GSBS Dissertations and Theses

Publication Date


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Academic Program

Immunology and Microbiology



First Thesis Advisor

Dr. Leslie J. Berg


Antigens, CD28, CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes, Protein-Tyrosine Kinase, Signal Transduction


The Tec family tyrosine kinases Itk, Tec and Rlk are expressed in T cells. Previous studies have established that these kinases are critical for TCR signaling, leading to the activation of PLCγ1. To further understand the functions of Tec kinases in T cell activation, we took three different approaches. First, we performed a thorough analysis of CD28-mediated signaling events and functional responses with purified naïve T cells from Itk-/- mice and a highly controlled stimulation system. Data from this set of studies definitively demonstrate that CD28 costimulation functions efficiently in naïve CD4+ T cells in the absence of Itk. Second, in order to further study the functions of Tec kinases in vivo, we generated transgenic mouse lines expressing a kinase-dead (KD) mutant of Tec on the Itk-/-Rlk-/- background, hoping to study mice that are functionally deficient for all three Tec kinases. The results hint the importance of the Tec kinases in T cell development and/or survival. Finally, in order to identify potential transcriptional targets of Itk, we used microarray technology to compare global gene expression profiles of naïve and stimulated Itk-/- versus Itk+/- CD4+ T cells. This analysis provided a short list of differentially expressed genes in Itk-/- versus Itk+/- CD4 T cells, providing a starting point for further studies of Itk in T cell activation. Collectively, these studies clarified the role of Itk in CD28 signaling, revealed some unexpected aspects of Tec family kinases in T cells, and indicated potential targets of Itk-dependent signaling pathways 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.