Identification of a previously unknown antigen-specific regulatory T cell and its mechanism of suppression

Nat Med. 2000 Jul;6(7):782-9. doi: 10.1038/77513.


Despite increasing evidence for the existence of antigen-specific regulatory T cells, the mechanisms underlying suppression remain unclear. In this study we have identified and cloned a novel subset of antigen-specific regulatory T cells and demonstrated that these T cells possess a unique combination of cell surface markers and array of cytokines. The regulatory T cells are able to inhibit the function of T cells carrying the same T-cell receptor specificity and prevent skin allograft rejection in an antigen-specific, dose-dependent manner. The regulatory T cells are able to acquire alloantigen from antigen-presenting cells, present the alloantigen to activated syngeneic CD8+ T cells and then send death signals to CD8+ T cells. These findings provide a novel mechanism of regulatory T-cell-mediated, antigen-specific suppression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Cell Death
  • Graft Survival / immunology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / immunology*
  • Immune Tolerance / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Models, Immunological
  • Signal Transduction
  • Skin Transplantation / immunology*
  • Spleen / immunology
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • fas Receptor


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • fas Receptor