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Mol Immunol. 1997 Feb;34(3):221-6.

Evidence for phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-dependent T cell antigen receptor (TCR) signal transduction.

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Department of Hematology/Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02215, U.S.A.


Recent evidence implicates PI 3-kinase in TCR signal transduction. The fungal metabolite wortmannin is a specific inhibitor of PI 3-kinase both in vitro and in vivo when used at nanomolar concentrations. Therefore, we examined the effect of wortmannin on stimulation of primary T cells and T cell lines. Wortmannin had a dose-dependent inhibitory effect on TCR-dependent primary T cell proliferation with IC50 in the nanomolar range. Furthermore, activation of T cell lines independently of antigen presenting cells and, therefore of any CD28 co-stimulatory signaling, was also sensitive to wortmannin. As expected, phorbol ester stimulation bypassed PI 3-kinase signal transduction. Importantly, the effect of wortmannin correlated with inhibition of activation of PI 3-kinase in stimulated T cells. The earliest step in T cell activation, tyrosine kinase activation, was not significantly affected by wortmannin. We conclude that a wortmannin-sensitive enzyme, probably PI 3-kinase, acting downstream of tyrosine kinases, but independently of the phorbol ester activated pathway, is necessary for stimulation of T cells via the TCR, and that this requirement is independent of any role of PI 3-kinase in co-stimulation via CD28 coreceptor. PI 3-kinase is most probably involved in generation of 3-phosphorylated lipid products, and is not merely an adaptor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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