Individual intestinal symbionts induce a distinct population of RORγ+ regulatory T cells

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Science  13 Aug 2015:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa9420

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T regulatory cells that express the transcription factor Foxp3 (Foxp3+ Treg) promote tissue homeostasis in several settings. We now report that symbiotic members of the human gut microbiota induce a distinct Treg population in the mouse colon, which constrains immuno-inflammatory responses. This induction—which we find to map to a broad, but specific, array of individual bacterial species—requires the transcription factor Rorγ, paradoxically, in that Rorγ is thought to antagonize FoxP3 and to promote T helper 17 (TH17) cell differentiation. Rorγ’s transcriptional footprint differs in colonic Tregs and TH17 cells and controls important effector molecules. Rorγ, and the Tregs that express it, contribute substantially to regulating colonic TH1/TH17 inflammation. Thus, the marked context-specificity of Rorγ results in very different outcomes even in closely related cell-types.

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