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1.  T Cells of Infants Are Mature, but Hyporeactive Due to Limited Ca2+ Influx 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(11):e0166633.
CD4 T cells in human infants and adults differ in the initiation and strength of their responses. The molecular basis for these differences is not yet understood. To address this the principle key molecular events of TCR- and CD28-induced signaling in naive CD4 T cells, such as Ca2+ influx, NFAT expression, phosphorylation and translocation into the nucleus, ERK activation and IL-2 response, were analyzed over at least the first 3 years of life. We report dramatically reduced IL-2 and TNFα responses in naive CD31+ T cells during infancy. Looking at the obligatory Ca2+ influx required to induce T cell activation and proliferation, we demonstrate characteristic patterns of impairment for each stage of infancy that are partly due to the differential usage of Ca2+ stores. Consistent with those findings, translocation of NFATc2 is limited, but still dependent on Ca2+ influx as demonstrated by sensitivity to cyclosporin A (CsA) treatment. Thus weak Ca2+ influx functions as a catalyst for the implementation of restricted IL-2 response in T cells during infancy. Our studies also define limited mobilization of Ca2+ ions as a characteristic property of T cells during infancy. This work adds to our understanding of infants’ poor T cell responsiveness against pathogens.
PMCID: PMC5125607  PMID: 27893767
2.  Immune Privilege as an Intrinsic CNS Property: Astrocytes Protect the CNS against T-Cell-Mediated Neuroinflammation 
Mediators of Inflammation  2013;2013:320519.
Astrocytes have many functions in the central nervous system (CNS). They support differentiation and homeostasis of neurons and influence synaptic activity. They are responsible for formation of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and make up the glia limitans. Here, we review their contribution to neuroimmune interactions and in particular to those induced by the invasion of activated T cells. We discuss the mechanisms by which astrocytes regulate pro- and anti-inflammatory aspects of T-cell responses within the CNS. Depending on the microenvironment, they may become potent antigen-presenting cells for T cells and they may contribute to inflammatory processes. They are also able to abrogate or reprogram T-cell responses by inducing apoptosis or secreting inhibitory mediators. We consider apparently contradictory functions of astrocytes in health and disease, particularly in their interaction with lymphocytes, which may either aggravate or suppress neuroinflammation.
PMCID: PMC3760105  PMID: 24023412
3.  CD152 (CTLA-4) Determines the Unequal Resistance of Th1 and Th2 Cells against Activation-induced Cell Death by a Mechanism Requiring PI3 Kinase Function 
Survival of antigen-experienced T cells is essential for the generation of adaptive immune responses. Here, we show that the genetic and antibody-mediated inactivation of CD152 (cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen 4) in T helper (Th) effector cells reduced the frequency of nonapoptotic cells in a completely Fas/Fas ligand (FasL)–dependent manner. CD152 cross-linking together with stimulation of CD3 and CD28 on activated Th2 cells prevented activation-induced cell death (AICD) as a result of reduced Fas and FasL expression. Apoptosis protection conferred by CD152 correlated with the up-regulation of Bcl-2 and was mediated by phosphatidylinositol 3 kinase, which prevented FasL expression through the inhibitory phosphorylation of Forkhead transcription factor FKHRL1. We show that signals induced by CD152 act directly on activated T lymphocytes and, due to its differential surface expression on activated Th1 and Th2 cells, induce resistance to AICD mainly in Th2 cells.
PMCID: PMC2212725  PMID: 15007096
costimulation; apoptosis; survival; signal transduction; FasL
4.  PAG/Cbp suppression reveals a contribution of CTLA-4 to setting the activation threshold in T cells 
PAG/Cbp represents a ubiquitous mechanism for regulating Src family kinases by recruiting Csk to the plasma membrane, thereby controlling cellular activation. Since Src kinases are known oncogenes, we used RNA interference in primary human T cells to test whether the loss of PAG resulted in lymphocyte transformation.
PAG-depletion enhanced Src kinase activity and augmented proximal T-cell receptor signaling; exactly the phenotype expected for loss of this negative regulator. Surprisingly, rather than becoming hyper-proliferative, PAG-suppressed T cells became unresponsive. This was mediated by a Fyn-dependent hyper-phosphorylation of the inhibitory receptor CTLA-4, which recruited the protein tyrosine phosphatase Shp-1 to lipid rafts. Co-suppression of CTLA-4 abrogates this inhibition and restores proliferation to T cells.
We have identified a fail-safe mechanism as well as a novel contribution of CTLA-4 to setting the activation threshold in T cells.
