Blood Journal
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Rosmarinic acid inhibits Ca2+-dependent pathways of T-cell antigen receptor-mediated signaling by inhibiting the PLC-γ1 and Itk activity

  1. Mi-Ae Kang,
  2. Su-Young Yun, and
  3. Jonghwa Won
  1. 1 From the Signal Transduction Laboratory, Mogam Biotechnology Research Institute, Gyunggido, Korea.


Rosmarinic acid (RosA) is a hydroxylated compound frequently found in herbal plants and is mostly responsible for anti-inflammatory and antioxidative activity. Previously, we observed that RosA inhibited T-cell antigen receptor (TCR)– induced interleukin 2 (IL-2) expression and subsequent T-cell proliferation in vitro. In this study, we investigated in detail inhibitory mechanism of RosA on TCR signaling, which ultimately activates IL-2 promoter by activating transcription factors, such as nuclear factor of activated T cells (NF-AT) and activating protein-1 (AP-1). Interestingly, RosA inhibited NF-AT activation but not AP-1, suggesting that RosA inhibits Ca2+- dependent signaling pathways only. Signaling events upstream of NF-AT activation, such as the generation of inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate and Ca2+ mobilization, and tyrosine phosphorylation of phospholipase C-γ1 (PLC-γ1) were strongly inhibited by RosA. Tyrosine phosphorylation of PLC-γ1 is largely dependent on 3 kinds of protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs), ie, Lck, ZAP-70, and Itk. We found that RosA efficiently inhibited TCR-induced tyrosine phosphorylation and subsequent activation of Itk but did not inhibit Lck or ZAP-70. ZAP-70–dependent signaling pathways such as the tyrosine phosphorylation of LAT and SLP-76 and serine/threonine phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) were intact in the presence of RosA, confirming that RosA suppresses TCR signaling in a ZAP-70–independent manner. Therefore, we conclude that RosA inhibits TCR signaling leading to Ca2+ mobilization and NF-AT activation by blocking membrane-proximal events, specifically, the tyrosine phosphorylation of inducible T cells kinase (Itk) and PLC-γ1.

  • Submitted July 5, 2002.
  • Accepted December 15, 2002.
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