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J Immunol. 2013 Feb 15;190(4):1540-50. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1201908. Epub 2013 Jan 14.

Cloning, expression, and functional characterization of TL1A-Ig.

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  • 1Sheila and David Fuente Program in Cancer Biology, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, Miami, FL 33101, USA.


TNF superfamily member 15 (TL1A) is the ligand for TNFR superfamily (TNFRSF)25. We previously reported that TNFRSF25 stimulation with an agonist Ab, 4C12, expands pre-existing CD4(+)Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs) in vivo. To determine how the physiological ligand differs from the Ab, we generated a soluble mouse TL1A-Ig fusion protein that forms a dimer of TL1A trimers in solution with an apparent molecular mass of 516 kDa. In vitro, TL1A-Ig mediated rapid proliferation of Foxp3(+) Tregs and a population of CD4(+)Foxp3(-) conventional T cells. TL1A-Ig also blocked de novo biogenesis of inducible Tregs and it attenuated the suppressive function of Tregs. TNFRSF25 stimulation by TL1A-Ig in vivo induced expansion of Tregs such that they increased to 30-35% of all CD4(+) T cells in the peripheral blood within 5 d of treatment. Treg proliferation in vivo was dependent on TCR engagement with MHC class II. Elevated Treg levels can be maintained for at least 20 d with daily injections of TL1A-Ig. TL1A-Ig-expanded Tregs expressed high levels of activation/memory markers KLRG1 and CD103 and were highly suppressive ex vivo. TL1A-Ig-mediated Treg expansion in vivo was protective against allergic lung inflammation, a mouse model for asthma, by reversing the ratio of conventional T cells to Tregs in the lung and blocking eosinophil exudation into the bronchoalveolar fluid. Thus, TL1A-Ig fusion proteins are highly active and tightly controllable agents to stimulate Treg proliferation in vivo, and they are uniquely able to maintain high levels of expanded Tregs by repeated administration.

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