Cutting Edge: c-Maf Is Required for Regulatory T Cells To Adopt RORγt+ and Follicular Phenotypes.
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) adopt specialized phenotypes defined by coexpression of lineage-defining transcription factors, such as RORγt, Bcl-6, or PPARγ, alongside Foxp3. These Treg subsets have unique tissue distributions and diverse roles in maintaining organismal homeostasis. However, despite extensive functional characterization, the factors driving Treg specialization are largely unknown. In this article, we show that c-Maf is a critical transcription factor regulating this process in mice, essential for generation of both RORγt+ Tregs and T follicular regulatory cells, but not for adipose-resident Tregs. c-Maf appears to function primarily in Treg specialization, because IL-10 production, expression of other effector molecules, and general immune homeostasis are not c-Maf dependent. As in other T cells, c-Maf is induced in Tregs by IL-6 and TGF-β, suggesting that a combination of inflammatory and tolerogenic signals promote c-Maf expression. Therefore, c-Maf is a novel regulator of Treg specialization, which may integrate disparate signals to facilitate environmental adaptation.
Wheaton, JD; Yeh, C-H; Ciofani, M
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