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TOX

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TOX
Protein TOX PDB 2co9.png
Identifiers
AliasesTOX, TOX1, thymocyte selection associated high mobility group box
External IDsOMIM: 606863 MGI: 2181659 HomoloGene: 8822 GeneCards: TOX
Orthologs
SpeciesHumanMouse
Entrez
Ensembl
UniProt
RefSeq (mRNA)

NM_014729

NM_145711
NM_001377078
NM_001377079

RefSeq (protein)

NP_055544

NP_663757
NP_001364007
NP_001364008

Location (UCSC)Chr 8: 58.81 – 59.12 MbChr 4: 6.69 – 6.99 Mb
PubMed search[3][4]
Wikidata
View/Edit HumanView/Edit Mouse
TOX pathway
TOX pathway

Thymocyte selection-associated high mobility group box protein TOX is a protein that in humans is encoded by the TOX gene.[5][6][7] TOX drives T-cell exhaustion[8][9] and plays a role in innate lymphoid cell development.[10][11]

Structure

The TOX gene encodes a protein that belongs to a large superfamily of chromatin associated proteins that share an approximately 75 amino acid DNA binding motif, the HMG (high mobility group)-box (named after that found in the canonical member of the family, high mobility group protein 1). Some high mobility group (HMG) box proteins (e.g., LEF1) contain a single HMG box motif and bind DNA in a sequence-specific manner, while other members of this family (e.g., HMGB1) have multiple HMG boxes and bind DNA in a sequence-independent but structure-dependent manner. While TOX has a single HMG-box motif,[7] it is predicted to bind DNA in a sequence-independent manner.[12]

TOX subfamily

TOX is a member of a small subfamily of proteins (TOX2, TOX3, and TOX4) that share almost identical HMG-box sequences.[12] TOX2 has been identified to play a role in the differentiation of T follicular helper cell.[13] TOX2 is thought to be a downstream signal of BCL-6.[13] TOX3 has been identified as a breast cancer susceptibility locus.[14][15] TOX is highly expressed in the thymus, the site of development of T lymphocytes.[10] Knockout mice that lack TOX have a severe defect in development of certain subsets of T lymphocytes.[16]

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Protein

Protein

Proteins are large biomolecules and macromolecules that comprise one or more long chains of amino acid residues. Proteins perform a vast array of functions within organisms, including catalysing metabolic reactions, DNA replication, responding to stimuli, providing structure to cells and organisms, and transporting molecules from one location to another. Proteins differ from one another primarily in their sequence of amino acids, which is dictated by the nucleotide sequence of their genes, and which usually results in protein folding into a specific 3D structure that determines its activity.

Chromatin

Chromatin

Chromatin is a complex of DNA and protein found in eukaryotic cells. The primary function is to package long DNA molecules into more compact, denser structures. This prevents the strands from becoming tangled and also plays important roles in reinforcing the DNA during cell division, preventing DNA damage, and regulating gene expression and DNA replication. During mitosis and meiosis, chromatin facilitates proper segregation of the chromosomes in anaphase; the characteristic shapes of chromosomes visible during this stage are the result of DNA being coiled into highly condensed chromatin.

DNA-binding domain

DNA-binding domain

A DNA-binding domain (DBD) is an independently folded protein domain that contains at least one structural motif that recognizes double- or single-stranded DNA. A DBD can recognize a specific DNA sequence or have a general affinity to DNA. Some DNA-binding domains may also include nucleic acids in their folded structure.

HMG-box

HMG-box

In molecular biology, the HMG-box is a protein domain which is involved in DNA binding.

HMGB1

HMGB1

High mobility group box 1 protein, also known as high-mobility group protein 1 (HMG-1) and amphoterin, is a protein that in humans is encoded by the HMGB1 gene.

TOX2

TOX2

TOX high mobility group box family member 2, also known as TOX2, is a human gene.

TOX3

TOX3

TOX high mobility group box family member 3, also known as TOX3, is a human gene.

TOX4

TOX4

TOX4 also known as KIAA0737, is a human gene.

