Nod2 activates NF-kB in CD4+ T cells but its expression is dispensable for T cell-induced colitis

PLoS One. 2013 Dec 6;8(12):e82623. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0082623. eCollection 2013.


Although the etiology of Crohn's disease (CD) remains elusive this disease is characterized by T cell activation that leads to chronic inflammation and mucosal damage. A potential role for maladaptation between the intestinal microbiota and the mucosal immune response is suggested by the fact that mutations in the pattern recognition receptor Nod2 are associated with higher risks for developing CD. Although Nod2 deletion in CD4(+) T cells has been shown to impair the induction of colitis in the murine T cell transfer model, the analysis of T cell intrinsic Nod2 function in T cell differentiation and T cell-mediated immunity is inconsistent between several studies. In addition, the role of T cell intrinsic Nod2 in regulatory T cell (Treg) development and function during colitis remain to be analyzed. In this study, we show that Nod2 expression is higher in activated/memory CD4(+) T cells and its expression was inducible after T cell receptor (TCR) ligation. Nod2 stimulation with muramyl dipeptide (MDP) led to a nuclear accumulation of c-Rel NF-kB subunit. Although functionally active in CD4(+) T cells, the deletion of Nod2 did not impair the induction and the prevention of colitis in the T cell transfer model. Moreover, Nod2 deletion did not affect the development of Foxp3(+) Treg cells in the spleen of recipient mice and Nod2 deficient CD4 T cells expressing the OVA specific transgenic TCR were able to differentiate in Foxp3(+) Treg cells after OVA feeding. In vitro, CD25(+) Nod2 deficient T cells suppressed T cell proliferation as well as wild type counter parts and T cell stimulation with MDP did not affect the proliferation and the cytokine secretion of T cells. In conclusion, our data indicate that Nod2 is functional in murine CD4(+) T cells but its expression is dispensable for the T cell regulation of colitis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylmuramyl-Alanyl-Isoglutamine / pharmacology
  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism*
  • Colitis / genetics
  • Colitis / immunology*
  • Colitis / metabolism*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Deletion
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Immunosuppression Therapy
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism*
  • Nod2 Signaling Adaptor Protein / genetics
  • Nod2 Signaling Adaptor Protein / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • NF-kappa B
  • Nod2 Signaling Adaptor Protein
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Acetylmuramyl-Alanyl-Isoglutamine