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TGF-β signalling is required for CD4⁺ T cell homeostasis but dispensable for regulatory T cell function


Sledzińska, Anna; Hemmers, Saskia; Mair, Florian; Gorka, Oliver; Ruland, Jürgen; Fairbairn, Lynsey; Nissler, Anja; Müller, Werner; Waisman, Ari; Becher, Burkhard; Buch, Thorsten (2013). TGF-β signalling is required for CD4⁺ T cell homeostasis but dispensable for regulatory T cell function. PLoS Biology, 11(10):e1001674.

Abstract

TGF-β is widely held to be critical for the maintenance and function of regulatory T (T(reg)) cells and thus peripheral tolerance. This is highlighted by constitutive ablation of TGF-β receptor (TR) during thymic development in mice, which leads to a lethal autoimmune syndrome. Here we describe that TGF-β-driven peripheral tolerance is not regulated by TGF-β signalling on mature CD4⁺ T cells. Inducible TR2 ablation specifically on CD4⁺ T cells did not result in a lethal autoinflammation. Transfer of these TR2-deficient CD4⁺ T cells to lymphopenic recipients resulted in colitis, but not overt autoimmunity. In contrast, thymic ablation of TR2 in combination with lymphopenia led to lethal multi-organ inflammation. Interestingly, deletion of TR2 on mature CD4⁺ T cells does not result in the collapse of the T(reg) cell population as observed in constitutive models. Instead, a pronounced enlargement of both regulatory and effector memory T cell pools was observed. This expansion is cell-intrinsic and seems to be caused by increased T cell receptor sensitivity independently of common gamma chain-dependent cytokine signals. The expression of Foxp3 and other regulatory T cells markers was not dependent on TGF-β signalling and the TR2-deficient T(reg) cells retained their suppressive function both in vitro and in vivo. In summary, absence of TGF-β signalling on mature CD4⁺ T cells is not responsible for breakdown of peripheral tolerance, but rather controls homeostasis of mature T cells in adult mice.

Abstract

TGF-β is widely held to be critical for the maintenance and function of regulatory T (T(reg)) cells and thus peripheral tolerance. This is highlighted by constitutive ablation of TGF-β receptor (TR) during thymic development in mice, which leads to a lethal autoimmune syndrome. Here we describe that TGF-β-driven peripheral tolerance is not regulated by TGF-β signalling on mature CD4⁺ T cells. Inducible TR2 ablation specifically on CD4⁺ T cells did not result in a lethal autoinflammation. Transfer of these TR2-deficient CD4⁺ T cells to lymphopenic recipients resulted in colitis, but not overt autoimmunity. In contrast, thymic ablation of TR2 in combination with lymphopenia led to lethal multi-organ inflammation. Interestingly, deletion of TR2 on mature CD4⁺ T cells does not result in the collapse of the T(reg) cell population as observed in constitutive models. Instead, a pronounced enlargement of both regulatory and effector memory T cell pools was observed. This expansion is cell-intrinsic and seems to be caused by increased T cell receptor sensitivity independently of common gamma chain-dependent cytokine signals. The expression of Foxp3 and other regulatory T cells markers was not dependent on TGF-β signalling and the TR2-deficient T(reg) cells retained their suppressive function both in vitro and in vivo. In summary, absence of TGF-β signalling on mature CD4⁺ T cells is not responsible for breakdown of peripheral tolerance, but rather controls homeostasis of mature T cells in adult mice.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Experimental Immunology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:16 Dec 2013 10:01
Last Modified:09 Aug 2017 05:33
Publisher:Public Library of Science (PLoS)
ISSN:1544-9173
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1001674
PubMed ID:24115907

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