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1.  c-Abl-Mediated Tyrosine Phosphorylation of the T-bet DNA-Binding Domain Regulates CD4+ T-Cell Differentiation and Allergic Lung Inflammation ▿ 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2011;31(16):3445-3456.
The tyrosine kinase c-Abl is required for full activation of T cells, while its role in T-cell differentiation has not been characterized. We report that c-Abl deficiency skews CD4+ T cells to type 2 helper T cell (Th2) differentiation, and c-Abl−/− mice are more susceptible to allergic lung inflammation. c-Abl interacts with and phosphorylates T-bet, a Th1 lineage transcription factor. c-Abl-mediated phosphorylation enhances the transcriptional activation of T-bet. Interestingly, three tyrosine residues within the T-bet DNA-binding domain are the predominant sites of phosphorylation by c-Abl. Mutation of these tyrosine residues inhibits the promoter DNA-binding activity of T-bet. c-Abl regulates Th cell differentiation in a T-bet-dependent manner because genetic deletion of T-bet in CD4+ T cells abolishes c-Abl-deficiency-mediated enhancement of Th2 differentiation. Reintroduction of T-bet-null CD4+ T cells with wild-type T-bet, but not its tyrosine mutant, rescues gamma interferon (IFN-γ) production and inhibits Th2 cytokine production. Therefore, c-Abl catalyzes tyrosine phosphorylation of the DNA-binding domain of T-bet to regulate CD4+ T cell differentiation.
doi:10.1128/MCB.05383-11
PMCID: PMC3147793  PMID: 21690296
2.  The HECT-Type E3 Ubiquitin Ligase AIP2 Inhibits Activation-Induced T-Cell Death by Catalyzing EGR2 Ubiquitination▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2009;29(19):5348-5356.
E3 ubiquitin ligases, which target specific molecules for proteolytic destruction, have emerged as key regulators of immune functions. Several E3 ubiquitin ligases, including c-Cbl, Cbl-b, GRAIL, Itch, and Nedd4, have been shown to negatively regulate T-cell activation. Here, we report that the HECT-type E3 ligase AIP2 positively regulates T-cell activation. Ectopic expression of AIP2 in mouse primary T cells enhances their proliferation and interleukin-2 production by suppressing the apoptosis of T cells. AIP2 interacts with and promotes ubiquitin-mediated degradation of EGR2, a zinc finger transcription factor that has been found to regulate Fas ligand (FasL) expression during activation-induced T-cell death. Suppression of AIP2 expression by small RNA interference upregulates EGR2, inhibits EGR2 ubiquitination and FasL expression, and enhances the apoptosis of T cells. Therefore, AIP2 regulates activation-induced T-cell death by suppressing EGR2-mediated FasL expression via the ubiquitin pathway.
doi:10.1128/MCB.00407-09
PMCID: PMC2747983  PMID: 19651900
3.  The type III histone deacetylase Sirt1 is essential for maintenance of T cell tolerance in mice 
The Journal of Clinical Investigation  2009;119(10):3048-3058.
Although many self-reactive T cells are eliminated by negative selection in the thymus, some of these cells escape into the periphery, where they must be controlled by additional mechanisms. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying peripheral T cell tolerance and its maintenance remain largely undefined. In this study, we report that sirtuin 1 (Sirt1), a type III histone deacetylase, negatively regulates T cell activation and plays a major role in clonal T cell anergy in mice. In vivo, we found that loss of Sirt1 function resulted in abnormally increased T cell activation and a breakdown of CD4+ T cell tolerance. Conversely, upregulation of Sirt1 expression led to T cell anergy, in which the activity of the transcription factor AP-1 was substantially diminished. Furthermore, Sirt1 interacted with and deacetylated c-Jun, yielding an inactive AP-1 factor. In addition, Sirt1-deficient mice were unable to maintain T cell tolerance and developed severe experimental allergic encephalomyelitis as well as spontaneous autoimmunity. These findings provide insight into the molecular mechanisms of T cell activation and anergy, and we suggest that activators of Sirt1 may be useful as therapeutic agents for the treatment and/or prevention of autoimmune diseases.
doi:10.1172/JCI38902
PMCID: PMC2752073  PMID: 19729833
4.  The proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β and TNF-α induce the expression of Synoviolin, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, in mouse synovial fibroblasts via the Erk1/2-ETS1 pathway 
The overgrowth of synovial tissues is critical in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis (RA). The expression of Synoviolin (SYN), an E3 ubiquitin ligase, is upregulated in arthritic synovial fibroblasts and is involved in the overgrowth of synovial cells during RA. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in the elevated SYN expression are not known. Here, we found that SYN expression is elevated in the synovial fibroblasts from mice with collagen-induced arthritis (CIA). The proinflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) induce SYN expression in mouse synovial fibroblasts. Cultivation of mouse synovial fibroblasts with IL-1β activates mitogen-activated protein kinases, including extra-cellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk), JNK (c-Jun N-terminal kinase), and p38, while only Erk-specific inhibitor blocks IL-1β-induced SYN expression. Expression of transcription factor ETS1 further enhances IL-1β-induced SYN expression. The dominant negative ETS1 mutant lacking the transcription activation domain inhibits SYN expression in a dose-dependent manner. The activation of both Erk1/2 and ETS1 is increased in the CIA synovial fibroblasts. Inhibition of Erk activation reduces ETS1 phosphorylation and SYN expression. Our data indicate that the proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β and TNF-α induce the overgrowth of synovial cells by upregulating SYN expression via the Erk1/-ETS1 pathway. These molecules or pathways could therefore be potential targets for the treatment of RA.
doi:10.1186/ar2081
PMCID: PMC1794516  PMID: 17105652

Results 1-4 (4)