p21ras is activated by the T cell antigen receptor (TCR) and then co-ordinates important signaling pathways for T lymphocyte activation. Effector pathways for this guanine nucleotide binding protein in T cells are mediated by the serine/threonine kinase Raf-1 and the Ras-related GTPase Rac-1. In fibroblasts, an important effector for the Ras oncogene is Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PtdIns 3-kinase). Activation of this lipid kinase is able to induce critical Rac-1 signaling pathways and can couple p21ras to cell survival mechanisms via the serine/threonine kinase Akt/PKB. The role of PtdIns 3-kinase in Ras signaling in T cells has not been explored. In the present study, we examined the ability of PtdIns 3-kinase to initiate the Rac-1 signaling pathways important for T cell activation. We also examined the possibility that Akt/PKB is regulated by Ras signaling pathways in T lymphocytes. The results show that Ras can initiate a Rac-1 mediated pathway that regulates the transcriptional function of AP-1 complexes. PtdIns 3-kinase signals cannot mimic p21ras and induce the Rac mediated responses of AP-1 transcriptional activation. Moreover, neither TCR or Ras activation of AP-1 is dependent on PtdIns 3-kinase, PKB is activated in response to triggering of the T cell antigen receptor; PtdIns 3-kinase activity is both required and sufficient for this TCR response. In contrast, p21ras signals are unable to induce Akt/PKB activity in T cell nor is Ras function required for Akt/PKB activation in response to the TCR. The present data thus highlight that PtdIns 3-kinase and Akt/PKB are not universal Ras effector molecules. Ras can initiate Rac-1 regulated signaling pathways in the context of T cell antigen receptor function independently of PtdIns 3-kinase activity.
- Signalling pathways
- T cells