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Immunity. 2008 Mar;28(3):402-13. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2008.01.012. Epub 2008 Mar 6.

Neuropilin-1 expression on regulatory T cells enhances their interactions with dendritic cells during antigen recognition.

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Medical Research Council, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Hills Road, Cambridge CB2 0QH, UK.


The interaction of T cells with dendritic cells (DCs) determines whether an immune response is launched or not. Recognition of antigen leads to formation of immunological synapses at the interface between the cells. The length of interaction is likely to determine the functional outcome, because it limits the number of MHC class II-peptide complexes that can be recruited into the synapse. Here, we show that regulatory T (Treg) cells and naive helper T (Th) cells interact differently with DCs in the absence of proinflammatory stimuli. Although differences in T cell receptor repertoire might contribute, Foxp3-induced phenotypic differences play a major role. We found that Neuropilin-1 (Nrp-1), which is expressed by most Treg cells but not naive Th cells, promoted prolonged interactions with immature DCs (iDCs), resulting in higher sensitivity to limiting amounts of antigen. This is likely to give Treg cells an advantage over naive Th cells, with the same specificity leading to a "default" suppression of immune responses in the absence of "danger signals."

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