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Immunity. 2008 Mar;28(3):425-35. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2008.02.001. Epub 2008 Mar 6.

Locally produced complement fragments C5a and C3a provide both costimulatory and survival signals to naive CD4+ T cells.

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Department of Pathology, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106, USA.


Costimulatory signals are critical to T cell activation, but how their effects are mediated remains incompletely characterized. Here, we demonstrate that locally produced C5a and C3a anaphylatoxins interacting with their G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), C5aR and C3aR, on APCs and T cells both upstream and downstream of CD28 and CD40L signaling are integrally involved in T cell proliferation and differentiation. Disabling these interactions reduced MHC class II and costimulatory-molecule expression and dramatically diminished T cell responses. Importantly, impaired T cell activation by Cd80-/-Cd86-/- and Cd40-/- APCs was reconstituted by added C5a or C3a. C5aR and C3aR mediated their effects via PI-3 kinase-gamma-dependent AKT phosphorylation, providing a link between GPCR signaling, CD28 costimulation, and T cell survival. These local paracrine and autocrine interactions thus operate constitutively in naive T cells to maintain viability, and their amplification by cognate APC partners thus is critical to T cell costimulation.

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