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1.  Critical role for BIM in T cell receptor restimulation-induced death 
Biology Direct  2008;3:34.
Upon repeated or chronic antigen stimulation, activated T cells undergo a T cell receptor (TCR)-triggered propriocidal cell death important for governing the intensity of immune responses. This is thought to be chiefly mediated by an extrinsic signal through the Fas-FasL pathway. However, we observed that TCR restimulation still potently induced apoptosis when this interaction was blocked, or genetically impaired in T cells derived from autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS) patients, prompting us to examine Fas-independent, intrinsic signals.
Upon TCR restimulation, we specifically noted a marked increase in the expression of BIM, a pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family protein known to mediate lymphocyte apoptosis induced by cytokine withdrawal. In fact, T cells from an ALPS type IV patient in which BIM expression is suppressed were more resistant to restimulation-induced death. Strikingly, knockdown of BIM expression rescued normal T cells from TCR-induced death to as great an extent as Fas disruption.
Our data implicates BIM as a critical mediator of apoptosis induced by restimulation as well as growth cytokine withdrawal. These findings suggest an important role for BIM in eliminating activated T cells even when IL-2 is abundant, working in conjunction with Fas to eliminate chronically stimulated T cells and maintain immune homeostasis.
This article was reviewed by Dr. Wendy Davidson (nominated by Dr. David Scott), Dr. Mark Williams (nominated by Dr. Neil Greenspan), and Dr. Laurence C. Eisenlohr.
PMCID: PMC2529272  PMID: 18715501
2.  14-3-3 theta binding to cell cycle regulatory factors is enhanced by HIV-1 Vpr 
Biology Direct  2008;3:17.
Despite continuing advances in our understanding of AIDS pathogenesis, the mechanism of CD4+ T cell depletion in HIV-1-infected individuals remains unclear. The HIV-1 Vpr accessory protein causes cell death, likely through a mechanism related to its ability to arrest cells in the G2,M phase. Recent evidence implicated the scaffold protein, 14-3-3, in Vpr cell cycle blockade.
We found that in human T cells, 14-3-3 plays an active role in mediating Vpr-induced cell cycle arrest and reveal a dramatic increase in the amount of Cdk1, Cdc25C, and CyclinB1 bound to 14-3-3 θ during Vprv-induced G2,M arrest. By contrast, a cell-cycle-arrest-dead Vpr mutant failed to augment 14-3-3 θ association with Cdk1 and CyclinB1. Moreover, G2,M arrest caused by HIV-1 infection strongly correlated with a disruption in 14-3-3 θ binding to centrosomal proteins, Plk1 and centrin. Finally, Vpr caused elevated levels of CyclinB1, Plk1, and Cdk1 in a complex with the nuclear transport and spindle assembly protein, importin β.
Thus, our data reveal a new facet of Vpr-induced cell cycle arrest involving previously unrecognized abnormal rearrangements of multiprotein assemblies containing key cell cycle regulatory proteins.
This article was reviewed by David Kaplan, Nathaniel R. Landau and Yan Zhou.
PMCID: PMC2390528  PMID: 18445273
3.  The control of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cell survival 
Biology Direct  2008;3:6.
CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T (Treg) cells are believed to play an important role in suppressing autoimmunity and maintaining peripheral tolerance. How their survival is regulated in the periphery is less clear. Here we show that Treg cells express receptors for gamma chain cytokines and are dependent on an exogenous supply of these cytokines to overcome cytokine withdrawal apoptosis in vitro. This result was validated in vivo by the accumulation of Treg cells in Bim-/- and Bcl-2 tg mice which have arrested cytokine deprivation apoptosis. We also found that CD25 and Foxp3 expression were down-regulated in the absence of these cytokines. CD25+ cells from Scurfy mice do not depend on cytokines for survival demonstrating that Foxp3 increases their dependence on cytokines by suppressing cytokine production in Treg cells. Our study reveals that the survival of Treg cells is strictly dependent on cytokines and cytokine producing cells because they do not produce cytokines. Our study thus, demonstrates that different gamma chain cytokines regulate Treg homeostasis in the periphery by differentially regulating survival and proliferation. These findings may shed light on ways to manipulate Treg cells that could be utilized for their therapeutic applications.
This article was reviewed by: Avinash Bhandoola, Fred Ramsdell (nominated by Juan Carlos Zuniga-Pflucker) and Anne Cooke.
PMCID: PMC2270257  PMID: 18304352

Results 1-3 (3)