GARP Dampens Cancer Immunity by Sustaining Function and Accumulation of Regulatory T Cells in the Colon

Cancer Res. 2019 Mar 15;79(6):1178-1190. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-2623. Epub 2019 Jan 23.


Activated regulatory T (Treg) cells express the surface receptor glycoprotein-A repetitions predominant (GARP), which binds and activates latent TGFβ. How GARP modulates Treg function in inflammation and cancer remains unclear. Here we demonstrate that loss of GARP in Treg cells leads to spontaneous inflammation with highly activated CD4+ and CD8+ T cells and development of enteritis. Treg cells lacking GARP were unable to suppress pathogenic T-cell responses in multiple models of inflammation, including T-cell transfer colitis. GARP-/- Treg cells were significantly reduced in the gut and exhibited a reduction in CD103 expression, a colon-specific migratory marker. In the colitis-associated colon cancer model, GARP on Treg cells dampened immune surveillance, and mice with GARP-/- Treg cells exhibited improved antitumor immunity. Thus, GARP empowers the functionality of Treg cells and their tissue-specific accumulation, highlighting the importance of cell surface TGFβ in Treg function and GARP as a potential therapeutic target for colorectal cancer therapy.Significance: These findings uncover functions of membrane-bound TGFβ and GARP that tune the activity of Treg cells, highlighting a potential treatment strategy in autoimmune diseases and cancer.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Colitis / immunology*
  • Colitis / metabolism
  • Colitis / pathology
  • Colonic Neoplasms / immunology*
  • Colonic Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immune Tolerance / immunology*
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Jurkat Cells
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / pathology


  • Lrrc32 protein, mouse
  • Membrane Proteins