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The mechanism through which CD28 costimulation potentiates TCR-driven gene expression is still not clearly defined. Vav-1, an exchange factor for Rho GTPases thought to regulate, mainly through Rac-1, various signaling components leading to cytokine gene expression, is tyrosine phosphorylated upon CD28 engagement. Here, we provide evidence for a key role of Vav-1 in CD28-mediated signaling. Overexpression of Vav-1 in Jurkat cells in combination with CD28 ligation strongly reduced the concentration of staphylococcus enterotoxin E/MHC required for TCR-induced NF-AT activation. Surprisingly, upon Vav-1 overexpression CD28 ligation sufficed to activate NF-AT in the absence of TCR engagement. This effect was not mediated by overexpression of ZAP-70 nor of SLP-76 but necessitated the intracellular tail of CD28, the intactness of the TCR-proximal signaling cascade, the Src-homology domain 2 (SH2) domain of Vav-1, and SLP-76 phosphorylation, an event which was favored by Vav-1 itself. Cells overexpressing Vav-1 formed lamellipodia and microspikes reminiscent of Rac-1 and Cdc42 activation, respectively, for which the SH2 domain of Vav-1 was dispensable. Together, these data suggest that CD28 engagement activates Vav-1 to boost TCR signals through a synergistic cooperation between Vav-1 and SLP-76 and probably via cortical actin changes to facilitate the organization of a signaling zone.


Journal article


J Immunol

Publication Date





3820 - 3829


Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing, Adjuvants, Immunologic, CD28 Antigens, Cell Cycle Proteins, DNA-Binding Proteins, Humans, Jurkat Cells, NFATC Transcription Factors, Nuclear Proteins, Phosphoproteins, Phosphorylation, Protein-Tyrosine Kinases, Proto-Oncogene Proteins, Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-vav, Pseudopodia, Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta, Signal Transduction, Transcription Factors, Transfection, ZAP-70 Protein-Tyrosine Kinase, src Homology Domains