3 years ago

Helios+ and Helios− Treg subpopulations are phenotypically and functionally distinct and express dissimilar TCR repertoires

Angela M. Thornton, Jinghua Lu, Patricia E. Korty, Yong Chan Kim, Craig Martens, Peter D. Sun, Ethan M. Shevach


The transcription factor Helios is expressed in a large subset of Foxp3+ Tregs. We previously proposed that Helios is a marker of thymic derived Treg (tTreg), while Helios Treg were induced from Foxp3 T conventional (Tconv) cells in the periphery (pTreg). To compare the two Treg subpopulations, we generated Helios‐GFP reporter mice and crossed them to Foxp3‐RFP reporter mice. The Helios+ Treg population expressed a more activated phenotype, had a slightly higher suppressive capacity in vitro and expressed a more highly demethylated TSDR but were equivalent in their ability to suppress inflammatory bowel disease in vivo. However, Helios+ Treg more effectively inhibited the proliferation of activated, autoreactive splenocytes from scurfy mice. When Helios+ and Helios Treg were transferred to lymphoreplete mice, both populations maintained comparable Foxp3 expression, but Foxp3 expression was less stable in Helios Treg when transferred to lymphopenic mice. Gene expression profiling demonstrated a large number of differentially expressed genes and showed that Helios Treg expressed certain genes normally expressed in CD4+Foxp3 T cells. TCR repertoire analysis indicated very little overlap between Helios+ and Helios Treg. Thus, Helios+ and Helios Treg subpopulations are phenotypically and functionally distinct and express dissimilar TCR repertoires.

This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved

Publisher URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/eji.201847935

DOI: 10.1002/eji.201847935

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