A brief antigenic stimulus can promote T cell proliferation, but the duration and nature of intracellular signals required for survival are unclear. Here we show that in the absence of OX40 costimulation, antigen-activated CD4+ cells are short-lived because the activity of protein kinase B (PKB; also known as Akt) is not maintained over time. Activated T cells that express a dominant-negative variant of PKB also undergo apoptosis, reproducing the OX40-deficient phenotype. In contrast, an active form of PKB prevents downregulation of antiapoptotic proteins in OX40-deficient T cells, rescues antigen-induced cell survival in vivo, and controls inflammation in recall responses. Thus, sustained and periodic PKB signaling has an integral role in regulating T cell longevity.
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This work was supported by grants from the NIH (CA91827 and AI50498) and the Sandler Program for Asthma Research (to Mi.C.). This is manuscript number 534 from the La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology.
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