Molecular mechanisms involved in T cell activation. I. Evidence for independent signal-transducing pathways in lymphokine production vs proliferation in cloned cytotoxic T lymphocytes

D. T. Harris, W. J. Kozumbo, P. Cerutti, J. C. Cerottini

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24 Scopus citations


It is well-established that activated T cells proliferate in response to interleukin 2 (IL 2) and produce various soluble lymphokines such as macrophage-activating factor (MAF) in response to antigen. Prior to investigating the molecular events involved in signaling the initiation of these responses in cloned murine cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL), we determined whether these responses could occur independently, and we established for each response the time during which signal transducing mechanisms may function. It was found that this cloned CTL population was in a resting state (G1 phase of cell cycle) 7 days after stimulation with antigen plus IL 2. At this time, the incubation of these resting CTL with IL 2 for 4 to 6 hr resulted in a maximal proliferative response that was not accompanied by the production of MAF. Conversely, the incubation of resting CTL with antigen or lectin (in the absence of IL 2) for at least 8 hr resulted in the maximal production of MAF at 24 hr without inducing a proliferative response. In addition, antigen or lectin, but not IL 2, triggered an immediate (<1 min) and sustained (at least 8 hr) mobilization of intracellular calcium. The kinetics of this calcium response paralleled the minimum time (8 hr) that was required for resting CTL to interact with either antigen or lectin in order to produce maximal titers of MAF. These results indicate that proliferation and lymphokine (MAF) production in cloned murine CTL are independent events. In these resting CTL, the signal mechanisms that mediate the production of lymphokines are most likely restricted to the initial 8 hr of stimulation by antigen or lectin and involve the rapid and prolonged mobilization of cytoplasmic calcium. Proliferative signals, however, are probably complete within 4 to 6 hr after stimulation by IL 2 and do not involve readily demonstrable fluxes of cytoplasmic calcium, as determined by the fluorescent calcium probe Quin 2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)600-605
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1987
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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