Creatine kinase catalyzes the reversible transfer of the N-phosphoryl group from phosphocreatine to ADP to generate ATP and plays a key role in highly energy-demanding processes such as muscle contraction and flagellar motility; however, its role in signal transduction (which frequently involves ATP-consuming phosphorylation) and consequent cell-fate decisions remains largely unknown. Here we report that creatine kinase B was significantly up-regulated during the differentiation of double-positive thymocytes into single-positive thymocytes. Ectopic expression of creatine kinase B led to increased ATP level and enhanced phosphorylation of the TCR signaling proteins. Consequentially, transgenic expression of creatine kinase B promoted the expression of Nur77 and Bim proteins and the cell death of TCR signaled thymocyte. In addition, the activation, proliferation and cytokine secretion of T cells were also enhanced by the expression of creatine kinase B transgene. In contrast, treatment of T cells with specific creatine kinase inhibitor or creatine kinase B shRNA resulted in severely impaired T cell activation. Taken together, our results indicate that creatine kinase B plays an unexpected role in modulating TCR-mediated signaling and critically regulates thymocyte selection and T cell activation
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