Thrombospondin-1-dependent immune regulation by transforming growth factor-β2-exposed antigen-presenting cells

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An important role of transforming growth factor-β(TGF-β) in the development of regulatory T cells is well established. Although integrin-mediated activation of latent TGF-β1 is considered essential for the induction of regulatory T (Treg) cells by antigen-presenting cells (APCs), such an activation mechanism is not applicable to the TGF-β2 isoform, which lacks an integrin-binding RGD sequence in its latency-associated peptide. Mucosal and ocular tissues harbour TGF-β2-expressing APCs involved in Treg induction. The mechanisms that regulate TGF-βactivation in such APCs remain unclear. In this study, we demonstrate that murine APCs exposed to TGF-β2 in the environment predominantly increase expression of TGF-β2. Such predominantly TGF-β2-expressing APCs use thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1) as an integrin-independent mechanism to activate their newly synthesized latent TGF-β2 to induce Foxp3+ Treg cells bothin vitroandin vivo. Expression of Treg induction by TGF-β2-expressing APCs is supported by a TSP-1 receptor, CD36, which facilitates activation of latent TGF-βduring antigen presentation. Our results suggest that APC-derived TSP-1 is essential for the development of an adaptive regulatory immune response induced by TGF-β2-expressing APCs similar to those located at mucosal and ocular sites. These findings introduce the integrin-independent mechanism of TGF-βactivation as an integral part of peripheral immune tolerance associated with TGF-β2-expressing tissues.

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