Activation-induced cell death of peripheral T cells results from the interaction between Fas and Fas ligand. Resting peripheral T cells are resistant to Fas-induced apoptosis and become susceptible only after their activation. We have investigated the molecular mechanism mediating the sensitization of resting peripheral T cells to Fas-mediated apoptosis following TCR stimulation. TCR activation decreases the steady state protein levels of FLIP (FLICE-like inhibitory protein), an inhibitor of the Fas signaling pathway. Reconstitution of intracellular FLIP levels by the addition of a soluble HIV transactivator protein-FLIP chimera completely restores resistance to Fas-mediated apoptosis in TCR primary T cells. Inhibition of IL-2 production by cyclosporin A, or inhibition of IL-2 signaling by rapamycin or anti-IL-2 neutralizing Abs prevents the decrease in FLIP levels and confers resistance to Fas-mediated apoptosis following T cell activation. Using cell cycle-blocking agents, we demonstrate that activated T cells arrested in G1 phase contain high levels of FLIP protein, whereas activated T cells arrested in S phase have decreased FLIP protein levels. These findings link regulation of FLIP protein levels with cell cycle progression and provide an explanation for the increase in TCR-induced apoptosis observed during the S phase of the cell cycle.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|State||Published - May 1 1999|