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J Exp Med. 2011 Nov 21;208(12):2545-60. doi: 10.1084/jem.20110853. Epub 2011 Nov 14.

IGSF4 is a novel TCR ζ-chain-interacting protein that enhances TCR-mediated signaling.

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Immune Synapse Research Center, School of Life Sciences, Gwangju Institute of Science and Technology, Gwangju 500-712, South Korea.


Immunoglobulin superfamily member 4 (IGSF4) is a known ligand of CRTAM, a receptor expressed in activated NKT and CD8(+) T cells, but its function in T cell immunity has not been elucidated. In this study, we show that IGSF4 directly interacts with the T cell receptor (TCR) ζ-chain and enhances TCR signaling by enhancing ζ-chain phosphorylation. Ectopic overexpression of IGSF4 enhances TCR-mediated T cell activation. In contrast, IGSF4 knockdown shows a dramatic decrease in markers associated with T cell activation compared with those in control small interfering RNA. The transmembrane domain is essential for TCR ζ-chain association and clustering to the immunological synapse, and the ectodomain is associated with T cell interaction with antigen-presenting cells (APCs). IGSF4-deficient mice have impaired TCR-mediated thymocyte selection and maturation. Furthermore, these mice reveal attenuated effector T cell functions accompanied by defective TCR signaling. Collectively, the results indicate that IGSF4 plays a central role in T cell functioning by dual independent mechanisms, control of TCR signaling and control of T cell-APC interaction.

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