CD4+ T-cell activation and its subsequent induction of CD154 (CD40 ligand, CD40L) expression are pivotal in shaping both the humoral and cellular immune responses. Scaffold protein JLP regulates signal transduction pathways and molecular trafficking inside cells, thus represents a critical component in maintaining cellular functions.
Its role in regulating CD4+ T-cell activation and CD154 expression, however, is unclear. Here, we demonstrated expression of JLP in mouse tissues of lymph nodes, thymus, spleen, and also CD4+ T cells. Using CD4+ T cells from jlp-deficient and jlp-wild-type mice, we demonstrated that JLP-deficiency impaired T-cell proliferation, IL-2 production, and CD154 induction upon TCR stimulations, but had no impacts on the expression of other surface molecules such as CD25, CD69, and TCR. These observed impaired T-cell functions in the jlp-/- CD4+ T cells were associated with defective NF-AT activation and Ca2+ influx, but not the MAPK, NF-κB, as well as AP-1 signaling pathways. Our findings indicated that, for the first time, JLP plays a critical role in regulating CD4+ T cells response to TCR stimulation partly by mediating the activation of TCR-initiated Ca2+/NF-AT.