Nonredundant Function of Soluble LTα3 Produced by Innate Lymphoid Cells in Intestinal Homeostasis

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Science  06 Dec 2013:
Vol. 342, Issue 6163, pp. 1243-1246
DOI: 10.1126/science.1243364

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Innate lymphoid cells are vital for the development of gut-associated lymphoid tissues, maintenance of the epithelial barrier, and protection against intestinal microbes; their dysfunction can promote immune pathology. Immunoglobulin A (IgA) production is important for maintenance of the gut epithelial barrier and the composition of the gut microbiota. Through the generation of knockout mouse models, Kruglov et al. (p. 1243) were able to distinguish how soluble and membrane-bound lymphotoxins expressed by innate lymphoid cells in the gut specifically regulate IgA production and thereby control gut microbiota composition.


Immunoglobulin A (IgA) production at mucosal surfaces contributes to protection against pathogens and controls intestinal microbiota composition. However, mechanisms regulating IgA induction are not completely defined. We show that soluble lymphotoxin α (sLTα3) produced by RORγt+ innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) controls T cell–dependent IgA induction in the lamina propria via regulation of T cell homing to the gut. By contrast, membrane-bound lymphotoxin β (LTα1β2) produced by RORγt+ ILCs is critical for T cell–independent IgA induction in the lamina propria via control of dendritic cell functions. Ablation of LTα in RORγt+ cells abrogated IgA production in the gut and altered microbiota composition. Thus, soluble and membrane-bound lymphotoxins produced by ILCs distinctly organize adaptive immune responses in the gut and control commensal microbiota composition.

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