Intestinal intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL) are an abundant population of tissue-resident T cells that protect and maintain the intestinal barrier. IEL respond to epithelial cell-derived IL-15, which is complexed to the IL-15 receptor α chain (IL-15/Rα). IL-15 is essential both for maintaining IEL homeostasis and inducing IEL responses to epithelial stress, which has been associated with Coeliac disease. Here, we apply quantitative mass spectrometry to IL-15/Rα-stimulated IEL to investigate how IL-15 directly regulates inflammatory functions of IEL. IL-15/Rα drives IEL activation through cell cycle regulation, upregulation of metabolic machinery and expression of a select repertoire of cell surface receptors. IL-15/Rα selectively upregulates the Ser/Thr kinases PIM1 and PIM2, which are essential for IEL to proliferate, grow and upregulate granzyme B in response to inflammatory IL-15. Notably, IEL from patients with Coeliac disease have high PIM expression. Together, these data indicate PIM kinases as important effectors of IEL responses to inflammatory IL-15.
- T cells
- Mucosal immunology