Distinct Roles of Cdc42 in Thymopoiesis and Effector and Memory T Cell Differentiation

Division of Experimental Hematology and Cancer Biology, Children's Hospital Research Foundation, Cincinnati, Ohio, United States of America.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 03/2011; 6(3):e18002. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018002
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Cdc42 of the Rho GTPase family has been implicated in cell actin organization, proliferation, survival, and migration but its physiological role is likely cell-type specific. By a T cell-specific deletion of Cdc42 in mouse, we have recently shown that Cdc42 maintains naïve T cell homeostasis through promoting cell survival and suppressing T cell activation. Here we have further investigated the involvement of Cdc42 in multiple stages of T cell differentiation. We found that in Cdc42(-/-) thymus, positive selection of CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive thymocytes was defective, CD4(+) and CD8(+) single-positive thymocytes were impaired in migration and showed an increase in cell apoptosis triggered by anti-CD3/-CD28 antibodies, and thymocytes were hyporesponsive to anti-CD3/-CD28-induced cell proliferation and hyperresponsive to anti-CD3/-CD28-stimulated MAP kinase activation. At the periphery, Cdc42-deficient naive T cells displayed an impaired actin polymerization and TCR clustering during the formation of mature immunological synapse, and showed an enhanced differentiation to Th1 and CD8(+) effector and memory cells in vitro and in vivo. Finally, Cdc42(-/-) mice exhibited exacerbated liver damage in an induced autoimmune disease model. Collectively, these data establish that Cdc42 is critically involved in thymopoiesis and plays a restrictive role in effector and memory T cell differentiation and autoimmunity.


Available from: David Hildeman, Jun 07, 2015
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Thymocyte development is regulated by complex signaling pathways. How these signaling cascades are coordinated remains elusive. RhoA of the Rho family small GTPases plays an important role in actin cytoskeleton organization, cell adhesion, migration, proliferation, and survival. Nonetheless, the physiological function of RhoA in thymocyte development is not clear. By characterizing a conditional gene targeting mouse model bearing T cell deletion of RhoA, we show that RhoA critically regulates thymocyte development by coordinating multiple developmental events. RhoA gene disruption caused a strong developmental block at the pre-TCR checkpoint and during positive selection. Ablation of RhoA led to reduced DNA synthesis in CD4(-)CD8(-), CD4(+)CD8(-), and CD4(-)CD8(+) thymocytes but not in CD4(+)CD8(+) thymocytes. Instead, RhoA-deficient CD4(+)CD8(+) thymocytes showed an impaired mitosis. Furthermore, we found that abrogation of RhoA led to an increased apoptosis in all thymocyte subpopulations. Importantly, we show that the increased apoptosis was resulted from reduced pre-TCR expression and increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which may be because of an enhanced mitochondrial function, as manifested by increased oxidative phosphorylation, glycolysis, mitochondrial membrane potential, and mitochondrial biogenesis in RhoA-deficient thymocytes. Restoration of pre-TCR expression or treatment of RhoA-deficient mice with a ROS scavenger N-acetylcysteine partially restored thymocyte development. These results suggest that RhoA is required for thymocyte development and indicate, to our knowledge, for the first time that fine-tuning of ROS production by RhoA, through a delicate control of metabolic circuit, may contribute to thymopoiesis.
    The Journal of Immunology 11/2014; 193(12). DOI:10.4049/jimmunol.1400839 · 5.36 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present a novel imaging system combining total internal reflection fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy with measurement of steady-state acceptor fluorescence anisotropy in order to perform live cell Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) imaging at the plasma membrane. We compare directly the imaging performance of fluorescence anisotropy resolved TIRF with epifluorescence illumination. The use of high numerical aperture objective for TIRF required correction for induced depolarization factors. This arrangement enabled visualisation of conformational changes of a Raichu-Cdc42 FRET biosensor by measurement of intramolecular FRET between eGFP and mRFP1. Higher activity of the probe was found at the cell plasma membrane compared to intracellularly. Imaging fluorescence anisotropy in TIRF allowed clear differentiation of the Raichu-Cdc42 biosensor from negative control mutants. Finally, inhibition of Cdc42 was imaged dynamically in live cells, where we show temporal changes of the activity of the Raichu-Cdc42 biosensor.
    PLoS ONE 10/2014; 9(10):e110695. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0110695 · 3.53 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The molecular mechanisms that govern thymocyte development and maturation are incompletely understood. The P21-activated kinase 2 (Pak2) is an effector for the Rho family GTPases Rac and Cdc42 that regulate actin cytoskeletal remodeling, but its role in the immune system remains poorly understood. In this study, we show that T-cell specific deletion of Pak2 gene in mice resulted in severe T cell lymphopenia accompanied by marked defects in development, maturation, and egress of thymocytes. Pak2 was required for pre-TCR β-selection and positive selection. Surprisingly, Pak2 deficiency in CD4 single positive thymocytes prevented functional maturation and reduced expression of S1P1 and KLF2. Mechanistically, Pak2 is required for actin cytoskeletal remodeling triggered by TCR. Failure to induce proper actin cytoskeletal remodeling impaired PLCγ1 and Erk1/2 signaling in the absence of Pak2, uncovering the critical function of Pak2 as an essential regulator that governs the actin cytoskeleton-dependent signaling to ensure normal thymocyte development and maturation.DOI:
    eLife Sciences 05/2014; 3:e02270. DOI:10.7554/eLife.02270 · 8.52 Impact Factor