IL-7 coordinates proliferation, differentiation and Tcra recombination during thymocyte ?-selection.
ABSTRACT: Signaling via the pre-T cell antigen receptor (pre-TCR) and the receptor Notch1 induces transient self-renewal (?-selection) of TCR?(+) CD4(-)CD8(-) double-negative stage 3 (DN3) and DN4 progenitor cells that differentiate into CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive (DP) thymocytes, which then rearrange the locus encoding the TCR ?-chain (Tcra). Interleukin 7 (IL-7) promotes the survival of TCR?(-) DN thymocytes by inducing expression of the pro-survival molecule Bcl-2, but the functions of IL-7 during ?-selection have remained unclear. Here we found that IL-7 signaled TCR?(+) DN3 and DN4 thymocytes to upregulate genes encoding molecules involved in cell growth and repressed the gene encoding the transcriptional repressor Bcl-6. Accordingly, IL-7-deficient DN4 cells lacked trophic receptors and did not proliferate but rearranged Tcra prematurely and differentiated rapidly. Deletion of Bcl6 partially restored the self-renewal of DN4 cells in the absence of IL-7, but overexpression of BCL2 did not. Thus, IL-7 critically acts cooperatively with signaling via the pre-TCR and Notch1 to coordinate proliferation, differentiation and Tcra recombination during ?-selection.
Project description:The development of functional T cells requires receptor-mediated transition through multiple checkpoints in the thymus. Double negative 3 (DN3) thymocytes are selected for the presence of a rearranged TCR beta chain in a process termed β-selection which requires signalling via the pre-TCR, Notch1 and CXCL12. Signal integration by these receptors converges on core pathways including the Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) pathway. Glycogen Synthase Kinase 3 (GSK3) is generally thought to be negatively regulated by the PI3K pathway but its role in β-selection has not been characterised. Here we show that developmental progression of DN3 thymocytes is promoted following inhibition of GSK3 by the synthetic compound CHIR99021. CHIR99021 allows differentiation in the absence of pre-TCR-, Notch1- or CXCL12-mediated signalling. It antagonizes IL-7-mediated inhibition of DP thymocyte differentiation and increases IL-7-promoted cell recovery. These data indicate a potentially important role for inactivation of GSK3 during β-selection. They might help to establish an in vitro stromal cell-free culture system of thymocyte development and offer a new platform for screening regulators of proliferation, differentiation and apoptosis.
Project description:The pre-T cell receptor (TCR) functions as a critical checkpoint during alphabeta T cell development. Signaling through the pre-TCR controls the differentiation of immature CD4(-)CD8(-)CD25(+)CD44(-) [double-negative (DN)3] thymocytes into CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive (DP) cells through the CD4(-)CD8(-)CD25(-)CD44(-)(DN4) stage. In addition, pre-TCR activity triggers expansion and survival of thymocytes and inhibits TCRbeta gene rearrangement through a process referred to as allelic exclusion. Whereas many proteins involved in the pre-TCR transduction cascade have been identified, little is known about the nuclear factors associated with receptor function. Here, we use gene targeting to inactivate the Ets-1 transcription factor in mice and analyze pre-TCR function in developing Ets-1-deficient (Ets-1(-/-)) thymocytes. We find that inactivation of Ets-1 impairs the development of DN3 into DP thymocytes and induces an elevated rate of cell death in the DN4 subset. This defect appears specific to the alphabeta lineage because gammadelta T cells maturate efficiently. Finally, the percentage of thymocytes coexpressing two different TCRbeta chains is increased in the Ets-1(-/-) background and, in contrast with wild type, forced activation of pre-TCR signaling does not block endogenous TCRbeta gene rearrangement. These data identify Ets-1 as a critical transcription factor for pre-TCR functioning and for allelic exclusion at the TCRbeta locus.
Project description:Non-apoptotic functions of Fas-associated protein with death domain (FADD) have been implicated in T lineage lymphocytes, but the nature of FADD-dependent non-apoptotic mechanism in early T-cell development has not been completely elucidated. In this study, we show that tissue-specific deletion of FADD in immature (CD44(-)CD25(+)) thymocytes results in severe perturbation of ?? lineage development. Meanwhile, loss of FADD signaling at a later (CD44(-)CD25(-)) developmental stage does not affect subsequent T-cell development. Collectively, our work presents that FADD deficiency induces failed survival in double-negative 4 (DN4) cells, while pre-T-cell receptor (TCR) signal remains intact. In addition, Notch signaling is positive regulated on DN4 and double-positive thymocytes in T-cell-specific FADD-knockout mice, which express higher levels of a subset of Notch-target genes, including Hes1, Deltex1 and CD25. Moreover, a transcriptional repressor of Notch1, NKAP is downregulated coupled with the loss of FADD in thymocytes and is found to associate with FADD. These data suggest that as a death receptor, FADD is also required for cell survival in ?-selection as a regulator of Notch1 expression.
