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Immunity. 1995 Dec;3(6):757-69.

Altered T cell receptor signaling and disrupted T cell development in mice lacking Itk.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0414, USA.


Itk is a T cell protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) that, along with Btk and Tec, belongs to a family of cytoplasmic PTKs with N-terminal pleckstrin homology domains. Btk plays a critical role in B lymphocyte development. To determine whether Itk has an analogous role in T lymphocytes, we used gene targeting to prepare mice lacking expression of Itk. Such animals had decreased numbers of mature thymocytes, an effect most clearly observed in mice expressing T cell receptor (TCR) transgenes. Mature T cells from Itk-deficient mice had reduced proliferative responses to allogeneic MHC stimulation and to anti-TCR cross-linking, but responded normally to stimulation with phorbol ester plus ionomycin or with IL-2. These results provide genetic evidence that Itk is involved in T cell development and also suggest that Itk has an important role in proximal events in TCR-mediated signaling pathways.

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