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Dual-specificity phosphatase 14 (DUSP14/MKP6) negatively regulates TCR signaling by inhibiting TAB1 activation

Yang, CY;Li, JP;Chiu, LL;Lan, JL;Chen, DY;Chuang, HC;Huang, CY;Tan, TH;

T cell activation is dependent upon phosphorylation of MAPKs, which play a critical role in the regulation of immune responses. Dual-specificity phosphatase 14 (DUSP14; also known as MKP6) is classified as a MAPK phosphatase. The in vivo functions of DUSP14 remain unclear. Thus, we generated DUSP14-deficient mice and characterized the roles of DUSP14 in T cell activation and immune responses. DUSP14 deficiency in T cells resulted in enhanced T cell proliferation and increased cytokine production upon T cell activation. DUSP14 directly interacted with TGF–activated kinase 1 (TAK1)-binding protein 1 (TAB1) and dephosphorylated TAB1 at Ser(438), leading to TAB1-TAK1 complex inactivation in T cells. The phosphorylation levels of the TAB1-TAK1 complex and its downstream molecules, including JNK and IB kinase, were enhanced in DUSP14-deficient T cells upon stimulation. The enhanced JNK and IB kinase activation in DUSP14-deficient T cells was attenuated by TAB1 short hairpin RNA knockdown. Consistent with that, DUSP14-deficient mice exhibited enhanced immune responses and were more susceptible to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis induction. Thus, DUSP14 negatively regulates TCR signaling and immune responses by inhibiting TAB1 activation.