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Alternative splicing controlled by heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein L regulates development, proliferation, and migration of thymic pre-T cells.

Gaudreau MC, Heyd F, Bastien R, Wilhelm B, Möröy T

Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal, Montréal, Québec H2W 1R7, Canada;

The regulation of posttranscriptional modifications of pre-mRNA by alternative splicing is important for cellular function, development, and immunity. The receptor tyrosine phosphatase CD45, which is expressed on all hematopoietic cells, is known for its role in the development and activation of T cells. CD45 is known to be alternatively spliced, a process that is partially regulated by heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) L. To investigate the role of hnRNP L further, we have generated conditional hnRNP L knockout mice and found that LckCre-mediated deletion of hnRNP L results in a decreased thymic cellularity caused by a partial block at the transition stage between double-negative 4 and double-positive cells. In addition, hnRNP L(-/-) thymocytes express aberrant levels of the CD45RA splice isoforms and show high levels of phosphorylated Lck at the activator tyrosine Y394, but lack phosphorylation of the inhibitory tyrosine Y505. This indicated an increased basal Lck activity and correlated with higher proliferation rates of double-negative 4 cells in hnRNP L(-/-) mice. Deletion of hnRNP L also blocked the migration and egress of single-positive thymocytes to peripheral lymphoid organs in response to sphingosine-1-phosphate and the chemokines CCL21 and CXCL12 very likely as a result of aberrant splicing of genes encoding GTPase regulators and proteins affecting cytoskeletal organization. Our results indicate that hnRNP L regulates T cell differentiation and migration by regulating pre-TCR and chemokine receptor signaling.

J. Immunol. 2012;188(11):5377-88.

Pubmed ID: 22523384

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