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PLoS One

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BACKGROUND: Selectin mediated tethering represents one of the earliest steps in T cell extravasation into lymph nodes via high endothelial venules and is dependent on the biosynthesis of sialyl Lewis X (sLe(x)) ligands by several glycosyltransferases, including two fucosyltransferases, fucosyltransferase-IV and -VII. Selectin mediated binding also plays a key role in T cell entry to inflamed organs.

METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To understand how loss of selectin ligands (sLe(x)) influences T cell migration to the lung, we examined fucosyltransferase-IV and -VII double knockout (FtDKO) mice. We discovered that FtDKO mice showed significant increases (approximately 5-fold) in numbers of naïve T cells in non-inflamed lung parenchyma with no evidence of induced bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue. In contrast, activated T cells were reduced in inflamed lungs of FtDKO mice following viral infection, consistent with the established role of selectin mediated T cell extravasation into inflamed lung. Adoptive transfer of T cells into FtDKO mice revealed impaired T cell entry to lymph nodes, but selective accumulation in non-lymphoid organs. Moreover, inhibition of T cell entry to the lymph nodes by blockade of L-selectin, or treatment of T cells with pertussis toxin to inhibit chemokine dependent G-coupled receptor signaling, also resulted in increased T cells in non-lymphoid organs. Conversely, inhibition of T cell egress from lymph nodes using FTY720 agonism of S1P1 impaired T cell migration into non-lymphoid organs. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Taken together, our results suggest that impaired T cell entry into lymph nodes via high endothelial venules due to genetic deficiency of selectin ligands results in the selective re-distribution and accumulation of T cells in non-lymphoid organs, and correlates with their increased frequency in the blood. Re-distribution of T cells into organs could potentially play a role in the initiation of T cell mediated organ diseases.


This article has been funded by the University of Tennessee's Open Publishing Support Fund.

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