|Differential function of Themis CABIT domains during T cell development. |
Okada, T; Nitta, T; Kaji, K; Takashima, A; Oda, H; Tamehiro, N; Goto, M; Okamura, T; Patrick, MS; Suzuki, H
Themis (also named Gasp) is a newly identified Grb2-binding protein that is essential for thymocyte positive selection. Despite the possible involvement of Themis in TCR-mediated signal transduction, its function remains unresolved and controversial. Themis contains two functionally uncharacterized regions called CABIT (cysteine-containing, all-β in Themis) domains, a nuclear localization signal (NLS), and a proline-rich sequence (PRS). To elucidate the role of these motifs in Themis's function in vivo, we established a series of mutant Themis transgenic mice on a Themis(-/-) background. Deletion of the highly conserved Core motif of CABIT1 or CABIT2 (Core1 or Core2, respectively), the NLS, or the PRS abolished Grb2-association, as well as TCR-dependent tyrosine-phosphorylation and the ability to induce positive selection in the thymus. The NLS and Core1 motifs were required for the nuclear localization of Themis, whereas Core2 and PRS were not. Furthermore, expression of ΔCore1- but not ΔCore2-Themis conferred dominant negative-type inhibition on T cell development. Collectively, our current results indicate that PRS, NLS, CABIT1, and CABIT2 are all required for positive selection, and that each of the CABIT domains exerts distinct functions during positive selection.
|Themis sets the signal threshold for positive and negative selection in T-cell development. |
Fu, G; Casas, J; Rigaud, S; Rybakin, V; Lambolez, F; Brzostek, J; Hoerter, JA; Paster, W; Acuto, O; Cheroutre, H; Sauer, K; Gascoigne, NR
Development of a self-tolerant T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoire with the potential to recognize the universe of infectious agents depends on proper regulation of TCR signalling. The repertoire is whittled down during T-cell development in the thymus by the ability of quasi-randomly generated TCRs to interact with self-peptides presented by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) proteins. Low-affinity TCR interactions with self-MHC proteins generate weak signals that initiate 'positive selection', causing maturation of CD4- or CD8αβ-expressing 'single-positive' thymocytes from CD4(+)CD8αβ(+) 'double-positive' precursors. These develop into mature naive T cells of the secondary lymphoid organs. TCR interaction with high-affinity agonist self-ligands results in 'negative selection' by activation-induced apoptosis or 'agonist selection' of functionally differentiated self-antigen-experienced T cells. Here we show that positive selection is enabled by the ability of the T-cell-specific protein Themis to specifically attenuate TCR signal strength via SHP1 recruitment and activation in response to low- but not high-affinity TCR engagement. Themis acts as an analog-to-digital converter translating graded TCR affinity into clear-cut selection outcome. By dampening mild TCR signals Themis increases the affinity threshold for activation, enabling positive selection of T cells with a naive phenotype in response to low-affinity self-antigens.