Research ArticleImmunology

Protein Kinase C η Is Required for T Cell Activation and Homeostatic Proliferation

Science Signaling  06 Dec 2011:
Vol. 4, Issue 202, pp. ra84
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2002058

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PKC Isoform Specificity in T Cells

When a T cell encounters an antigen-presenting cell (APC), protein kinase C θ (PKCθ) is recruited to the immunological synapse, the interface between the T cell and the APC, where it is thought to mediate co-receptor signaling during T cell activation. Although PKCθ is the most abundant PKC isoform in T cells, thymocyte development in PKCθ-deficient mice is only mildly affected. Fu et al. investigated a role for PKCη, which, unlike PKCθ, increases in abundance upon T cell activation. The authors found that similar to PKCθ, PKCη was recruited to the immunological synapse upon T cell activation and that both isoforms had some overlapping functions. However, PKCη was required for antigen-dependent activation, and loss of PKCη, but not that of PKCθ, resulted in decreased homeostatic proliferation of T cells. Together, these data suggest that PKCη plays critical roles in T cells.