Salt Inducible Kinases 2 and 3 are required for thymic T cell development

Meriam Nefla, Nicola Darling, Manuel Van Gijsel Bonnello, Philip Cohen, J. Simon C. Arthur (Lead / Corresponding author)

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Salt Inducible Kinases (SIKs), of which there are 3 isoforms, are established to play roles in innate immunity, metabolic control and neuronal function, but their role in adaptive immunity is unknown. To address this gap, we used a combination of SIK knockout and kinase-inactive knock-in mice. The combined loss of SIK1 and SIK2 activity did not block T cell development. Conditional knockout of SIK3 in haemopoietic cells, driven by a Vav-iCre transgene, resulted in a moderate reduction in the numbers of peripheral T cells, but normal B cell numbers. Constitutive knockout of SIK2 combined with conditional knockout of SIK3 in the haemopoietic cells resulted in a severe reduction in peripheral T cells without reducing B cell number. A similar effect was seen when SIK3 deletion was driven via CD4-Cre transgene to delete at the DP stage of T cell development. Analysis of the SIK2/3 Vav-iCre mice showed that thymocyte number was greatly reduced, but development was not blocked completely as indicated by the presence of low numbers CD4 and CD8 single positive cells. SIK2 and SIK3 were not required for rearrangement of the TCRβ locus, or for low level cell surface expression of the TCR complex on the surface of CD4/CD8 double positive thymocytes. In the absence of both SIK2 and SIK3, progression to mature single positive cells was greatly reduced, suggesting a defect in negative and/or positive selection in the thymus. In agreement with an effect on negative selection, increased apoptosis was seen in thymic TCRbeta high/CD5 positive cells from SIK2/3 knockout mice. Together, these results show an important role for SIK2 and SIK3 in thymic T cell development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number21550
Number of pages18
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date3 Nov 2021
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2021


  • Adaptive immunity
  • Cell signalling
  • Cellular immunity
  • Immunology
  • Kinases
  • T cells


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