Sci. Signal., 17 March 2009
Immunology Immunological Balancing Act
Science, AAAS, Washington, DC 20005, USA
Secretory immunoglobulin A (IgA) plays a crucial role in the gut by promoting immune tolerance to food and the microflora that colonize the gut. IgA is produced by B cells with the help of CD4+ T follicular helper cells. How these helper CD4+ T cells are generated in the gut is unclear. Tsuji et al. found that suppressor Foxp3+CD4+ T cells can differentiate selectively into follicular B cell helper T cells (TFH) in Peyers patches, specialized lymphoid tissue in the gut, but not in other lymphoid tissue. Differentiation of suppressor T cells into TFH cells requires down-regulation of the suppressor T cell–specific transcription factor Foxp3 and interaction with B cells. Thus, flexibility of T cell populations and the specific environment of the gut help to maintain the critical balance between immune tolerance and activation.
M. Tsuji, N. Komatsu, S. Kawamoto, K. Suzuki, O. Kanagawa, T. Honjo, S. Hori, S. Fagarasan, Preferential generation of follicular B helper T cells from Foxp3+ T cells in gut Peyers patches. Science 323, 1488–1492 (2009). [Abstract] [Full Text]
Citation: K. Mueller, Immunological Balancing Act. Sci. Signal. 2, ec101 (2009).
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