[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: alphabeta and gammadelta T cells arise from a common thymocyte progenitor during development in the thymus. Emerging evidence suggests that the pre-T cell receptor (pre-TCR) and gammadelta T cell receptor (gammadeltaTCR) play instructional roles in specifying the alphabeta and gammadelta T-lineage fates, respectively. Nevertheless, the signaling pathways differentially engaged to specify fate and promote the development of these lineages remain poorly understood. Here, we show that differential activation of the extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK)-early growth response gene (Egr)-inhibitor of DNA binding 3 (Id3) pathway plays a defining role in this process. In particular, Id3 expression served to regulate adoption of the gammadelta fate. Moreover, Id3 was both necessary and sufficient to enable gammadelta-lineage cells to differentiate independently of Notch signaling and become competent IFNgamma-producing effectors. Taken together, these findings identify Id3 as a central player that controls both adoption of the gammadelta fate and its maturation in the thymus.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The repertoire of TCR specificities is established by a selection process in the thymus, during which precursor survival and maturation is dictated by the nature of the TCR signals. The differences in signals that determine whether precursors will survive and mature or be induced to die remain poorly understood. Among the molecular effectors involved in executing the differentiation process initiated by TCR-ligand interactions is a family of Zn-finger transcription factors termed early growth response genes (Egr). Indeed, ablation of the Egr1 gene impairs ligand-induced maturation (positive selection) but not ligand-induced deletion (negative selection). The partial impairment of positive selection by Egr1 deficiency is not enhanced by simultaneous deletion of another Egr family member, Egr3. Accordingly, we asked whether this results from compensation by another family member, Egr2. In this manuscript, we demonstrate that deletion of Egr2 impairs positive selection of both CD4 and CD8 single-positive thymocytes. Interestingly, many of the genes involved in positive selection and T cell differentiation are up-regulated normally in the Egr2-deficient thymocytes. However, Bcl-2 up-regulation is not sustained during late stages of positive selection. This defect is at least partially responsible for the developmental blockade in Egr2-deficient thymocytes, as enforced expression of Bcl-2 rescues T cell development in Egr2(-/-) thymocytes. Taken together, these data suggest that Egr2 plays a central role in the up-regulation of the survival molecule Bcl-2 during positive selection.
The Journal of Immunology 01/2009; 181(11):7778-85. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Notch1 signalling is essential for the commitment of multipotent lymphocyte precursors towards the alphabeta T-cell lineage and plays an important role in regulating beta-selection in CD4(-)CD8(-) double-negative (DN) thymocytes. However, the role played by Notch in promoting the development of CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive (DP) thymocytes is poorly characterized. Here, we demonstrate that the introduction of a constitutively active Notch1 (ICN1) construct into RAG(-/-) lymphocyte precursors resulted in the generation of DP thymocytes in in vitro T-cell culture systems. Notably, developmental rescue was dependent not only on the presence of an intact Notch1 RAM domain but also on Delta-like signals, as ICN1-induced DP development in RAG(-/-) thymocytes occurred within an intact thymus or in OP9-DL1 co-cultures, but not in OP9-control co-cultures. Interestingly, ICN1 expression in SLP-76(-/-) precursors resulted in only a minimal developmental rescue to the immature CD8(+) single-positive stage, suggesting that Notch is utilizing the same signalling pathway as the pre-TCR complex. In support of this, ICN1 introduction resulted in the activation of the ERK-MAPK-signalling cascade in RAG(-/-) thymocytes. Taken together, these studies demonstrate that constitutive Notch signalling can bypass beta-selection during early T-cell development by inducing pre-TCR-like signals within a T-cell-promoting environment.
International Immunology 01/2008; 19(12):1421-30. · 3.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The alphabeta and gammadelta T lineages are thought to arise from a common precursor; however, the regulation of separation and development of these lineages is not fully understood. We report here that development of alphabeta and gammadelta precursors was differentially affected by elimination of ribosomal protein L22 (Rpl22), which is ubiquitously expressed but not essential for translation. Rpl22 deficiency selectively arrested development of alphabeta-lineage T cells at the beta-selection checkpoint by inducing their death. The death was caused by induction of p53 expression, because p53 deficiency blocked death and restored development of Rpl22-deficient thymocytes. Importantly, Rpl22 deficiency led to selective upregulation of p53 in alphabeta-lineage thymocytes, at least in part by increasing p53 synthesis. Taken together, these data indicate that Rpl22 deficiency activated a p53-dependent checkpoint that produced a remarkably selective block in alphabeta T cell development but spared gammadelta-lineage cells, suggesting that some ribosomal proteins may perform cell-type-specific or stage-specific functions.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During thymopoiesis, two major types of mature T cells are generated that can be distinguished by the clonotypic subunits contained within their T-cell receptor (TCR) complexes: alphabeta T cells and gammadelta T cells. Although there is no consensus as to the exact developmental stage where alphabeta and gammadelta T-cell lineages diverge, gammadelta T cells and precursors to the alphabeta T-cell lineage (bearing the pre-TCR) are thought to be derived from a common CD4- CD8- double-negative precursor. The role of the TCR in alphabeta/gammadelta lineage commitment has been controversial, in particular whether different TCR isotypes intrinsically favor adoption of the corresponding lineage. Recent evidence supports a signal strength model of lineage commitment, whereby stronger signals promote gammadelta development and weaker signals promote adoption of the alphabeta fate, irrespective of the TCR isotype from which the signals originate. Moreover, differences in the amplitude of activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase- mitogen-activated protein kinase-early growth response pathway appear to play a critical role. These findings will be placed in context of previous analyses in an effort to more precisely define the signals that control T-lineage fate during thymocyte development.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role of the T cell antigen receptor complex (TCR) in alphabeta/gammadelta lineage commitment remains controversial, in particular whether different TCR isoforms intrinsically favor adoption of a certain lineage. Here, we demonstrate that impairing the signaling capacity of a gammadeltaTCR complex enables it to efficiently direct thymocytes to the alphabeta lineage. In the presence of a ligand, a transgenic gammadeltaTCR mediates almost exclusive adoption of the gammadelta lineage, while in the absence of ligand, the same gammadeltaTCR promotes alphabeta lineage development with efficiency comparable to the pre-TCR. Importantly, attenuating gammadeltaTCR signaling through Lck deficiency causes reduced ERK1/2 activation and Egr expression and diverts thymocytes to the alphabeta lineage even in the presence of ligand. Conversely, ectopic Egr overexpression favors gammadelta T cell development. Our data support a model whereby gammadelta versus alphabeta lineage commitment is controlled by TCR signal strength, which depends critically on the ERK MAPK-Egr pathway.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The molecular changes that restrict multipotent murine thymocytes to the T cell lineage and render them responsive to Ag receptor signals remain poorly understood. In this study, we report our analysis of the role of the Ets transcription factor, Spi-B, in this process. Spi-B expression is acutely induced coincident with T cell lineage commitment at the CD4(-)CD8(-)CD44(-)CD25(+) (DN3) stage of thymocyte development and is then down-regulated as thymocytes respond to pre-TCR signals and develop beyond the beta-selection checkpoint to the CD4(-)CD8(-)CD44(-)CD25(-) (DN4) stage. We found that dysregulation of Spi-B expression in DN3 thymocytes resulted in a dose-dependent perturbation of thymocyte development. Indeed, DN3 thymocytes expressing approximately five times the endogenous level of Spi-B were arrested at the beta-selection checkpoint, due to impaired induction of Egr proteins, which are important molecular effectors of the beta-selection checkpoint. T lineage-committed DN3 thymocytes expressing even higher levels of Spi-B were diverted to the dendritic cell lineage. Thus, we demonstrate that the prescribed modulation of Spi-B expression is important for T lineage commitment and differentiation beyond the beta-selection checkpoint; and we provide insight into the mechanism underlying perturbation of development when that expression pattern is disrupted.
The Journal of Immunology 06/2005; 174(10):6184-94. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pre-TCR complexes are thought to signal in a ligand-independent manner because they are constitutively targeted to lipid rafts. We report that ligand-independent signaling is not a unique capability of the pre-TCR complex. Indeed, the TCR alpha subunit restores development of pT alpha-deficient thymocytes to the CD4(+)CD8(+) stage even in the absence of conventional MHC class I and class II ligands. Moreover, we found that pre-TCR and alpha beta TCR complexes exhibit no appreciable difference in their association with lipid rafts, suggesting that ligand-independence is a function of the CD4(-)CD8(-) (DN) thymocytes in which pre-TCR signaling occurs. In agreement, we found that only CD44(-)CD25(+) DN thymocytes (DN3) enabled activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases by the pre-TCR complex. DN thymocytes also exhibited a lower signaling threshold relative to CD4(+)CD8(+) thymocytes, which was associated with both the markedly elevated lipid raft content of their plasma membranes and more robust capacitative Ca(2+) entry. Taken together these data suggest that cell-autonomous, ligand-independent signaling is primarily a property of the thymocytes in which pre-TCR signaling occurs.
The Journal of Immunology 04/2003; 170(6):2853-61. · 5.52 Impact Factor