PMCID: PMC3763844  PMID: 23601194
Human; T cells; Protein kinases; Cell activation; Tolerance
5.  Migration of Th1 Lymphocytes Is Regulated by CD152 (CTLA-4)-Mediated Signaling via PI3 Kinase-Dependent Akt Activation 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(3):e31391.
Efficient adaptive immune responses require the localization of T lymphocytes in secondary lymphoid organs and inflamed tissues. To achieve correct localization of T lymphocytes, the migration of these cells is initiated and directed by adhesion molecules and chemokines. It has recently been shown that the inhibitory surface molecule CD152 (CTLA-4) initiates Th cell migration, but the molecular mechanism underlying this effect remains to be elucidated. Using CD4 T lymphocytes derived from OVA-specific TCR transgenic CD152-deficient and CD152-competent mice, we demonstrate that chemokine-triggered signal transduction is differentially regulated by CD152 via phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-dependent activation of protein kinase B (PKB/Akt). In the presence of CD152 signaling, the chemoattractant CCL4 selectively induces the full activation of Akt via phosphorylation at threonine 308 and serine 473 in pro-inflammatory Th lymphocytes expressing the cognate chemokine receptor CCR5. Akt signals lead to cytoskeleton rearrangements, which are indispensable for migration. Therefore, this novel Akt-modulating function of CD152 signals affecting T cell migration demonstrates that boosting CD152 or its down-stream signal transduction could aid therapies aimed at sensitizing T lymphocytes for optimal migration, thus contributing to a precise and effective immune response.
PMCID: PMC3295805  PMID: 22412835
6.  CD152 (CTLA-4) Determines CD4 T Cell Migration In Vitro and In Vivo 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(5):e5702.
Migration of antigen-experienced T cells to secondary lymphoid organs and the site of antigenic-challenge is a mandatory prerequisite for the precise functioning of adaptive immune responses. The surface molecule CD152 (CTLA-4) is mostly considered as a negative regulator of T cell activation during immune responses. It is currently unknown whether CD152 can also influence chemokine-driven T cell migration.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We analyzed the consequences of CD152 signaling on Th cell migration using chemotaxis assays in vitro and radioactive cell tracking in vivo. We show here that the genetic and serological inactivation of CD152 in Th1 cells reduced migration towards CCL4, CXCL12 and CCL19, but not CXCL9, in a G-protein dependent manner. In addition, retroviral transduction of CD152 cDNA into CD152 negative cells restored Th1 cell migration. Crosslinking of CD152 together with CD3 and CD28 stimulation on activated Th1 cells increased expression of the chemokine receptors CCR5 and CCR7, which in turn enhanced cell migration. Using sensitive liposome technology, we show that mature dendritic cells but not activated B cells were potent at inducing surface CD152 expression and the CD152-mediated migration-enhancing signals. Importantly, migration of CD152 positive Th1 lymphocytes in in vivo experiments increased more than 200% as compared to CD152 negative counterparts showing that indeed CD152 orchestrates specific migration of selected Th1 cells to sites of inflammation and antigenic challenge in vivo.
We show here, that CD152 signaling does not just silence cells, but selects individual ones for migration. This novel activity of CD152 adds to the already significant role of CD152 in controlling peripheral immune responses by allowing T cells to localize correctly during infection. It also suggests that interference with CD152 signaling provides a tool for altering the cellular composition at sites of inflammation and antigenic challenge.
PMCID: PMC2682661  PMID: 19479036
7.  Multiple functions for CD28 and cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 during different phases of T cell responses: implications for arthritis and autoimmune diseases 
Arthritis Research & Therapy  2004;6(2):45-54.
Chronic T cell responses, as they occur in rheumatoid arthritis, are complex and are likely to involve many mechanisms. There is a growing body of evidence that, in concert with the T cell antigen receptor signal, CD28 and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4 (CTLA-4; CD152) are the primary regulators of T cell responses. Whereas CD28 primarily activates T cell processes, CTLA-4 inhibits them. The mechanism for this dichotomy is not fully understood, especially as CD28 and CTLA-4 recruit similar signalling molecules. In addition, recent studies demonstrate that CD28 and CTLA-4 have multiple functions during T cell responses. In particular, CTLA-4 exerts independent distinct effects during different phases of T cell responses that could be exploited for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.
PMCID: PMC400439  PMID: 15059264
CD152; costimulation; CTLA-4Ig; inflammation; polymorphism; signal transduction

Results 1-7 (7)