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Keywords:

  • CD4+CD25+ T cells;
  • Cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4;
  • GITR;
  • ICER/CREM;
  • IL-2

Abstract

Here, we report that inducible cAMP early repressor/cAMP response element modulator (ICER/CREM) is induced early in CD25+CD4+ regulatory T cell (TR) assays mainly in activated Foxp3 effector T cells and this induction correlates with sharp decrease in number of IL-2-expressing T cells. Importantly, RNAi targeting of ICER/CREM in responder CD25CD4+ T cells antagonizes TR-mediated suppression. Moreover, forced expression of Foxp3 in naive CD25 T cells induces constitutive expression of ICER/CREM in T cells with a regulatory phenotype. Foxp3 facilitates expression of ICER/CREM both in Foxp3 transductants as well as CD25 responder T cells suggesting that induction of TR function in suppression assays may utilize contact-dependent interaction. Indeed, CTLA-4 blockade or use of B7-deficient CD25 responder T cells prevents ICER/CREM accumulation and leads to the rescue of IL-2 expression. Therefore, we propose that CTLA-4 binding to B7 ligands expressed on activated ligand-bearing Foxp3 effector T cells results in ICER/CREM-mediated transcriptional attenuation of IL-2. Collectively, these data suggest that Foxp3 expression in TR cells imposes suppression in contact-dependent fashion by induction of constitutive ICER/CREM expression in activated CD25+ Foxp3 T cell effectors thus preventing them from producing IL-2.