Zfp36l1 establishes the high affinity CD8 T cell response by directly linking TCR affinity to cytokine sensing.
Petkau G., Mitchell TJ., Evans MJ., Matheson L., Salerno F., Turner M.
How individual T cells compete for and respond to IL-2 at the molecular level, and, as a consequence, how this shapes population dynamics and the selection of high affinity clones is still poorly understood. Here we describe how the RNA binding protein ZFP36L1, acts as a sensor of TCR affinity to promote clonal expansion of high affinity CD8 T cells. As part of an incoherent feed forward loop ZFP36L1 has a non-redundant role in suppressing multiple negative regulators of cytokine signalling and mediating a selection mechanism based on competition for IL-2. We suggest that ZFP36L1 acts as a sensor of antigen affinity and establishes dominance of high affinity T cells by installing a hierarchical response to IL-2. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.