Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) is a ubiquitously expressed serine/threonine kinase. However, a requirement for Cdk5 has been demonstrated only in postmitotic neurons where there is abundant expression of its activating partners p35 and/or p39. Although hyperactivation of the Cdk5-p35 complex has been found in a variety of inflammatory neurodegenerative disorders, the potential contribution of nonneuronal Cdk5-p35 activity has not been explored in this context. We describe a previously unknown function of the Cdk5-p35 complex in T cells that is required for induction of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). T cell receptor (TCR) stimulation leads to a rapid induction of Cdk5-p35 expression that is required for T lymphocyte activation. Chimeric mice lacking Cdk5 gene expression in hematopoietic tissues (Cdk5 -/-C) are resistant to induction of EAE, and adoptive transfer of either Cdk5-/-C or p35-/- encephalitogenic lymphocytes fails to transfer disease. Moreover, our data reveal a novel mechanism involving Cdk5-mediated phosphorylation of the actin modulator coronin 1a on threonine 418. Cdk5-deficient lymphocytes lack this posttranslational modification of coronin 1a and exhibit defective TCR-induced actin polarization and reduced migration toward CCL-19. These data define a distinct role for Cdk5 in lymphocyte biology and suggest that inhibition of this kinase may be beneficial in the treatment of T cell-mediated inflammatory disorders.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy