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Sci. Signal., 1 February 2011
Vol. 4, Issue 158, p. pe4
To Be or Not to Be a Treg Cell: Lineage Decisions Controlled by Epigenetic Mechanisms
Aras Toker and
Experimental Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany.
Regulatory T (Treg) cells are a unique CD4+ T cell lineage that plays a crucial role in the maintenance of immunological tolerance. The Forkhead box transcription factor Foxp3 is critically involved in Treg cell development and responsible for determining the suppressive function of these cells. The majority of Foxp3+ Treg cells are generated during T cell development within the thymus and show features of a stable T cell lineage. New work indicates that both induction and stabilization of Foxp3 expression are under epigenetic control, which suggests that selective interference with the underlying chromatin remodeling mechanisms might enable the development of future therapeutic strategies targeting Treg cells.