K48-linked KLF4 ubiquitination by E3 ligase Mule controls T-cell proliferation and cell cycle progression.
- Experimental and Molecular Immunology
T-cell proliferation is regulated by ubiquitination but the underlying molecular mechanism remains obscure. Here we report that Lys-48-linked ubiquitination of the transcription factor KLF4 mediated by the E3 ligase Mule promotes T-cell entry into S phase. Mule is elevated in T cells upon TCR engagement, and Mule deficiency in T cells blocks proliferation because KLF4 accumulates and drives upregulation of its transcriptional targets E2F2 and the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitors p21 and p27. T-cell-specific Mule knockout (TMKO) mice develop exacerbated experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), show impaired generation of antigen-specific CD8(+) T cells with reduced cytokine production, and fail to clear LCMV infections. Thus, Mule-mediated ubiquitination of the novel substrate KLF4 regulates T-cell proliferation, autoimmunity and antiviral immune responses in vivo.