Author(s): Schneider H, Valk E, Leung R, Rudd CE
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Abstract The balance of T-cell proliferation, anergy and apoptosis is central to immune function. In this regard, co-receptor CTLA-4 is needed for the induction of anergy and tolerance. One central question concerns the mechanism by which CTLA-4 can induce T-cell non-responsiveness without a concurrent induction of antigen induced cell death (AICD). In this study, we show that CTLA-4 activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-K) and protein kinase B (PKB/AKT) sustains T-cell anergy without cell death. CTLA-4 ligation induced PI 3K activation as evidenced by the phosphorylation of PKB/AKT that in turn inactivated GSK-3. The level of activation was similar to that observed with CD28. CTLA-4 induced PI 3K and AKT activation also led to phosphorylation of the pro-apoptotic factor BAD as well as the up-regulation of BcL-XL. In keeping with this, CD3/CTLA-4 co-ligation prevented apoptosis under the same conditions where T-cell non-responsiveness was induced. This effect was PI 3K and PKB/AKT dependent since inhibition of these enzymes under conditions of anti-CD3/CTLA-4 co-ligation resulted in cell death. Our findings therefore define a mechanism by which CTLA-4 can induce anergy (and possibly peripheral tolerance) by preventing the induction of cell death.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology