Duration and strength of extracellular signal-regulated kinase signals are altered during positive versus negative thymocyte selection

Mariathasan, S., Zakarian, A., Bouchard, D., Michie, A. M. , Zúñiga-Pflücker, J. C. and Ohashi, P. S. (2001) Duration and strength of extracellular signal-regulated kinase signals are altered during positive versus negative thymocyte selection. Journal of Immunology, 167(9), pp. 4966-4973.

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Publisher's URL: http://www.jimmunol.org/content/167/9/4966

Abstract

During thymocyte development, high-affinity/avidity TCR engagement leads to the induction of negative selection and apoptosis, while lower TCR affinity-avidity interactions lead to positive selection and survival. To elucidate how these extracellular interactions are translated into intracellular signals that distinguish between positive and negative selection, we developed a culture system in which naive double-positive thymocytes were either induced to differentiate along the CD8+ lineage pathway or were triggered for clonal deletion. Using this system, we show that sustained low level activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERKs) promotes positive selection, whereas strong but transient ERK activation is coupled with negatively selecting stimuli. Importantly, similar ERK activation profiles were demonstrated during positive selection for strong agonist ligands presented at low concentrations or weak agonist ligands. This is consistent with the affinity/avidity model and a role for strong or weak agonists during positive selection. Surprisingly, the addition of a pharmacological inhibitor which blocks ERK activation prevented the induction of negative selection. These data suggest that the duration and strength of the TCR signal is involved in discriminating between positive and negative selection.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Michie, Dr Alison
Authors: Mariathasan, S., Zakarian, A., Bouchard, D., Michie, A. M., Zúñiga-Pflücker, J. C., and Ohashi, P. S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Cancer Sciences
Journal Name:Journal of Immunology
ISSN:0022-1767
ISSN (Online):1872-7905

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