The factors that induce Foxp3 expression and regulatory T (Treg) cell development remain unknown. In this study, we investigated the role of STAT4 and STAT6 in agonist-driven generation of Ag-specific Foxp3-expressing Treg cells. Our findings indicate that fully efficient induction of Foxp3 expression and development of Ag-specific Treg cells requires the synergistic action of two signals: a TCR-mediated signal and a second signal mediated by STAT6. Indeed, by comparing the development of wild-type and STAT4- and STAT6-deficient hemagglutinin-specific T cells in the presence of hemagglutinin Ag, we found that the absence of STAT6 impaired the generation of Ag-specific CD4 +CD25+Foxp3+ cells. Moreover, in transgenic mice expressing a constitutively active form of STAT6, we found that the fraction of CD4+Foxp3+ cells exceeds that of control wild-type littermates. Overall these findings support a role for the STAT6 pathway in Treg cell development and maintenance.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy