Itk and Txk/Rlk are Tec family kinases expressed in T cells. Itk is expressed in both Th1 and Th2 cells. By contrast, Txk is preferentially expressed in Th1 cells. Although Itk is required for Th2 responses in vivo and Txk is suggested to regulate IFN-γ expression and Th1 responses, it remains unclear whether these kinases have distinct roles in Th cell differentiation/function. We demonstrate here that Txk-null CD4+ T cells are capable of producing both Th1 and Th2 cytokines similar to those produced by wild-type CD4+ T cells. To further examine whether Itk and Txk play distinct roles in Th cell differentiation and function, we examined Itk-null mice carrying a transgene that expresses Txk at levels similar to the expression of Itk in Th2 cells. Using two Th2 model systems, allergic asthma and schistosome egg-induced lung granulomas, we found that the Txk transgene rescued Th2 cytokine production and all Th2 symptoms without notable enhancement of IFN-γ expression. These results suggest that Txk is not a specific regulator of Th1 responses. Importantly, they suggest that Itk and Txk exert their effects on Th cell differentiation/function at the level of expression.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy