Inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase (IMPDH) catalyzes the first step in the formation of guanine ribonucleotides from inosine monophosphate and the activity of this enzyme appears to be essential for cell proliferation. Inhibitors of IMPDH have been demonstrated to be effective immunosuppressive agents and to inhibit T cell activation in vitro. IMPDH activity results from the expression of two different genes (types I and II) that encode protein subunits of identical size with 84% amino acid identity. To determine the relative contribution of the expression of these two genes to T cell activation, we have examined the effects of T cell stimulation on IMPDH activity, mRNA levels, and protein. The stimulation of isolated peripheral blood CD28+ T cells with PMA and ionomycin causes a 15-fold increase in IMPDH activity over a 72-h period. This is associated with a 10-fold increase in type II mRNA levels at 48 h. Type I mRNA is expressed at very low levels in resting T cells, but increases 10-fold by 24 h after stimulation. The type I cDNA probe also detects a second larger mRNA species of 4.0 kb that is not detectable in a variety of normal tissues or in a panel of leukemic cell lines. RNase protection assays using RNA probes corresponding to the entire coding region of the type I enzyme reveal a single protected fragment, demonstrating that the 4.0-kb message is the result of alternate splicing in the 5' or 3' untranslated regions or the use of an alternative polyadenylation site. Western blot analysis demonstrates a concomitant increase in total IMPDH protein on T cell activation, although posttranslational modifications do not allow the distinction between type I and type II on isoelectric focusing gels. We conclude that the induction of both type I and type II IMPDH contribute significantly to the T cell proliferative response. Both enzymes therefore should be considered important targets for immunosuppressive therapy.
View details for Web of Science ID A1994MV63000003
View details for PubMedID 7905505