The decision between T cell activation and tolerance is governed by the spatial and temporal integration of diverse molecular signals and events occurring downstream of TCR and costimulatory or coinhibitory receptor engagement. The PI3K-protein kinase B (PKB; also known as Akt) signaling pathway is a central axis in mediating proximal signaling events of TCR and CD28 engagement in T cells. Perturbation of the PI3K-PKB pathway, or the loss of negative regulators of T cell activation, such as the E3 ubiquitin ligase Cbl-b, have been reported to lead to increased susceptibility to autoimmunity. In this study, we further examined the molecular pathway linking PKB and Cbl-b in murine models. Our data show that the protein kinase GSK-3, one of the first targets identified for PKB, catalyzes two previously unreported phosphorylation events at Ser476 and Ser480 of Cbl-b. GSK-3 inactivation by PKB abrogates phosphorylation of Cbl-b at these two sites and results in reduced Cbl-b protein levels. We further show that constitutive activation of PKB in vivo results in a loss of tolerance that is mediated through the downregulation of Cbl-b. Altogether, these data indicate that the PI3K-PKB-GSK-3 pathway is a novel regulatory axis that is important for controlling the decision between T cell activation and tolerance via Cbl-b.
Copyright © 2017 by The American Association of Immunologists, Inc.