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c-Cbl deficiency leads to diminished lymphocyte development and functions in an age-dependent manner

By Chozhavendan Rathinam and Richard A. Flavell


Aging is broadly defined as a progressive decline of tissue and organ functions due to deregulation of various cell intrinsic and extrinsic factors. In the immune system, aging preferentially affects lymphopoiesis and thus results in the reduced competence of the adaptive immune system in the elderly. Despite recent discoveries that shed light on the molecular basis of aging, pathways that lead to diminished lymphoid development in aging individuals remain largely unknown. In the present study, we document that a deficiency of the E3 ubiquitin ligase c-Cbl in lymphocytes results in an age-dependent lymphopenia. c-Cbl-deficient mice show normal frequencies of lymphocytes at 12 weeks of age; however, their development and functions were remarkably diminished at 24 weeks after birth. Intriguingly, c-Cbl mutant lymphocytes displayed increased responses to IL7 in vitro and failed to down-regulate surface levels of IL7Rα. Further, our biochemical studies have identified an interaction of c-Cbl with IL7Rα and have unraveled the involvement of c-Cbl in the ubiquitylation of IL7Rα. In essence, our studies demonstrate that a lack of signaling events mediated by c-Cbl might result in diminished lymphocyte development and functions, particularly, at the later stages of life

Topics: Biological Sciences
Publisher: National Academy of Sciences
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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