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Signaling by Fyn-ADAP via the Carma1–Bcl-10–MAP3K7 signalosome exclusively regulates inflammatory cytokine production in NK cells

Nature Immunology volume 14, pages 11271136 (2013) | Download Citation

  • A Corrigendum to this article was published on 21 January 2014

This article has been updated


Inflammation is a critical component of the immune response. However, acute or chronic inflammation can be highly destructive. Uncontrolled inflammation forms the basis for allergy, asthma and various autoimmune disorders. Here we identified a signaling pathway that was exclusively responsible for the production of inflammatory cytokines but not for cytotoxicity. Recognition of tumor cells expressing the NK cell–activatory ligands H60 or CD137L by mouse natural killer (NK) cells led to efficient cytotoxicity and the production of inflammatory cytokines. Both of those effector functions required the kinases Lck, Fyn and PI(3)K (subunits p85α and p110δ) and the signaling protein PLC-γ2. However, a complex of Fyn and the adaptor ADAP exclusively regulated the production of inflammatory cytokines but not cytotoxicity in NK cells. That unique function of ADAP required a Carma1–Bcl-10–MAP3K7 signaling axis. Our results have identified molecules that can be targeted to regulate inflammation without compromising NK cell cytotoxicity.

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Change history

  • 23 September 2013

    In the version of this article initially published online, the affiliation of author Bart Vanhaesebroeck was incorrect. The correct affiliation is as follows: Center for Cell Signaling, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK. The error has been corrected for the print, PDF and HTML versions of this article.


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We thank L. Sammarco and her Lulu's Lemonade Stand for support through Blood Center's Research Foundation, inspiration and motivation; K.E. Nichols (Children's Hospital, Philadelphia) for Adap−/− mice; D.R. Littman (New York University) for Carma1−/− mice; J. Zhang and Y. Xiao (Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine) for Map3k7fl/fl and Map3k7fl/flMx1-Cre spleens; Y. Chen and B. Ren (Blood Research Institute, Milwaukee) for wild-type and Fyn−/− spleens; V. Arumugam and T. Foster for technical help; and T. Heil, L. Savatski, P.J. Newman and Q. Shi for critical reading. Supported by the US National Institutes of Health (R01 A1064828 and R01 AI102893 to S.M.), the American Cancer Society (S.M. and M.S.T.), Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer Fund (M.S.T. and S.M.) and Hyundai Hope on Wheels (M.S.T.).

Author information


  1. Laboratory of Molecular Immunology and Immunotherapy, Blood Research Institute, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

    • Kamalakannan Rajasekaran
    • , Pawan Kumar
    • , Kristina M Schuldt
    • , Monica S Thakar
    •  & Subramaniam Malarkannan
  2. Center for Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.

    • Erik J Peterson
  3. Centre for Cell Signaling, Barts Cancer Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London, UK.

    • Bart Vanhaesebroeck
  4. Genentech, South San Francisco, California, USA.

    • Vishva Dixit
  5. Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

    • Monica S Thakar
  6. Department of Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

    • Subramaniam Malarkannan
  7. Department of Microbiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA.

    • Subramaniam Malarkannan


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K.R. designed and executed analysis of the cytotoxic potential and production of inflammatory cytokines of Fyn−/−, p110δ(D910A), Adap−/−, Carma1−/− and Carma1(ΔCARD) NK cells (freshly isolated or cultured with IL-2), did various NK cell–activation assays, prepared cell lysates, did immunoblot analysis and immunoprecipitation assays, purified human primary NK cells and used them for siRNA treatment and functional analyses, and helped in revising the manuscript; P.K. designed siRNA and knocked down various mouse signaling proteins; K.M.S. maintained various animal colonies and prepared NK cells (freshly isolated or cultured with IL-2) for studies; V.D. provided Carma1(ΔCARD) mice; E.J.P. provided Adap−/− spleens and discussed the data; B.V. provided p110δ(D910A) mice; E.J.P. and B.V. helped in the final editing of the manuscript; M.S.T. helped in the preparation of the manuscript; and S.M. conceived of the study, designed experiments, analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Subramaniam Malarkannan.

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