The Ras-mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway is crucial for T cell receptor (TCR) signaling in the development and function of T cells. The significance of various modulators of the Ras-MAPK pathway in T cells, however, remains to be fully understood. Rasactivating protein-like 3 (Rasal3) is an uncharacterized member of the SynGAP family that contains a conserved Ras GTPase-activating protein (GAP) domain, and is predominantly expressed in the T cell lineage. In the current study, we investigated the function and physiological roles of Rasal3. Our results showed that Rasal3 possesses RasGAP activity, but not Rap1GAP activity, and represses TCR-stimulated ERK phosphorylation in a T cell line. In systemic Rasal3-deficient mice, T cell development in the thymus including positive selection, negative selection, and β-selection was unaffected. However, the number of naive, but not effector memory CD4 and CD8 T cell in the periphery was significantly reduced in Rasal3-deficient mice, and associated with a marked increase in apoptosis of these cells. Indeed, survival of Rasal3 deficient naive CD4 T cells in vivo by adoptive transfer was significantly impaired, whereas IL-7-dependent survival of naive CD4 T cells in vitro was unaltered. Collectively, Rasal3 is required for in vivo survival of peripheral naive T cells, contributing to the maintenance of optimal T cell numbers.
Muro, R., Nitta, T., Okada, T., Ideta, H., Tsubata, T., & Suzuki, H. (2015). The Ras GTPase-activating protein Rasal3 supports survival of naive T cells supports survival of naive T cells. PLoS ONE, 10(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0119898