BACKGROUND - FK506-binding proteins (FKBP) are immunophilins that interact with the immunosuppressive drugs FK506 and rapamycin. Several FKBP family members such as FKBP12, FKBP12.6, and FKBP51 are expressed in T cells. It has been speculated that these FKBPs are possibly redundant in the immunosuppressant-induced T-cell inactivation. To determine the pharmacological relevance of multiple FKBP members in the immunosuppressant-induced T-cell inactivation, we have investigated the physiological responses of FKBP12-deficient and FKBP12.6-deficient mutant T cells to the immunosuppressive agent FK506.
METHODS - FKBP12-deficient and FKBP12.6-deficient T cells were isolated from genetically engineered FKBP12-deficient and FKBP12.6-deficient mice, respectively. T-cell growth inhibitory assay was used to assess their responses to immunosuppressant FK506 treatments.
RESULTS - We found that growth inhibition induced by FK506 is abolished in FKBP12-deficient cells but not in FKBP12.6-deficient cells.
CONCLUSIONS - FKBP12 is the only FKBP family member that plays a key role in immunosuppressant-mediated immunosuppression.