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Phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1 targets protein kinase A in a pathway that regulates interleukin 4.

Abstract

CD28 plays a critical role in T cell immune responses. Although the kinase Akt has been shown to act downstream of CD28 in T helper (Th)1 cytokine induction, it does not induce Th2 cytokines such as interleukin 4 (IL-4). We recently reported that phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1 (PDK1) partially corrects the defect in IL-4 production present in CD28-deficient T cells, suggesting that PDK1 regulates IL-4 independently of Akt. We now describe a signaling pathway in which PDK1 targets IL-4 in the murine Th2 cell line D10. PDK1-mediated activation of this pathway is dependent on protein kinase A (PKA) and the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) P1 transcriptional element in the IL-4 promoter. PDK1 localizes to the immune synapse in a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase-dependent manner, partially colocalizes with PKA at the synapse, and physically interacts with PKA. In RNA interference knockdown experiments, PDK1 is necessary for phosphorylation of PKA in T cells, as well as for activation of the IL-4 NFAT P1 element by the T cell receptor (TCR) and CD28. Phosphorylation of the critical PKA threonine residue is stimulated by engagement of TCR/CD28 via a PDK1-dependent mechanism. These findings together define a pathway linking the kinases PDK1 and PKA in the induction of the Th2 cytokine IL-4.

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