Zap70 plays a critical role in normal T cell development and T cell function. However, little is known about how perturbation of allosteric autoinhibitory mechanisms in Zap70 impacts T cell biology. Here, we analyze mice with a hypermorphic Zap70 mutation, W131A, which destabilizes the autoinhibitory conformation of Zap70, rendering the kinase in a semiactive state. W131A mutant mice with wild-type T cell receptor (TCR) repertoires exhibited relatively normal T cell development. However, crossing the W131A mutant mice to OTII TCR transgenic mice resulted in increased negative selection of OTII+ thymocytes and in increased thymic and peripheral T regulatory cells. Strikingly, increased basal TCR signaling was associated with a marked increase in inhibitory receptor expression and with T cells that were relatively refractory to TCR stimulation. PD-1 inhibitory receptor blockade partially reversed T cell unresponsiveness. Collectively, disruption of normal Zap70 autoinhibition engaged negative feedback mechanisms by which negative selection and inhibitory receptors restrain TCR signaling to enforce both central and peripheral tolerance.
- Submitted: 20 September 2016
- Revision received 1 December 2016
- Accepted: 12 December 2016
This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see http://www.rupress.org/terms/). After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 4.0 International license, as described at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/).