CD4+ T cell-derived novel peptide Thp5 induces interleukin-4 production in CD4+ T cells to direct T helper 2 cell differentiation.

Khan MM, Chatterjee S, Dwivedi VP, Pandey NK, Singh Y, Tousif S, Bhavesh NS, Van Kaer L, Das J, Das G
J Biol Chem. 2012 287 (4): 2830-5

PMID: 22130674 · PMCID: PMC3268440 · DOI:10.1074/jbc.M111.319947

The differentiation of naïve CD4(+) T cells into T helper 2 (Th2) cells requires production of the cytokine IL-4 in the local microenvironment. It is evident that naïve/quiescently activated CD4(+) T cells produce the IL-4 that drives Th2 cell differentiation. Because early production of IL-4 in naïve T cells leads to preferential Th2 cell differentiation, this process needs to be tightly regulated so as to avoid catastrophic and misdirected Th2 cell differentiation. Here, we show that Thp5, a novel peptide with structural similarity to vasoactive intestinal peptide, regulates production of early IL-4 in newly activated CD4(+) T cells. Induction of IL-4 in CD4(+) T cells by Thp5 is independent of the transcription factor STAT6 but dependent on ERK1/2 signaling. Furthermore, cytokines (IL-12 and TGF-β) that promote the differentiation of Th1 or Th17 cells inhibit Thp5 induction, thus suppressing Th2 cell differentiation. We further showed that Thp5 enhances Th2 responses and exacerbates allergic airway inflammation in mice. Taken together, our findings reveal that early activated CD4(+) T cells produce Thp5, which plays a critical role as a molecular switch in the differentiation of Th cells, biasing the response toward the Th2 cell phenotype.

MeSH Terms (14)

Animals Cell Differentiation Interleukin-4 Interleukin-12 Mice Mice, Inbred BALB C Mice, Knockout Peptides STAT6 Transcription Factor Th1 Cells Th2 Cells Th17 Cells Transforming Growth Factor beta Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide

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