Mechanisms of suppression by suppressor T cells

Nat Immunol. 2005 Apr;6(4):338-44. doi: 10.1038/ni1180.


Mechanisms of immunosuppression by CD4(+)CD25(+) suppressor T cells have been addressed using many in vitro and in vivo conditions. However, those studies have not yielded a single mode of action. This review will discuss the mechanisms of suppression, which include the local secretion of cytokines such as TGF-beta and direct cell contact through binding of cell surface molecules such as CTLA-4 on suppressor T cells to CD80 and CD86 molecules on effector T cells. Suppression requires the appropriate colocalization of suppressor and effector T cells in different tissue and may involve the interference with T cell receptor signaling that triggers transcription factors important in regulating effector cell function.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens, CD / immunology
  • Antigens, Differentiation / immunology
  • CTLA-4 Antigen
  • Granzymes
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-2 / immunology
  • Membrane Glycoproteins / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Perforin
  • Pore Forming Cytotoxic Proteins
  • Serine Endopeptidases / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / immunology


  • Antigens, CD
  • Antigens, Differentiation
  • CTLA-4 Antigen
  • CTLA4 protein, human
  • Ctla4 protein, mouse
  • Interleukin-2
  • Membrane Glycoproteins
  • Pore Forming Cytotoxic Proteins
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Perforin
  • Granzymes
  • Serine Endopeptidases
  • GZMA protein, human