Foxp3+ regulatory T cells (Tregs) are a constitutively immunosuppressive cell type critical for the control of autoimmunity and inflammatory pathology. A range of mechanisms of Treg suppression have been identified and it has not always been clear how these different mechanisms interact in order to properly suppress autoimmunity and excessive inflammation. In recent years it has become clear that, while all Tregs seem to share some core suppressive mechanisms, they are also able to adapt to their surroundings in response to a variety of stimuli by homing to the sites of inflammation and exerting ancillary suppressive functions. In this review, we discuss the relevance and possible modes of Treg adaptability and put forward a modular model of Treg suppressive function. Understanding this flexibility may hold the key to understanding the full spectrum of Treg suppressive behavior.
Keywords: Tregs, suppression, transcription factors, adaptability, CTLA-4
Citation: Wing JB and Sakaguchi S (2012) Multiple Treg suppressive modules and their adaptability. Front. Immun. 3:178. doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2012.00178
Received: 13 April 2012; Paper pending published: 29 April 2012;
Accepted: 11 June 2012; Published online: 29 June 2012.
Edited by:Kendall A. Smith, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, USA
Reviewed by:Kendall A. Smith, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, USA
Copyright: © 2012 Wing and Sakaguchi. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.
*Correspondence: Shimon Sakaguchi, Department of Experimental Immunology, WPI Immunology Frontier Research Center, Osaka University, 3-1 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan. e-mail: email@example.com