T-cell migration and movement is a critical component of a fully functional immune system. Activation-inducible lymphocyte immunomediatory molecule/inducible co-stimulator (AILIM/ICOS), which is a member of CD28 co-stimulatory receptor family, induces both activated T-cell migration underneath tumor necrosis factor α-treated human umbilical vein endothelial cell layers and also the morphological polarization of activated T cells. In our current study, we have investigated the signaling mechanisms underlying the morphological polarization of activated T cells, initiated by AILIM/ICOS signaling. AILIM/ICOS signaling induces the activation of phosphoinositide-3 (PI3)-kinase, the product of which, phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate (PIP3), was found to be localized in the lamellipodia at the front part of the cells. Phosphorylated Akt is also co-localized with PIP3 and filamentous actin in lamellipodia and the PI3-kinase/Akt signaling cascade has critical roles in T-cell polarization and lamellipodia formation via the re-organization of the actin cytoskeleton. Rho family members and their downstream effectors, Rho-associated kinase and p21-activated kinase (PAK), are also involved in AILIM/ICOS-mediated elongation. The PAK family members are serine/threonine kinase downstream effectors of both Rac and Cdc42. PAK3 is induced by the activation of T cells, whereas PAK1 is constitutively expressed in both naive and activated T cells. During the elongation, not only PAK1 but also PAK3 play an essential role through the phosphorylation of their conservative autophosphorylation sites and catalytic domain. Ser-244 phosphorylation, which is a putative Akt phosphorylation site, on PAK3 but not on PAK1 also regulates the morphological polarization of activated T cells by AILIM/ICOS signaling. Both the PI3-kinase/Akt and Rho family cascades operate coordinately to induce the forward migration of activated T cells by AILIM/ICOS signaling.
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