Foxp3+ regulatory T cells: differentiation, specification, subphenotypes.

Department of Pathology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Nature Immunology (Impact Factor: 24.97). 08/2009; 10(7):689-95. DOI: 10.1038/ni.1760
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Regulatory T cells (T(reg) cells) characterized by expression of the transcription factor Foxp3 play a key role in immune homeostasis. Rather than a monomorphic population strictly determined by Foxp3 as a 'master regulator', the emerging view is one of T(reg) cells as a population with many levels of complexity. Several regulatory factors partake in the control of their transcriptional 'signature', with Foxp3 being a key regulator but insufficient and unnecessary to specify all aspects of the lineage. Distinct subphenotypes of Foxp3+ T(reg) cells are found in different anatomical locations. Some subphenotypes specifically control different facets of effector T cell function and, perhaps surprisingly, share transcriptional control elements with the very cells they regulate. This review will focus on these novel aspects of T(reg) cell diversity.

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