Restimulation-induced T-cell death through NTB-A/SAP signaling pathway is impaired in tuberculosis patients with depressed immune responses

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Production of IFN-γ contributes to host defense againstMycobacterium tuberculosis(Mtb) infection. We previously demonstrated that Signaling lymphocytic activation molecule-associated protein (SAP) expression on cells from tuberculosis (TB) patients was inversely correlated with IFN-γ production. Here we first investigated the role of NK, T- and B-cell antigen (NTB-A)/SAP pathway in the regulation of Th1 response againstMtb. Upon antigen stimulation, NTB-A phosphorylation rapidly increases and afterwards modulates IFN-γ and IL-17 secretion. To sustain a healthy immune system, controlled expansion and contraction of lymphocytes, both during and after an adaptive immune response, is essential. Besides, restimulation-induced cell death (RICD) results in an essential homeostatic mechanism for precluding excess T-cell accumulation and associated immunopathology during the course of certain infections. Accordingly, we found that the NTB-A/SAP pathway was required for RICD during active tuberculosis. In low responder (LR) TB patients, impaired RICD was associated with diminished FASL levels, IL-2 production and CD25highexpression after cell-restimulation. Interestingly, we next observed that SAP mediated the recruitment of the Src-related kinase FYNT, only in T cells from LR TB patients that were resistant to RICD. Together, we showed that the NTB-A/SAP pathway regulates T-cell activation and RICD during human TB. Moreover, the NTB-A/SAP/FYNT axis promotes polarization to an unfavorable Th2-phenotype.

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