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Cytoskeletal regulatory protein dysfunction has been etiologically linked to inherited diseases associated with immunodeficiency and autoimmunity, but the mechanisms involved are incompletely understood. Here, we show that conditional Wave2 ablation in T cells causes severe autoimmunity associated with increased mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activation and metabolic reprogramming that engender spontaneous activation and accelerated differentiation of peripheral T cells. These mice also manifest diminished antigen-specific T cell responses associated with increased inhibitory receptor expression, dysregulated mitochondrial function, and reduced cell survival upon activation. Mechanistically, WAVE2 directly bound mTOR and inhibited its activation by impeding mTOR interactions with RAPTOR (regulatory-associated protein of mTOR) and RICTOR (rapamycin-insensitive companion of mTOR). Both the T cell defects and immunodysregulatory disease were ameliorated by pharmacological mTOR inhibitors. Thus, WAVE2 restraint of mTOR activation is an absolute requirement for maintaining the T cell homeostasis supporting adaptive immune responses and preventing autoimmunity. Copyright © 2021 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.


Ming Liu, Jinyi Zhang, Benjamin D Pinder, Qingquan Liu, Dingyan Wang, Hao Yao, Yubo Gao, Aras Toker, Jimin Gao, Alan Peterson, Jia Qu, Katherine A Siminovitch. WAVE2 suppresses mTOR activation to maintain T cell homeostasis and prevent autoimmunity. Science (New York, N.Y.). 2021 Mar 26;371(6536)

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PMID: 33766857

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