Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID), produced by the Aicda gene, is essential for the immunoglobulin gene (Ig) alterations that form immune memory. Using a Cre-mediated genetic system, we unexpectedly found CD4(+) T cells that had expressed Aicda (exAID cells) as well as B cells. ExAID cells increased with age, reaching up to 25% of the CD4(+) and B220(+) cell populations. ExAID B cells remained IgM(+), suggesting that class-switched memory B cells do not accumulate in the spleen. In T cells, AID was expressed in a subset that produced IFN-γ and IL-10 but little IL-4 or IL-17, and showed no evidence of genetic mutation. Interestingly, the endogenous Aicda expression in T cells was enhanced in the absence of B cells, indicating that the process is independent from the germinal center reaction. These results suggest that in addition to its roles in B cells, AID may have previously unappreciated roles in T-cell function or tumorigenesis.
© 2011 Qin et al.