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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Aug 11;106(32):13445-50. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0901944106. Epub 2009 Jul 27.

GARP (LRRC32) is essential for the surface expression of latent TGF-beta on platelets and activated FOXP3+ regulatory T cells.

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Laboratory of Immunology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


TGF-beta family members are highly pleiotropic cytokines with diverse regulatory functions. TGF-beta is normally found in the latent form associated with latency-associated peptide (LAP). This latent complex can associate with latent TGFbeta-binding protein (LTBP) to produce a large latent form. Latent TGF-beta is also found on the surface of activated FOXP3(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs), but it is unclear how it is anchored to the cell membrane. We show that GARP or LRRC32, a leucine-rich repeat molecule of unknown function, is critical for tethering TGF-beta to the cell surface. We demonstrate that platelets and activated Tregs co-express latent TGF-beta and GARP on their membranes. The knockdown of GARP mRNA with siRNA prevented surface latent TGF-beta expression on activated Tregs and recombinant latent TGF-beta1 is able to bind directly with GARP. Confocal microscopy and immunoprecipitation strongly support their interactions. The role of TGF-beta on Tregs appears to have dual functions, both for Treg-mediated suppression and infectious tolerance mechanism.

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