Alloantigen-induced unresponsiveness in cord blood T lymphocytes is associated with defective activation of Ras

Pierluigi Porcu, Jay Gaddy, Hal E. Broxmeyer

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Human umbilical cord blood T lymphocytes (CBTL) respond to primary allostimulation but they do not proliferation upon rechallenge with alloantigen. Using PFH-26-labeled cells created a proliferative block that was observed only in CBTL that have divided during primary stimulation (PKH- 26(dim) but not in unstimulated (PKH-26(bright)) CBTL. CBTL's secondary unresponsiveness resembles anergy and can be overcome by treatment with phorbol myristate acetate (PMA) and ionomycin or by high doses (50-100 units/ml) of interleukin 2. Addition of interleukin 3 to the primary cultures does not prevent the induction of secondary unresponsiveness. Defective Ras activation is detected in PKH-26(dim) CBTL during secondary response to alloantigen or after antibody-mediated T cell receptor stimulation whereas Ras is activated and proliferation is induced in CBTL during primary alloantigenic stimulation. Upon stimulation with PMA plus ionomycin, PMA plus alloantigen, but not alloantigen plus ionomycin, Ras is activated in pKH- 26(dim) CBTL, and the block in proliferation is overcome. Correction of PKH- 26(dim) CBTL's proliferative defect correlates with PMA-induced Ras activation, suggesting a defect in the signaling pathway leading to Ras. Ras- independent signals, necessary but not sufficient to induce PKH-26(dim) CBTL proliferation, are provided by allonantigen exposure, as evident by the ability of PMA plus alloantigen but not PMA alone to overcome the proliferative block. Functional signal transduction through CD28 in PKH- 26(dim) CBTL is supported by detectable CD28-mediated PI-3 kinase activation after PKH-26(dim) CBTL's exposure to alloantigen or CD28 cross-linking. These results suggest that defective activation of Ras plays a key role in PKH- 26(dim) CBTL's secondary unresponsiveness and point to a defect along the T cell receptor rather than the CD28 signaling pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4538-4543
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 14 1998

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