CD4+ T cells use the chemokine receptor CCR7 to home to and migrate within lymphoid tissue, where T-cell activation takes place. Using primary T-cell receptor (TCR)-transgenic (tg) CD4+ T cells, we explored the effect of CCR7 ligands, in particular CCL21, on T-cell activation. We found that the presence of CCL21 during early time points strongly increased in vitro T-cell proliferation after TCR stimulation, correlating with increased expression of early activation markers. CCL21 costimulation resulted in increased Ras- and Rac-GTP formation and enhanced phosphorylation of Akt, MEK, and ERK but not p38 or JNK. Kinase-dead PI3KδD910A/D910A or PI3Kγ-deficient TCR-tg CD4+ T cells showed similar responsiveness to CCL21 costimulation as control CD4+ T cells. Conversely, deficiency in the Rac guanine exchange factor DOCK2 significantly impaired CCL21-mediated costimulation in TCR-tg CD4+ T cells, concomitant with impaired Rac- but not Ras-GTP formation. Using lymph node slices for live monitoring of T-cell behavior and activation, we found that G proteincoupled receptor signaling was required for early CD69 expression but not for Ca2+ signaling. Our data suggest that the presence of CCL21 during early TCR signaling lowers the activation threshold through Ras- and Rac-dependent pathways leading to increased ERK phosphorylation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cell Biology