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TIM-3 Suppresses Anti-CD3/CD28-Induced TCR Activation and IL-2 Expression through the NFAT Signaling Pathway.

Tomkowicz B., Walsh E., Cotty A., Verona R., Sabins N., Kaplan F., Santulli-Marotto S., Chin C.N., Mooney J., Lingham R.B., Naso M., McCabe T.

TIM-3 (T cell immunoglobulin and mucin-domain containing protein 3) is a member of the TIM family of proteins that is preferentially expressed on Th1 polarized CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Recent studies indicate that TIM-3 serves as a negative regulator of T cell function (i.e. T cell dependent immune responses, proliferation, tolerance, and exhaustion). Despite having no recognizable inhibitory signaling motifs, the intracellular tail of TIM-3 is apparently indispensable for function. Specifically, the conserved residues Y265/Y272 and surrounding amino acids appear to be critical for function. Mechanistically, several studies suggest that TIM-3 can associate with interleukin inducible T cell kinase (ITK), the Src kinases Fyn and Lck, and the p85 phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) adaptor protein to positively or negatively regulate IL-2 production via NF-κB/NFAT signaling pathways. To begin to address this discrepancy, we examined the effect of TIM-3 in two model systems. First, we generated several Jurkat T cell lines stably expressing human TIM-3 or murine CD28-ECD/human TIM-3 intracellular tail chimeras and examined the effects that TIM-3 exerts on T cell Receptor (TCR)-mediated activation, cytokine secretion, promoter activity, and protein kinase association. In this model, our results demonstrate that TIM-3 inhibits several TCR-mediated phenotypes: i) NF-kB/NFAT activation, ii) CD69 expression, and iii) suppression of IL-2 secretion. To confirm our Jurkat cell observations we developed a primary human CD8+ cell system that expresses endogenous levels of TIM-3. Upon TCR ligation, we observed the loss of NFAT reporter activity and IL-2 secretion, and identified the association of Src kinase Lck, and PLC-γ with TIM-3. Taken together, our results support the conclusion that TIM-3 is a negative regulator of TCR-function by attenuating activation signals mediated by CD3/CD28 co-stimulation.

PLoS ONE 10:E0140694-E0140694(2015) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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