The developmental programs that generate a broad repertoire of regulatory T cells (T reg cells) able to respond to both self antigens and non-self antigens remain unclear. Here we found that mature T reg cells were generated through two distinct developmental programs involving CD25 + T reg cell progenitors (CD25 + T reg P cells) and Foxp3 lo T reg cell progenitors (Foxp3 lo T reg P cells). CD25 + T reg P cells showed higher rates of apoptosis and interacted with thymic self antigens with higher affinity than did Foxp3 lo T reg P cells, and had a T cell antigen receptor repertoire and transcriptome distinct from that of Foxp3 lo T reg P cells. The development of both CD25 + T reg P cells and Foxp3 lo T reg P cells was controlled by distinct signaling pathways and enhancers. Transcriptomics and histocytometric data suggested that CD25 + T reg P cells and Foxp3 lo T reg P cells arose by coopting negative-selection programs and positive-selection programs, respectively. T reg cells derived from CD25 + T reg P cells, but not those derived from Foxp3 lo T reg P cells, prevented experimental autoimmune encephalitis. Our findings indicate that T reg cells arise through two distinct developmental programs that are both required for a comprehensive T reg cell repertoire capable of establishing immunotolerance.
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't