Defective T cell development and function in the absence of Abelson kinases.
ABSTRACT Thymocyte proliferation, survival, and differentiation are tightly controlled by signaling from the pre-TCR. In this study, we show for the first time that the Abelson (Abl) kinases regulate proximal signaling downstream of the pre-TCR. Conditional deletion of Abl kinases in thymocytes reveals a cell-autonomous role for these proteins in T cell development. The conditional knockout mice have reduced numbers of thymocytes, exhibit an increase in the percentage of the CD4(-)CD8(-) double-negative population, and are partially blocked in the transition to the CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive stage. Moreover, the total number of T cells is greatly reduced in the Abl mutant mice, and the null T cells exhibit impaired TCR-induced signaling, proliferation, and cytokine production. Notably, Abl mutant mice are compromised in their ability to produce IFN-positive CD8 T cells and exhibit impaired CD8(+) T cell expansion in vivo upon Listeria monocytogenes infection. Furthermore, Ab production in response to T cell-dependent Ag is severely impaired in the Abl mutant mice. Together these findings reveal cell-autonomous roles for the Abl family kinases in both T cell development and mature T cell function, and show that loss of these kinases specifically in T cells results in compromised immunity.
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ABSTRACT: The semaphorin and plexin family of ligand and receptor proteins provides important axon guidance cues required for development. Recent studies have expanded the role of semaphorins and plexins in the regulation of cardiac, circulatory and immune system function. Within the immune system, semaphorins and plexins regulate cell-cell interactions through a complex network of receptor and ligand pairs. Immune cells at different stages of development often express multiple semaphorins and plexins, leading to multivariate interactions, involving more than one ligand and receptor within each functional group. Because of this complexity, the significance of semaphorin and plexin regulation on individual immune cell types has yet to be fully appreciated. In this work, we examined the regulation of T cells by semaphorin 6D. Both in vitro and in vivo T cell stimulation enhanced semaphorin 6D expression. However, semaphorin 6D was only expressed by a majority of T cells during the late phases of activation. Consequently, the targeted disruption of semaphorin 6D receptor-ligand interactions inhibited T cell proliferation at late but not early phases of activation. This proliferation defect was associated with reduced linker of activated T cells protein phosphorylation, which may reflect semaphorin 6D regulation of c-Abl kinase activity. Semaphorin 6D disruption also inhibited expression of CD127, which is required during the multiphase antigen-presenting cell and T cell interactions leading to selection of long-lived lymphocytes. This work reveals a role for semaphorin 6D as a regulator of the late phase of primary immune responses.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2008; 105(35):13015-20. · 9.68 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The recent development of small-molecule tyrosine kinase (TK) inhibitors offers increasing opportunities for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. In this study, we investigated the potential of this new class of drugs to treat and cure type 1 diabetes (T1D) in the NOD mouse. Treatment of prediabetic and new onset diabetic mice with imatinib (Gleevec) prevented and reversed T1D. Similar results were observed with sunitinib (Sutent), an additional approved multikinase inhibitor, suggesting that the primary target of imatinib, c-Abl, was not essential in blocking disease in this model. Additional studies with another TK inhibitor, PLX647 (targeting c-Kit and c-Fms) or an anti-c-Kit mAb showed only marginal efficacy whereas a soluble form of platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR), PDGFRbetaIg, rapidly reversed diabetes. These findings strongly suggest that inhibition of PDGFR is critical to reverse diabetes and highlight a crucial role of inflammation in the development of T1D. These conclusions were supported by the finding that the adaptive immune system was not significantly affected by imatinib treatment. Finally, and most significantly, imatinib treatment led to durable remission after discontinuation of therapy at 10 weeks in a majority of mice. Thus, long-term efficacy and tolerance is likely to depend on inhibiting a combination of tyrosine kinases supporting the use of selective kinase inhibitors as a new, potentially very attractive approach for the treatment of T1D.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 12/2008; 105(48):18895-900. · 9.68 Impact Factor