Protein Kinase C-θ Mediates Negative Feedback on Regulatory T Cell Function

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Science  25 Mar 2010:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1186068

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T cell receptor (TCR)–dependent regulatory T cell (Treg) activity controls effector T cell (Teff) function and is inhibited by the inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). Protein kinase C-θ (PKC-θ) recruitment to the immunological synapse is required for full Teff activation. In contrast, PKC-θ was sequestered away from the Treg immunological synapse. Furthermore, PKC-θ blockade enhanced Treg function, demonstrating that PKC-θ inhibits Treg-mediated suppression. Inhibition of PKC-θ protected Treg from inactivation by TNF-α, restored activity of defective Treg from rheumatoid arthritis patients, and enhanced protection of mice from inflammatory colitis. Treg freed of PKC-θ–mediated inhibition can function in the presence of inflammatory cytokines and thus have therapeutic potential in control of inflammatory diseases.