PloS one

miR-155 Controls Lymphoproliferation in LAT Mutant Mice by Restraining T-Cell Apoptosis via SHIP-1/mTOR and PAK1/FOXO3/BIM Pathways.

PMID 26121028


Linker for Activation of T cells (LAT) is an adapter protein that is essential for T cell function. Knock-in mice with a LAT mutation impairing calcium flux develop a fatal CD4+ lymphoproliferative disease. miR-155 is a microRNA that is correlated with hyperproliferation in a number of cancers including lymphomas and leukemias and is overexpressed in mutant LAT T cells. To test whether miR-155 was merely indicative of T cell activation or whether it contributes to lymphoproliferative disease in mutant LAT mice, we interbred LAT mutant and miR-155-deficient mice. miR-155 deficiency markedly inhibited lymphoproliferative disease by stimulating BIM-dependent CD4+ T cell apoptosis, even though ERK activation and T cell proliferation were increased in double mutant CD4+ T cells. Bim/Bcl2l11 expression is activated by the forkhead transcription factor FOXO3. Using miR-155-deficient, LAT mutant T cells as a discovery tool, we found two connected pathways that impact the nuclear translocation and activation of FOXO3 in T cells. One pathway is mediated by the inositide phosphatase SHIP-1 and the serine/threonine kinases AKT and PDK1. The other pathway involves PAK1 and JNK kinase activation. We define crosstalk between the two pathways via the kinase mTOR, which stabilizes PAK1. This study establishes a role for PAK1 in T cell apoptosis, which contrasts to its previously identified role in T cell proliferation. Furthermore, miR-155 regulates the delicate balance between PAK1-mediated proliferation and apoptosis in T cells impacting lymphoid organ size and function.