Abl tyrosine kinases in T-cell signaling

Immunol Rev. 2009 Mar;228(1):170-83. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2008.00751.x.


Stimulation of the T-cell antigen receptor (TCR) leads to the activation of signaling pathways that are essential for T-cell development and the response of mature T cells to antigens. The TCR has no intrinsic catalytic activity, but TCR engagement results in tyrosine phosphorylation of downstream targets by non-receptor tyrosine kinases. Three families of tyrosine kinases have long been recognized to play critical roles in TCR-dependent signaling. They are the Src, zeta-associated protein of 70 kDa, and Tec families of kinases. More recently, the Abelson (Abl) tyrosine kinases have been shown to be activated by TCR engagement and to be required for maximal TCR signaling. Using T-cell conditional knockout mice deficient for Abl family kinases, Abl (Abl1) and Abl-related gene (Arg) (Abl2), it was recently shown that loss of Abl kinases results in defective T-cell development and a partial block in the transition to the CD4(+)CD8(+) stage. Abl/Arg double null T cells exhibit impaired TCR-induced signaling, proliferation, and cytokine production. Moreover, conditional knockout mice lacking Abl and Arg in T cells exhibit impaired CD8(+) T-cell expansion in vivo upon Listeria monocytogenes infection. Thus, Abl kinase signaling is required for both T-cell development and mature T-cell function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-abl / immunology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-abl / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-abl