Forkhead box P3 (FOXP3) is constitutively expressed by CD4 +CD25hi regulatory T cells (nTregs). Mutations of FOXP3 cause a severe autoimmune syndrome known as immune dysregulation polyendocrinopathy enteropathy X-linked, in which nTregs are absent or dysfunctional. Whether FOXP3 is essential for both differentiation and function of human nTreg cells remains to be demonstrated. Because FOXP3 is an X-linked gene subject to X-chromosome inactivation (XCI), we studied 9 healthy female carriers of FOXP3 mutations to investigate the role of wild-type (WT) versus mutated FOXP3 in different cell subsets. Analysis of active WT versus mutated (mut) - FOXP3 allele distribution revealed a random pattern of XCI in peripheral blood lymphocytes and in naive and memory CD4+ T cells, whereas nTregs expressed only the active WT-FOXP3. These data demonstrate that expression of WTFOXP3 is indispensable for the presence of a normal nTreg compartment and suggest that FOXP3 is not necessary for effector T-cell differentiation in humans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology