Specific immunosuppression with inducible Foxp3-transduced polyclonal T cells

PLoS Biol. 2008 Nov 11;6(11):e276. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.0060276.


Forkhead box p3 (Foxp3)-expressing regulatory T cells are key mediators of peripheral tolerance suppressing undesirable immune responses. Ectopic expression of Foxp3 confers regulatory T cell phenotype to conventional T cells, lending itself to therapeutic use in the prevention of autoimmunity and transplant rejection. Here, we show that adoptive transfer of polyclonal, wild-type T cells transduced with an inducible form of Foxp3 (iFoxp3) can be used to suppress immune responses on demand. In contrast to Foxp3-transduced cells, iFoxp3-transduced cells home "correctly" into secondary lymphoid organs, where they expand and participate in immune responses. Upon induction of iFoxp3, the cells assume regulatory T cell phenotype and start to suppress the response they initially partook in without causing systemic immunosuppression. We used this approach to suppress collagen-induced arthritis, in which conventional Foxp3-transduced cells failed to show any effect. This provides us with a generally applicable strategy to specifically halt immune responses on demand without prior knowledge of the antigens involved.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Animals
  • Arthritis, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Arthritis, Experimental / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / virology*
  • Collagen / administration & dosage
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppression Therapy*
  • Leukemia Virus, Murine / genetics
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Mice, SCID
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • Transduction, Genetic*


  • FOXP3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Collagen