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IQ Domain-Containing GTPase-Activating Protein 1 Regulates Cytoskeletal Reorganization and Facilitates NKG2D-Mediated Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 Activation and Cytokine Gene Translation in Natural Killer Cells. Front Immunol 2018;9:1168 PMID: 29892299 PMCID: PMC5985319

Pubmed ID





Natural killer (NK) cells are innate lymphocytes that play essential roles in mediating antitumor immunity. NK cells respond to various inflammatory stimuli including cytokines and stress-induced cellular ligands which activate germline-encoded activation receptors (NKRs), such as NKG2D. The signaling molecules activated downstream of NKRs are well defined; however, the mechanisms that regulate these pathways are not fully understood. IQ domain-containing GTPase-activating protein 1 (IQGAP1) is a ubiquitously expressed scaffold protein. It regulates diverse cellular signaling programs in various physiological contexts, including immune cell activation and function. Therefore, we sought to investigate the role of IQGAP1 in NK cells. Development and maturation of NK cells from mice lacking IQGAP1 ( ) were mostly intact; however, the absolute number of splenic NK cells was significantly reduced. Phenotypic and functional characterization revealed a significant reduction in the egression of NK cells from the bone marrow of mice altering their peripheral homeostasis. Lack of IQGAP1 resulted in reduced NK cell motility and their ability to mediate antitumor immunity . Activation of NK cells NKRs, including NKG2D, resulted in significantly reduced levels of inflammatory cytokines compared with wild-type (WT). This reduction in NK cells is neither due to an impaired membrane proximal signaling nor a defect in gene transcription. The levels of transcripts were comparable between WT and , suggesting that IQGAP1-dependent regulation of cytokine production is regulated by a post-transcriptional mechanism. To this end, NK cells failed to fully induce S6 phosphorylation and showed significantly reduced protein translation following NKG2D-mediated activation, revealing a previously undefined regulatory function of IQGAP1 the mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1. Together, these results implicate IQGAP1 as an essential scaffold for NK cell homeostasis and function and provide novel mechanistic insights to the post-transcriptional regulation of inflammatory cytokine production.

Author List

Abel AM, Tiwari AA, Gerbec ZJ, Siebert JR, Yang C, Schloemer NJ, Dixon KJ, Thakar MS, Malarkannan S


Subramaniam Malarkannan PhD Professor in the Medicine department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Nathan Schloemer MD Assistant Professor in the Pediatrics department at Medical College of Wisconsin

jenkins-FCD Prod-321 98992d628744e349846c2f62ac68f241d7e1ea70