Sonic hedgehog promotes cell cycle progression in activated peripheral CD4(+) T lymphocytes

Jacqueline A Lowrey, Gareth A Stewart, Susannah Lindey, Gerard F Hoyne, Margaret J Dallman, Sarah E M Howie, Jonathan R Lamb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sonic hedgehog (Shh) signaling is important in the growth and differentiation of many cell types and recently has been reported to play a role in T cell development in the thymus. This prompted us to investigate whether or not Shh contributes to the clonal expansion of peripheral CD4(+) T cells. In this study, we demonstrate that Shh and other components of the signaling pathway patched, smoothened, and Gli1 (glioma-associated oncogene) are expressed in peripheral CD4(+) T cells. The addition of the biologically active amino-terminal Shh peptide had no effect on resting CD4(+) T cells, but significantly enhanced proliferation of anti-CD3/28 Ab-activated CD4(+) T cells. This was not due to antiapoptotic effects, but by promoting entry of T cells into the S-G(2) proliferative phase of the cell cycle. Neutralizing anti-Shh Ab reduced T cell proliferation by inhibiting cell transition into the S-G(2) phase, suggesting that endogenously produced Shh plays a physiological role in the clonal expansion of T cells. Furthermore, we have observed a significant up-regulation of Shh and Gli1 (glioma-associated oncogene) mRNA in activated CD4(+) T cells with or without addition of exogenous Shh, which corresponds with maximal CD4(+) T cell proliferation, whereas bcl-2 was only up-regulated in activated cells in the presence of Shh. Our findings suggest that endogenously produced Shh may play a role in sustaining normal CD4(+) T cell proliferation and exogenously added Shh enhances this response.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1869-75
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2002


  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cell Division
  • Genes, bcl-2
  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Kinetics
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphoid Tissue
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Neutralization Tests
  • Oncogene Proteins
  • Peptide Fragments
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Signal Transduction
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • Up-Regulation


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