The Fas death receptor plays a key role in the killing of target cells by NK cells and CTLs and in activation-induced cell death of mature T lymphocytes. These cytotoxic pathways are dependent on induction of Fas expression by cytokines such as TNF-α and IFN-γ or by signals generated after TCR engagement. Although much of our knowledge of the Fas death pathway has been generated from murine studies, little is known about regulatory mechanisms important for murine Fas expression. To this end, we have molecularly cloned a region of the murine Fas promoter that is responsible for mediating TNF-α and PMA/PHA-induced expression. We demonstrate here that induction of Fas expression by both stimuli is critically dependent on two sites that associate with RelA-containing NF-κB complexes. To determine whether RelA and/or other NF-κB subunits are also important for regulating Fas expression in primary T cells, we used CD4 T cells from RelA-/-, c-Rel-/-, and p50-/- mice. Although proliferative responses were significantly impaired, expression of Fas and activation-induced cell death was unaffected in T cells obtained from these different mice. Importantly, we show that unlike fibroblasts, which consist primarily of RelA-containing NF-κB complexes, T cells have high levels of both RelA and c-Rel complexes, suggesting that Fas expression in T cells may be dependent on redundant functions of these NF-κB subunits.
|Number of pages||9|
|Journal||Journal of Immunology|
|Publication status||Published - 15 Apr 2001|