Research ArticleImmunology

Lack of the Phosphatase PTPN22 Increases Adhesion of Murine Regulatory T Cells to Improve Their Immunosuppressive Function

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Sci. Signal.  27 Nov 2012:
Vol. 5, Issue 252, pp. ra87
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2003365

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Tipping Both Sides of the Inflammatory Scales

Autoimmune disorders arise because of an imbalance in the immune response. For example, effector T cells can exhibit enhanced activation, causing damaging, proinflammatory responses, whereas regulatory T cells (Tregs), which inhibit effector T cell responses, may become less effective at immunosuppression. Brownlie et al. investigated a role in the immune response for PTPN22, a protein tyrosine phosphatase implicated in autoimmunity in humans and mice. Although PTPN22-deficient mice had more potent effector T cells, they did not develop autoimmunity because they also had Tregs with greater immunosuppressive function than those of wild-type mice. Together, these data suggest that manipulating PTPN22 function in human Tregs may help in the treatment of autoimmune diseases.