Natural killer T (NKT) cells represent an important regulatory T cell subset that develops in the thymus and contains immature (NK1.1lo) and mature (NK1.1hi) cell subsets. Here we show in mice that an inherited mutation in heterogeneous ribonucleoprotein L-like protein (hnRNPLLthunder), that shortens the survival of conventional T cells, has no discernible effect on NKT cell development, homeostasis or effector function. Thus, Hnrpll deficiency effectively increases the NKTT cell ratio in the periphery. However, Hnrpll mutation disrupts CD45RA, RB and RC exon silencing of the Ptprc mRNA in both NKT and conventional T cells, and leads to a comparably dramatic shift to high molecular weight CD45 isoforms. In addition, Hnrpll mutation has a cell intrinsic effect on the expression of the developmentally regulated cell surface marker NK1.1 on NKT cells in the thymus and periphery but does not affect cell numbers. Therefore our results highlight both overlapping and divergent roles for hnRNPLL between conventional T cells and NKT cells. In both cell subsets it is required as a trans-acting factor to regulate alternative splicing of the Ptprc mRNA, but it is only required for survival of conventional T cells.


Peer-reviewed, T cells, CD45, homeostasis, hnRNPLL, alternative splicing



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