Regulatory T cells (Treg cells) inhibit effector T cells and maintain immune system homeostasis. Treg cell maturation in peripheral sites requires inhibition of protein kinase mTORC1 and TGF-beta-1 (TGF-beta). While Treg cell maturation requires protein synthesis, mTORC1 inhibition downregulates it, leaving unanswered how Treg cells achieve essential mRNA translation for development and immune suppression activity. Using human CD4+ T cells differentiated in culture and genome-wide transcription and translation profiling, here we report that TGF-beta transcriptionally reprograms naive T cells to express Treg cell differentiation and immune suppression mRNAs, while mTORC1 inhibition impairs translation of T cell mRNAs but not those induced by TGF-beta. Rather than canonical mTORC1/eIF4E/eIF4G translation, Treg cell mRNAs utilize the eIF4G homolog DAP5 and initiation factor eIF3d in a non-canonical translation mechanism that requires cap-dependent binding by eIF3d directed by Treg cell mRNA 5' noncoding regions. Silencing DAP5 in isolated human naive CD4+ T cells impairs their differentiation into Treg cells. Treg cell differentiation is mediated by mTORC1 downregulation and TGF-beta transcriptional reprogramming that establishes a DAP5/eIF3d-selective mechanism of mRNA translation.
© 2021. The Author(s).