T(reg) stability: to be or not to be

Curr Opin Immunol. 2016 Apr;39:39-43. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2015.12.009. Epub 2016 Jan 15.


Regulatory T cell (T(reg)) stability has been primarily determined by the maintained expression of the transcription factor Forkhead box P3 (Foxp3). However, T(regs) can exhibit instability while maintaining Foxp3 expression, requiring a re-examination of what defines T(reg) stability. Recent work suggests that the establishment and stability of T(regs) is mediated by a number of mechanisms besides Foxp3 expression, such as epigenetic modifications, Foxo1/3a localization, expression of Eos and signaling via Neuropilin-1. Additional studies may help to define approaches that can undermine T(reg) stability in cancer or enhance T(reg) stability in transplantation, autoimmune or inflammatory diseases and therefore have substantial therapeutic utility. In this review, we will discuss how T(reg) stability is defined and the mechanisms utilized to maintain stability.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*


  • FOXP3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors