GSBS Dissertations and Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Immunology and Microbiology



First Thesis Advisor

Dr. Leslie J. Berg


Protein-Tyrosine Kinase, CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes, CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Cytokines


Itk and Rlk are members of the Tec kinase family of non-receptor protein tyrosine kinases that are preferentially expressed in T cells. Numerous previous studies have demonstrated that these proteins play an important a role in the regulation of signalling processes downstream of TCR activation in CD4+ T cells, particularly in the phosphorylation of PLCγl. In addition, Itk and Rlk have both been shown to be important for CD4+ T cell development, differentiation, function and homeostasis following TCR activation. In the absence of Itk and Rlk, CD8+ SP thymocytes and T cells develop a memory/previously activated phenotypic profile, however, very little is known about the influence of Itk and Rlk on CD8+ T cell development and function. This study illustrates a previously unappreciated role for Itk and Rlk in the regulation of cytokine signals during CD8+ SP thymocyte maturation, and in the development of the memory CD44hi profile of Itk -/- and Itk -/- Rlk -/- CD8+ SP thymocytes and CD8+ T cells. This study also provides the first detailed study of the role of loss of Itk and particularly both Itk and Rlk in CD8+ signalling and function and shows that these Tec kinase family members play an important role in the maintenance of CD8+ T cell fitness and function, particularly in the ability of CD8+ T cells to accumulate in response to infection. Collectively, my studies demonstrate a critical role for Itk and Rlk in the generation of optimal CD8+ T cell responses. They also raise the novel observation that these proteins may be involved on the regulation of cytokine signals in T cells.


Some images did not scan well. Please consult original document.



Rights and Permissions

Copyright is held by the author, with all rights reserved.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.