Interleukin-12-induced interferon-gamma production by human peripheral blood T cells is regulated by mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR)

J Biol Chem. 2005 Jan 14;280(2):1037-43. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M405204200. Epub 2004 Nov 1.


Depending on the type of external signals, T cells can initiate multiple intracellular signaling pathways that can be broadly classified into two groups based on their sensitivity to the immunosuppressive drug cyclosporin A (CsA). Interleukin (IL)-12-mediated interferon (IFN)-gamma production by activated T cells has been shown to be CsA-insensitive. In this report, we demonstrate that the IL-12-induced CsA-resistant pathway of IFN-gamma production is sensitive to rapamycin. Rapamycin treatment resulted in the aberrant recruitment of Stat3, Stat4, and phospho-c-Jun to the genomic promoter region resulting in decreased IFN-gamma transcription. IL-12-induced phosphorylation of Stat3 on Ser-727 was affected by rapamycin, which may be due to the effect of rapamycin on the IL-12-induced interaction between mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and Stat3. In accordance with this, reduction in the mTOR protein level by small interfering RNA resulted in suppression of Stat3 phosphorylation and decreased production of IFN-gamma after IL-12 stimulation. These results suggest that mTOR may play a major role in IL-12-induced IFN-gamma production by activated T cells.

MeSH terms

  • CD28 Antigens / metabolism
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cyclosporine / pharmacology
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / biosynthesis*
  • Interferon-gamma / genetics
  • Interleukin-12 / pharmacology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Phosphoserine / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • STAT4 Transcription Factor
  • Sirolimus / pharmacology
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • CD28 Antigens
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • STAT3 protein, human
  • STAT4 Transcription Factor
  • STAT4 protein, human
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • Phosphoserine
  • Interleukin-12
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Cyclosporine
  • Protein Kinases
  • MTOR protein, human
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Sirolimus