The prevention of apoptosis may be critical for immunological function. Survivin is a recently cloned member of the inhibitor of apoptosis protein family. We analyzed survivin expression before and after lymphocyte activation in isolated cell populations. Prior to activation, survivin was undetectable. After activation with IL-2 and OKT-3, CD3+ cells expressed survivin. Next, we correlated survivin expression with Fas, FasL and the amount of apoptosis over time in culture. After activation, survivin was readily detected by day 2 and decreased thereafter. Prior to activation (day 0), Fas was present on 60% of the cells and on 100% by days 2-6. Peak FasL mRNA expression was at day 2. During peak survivin expression (days 2-4) the apoptotic fraction was low, but when survivin expression decreased the apoptotic fraction increased rapidly. Finally, we found that CD45RO+ memory T cells showed a higher expression of survivin than did CD45RA+ naive T cells after activation. These results suggest that survivin may contribute to T-cell survival early in T-cell responses as well as in memory immune responses.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported in part by NIH grants P01 CA49605 and R01 CA80006. M.K. was supported by a grant from the Mildred-Scheel-Stiftung, Germany and M.R.V. was supported by American Cancer Society, California Division (grant number ACS, CD, Inc 4-16-97).
- Fas ligand
- Fas receptor
- Memory T cells