Autoimmunity is largely prevented by medullary thymic epithelial cells (TECs) through their expression and presentation of tissue-specific Ags to developing thymocytes, resulting in deletion of self-reactive T cells and supporting regulatory T cell development. The transcription factor Prdm1 has been implicated in autoimmune diseases in humans through genome-wide association studies and in mice using cell type-specific deletion of Prdm1 in T and dendritic cells. In this article, we demonstrate that Prdm1 functions in TECs to prevent autoimmunity in mice. Prdm1 is expressed by a subset of mouse TECs, and conditional deletion of Prdm1 in either Keratin 14- or Foxn1-expressing cells in mice resulted in multisymptom autoimmune pathology. Notably, the development of Foxp3+ regulatory T cells occurs normally in the absence of Blimp1. Importantly, nude mice developed anti-nuclear Abs when transplanted with Prdm1 null TECs, but not wild-type TECs, indicating that Prdm1 functions in TECs to regulate autoantibody production. We show that Prdm1 acts independently of Aire, a crucial transcription factor implicated in medullary TEC function. Collectively, our data highlight a previously unrecognized role for Prdm1 in regulating thymic epithelial function.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors.