Inhibiting the Inhibitor of the Inhibitor: Blocking PKC-θ to Enhance Regulatory T Cell Function

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Sci. Signal.  27 Jul 2010:
Vol. 3, Issue 132, pp. pe24
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.3132pe24

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Protein kinase C θ (PKC-θ), one of many PKC isoforms expressed in T cells, is important for the activation of mature effector T cells. During T cell activation, PKC-θ is recruited to the interface between the T cell and the activating cellular interaction partner, the antigen-presenting cell or a synthetic substitute thereof. New evidence establishes that PKC-θ function differs in regulatory T cells, a T cell subset that suppresses the function of effector T cells. In regulatory T cells, PKC-θ inhibits their function and, intriguingly, is sequestered from the activating cellular interface. This finding raises several questions of general interest. Does PKC-θ function overlap with that of other PKC family members? What are the functionally critical distinctions in the similar signaling systems of effector and regulatory T cells? Does the divergent localization of PKC-θ in regulatory T cells drive function?

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