Enforced Expression of Bcl-2 Partially Restores Cell Numbers but Not Functions of Tcr Intestinal Intraepithelial T Lymphocytes in Il-15-Deficient Mice

Nakazato, K.; Yamada, H.; Yajima, T.; Kagimoto, Y.; Kuwano, H.; Yoshikai, Y.

The Journal of Immunology 178(2): 757-764


DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.178.2.757
Accession: 068490499

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IL-15 knockout (KO) mice have severely reduced numbers of TCRgammadelta intestinal intraepithelial T lymphocytes (i-IEL), suggesting requirements of IL-15 signaling in the development or maintenance of i-IEL. To determine an involvement of survival signals via Bcl-2 in IL-15-mediated homeostasis of TCRgammadelta i-IEL, we introduced a bcl-2 transgene into IL-15 KO mice. In situ apoptosis of TCRgammadelta i-IEL was decreased in Bcl-2 transgenic (Tg) x IL-15 KO mice compared with IL-15 KO mice. The enforced expression of Bcl-2 partially restored the numbers of TCRgammadelta i-IEL in IL-15 KO mice. However, effector functions of TCRgammadelta i-IEL, including cytokine production and cytotoxic activity, were not recovered in Bcl-2 Tg x IL-15 KO mice. Importantly, TCRgammadelta i-IEL in Bcl-2 Tg x IL-15 KO mice expressed a reduced level of eomesodermin, a transcription factor critical for effector functions of NK cells and CD8(+) T cells. Similar to the case of TCRgammadelta i-IEL, enforced expression of Bcl-2 restored the numbers but not the functions of NK cells in IL-15 KO mice. These results suggest that Bcl-2-mediated survival signal is involved in the IL-15-mediated homeostasis of TCRgammadelta i-IEL and NK cells, but other signals from IL-15 are critical for inducing transcription factors, such as eomesodermin for their effector functions.