PI3Ks (phosphoinositide 3-kinases) regulate diverse signalling pathways involved in growth, proliferation, survival, differentiation and metabolism. In T cells, PI3Ks can be activated by a number of different receptors, including the TcR (T cell receptor), co-stimulatory receptors, cytokine receptors and chemokine receptors. However, the specific roles of PI3Ks downstream of these receptors vary. An inactivating mutation in the leucocyte-specific PI3K isoform p110 δ results in impaired TcR-dependent proliferation under circumstances where CD28 co-stimulation is blocked or not required. Recruitment and activation of PI3K by CD28 promotes survival by inducing increased expression of Bcl-XL. However, CD28 engages additional signals that regulate proliferation and interleukin-2 production independently of PI3K. Thus a model emerges whereby PI3K is involved in both TcR and CD28 signalling, but each receptor may only exploit a subset of the signalling pathways potentially controlled by PI3K activation.

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