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Integrins in human T cell function: Transdominant regulation, conformational constraints, and intracellular effectors

[email protected] Texas Medical Center
Publication Date
  • Health Sciences
  • Immunology
  • Biology


Integrin adhesion molecules have both positive and negative potential in the regulation of peripheral blood T cell (PB T cell) activation, yet their mechanism of action in the mediation of human T lymphocyte function remains largely undefined. The goals of this study then were to elucidate integrin signaling mechanisms in PB T cells.^ By ligating $\beta$1 integrins with mAb 18D3, it was demonstrated that costimulation of PB T cell proliferation induced by coimmobilizing antibodies specific for $\beta$1, $\beta$2, and $\beta$7 integrin subfamilies in conjunction with the anti-CD3 mAb OKT3 was inhibited. Costimulation of T cell proliferation induced by non-integrins CD4, CD26, CD28, CD44, CD45RA, or CD45RO was unaffected. Inhibition of costimulation correlated with diminished IL-2 production. In his manner, $\beta$1 integrins could regulate heterologous integrins of the $\beta$2 and $\beta$7 subfamilies in a transdominant fashion. It was also demonstrated that integrin costimulation of T cell activation was acutely sensitive to the structural conformation of $\beta$1 integrins. Using the cyclic hexapeptide CWLDVC (TBC772, which is based on the $\alpha4\beta1$ integrin binding site in fibronectin) in soluble form, it was shown that integrins locked into a conformation displaying a neo-epitope called the ligand induced binding site (LIBS) recognized by mAb 15/7 were inhibited from sending mitogenic signals to T cells. When BSA-conjugated TBC772 was coimmobilized with anti-CD3 mAb OKT3, costimulation of proliferation occurred. This suggested that temporally uncoupling integrin receptor occupancy from receptor crosslinking inhibited $\beta$1 integrin signaling mechanisms. When subsets of PB T cells were examined to determine those initially activated by integrins within 6 hours of activation, costimulation induced intracellular accumulation of IL-2 predominantly in the CD4$\sp+$ and CD45RO$\sp+$ T cell subsets. This was similar to a number of PB T cell costimulatory molecules including CD26, CD43, CD44. Only CD28 costimulated IL-2 production from both CD45RA$\sp+$ and CD45RO$\sp+$ subpopulations.^ The GTPase Rho has been implicated in regulating integrin mediated stress fiber formation and anchorage dependent growth in fibroblasts, so studies were initiated to determine if Rho played a role in integrin dependent T cell function. In order to perform this, a technique based on scrape-loading was developed to incorporate macromolecules into PB T cells that maintained their functional activity. With this technique, C3 exoenzyme from Clostridium botulinum was incorporated into PB T cells. C3 ADP-ribosylates Rho proteins on Asn$\sp{41},$ which is in close proximity to the Rho effector domain, rendering it inactive. It was demonstrated that functional Rho is not required for basal or upregulated PB T cell adhesion to $\beta$1 integrin substrates, however PB T cell homotypic aggregation induced by PMA, which is an event mediated predominantly by the integrin $\rm\alpha L\beta2,$ was delayed. PB T cells lacking Rho function displayed altered cell morphology on $\beta$1 integrin ligands, producing stellate, dendritic-like pseudopodia. Rho activity was also found to be required for integrin dependent costimulation of proliferation. When intracellular accumulation of IL-2 was measured, inactivation of Rho prevented both integrin and CD28 costimulatory activity. Rho was identified to lie upstream of signals mediating PKC activation and Ca$\sp{++}$ fluxes, as PMA and ionomycin activation of PB T cells was unaffected by the inactivation of Rho. ^

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