p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase mediates signal integration of TCR/CD28 costimulation in primary murine T cells.J Immunol. 1999 Apr 01; 162(7):3819-29.JI
Optimal T cell activation requires two signals, one generated by TCR and another by the CD28 costimulatory receptor. In this study, we investigated the regulation of costimulation-induced mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation in primary mouse T cells. In contrast to that reported for human Jurkat T cells, we found that p38 MAPK, but not Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK), is weakly activated upon stimulation with either anti-CD3 or anti-CD28 in murine thymocytes and splenic T cells. However, p38 MAPK is activated strongly and synergistically by either CD3/CD28 coligation or PMA/Ca2+ ionophore stimulation, which mimics TCR-CD3/CD28-mediated signaling. Activation of p38 MAPK correlates closely with the stimulation of T cell proliferation. In contrast, PMA-induced JNK activation is inhibited by Ca2+ ionophore. T cell proliferation and production of IL-2, IL-4, and IFN-gamma induced by both CD3 and CD3/CD28 ligation and the nuclear expression of the c-Jun and ATF-2 proteins are each blocked by the p38 MAPK inhibitor SB203580. Our findings demonstrate that p38 MAPK 1) plays an important role in signal integration during costimulation of primary mouse T cells, 2) may be involved in the induction of c-Jun activation and augmentation of AP-1 transcriptional activity, and 3) regulates whether T cells enter a state of functional unresponsiveness.