Publication — IRIC
The Non-Classical MAP Kinase ERK3 Controls T Cell Activation.
The classical mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) ERK1 and ERK2 are activated upon stimulation of cells with a broad range of extracellular signals (including antigens) allowing cellular responses to occur. ERK3 is an atypical member of the MAPK family with highest homology to ERK1/2. Therefore, we evaluated the role of ERK3 in mature T cell response. Mouse resting T cells do not transcribe ERK3 but its expression is induced in both CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells following T cell receptor (TCR)-induced T cell activation. This induction of ERK3 expression in T lymphocytes requires activation of the classical MAPK ERK1 and ERK2. Moreover, ERK3 protein is phosphorylated and associates with MK5 in activated primary T cells. We show that ERK3-deficient T cells have a decreased proliferation rate and are impaired in cytokine secretion following in vitro stimulation with low dose of anti-CD3 antibodies. Our findings identify the atypical MAPK ERK3 as a new and important regulator of TCR-induced T cell activation.