Opposing roles for RhoH GTPase during T-cell migration and activation

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jun 26;109(26):10474-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1114214109. Epub 2012 Jun 11.


T cells spend the majority of their time perusing lymphoid organs in search of cognate antigen presented by antigen presenting cells (APCs) and then quickly recirculate through the bloodstream to another lymph node. Therefore, regulation of a T-cell response is dependent upon the ability of cells to arrive in the correct location following chemokine gradients ("go" signal) as well as to receive appropriate T-cell receptor (TCR) activation signals upon cognate antigen recognition ("stop" signal). However, the mechanisms by which T cells regulate these go and stop signals remain unclear. We found that overexpression of the hematopoietic-specific RhoH protein in the presence of chemokine signals resulted in decreased Rap1-GTP and LFA-1 adhesiveness to ICAM-1, thus impairing T-cell chemotaxis; while in the presence of TCR signals, there were enhanced and sustained Rap1-GTP and LFA-1 activation as well as prolonged T:APC conjugates. RT-PCR analyses of activated CD4(+) T cells and live images of T-cell migration and immunological synapse (IS) formation revealed that functions of RhoH took place primarily at the levels of transcription and intracellular distribution. Thus, we conclude that RhoH expression provides a key molecular determinant that allows T cells to switch between sensing chemokine-mediated go signals and TCR-dependent stop signals.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Lymphocyte Activation*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / physiology
  • Receptors, Chemokine / physiology
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology*
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*


  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Receptors, Chemokine
  • RhoH protein, human
  • Transcription Factors
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins