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Control of Regulatory T Cell Development by the Transcription Factor Foxp3

Science  14 Feb 2003:
Vol. 299, Issue 5609, pp. 1057-1061
DOI: 10.1126/science.1079490

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Abstract

Regulatory T cells engage in the maintenance of immunological self-tolerance by actively suppressing self-reactive lymphocytes. Little is known, however, about the molecular mechanism of their development. Here we show that Foxp3, which encodes a transcription factor that is genetically defective in an autoimmune and inflammatory syndrome in humans and mice, is specifically expressed in naturally arising CD4+ regulatory T cells. Furthermore, retroviral gene transfer of Foxp3 converts naïve T cells toward a regulatory T cell phenotype similar to that of naturally occurring CD4+ regulatory T cells. Thus, Foxp3is a key regulatory gene for the development of regulatory T cells.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: shimon{at}frontier.kyoto-u.ac.jp

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