Project description:The molecular determinants that render specific populations of normal cells susceptible to oncogenic reprogramming into self-renewing cancer stem cells are poorly understood. Here, we exploit T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) as a model to define the critical initiating events in this disease. First, thymocytes that are reprogrammed by the SCL and LMO1 oncogenic transcription factors into self-renewing pre-leukemic stem cells (pre-LSCs) remain non-malignant, as evidenced by their capacities to generate functional T cells. Second, we provide strong genetic evidence that SCL directly interacts with LMO1 to activate the transcription of a self-renewal program coordinated by LYL1. Moreover, LYL1 can substitute for SCL to reprogram thymocytes in concert with LMO1. In contrast, inhibition of E2A was not sufficient to substitute for SCL, indicating that thymocyte reprogramming requires transcription activation by SCL-LMO1. Third, only a specific subset of normal thymic cells, known as DN3 thymocytes, is susceptible to reprogramming. This is because physiological NOTCH1 signals are highest in DN3 cells compared to other thymocyte subsets. Consistent with this, overexpression of a ligand-independent hyperactive NOTCH1 allele in all immature thymocytes is sufficient to sensitize them to SCL-LMO1, thereby increasing the pool of self-renewing cells. Surprisingly, hyperactive NOTCH1 cannot reprogram thymocytes on its own, despite the fact that NOTCH1 is activated by gain of function mutations in more than 55% of T-ALL cases. Rather, elevating NOTCH1 triggers a parallel pathway involving Hes1 and Myc that dramatically enhances the activity of SCL-LMO1 We conclude that the acquisition of self-renewal and the genesis of pre-LSCs from thymocytes with a finite lifespan represent a critical first event in T-ALL. Finally, LYL1 and LMO1 or LMO2 are co-expressed in most human T-ALL samples, except the cortical T subtype. We therefore anticipate that the self-renewal network described here may be relevant to a majority of human T-ALL.
Project description:In order to understand the molecular mechanisms of DN thymocyte development, it may be also of use to clarify how these developmental processes are regulated in terms of their entire gene expression, to which cell differentiation is ultimately ascribed. In the current study, we approached this issue by investigating gene expression profiles in discrete subsets of DN thymocytes under development, in which DN2, DN3, and DN4 thymocytes were sorted and subjected to expression profiling analysis with high-density oligonucleotide microarrays. Experiment Overall Design: The DN2, DN3, and DN4 populations were FACS-sorted from DN thymocytes harvested from four C57BL/6 mice and analyzed by AffymetrixÂ® Mouse Genome 430 2.0 ArrayÂ® for gene expression. Four independent experiments were performed using 16 mice.
Project description:The locus encoding the T cell antigen receptor (TCR) ?-chain and ?-chain (Tcra-Tcrd) undergoes recombination of its variable-diversity-joining (V(D)J) segments in CD4(-)CD8(-) double-negative thymocytes and CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive thymocytes to generate diverse TCR? repertoires and TCR? repertoires, respectively. Here we identified a chromatin-interaction network in the Tcra-Tcrd locus in double-negative thymocytes that was formed by interactions between binding elements for the transcription factor CTCF. Disruption of a discrete chromatin loop encompassing the D, J and constant (C) segments of Tcrd allowed a single V segment to frequently contact and rearrange to D and J segments and dominate the adult TCR? repertoire. Disruption of this loop also narrowed the TCR? repertoire, which, we believe, followed as a consequence of the restricted TCR? repertoire. Hence, a single CTCF-mediated chromatin loop directly regulated TCR? diversity and indirectly regulated TCR? diversity.
