Author(s): Jorritsma PJ, Brogdon JL, Bottomly K
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Abstract Although extracellular signal-regulated kinase (Erk) activation influences IL-4 production in various experimental systems, its role during Th differentiation is unclear. In this study, we show that Erk plays a critical role in IL-4 expression during TCR-induced Th differentiation of naive CD4(+) T cells. Stimulation of CD4(+) T cells with a high affinity peptide resulted in sustained Erk activation and Th1 differentiation. However, reduction of Erk activity led to a dramatic increase in IL-4 production and Th2 generation. Analysis of RNA and nuclear proteins of CD4(+) T cells 48 h after stimulation revealed that this was due to early IL-4 expression. Interestingly, transient Erk activation resulted in altered AP-1 DNA binding activity and the induction of an AP-1 complex that was devoid of Fos protein and consisted of Jun-Jun dimers. These data show that in the presence of a strong TCR signal, IL-4 expression can be induced in naive CD4(+) T cells by altering the strength of Erk activation. In addition, these data suggest that TCR-induced Erk activation is involved in the regulation of IL-4 expression by altering the composition of the AP-1 complex and its subsequent DNA binding activity.
This article was published in J Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology