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Mini Review ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2019.02226

Foxp3 instability helps tTregs distinguish self and non-self

  • 1Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
  • 2Key Laboratory of Pathogenic Microbiology & Immunology, Institute of Microbiology (CAS), China
  • 3National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health (NIH), United States

Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are small subsets of CD4 T cells that play a central role in the controlling of immune tolerance. Tregs are either generated in the thymus (tTregs) or in the periphery (pTregs), both express the master transcription factor Foxp3. Stable expression of Foxp3 is important for the maintenance of Tregs identity and their suppressive function. Similar to T conventional cells, Tregs can recognize both self and non-self antigen, and TCR engagement leads to Treg activation and the generation of effector Tregs. Emerging shreds of evidence suggest Tregs are not always stable, even fully committed mature tTregs, can lose foxp3 expression and programming to effector-like T cells. In this review, we summarize recent finding in Treg instability and the intrinsic and extrinsic mechanism in controlling the Foxp3 expression. Final, we propose a new hypothesis that Foxp3 instability might help tTregs distinguish self and non-self antigens.

Keywords: Treg, Foxp3, instability, self and non-self discrimination, tcr

Received: 15 Jul 2019; Accepted: 03 Sep 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Zhou and Zhang. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Xuyu Zhou, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China, zhouxy@im.ac.cn