Editors' ChoiceImmunology

Innate lymphoid cells keep gut T cells in check

Sci. Signal.  02 Jun 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 379, pp. ec146
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aac6712

Trillions of bacteria inhabit our guts. So do many types of immune cells, including T cells, which might be expected to attack these bacteria. How, then, do our bodies manage to keep the peace? Working in mice, Hepworth et al. report one such mechanism. A population of immune cells, called innate lymphoid cells, directly killed CD4+ T cells that react to commensal gut microbes. Some of the specifics of this process parallel how the immune system keeps developing self-reactive T cells in check in the thymus. Furthermore, this peacekeeping process may be disrupted in children with inflammatory bowel disease.

M. R. Hepworth, T. C. Fung, S. H. Masur, J. R. Kelsen, F. M. McConnell, J. Dubrot, D. R. Withers, S. Hugues, M. A. Farrar, W. Reith, G. Eberl, R. N. Baldassano, T. M. Laufer, C. O. Elson, G. F. Sonnenberg, Group 3 innate lymphoid cells mediate intestinal selection of commensal bacteria–specific CD4+ T cells. Science 348, 1031–1035 (2015). [Abstract] [Full Text]