The Pim kinases control rapamycin-resistant T cell survival and activation.

Document Type


Publication Date



Immunosuppressive-Agents, Lymphocyte-Activation, Mice, Protein-Serine-Threonine-Kinases, Proto-Oncogene-Proteins, Signal-Transduction, Sirolimus, T-Lymphocytes, Time-Factors

JAX Source

J Exp Med 2005 Jan; 201(2):259-66.


Although Pim-1 or Pim-2 can contribute to lymphoid transformation when overexpressed, the physiologic role of these kinases in the immune response is uncertain. We now report that T cells from Pim-1(-/-)Pim-2(-/-) animals display an unexpected sensitivity to the immunosuppressant rapamycin. Cytokine-induced Pim-1 and Pim-2 promote the rapamycin-resistant survival of lymphocytes. The endogenous function of the Pim kinases was not restricted to the regulation of cell survival. Like the rapamycin target TOR, the Pim kinases also contribute to the regulation of lymphocyte growth and proliferation. Although rapamycin has a minimal effect on wild-type T cell expansion in vitro and in vivo, it completely suppresses the response of Pim-1(-/-)Pim-2(-/-) cells. Thus, endogenous levels of the Pim kinases are required for T cells to mount an immune response in the presence of rapamycin. The existence of a rapamycin-insensitive pathway that regulates T cell growth and survival has important implications for understanding how rapamycin functions as an immunomodulatory drug and for the development of complementary immunotherapeutics.