Antigen receptor-mediated depletion of FOXP3 in induced regulatory T-lymphocytes via PTPN2 and FOXO1

Evita Bothur, Hartmann Raifer, Claudia Haftmann, Anna Barbara Stittrich, Anne Brustle, Dirk Brenner, Nadine Bollig, Maria Bieringer, Chol Ho Kang, Katharina Reinhard, Barbel Camara, Magdalena Huber, Alexander Visekruna, Ulrich Steinhoff, Antje Repenning, Uta Maria Bauer, Veronika Sexl, Andreas Radbruch, Tim Sparwasser, Mir Farzin MashreghiTak Wah Mak, Michael Lohoff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Regulatory T-cells induced via IL-2 and TGF in vitro (iTreg) suppress immune cells and are potential therapeutics during autoimmunity. However, several reports described their re-differentiation into pathogenic cells in vivo and loss of their key functional transcription factor (TF) FOXP3 after T-cell antigen receptor (TCR)-signalling in vitro. Here, we show that TCR-activation antagonizes two necessary TFs for foxp3 gene transcription, which are themselves regulated by phosphorylation. Although the tyrosine phosphatase PTPN2 is induced to restrain IL-2-mediated phosphorylation of the TF STAT5, expression of the TF FOXO1 is downregulated and miR-182, a suppressor of FOXO1 expression, is upregulated. TGF counteracts the FOXP3-depleting TCR-signal by reassuring FOXO1 expression and by re-licensing STAT5 phosphorylation. Overexpressed phosphorylation-independent active versions of FOXO1 and STAT5 or knockdown of PTPN2 restores FOXP3 expression despite TCR-signal and absence of TGF. This study suggests novel targets for stabilisation and less dangerous application of iTreg during devastating inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8576
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 13 Oct 2015


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