Differential requirement for the SAP-Fyn interaction during NK T cell development and function.
The adaptor molecule SAP (signaling lymphocytic activation molecule-associated protein) plays a critical role during NK T (NKT) cell development in humans and mice. In CD4(+) T cells, SAP interacts with the tyrosine kinase Fyn to deliver signals required for TCR-induced Th2-type cytokine production. To determine whether the SAP-dependent signals controlling NKT cell ontogeny rely on its binding to Fyn, we used the OP9-DL1 system to initiate structure function studies of SAP in murine NKT cell development. In cultures containing wild-type (WT) hematopoietic progenitors, we noted the transient emergence of cells that reacted with the NKT cell-specific agonist alpha-galactosyl ceramide and its analog PBS57. Sap(-/-) cells failed to give rise to NKT cells in vitro; however, their development could be rescued by re-expression of WT SAP. Emergence of NKT cells was also restored by a mutant version of SAP (SAP R78A) that cannot bind to Fyn, but with less efficiency than WT SAP. This finding was accentuated in vivo in Sap(R78A) knock-in mice as well as Sap(R78A) competitive bone marrow chimeras, which retained NKT cells but at significantly reduced numbers compared with controls. Unlike Sap(R78A) CD4(+) T cells, which produce reduced levels of IL-4 following TCR ligation, alpha-galactosyl ceramide-stimulated NKT cells from the livers and spleens of Sap(R78A) mice produced Th2 cytokines and activated NK cells in a manner mimicking WT cells. Thus, SAP appears to use differential signaling mechanisms in NKT cells, with optimal ontogeny requiring Fyn binding, while functional responses occur independently of this interaction.
Nunez-Cruz, S; Yeo, WCJ; Rothman, J; Ojha, P; Bassiri, H; Juntilla, M; Davidson, D; Veillette, A; Koretzky, GA; Nichols, KE
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