Date of Award

9-2009

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Animal Biotechnology & Biomedical Sciences

First Advisor

Barbara A. Osborne

Second Advisor

Cynthia L. Baldwin

Third Advisor

Lisa M. Minter

Subject Categories

Immunology of Infectious Disease

Abstract

Over the past decades, information has accumulated concerning the mechanism how an exterior signal induced by ligand on neighboring cells is transmitted to the nucleus through the Notch receptor and the cellular effects of Notch signaling on the regulation of differentiation, proliferation and apoptosis in many cell types. However, the function and the mechanism of Notch signaling in peripheral T cells still remains to be addressed. Therefore, we asked whether Notch1 is involved in CD8+ cytolytic effector T cell (CTLs) maturation and effector functions and how Notch1 exerts its cellular function in the nucleus and in the cytoplasm. The maturation of naïve CD8+ T cells into CTLs is a critical feature of a functional adaptive immune system. Development of CTLs depends, in part, upon the expression of the transcriptional regulator, Eomesodermin (EOMES), which is thought to regulate the expression of two key effector molecules, perforin and granzyme B. In addition, the data from previous studies in our lab showed that Notch signaling results in the activation of NF-κB, IFN-γ secretion and cell proliferation both in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Therefore, we hypothesized that Notch1 may be involved in CD8+ T cell maturation and effector function. We observed that Notch1 regulates the expression of EOMES, perforin and granzyme B through direct binding to the promoters of these crucial effector molecules. By abrogating Notch signaling, both biochemically as well as genetically, we conclude that Notch activity mediates CTL development through direct regulation of EOMES, perforin and granzyme B. We further investigated the molecular steps leading to the formation of intracellular Notch1 (N1ICD)/CSL (also known as CBF1/RBP-Jκ in mammals; Suppressor of Hairless in Drosophila; and Lag-1 in C. elegans) with other co-factors in target promoters of Notch1 signaling. We proposed that the association of two nuclear complexes with N1ICD controls the transcription of genes, allowing the development of effector CTL in the immune system. Recent studies proposed a model where Notch1 colocalizes with CD4, a component of the immune synapse, upon T cell stimulation and directly associates with p56Lck and CD28, as well as PI3K. However, the link between Notch and the TCR signalosome needed further investigation. We found that Notch1 functions as a scaffold, associated with the cytosolic components, Carma1, Bcl10, PKCθ and the IKK complex upon TCR stimulation, leading to the activation of NF-κB and IL-2 production. We further showed that the N-terminal region of N1ICD is essential for interaction with Carma1 and that deficiency of Notch1 abolishes the nuclear binding of NF-κB on the il- 2 promoter, leading to reduced IL-2 production.

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