Control of regulatory T cell lineage commitment and maintenance

Immunity. 2009 May;30(5):616-25. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2009.04.009.


Foxp3-expressing regulatory T (Treg) cells suppress pathology mediated by immune responses against self and foreign antigens and commensal microorganisms. Sustained expression of the transcription factor Foxp3, a key distinguishing feature of Treg cells, is required for their differentiation and suppressor function. In addition, Foxp3 expression prevents deviation of Treg cells into effector T cell lineages and confers dependence of Treg cell survival and expansion on growth factors, foremost interleukin-2, provided by activated effector T cells. In this review we discuss Treg cell differentiation and maintenance with a particular emphasis on molecular regulation of Foxp3 expression, arguably a key to mechanistic understanding of biology of regulatory T cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology*
  • Cell Lineage*
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / immunology
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Protein Kinases / immunology
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / immunology*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / metabolism
  • Thymus Gland / immunology


  • Cytokines
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell
  • Protein Kinases