Project description:T cell development proceeds in a series of developmental stages, which is precisely orchestrated by multiple signaling and molecular networks. Here we found a zinc finger protein Zfp335 intrinsically controls DN to DP transition, as T cell-specific deficiency in Zfp335 leads to a substantial accumulation of DN3 along with reduction of DP, CD4+ and CD8+ thymocytes. This developmental blockade at DN stage results from the impaired intracellular TCRβ expression as well as increased susceptibility to apoptosis in thymocytes. Transcriptomic and ChIP-seq analyses revealed a direct regulation of transcription factors Bcl6 and Rorc by Zfp335. Importantly, enhanced expression of TCRβ and Bcl6/RorγT restores the developmental defect during DN3 to DN4 transition and improves thymocytes survival, respectively. These findings identify a critical role of Zfp335 in controlling T cell development by maintaining intracellular TCR expression-mediated β-selection and independently activating cell survival signaling. Overall design: Examination of DN3 and DN4 thymocytes from the thymic of WT and Zfp335 deficient mice
Project description:Signals from the pre-T cell receptor and Notch coordinately instruct β-selection of CD4<sup>-</sup>CD8<sup>-</sup>double negative (DN) thymocytes to generate αβ T cells in the thymus. However, how these signals ensure a high-fidelity proteome and safeguard the clonal diversification of the pre-selection TCR repertoire given the considerable translational activity imposed by β-selection is largely unknown. Here, we identify the endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-associated degradation (ERAD) machinery as a critical proteostasis checkpoint during β-selection. Expression of the SEL1L-HRD1 complex, the most conserved branch of ERAD, is directly regulated by the transcriptional activity of the Notch intracellular domain. Deletion of <i>Sel1l</i> impaired DN3 to DN4 thymocyte transition and severely impaired mouse αβ T cell development. Mechanistically, <i>Sel1l</i> deficiency induced unresolved ER stress that triggered thymocyte apoptosis through the PERK pathway. Accordingly, genetically inactivating PERK rescued T cell development from <i>Sel1l</i>-deficient thymocytes. In contrast, IRE1α/XBP1 pathway was induced as a compensatory adaptation to alleviate <i>Sel1l</i>-deficiency-induced ER stress. Dual loss of <i>Sel1l</i> and <i>Xbp1</i> markedly exacerbated the thymic defect. Our study reveals a critical developmental signal controlled proteostasis mechanism that enforces T cell development to ensure a healthy adaptive immunity.
Project description:The spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) and zeta-associated protein of 70 kD (ZAP-70) tyrosine kinases are both expressed during early thymocyte development, but their unique thymic functions have remained obscure. No specific role for Syk during beta-selection has been established, and no role has been described for ZAP-70 before positive selection. We show that Syk and ZAP-70 provide thymocytes with unique and separable fitness advantages during early development. Syk-deficient, but not ZAP-70-deficient, thymocytes are specifically impaired in initial pre-TCR signaling at the double-negative (DN) 3 beta selection stage and show reduced cell-cycle entry. Surprisingly, and despite overlapping expression of both kinases, only ZAP-70 appears to promote sustained pre-TCR/TCR signaling during the DN4, immature single-positive, and double-positive stages of development before thymic selection occurs. ZAP-70 promotes survival and cell-cycle progression of developing thymocytes before positive selection, as also shown by in vivo anti-CD3 treatment of recombinase-activating gene 1-deficient mice. Our results establish a temporal separation of Syk family kinase function during early thymocyte development and a novel role for ZAP-70. We propose that pre-TCR signaling continues during DN4 and later stages, with ZAP-70 dynamically replacing Syk for continued pre-TCR signaling.
Project description:The beta-selection checkpoint in alphabetaT lymphocyte development occurs at the double negative (DN) 3 (CD4(-)CD8(-)CD25(+)c-kit(-)) stage, when further differentiation requires a signal from the newly rearranged TCR beta chain. Thymocytes with mutations in key signaling molecules in the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-Akt pathway manifest defects in survival, proliferation, and differentiation past the beta-selection checkpoint. However, little information is available regarding the role of Akt itself in thymocyte development. In this study, we explore the role of the two Akt isoforms most highly expressed in the thymus, Akt1 and Akt2, in early T cell development. Using several complementary approaches, we find that deletion of Akt1 results in only minor defects in thymocyte development. The Akt1(-/-)Akt2(-/-) thymocytes manifest a severe developmental block at the DN3 stage and ultimately fail to repopulate the T cell compartment of an irradiated host. Further, we show that Akt1(-/-)Akt2(-/-) DN3 cells have decreased glucose uptake and die in response to TCR stimulation in vitro. Study of thymocytes from the genetically altered mice suggests that the cause of the developmental defect is due to apoptosis, partially caused by decreased cellular growth and metabolism at the DN3 stage. Our results show that Akt protects thymocytes from cell death during the beta-selection checkpoint.