The transcriptional regulator Rel is essential for antigen receptor-mediated stimulation of mature T cells but dispensable for positive and negative selection of thymocytes and T cell apoptosis

Eur J Immunol. 1999 Mar;29(3):928-35. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1521-4141(199903)29:03<928::AID-IMMU928>3.0.CO;2-P.


The family of Rel/NF-kappaB transcription factors is a crucial regulator of various cellular responses. Using Rel-deficient (c-rel-/-) mice crossed with T cell receptor (TCR)-transgenic mice we show that Rel is neither required for positive selection of major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-restricted T cells nor for deletion of thymocytes bearing autoreactive antigen receptors. Our studies also demonstrate that Rel is dispensable for T lymphocyte apoptosis. Rel is, however, essential for antigen-induced activation of mature T cells and its absence exacerbates the anergic state. These results indicate that thymocytes and mature T cells differ in their requirement for Rel in mediating TCR-induced responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / immunology*
  • CD3 Complex / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Nucleus / metabolism
  • Clonal Anergy
  • Female
  • Isoantibodies / immunology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / immunology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-rel
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / genetics
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Thymus Gland / cytology
  • Thymus Gland / immunology*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / immunology*


  • CD3 Complex
  • H-Y antibody
  • Isoantibodies
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-rel
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • Transcription Factors