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This article has been peer reviewed and is published in PLoS One 2010, 5(11). The published version is available at DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013780. © Public Library of Science


MS4a4B, a CD20 homologue in T cells, is a novel member of the MS4A gene family in mice. The MS4A family includes CD20, FcεRIβ, HTm4 and at least 26 novel members that are characterized by their structural features: with four membrane-spanning domains, two extracellular domains and two cytoplasmic regions. CD20, FcεRIβ and HTm4 have been found to function in B cells, mast cells and hematopoietic cells respectively. However, little is known about the function of MS4a4B in T cell regulation. We demonstrate here that MS4a4B negatively regulates mouse T cell proliferation. MS4a4B is highly expressed in primary T cells, natural killer cells (NK) and some T cell lines. But its expression in all malignant T cells, including thymoma and T hybridoma tested, was silenced. Interestingly, its expression was regulated during T cell activation. Viral vector-driven overexpression of MS4a4B in primary T cells and EL4 thymoma cells reduced cell proliferation. In contrast, knockdown of MS4a4B accelerated T cell proliferation. Cell cycle analysis showed that MS4a4B regulated T cell proliferation by inhibiting entry of the cells into S-G2/M phase. MS4a4B-mediated inhibition of cell cycle was correlated with upregulation of Cdk inhibitory proteins and decreased levels of Cdk2 activity, subsequently leading to inhibition of cell cycle progression. Our data indicate that MS4a4B negatively regulates T cell proliferation. MS4a4B, therefore, may serve as a modulator in the negative-feedback regulatory loop of activated T cells.