Self-recognition of the endothelium enables regulatory T-cell trafficking and defines the kinetics of immune regulation

Team of Marelli-Berg: Fu H et al. 2014. Nature communications 5:3436 (LINK).


FLocalization of CD4(+)CD25(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T (Treg) cells to lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissue is instrumental for the effective control of immune responses. Compared with conventional T cells, Treg cells constitute a minute fraction of the T-cell repertoire. Despite this numeric disadvantage, Tregs efficiently migrate to sites of immune responses reaching an optimal number for the regulation of T effector (Teff) cells. The array and levels of adhesion and chemokine receptor expression by Tregs do not explain their powerful migratory capacity. Here we show that recognition of self-antigens expressed by endothelial cells in target tissue is instrumental for efficient Treg recruitment in vivo. This event relies upon IFN-gamma-mediated induction of MHC-class-II molecule expression by the endothelium and requires optimal PI3K p110delta activation by the T-cell receptor. We also show that, once in the tissue, Tregs inhibit Teff recruitment, further enabling a Teff:Treg ratio optimal for regulation.