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Immunity. 1998 May;8(5):615-23.

Biochemical mechanisms of IL-2-regulated Fas-mediated T cell apoptosis.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Activation-induced cell death (AICD) of lymphocytes is an important mechanism of self-tolerance. In CD4+ T cells, AICD is mediated by the Fas pathway and is enhanced by IL-2. To define the mechanisms of this pro-apoptotic action of IL-2, we analyzed CD4+ T cells from wild-type and IL-2-/- mice expressing a transgenic T cell receptor. T cells become sensitive to AICD after activation by antigen and IL-2. IL-2 increases transcription and surface expression of Fas ligand (FasL) and suppresses transcription and expression of FLIP, the inhibitor of apoptosis. The ability of IL-2 to enhance expression of a pro-apoptotic molecule, FasL, and to suppress an inhibitor of Fas signaling, FLIP, likely accounts for the role of this cytokine in potentiating T cell apoptosis.

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