Zfat-Deficiency Results in a Loss of CD3ζ Phosphorylation with Dysregulation of ERK and Egr Activities Leading to Impaired Positive Selection

Masahiro Ogawa, Tadashi Okamura, Shuhei Ishikura, Keiko Doi, Hiroshi Matsuzaki, Yoko Tanaka, Takeharu Ota, Kunihiro Hayakawa, Harumi Suzuki, Toshiyuki Tsunoda, Takehiko Sasazuki, Senji Shirasawa

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11 Citations (Scopus)


The human ZFAT gene was originally identified as a susceptibility gene for autoimmune thyroid disease. Mouse Zfat is a critical transcriptional regulator for primitive hematopoiesis and required for peripheral T cell homeostasis. However, its physiological roles in T cell development remain poorly understood. Here, we generated Zfatf/f-LckCre mice and demonstrated that T cell-specific Zfat-deletion in Zfatf/f-LckCre mice resulted in a reduction in the number of CD4+CD8+double-positive (DP) cells, CD4+single positive cells and CD8+single positive cells. Indeed, in Zfatf/f-LckCre DP cells, positive selection was severely impaired. Defects of positive selection in Zfat-deficient thymocytes were not restored in the presence of the exogenous TCR by using TCR-transgenic mice. Furthermore, Zfat-deficient DP cells showed a loss of CD3ζ phosphorylation in response to T cell antigen receptor (TCR)-stimulation concomitant with dysregulation of extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) and early growth response protein (Egr) activities. These results demonstrate that Zfat is required for proper regulation of the TCR-proximal signalings, and is a crucial molecule for positive selection through ERK and Egr activities, thus suggesting that a full understanding of the precise molecular mechanisms of Zfat will provide deeper insight into T cell development and immune regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere76254
JournalPloS one
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 3 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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