Follicular B helper T cells

Follicular B helper T cells

Follicular helper T cells (also known as follicular B helper T cells and abbreviated as TFH), are antigen-experienced CD4+ T cells found in the periphery within B cell follicles of secondary lymphoid organs such as lymph nodes, spleen and Peyer's patches, and are identified by their constitutive expression of the B cell follicle homing receptor CXCR5. Upon cellular interaction and cross-signaling with their cognate follicular (Fo B) B cells, TFH cells trigger the formation and maintenance of germinal centers through the expression of CD40 ligand (CD40L) and the secretion of IL-21 and IL-4. TFH cells also migrate from T cell zones into these seeded germinal centers, predominantly composed of rapidly dividing B cells mutating their Ig genes. Within germinal centers, TFH cells play a critical role in mediating the selection and survival of B cells that go on to differentiate either into long-lived plasma cells capable of producing high affinity antibodies against foreign antigen, or germinal center-dependent memory B cells capable of quick immune re-activation in the future if ever the same antigen is re-encountered. TFH cells are also thought to facilitate negative selection of potentially autoimmune-causing mutated B cells in the germinal center. However, the biomechanisms by which TFH cells mediate germinal center tolerance are yet to be fully understood.

BCL6

BCL6

Bcl-6 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the BCL6 gene. BCL6 is a master transcription factor for regulation of T follicular helper cells proliferation. BCL6 has three evolutionary conserved structural domains. The interaction of these domains with corepressors allows for germinal center development and leads to B cell proliferation.

Thymus

Thymus

The thymus is a specialized primary lymphoid organ of the immune system. Within the thymus, thymus cell lymphocytes or T cells mature. T cells are critical to the adaptive immune system, where the body adapts to specific foreign invaders. The thymus is located in the upper front part of the chest, in the anterior superior mediastinum, behind the sternum, and in front of the heart. It is made up of two lobes, each consisting of a central medulla and an outer cortex, surrounded by a capsule.

Knockout mouse

Knockout mouse

A knockout mouse, or knock-out mouse, is a genetically modified mouse in which researchers have inactivated, or "knocked out", an existing gene by replacing it or disrupting it with an artificial piece of DNA. They are important animal models for studying the role of genes which have been sequenced but whose functions have not been determined. By causing a specific gene to be inactive in the mouse, and observing any differences from normal behaviour or physiology, researchers can infer its probable function.

Function

T cell exhaustion

TOX is necessary for T cell persistence but also drives T cell exhaustion.[17][18][19] An increase in TOX expression is characterized by a weakening of the effector functions of the cytotoxic T cell and upregulation of inhibitory receptors on the cytotoxic T cells.[20][21] TOX promotes the exhausted T cell phenotype through epigenetic remodeling.[20][22] PD-1 is an inhibitory marker on T cells that increases when TOX is unregulated.[20][23][22] This allows for cancerous cells to evade the cytotoxic T cells through upregulated expression of PD-L1.[24]

Effector function

Markers of effector functions that are decreased when TOX is overexpressed are KLRG1, TNF, and IFN-gamma.[8] IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha production are also increased when the Tox and Tox2 genes are deleted.[9] Upregulation of effector function in cells lacking TOX is not always seen and it has been proposed that inhibitory receptor function is separated from effector CD8+ cytotoxic T cell function.[8] T-cell exhaustion does not occur when TOX is deleted from CD8+ T cells, but the cells instead adopt the KLRG1+ terminal effector state and undergo apoptosis, or programmed cell death.[9] It was therefore proposed that TOX prevents this terminal differentiation and instead promotes exhaustion so that the T-cell has a slightly more sustained response.[9]

Cancer & chronic infection

In cancer or during chronic viral infection, T-cell exhaustion occurs when cytotoxic T-cells are constantly stimulated.[8][25] TOX is upregulated in CD8+ T cells from chronic infection when compared to acute infection.[8] Patients with cancer typically have high levels of TOX in their tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes,[8] and anti-tumor immunity is heightened when Tox and Tox2 are deleted.[9] TOX and TOX2-deficient tumor-specific CAR T cells additionally have increased antitumor effector cell function as well as decreased levels of inhibitory receptors.[8]

Activation

NFAT transcription factors are essential for activating TOX in CD8+ T-cells,[8] and it has been suggested that TOX is a downstream target of NFAT.[9] The expression and function of NR4a (a target of NFAT) and TOX are strongly linked with reduced NR4a expression in Tox double knockout T cells and minimized Tox expression in NR4a triple knockout T cells.[9]

T-cell development

TOX is necessary for positive selection in developing thymocytes.[26] Knock out TOX mice shows a requirement of TOX for the CD4 T cell lineage,[26] however CD8 single positive T-cells were still able to develop.[26]

Innate lymphoid cells development

TOX is necessary for the development of innate lymphoid cells.[10][11] Innate lymphoid cells include ILC1, ILC2, ILC3 and NK cells.[26]

Notch signaling can aid in the development of all innate lymphoid cells, but in TOX-deficient cells, Notch target genes are expressed at low levels, so it is possible that TOX is required for downstream activation of these Notch target genes.[10] TOX was also found to bind Hes1, a Notch target gene, in embryonic kidney cells.[10]

Several ILC3 populations are reduced in the absence of TOX, implicating TOX’s role in their development.[10] In the small intestine, major ILC3 populations are normal in TOX-deficient cells, suggesting that gut ILC3 development may occur independently of TOX.[10] Some ILC3 populations in the gut expand in the absence of TOX.[10]

It has been proposed that NFIL3 and TOX regulate the transition of common lymphoid progenitor to early innate lymphoid progenitor.[11] In NFIL3-deficient mice, the expression of TOX is downregulated, indicating that NFIL3 is directly affecting the expression of TOX which is then acting downstream in ILC development.[11] TOX-deficient mice and NFIL3-deficient mice both lack mature ILCs and ILC progenitors.[11]

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Cytotoxic T cell

Cytotoxic T cell

A cytotoxic T cell (also known as TC, cytotoxic T lymphocyte, CTL, T-killer cell, cytolytic T cell, CD8+ T-cell or killer T cell) is a T lymphocyte (a type of white blood cell) that kills cancer cells, cells that are infected by intracellular pathogens (such as viruses or bacteria), or cells that are damaged in other ways.

Epigenetics

Epigenetics

In biology, epigenetics is the study of stable phenotypic changes that do not involve alterations in the DNA sequence. The Greek prefix epi- in epigenetics implies features that are "on top of" or "in addition to" the traditional genetic basis for inheritance. Epigenetics most often involves changes that affect the regulation of gene expression, but the term can also be used to describe any heritable phenotypic change. Such effects on cellular and physiological phenotypic traits may result from external or environmental factors, or be part of normal development.

PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors

PD-1 and PD-L1 inhibitors

PD-1 inhibitors and PD-L1 inhibitors are a group of checkpoint inhibitor anticancer drugs that block the activity of PD-1 and PDL1 immune checkpoint proteins present on the surface of cells. Immune checkpoint inhibitors are emerging as a front-line treatment for several types of cancer.

KLRG1

KLRG1

Killer cell lectin-like receptor subfamily G member 1 is a protein that in humans is encoded by the KLRG1 gene.

Interferon gamma

Interferon gamma

Interferon gamma (IFN-γ) is a dimerized soluble cytokine that is the only member of the type II class of interferons. The existence of this interferon, which early in its history was known as immune interferon, was described by E. F. Wheelock as a product of human leukocytes stimulated with phytohemagglutinin, and by others as a product of antigen-stimulated lymphocytes. It was also shown to be produced in human lymphocytes. or tuberculin-sensitized mouse peritoneal lymphocytes challenged with Mantoux test (PPD); the resulting supernatants were shown to inhibit growth of vesicular stomatitis virus. Those reports also contained the basic observation underlying the now widely employed IFN-γ release assay used to test for tuberculosis. In humans, the IFN-γ protein is encoded by the IFNG gene.

Apoptosis

Apoptosis

Apoptosis is a form of programmed cell death that occurs in multicellular organisms. Biochemical events lead to characteristic cell changes (morphology) and death. These changes include blebbing, cell shrinkage, nuclear fragmentation, chromatin condensation, DNA fragmentation, and mRNA decay. The average adult human loses between 50 and 70 billion cells each day due to apoptosis. For an average human child between eight and fourteen years old, approximately twenty to thirty billion cells die per day.

Cancer

Cancer

Cancer is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth with the potential to invade or spread to other parts of the body. These contrast with benign tumors, which do not spread. Possible signs and symptoms include a lump, abnormal bleeding, prolonged cough, unexplained weight loss, and a change in bowel movements. While these symptoms may indicate cancer, they can also have other causes. Over 100 types of cancers affect humans.

NFAT

NFAT

Nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFAT) is a family of transcription factors shown to be important in immune response. One or more members of the NFAT family is expressed in most cells of the immune system. NFAT is also involved in the development of cardiac, skeletal muscle, and nervous systems. NFAT was first discovered as an activator for the transcription of IL-2 in T cells but has since been found to play an important role in regulating many more body systems. NFAT transcription factors are involved in many normal body processes as well as in development of several diseases, such as inflammatory bowel diseases and several types of cancer. NFAT is also being investigated as a drug target for several different disorders.

Innate lymphoid cell

Innate lymphoid cell

Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are the most recently discovered family of innate immune cells, derived from common lymphoid progenitors (CLPs). In response to pathogenic tissue damage, ILCs contribute to immunity via the secretion of signalling molecules, and the regulation of both innate and adaptive immune cells. ILCs are primarily tissue resident cells, found in both lymphoid, and non- lymphoid tissues, and rarely in the blood. They are particularly abundant at mucosal surfaces, playing a key role in mucosal immunity and homeostasis. Characteristics allowing their differentiation from other immune cells include the regular lymphoid morphology, absence of rearranged antigen receptors found on T cells and B cells, and phenotypic markers usually present on myeloid or dendritic cells.

Natural killer cell

Natural killer cell

Natural killer cells, also known as NK cells or large granular lymphocytes (LGL), are a type of cytotoxic lymphocyte critical to the innate immune system that belong to the rapidly expanding family of known innate lymphoid cells (ILC) and represent 5–20% of all circulating lymphocytes in humans. The role of NK cells is analogous to that of cytotoxic T cells in the vertebrate adaptive immune response. NK cells provide rapid responses to virus-infected cell and other intracellular pathogens acting at around 3 days after infection, and respond to tumor formation. Typically, immune cells detect the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) presented on infected cell surfaces, triggering cytokine release, causing the death of the infected cell by lysis or apoptosis. NK cells are unique, however, as they have the ability to recognize and kill stressed cells in the absence of antibodies and MHC, allowing for a much faster immune reaction. They were named "natural killers" because of the notion that they do not require activation to kill cells that are missing "self" markers of MHC class 1. This role is especially important because harmful cells that are missing MHC I markers cannot be detected and destroyed by other immune cells, such as T lymphocyte cells.

Notch signaling pathway

Notch signaling pathway

The Notch signaling pathway is a highly conserved cell signaling system present in most animals. Mammals possess four different notch receptors, referred to as NOTCH1, NOTCH2, NOTCH3, and NOTCH4. The notch receptor is a single-pass transmembrane receptor protein. It is a hetero-oligomer composed of a large extracellular portion, which associates in a calcium-dependent, non-covalent interaction with a smaller piece of the notch protein composed of a short extracellular region, a single transmembrane-pass, and a small intracellular region.

HES1

HES1

Transcription factor HES1 is a protein that is encoded by the Hes1 gene, and is the mammalian homolog of the hairy gene in Drosophila. HES1 is one of the seven members of the Hes gene family (HES1-7). Hes genes code nuclear proteins that suppress transcription.

Source: "TOX", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOX.

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References
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Further reading

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