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The RNA-binding protein Polypyrimidine Tract Binding Protein 1 (PTBP1) has been found to have roles in CD4 T cell activation, but its function in CD8 T cells remains untested. We show it is dispensable for the development of naïve mouse CD8 T cells, but is necessary for the optimal expansion and production of effector molecules by antigen-specific CD8 T cells in vivo. PTBP1 has an essential role in regulating the early events following activation of the naïve CD8 T cell leading to IL-2 and TNF production. It is also required to protect activated CD8 T cells from apoptosis. PTBP1 controls alternative splicing of over 400 genes in naïve CD8 T cells in addition to regulating the abundance of ∼200 mRNAs. PTBP1 is required for the nuclear accumulation of c-Fos, NFATc2 and NFATc3, but not NFATc1. This selective effect on NFAT proteins correlates with PTBP1-promoted expression of the shorter Aβ1 isoform and exon 13 skipped Aβ2 isoform of the catalytic A-subunit of calcineurin phosphatase. These findings reveal a crucial role for PTBP1 in regulating CD8 T cell activation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur J Immunol

Publication Date



CD8 T cells, RNA binding proteins, cellular activation, gene regulation