Document Type


Date of Degree

Summer 2017

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Bishop, Gail

First Committee Member

Houtman, Jon C.

Second Committee Member

Colgan, John D.

Third Committee Member

Demali, Kris A.

Fourth Committee Member

Lieberman, Scott M.


T cells are an essential component of the adaptive immune system, which evolved to facilitate development of long-term, effective protection against infectious diseases. Upon activation, T cells play an important role in clearing infections, and especially, in preventing establishment of subsequent infections with the same pathogen. Because this is such a powerful response, it must be tightly regulated. Our lab has long been interested in how signaling molecules regulate the function of T and B lymphocytes. Our prior studies stimulated an interest in the signaling adapter molecule, Tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR)-associated factor 3 (TRAF3). Our group previously produced a T cell-conditional (CD4-Cre) TRAF3-/- mouse, which demonstrated that TRAF3 unexpectedly plays an important positive role in T cell functions, including providing help for B cell responses, protection from infectious pathogens, cytokine production and proliferation. After TCR engagement, TRAF3 associates with the T Cell Receptor (TCR)/CD28 complex. These data identified a new role for TRAF3 in T cell activation. There are three signals that are required for full T cell activation. The three types of receptors that deliver these signals are the TCR, co-stimulatory receptors and cytokine receptors. This dissertation explores the regulatory role of TRAF3 in the 3 signals required for T cellsactivation. In signal 1, TRAF3 enhances TCR signaling by regulating the localization of the TCR inhibitors, PTPase non-receptor type 22 (PTPN22) and the c-Src kinase (Csk). Our lab previously reported that recruitment of TRAF3 to the TCR complex requires co-stimulation of CD28, the primary receptor for signal 2. In this dissertation, we show that TRAF3 associates with the Linker of Activated T cells (LAT) complex, demonstrating preference for distinct LAT-associated proteins. For delivery of signal 3, T cells require stimulation of a cytokine receptor, such as IFNαR, for differentiation of a T cell to an effector cell. Upon IFN stimulation, TRAF3 inhibits IFNαR-induced early molecular events, which results in the regulation of both canonical and non-canonical IFNαR signaling pathways. The results presented in this dissertation highlight the dynamic roles of TRAF3 as a regulator of T cell activation, by regulating multiple T cell signaling pathways.


IFNaR, Signaling, T cells, TCR, TRAF3


xiv, 142 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 126-142).


Copyright © 2017 Alicia M. Wallis