Cbl- and Nedd4-family ubiquitin ligases: balancing tolerance and immunity
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- Gay, D.L., Ramón, H. & Oliver, P.M. Immunol Res (2008) 42: 51. doi:10.1007/s12026-008-8034-0
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Engagement of the T cell receptor (TCR) with its cognate peptide/MHC initiates a cascade of signaling events that results in T cell activation. Limiting the extent and duration of TCR signaling ensures a tightly constrained response, protecting cells from the deleterious impact of chronic activation. In order to limit the duration of activation, T cells must adjust levels of key signaling proteins. This can be accomplished by altering protein synthesis or by changing the rate of protein degradation. Ubiquitination is a process of ‘tagging’ a protein with ubiquitin and is one means of initiating protein degradation. This process is activated when an E3 ubiquitin ligase mediates the transfer of ubiquitin to a target protein. Accordingly, E3 ubiquitin ligases have recently emerged as key regulators of immune cell function. This review will explore how a small group of E3 ubiquitin ligases regulate T cell responses and thus direct adaptive immunity.