly to IL-15. Socs1(-/-) mice develop inflammatory skin lesions, however, the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. In order to investigate the role of SOCS1 in regulating CD8(+) T cells potentially reactive to tissue antigens (Ags) of the skin, we generated Socs1(-/-) mice expressing MHC-I-restricted Pmel-1 transgenic TCR specific to the melanoma-derived gp100 Ag, which is also expressed by normal melanocytes. Socs1(-/-) Pmel-1 cells express increased levels of memory markers CD44, Ly6C, CD122, and CD62L, and show downregulation of TCR and upregulation of CD5, suggesting in vivo TCR stimulation. However, stimulation of Socs1(-/-)Pmel-1 cells with gp100-derived peptide induced only marginal proliferation in vitro despite eliciting strong effector functions, which was associated with elevated Blimp-1 induction. Following adoptive transfer to Rag1(-/-) mice, Socs1(-/-)Pmel-1 cells underwent lymphopenia-induced proliferation and caused severe skin pathology characterized by inflammatory lesions in ears, muzzle, extremities, and eyes. These findings underscore the importance of SOCS1 in regulating potentially skin-reactive cytotoxic T lymphocytes, which could get activated under conditions that promote Ag-nonspecific, cytokine-driven proliferation.

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