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Blood. 2011 Sep 1;118(9):2462-72. doi: 10.1182/blood-2010-06-286393. Epub 2011 Apr 19.

Aire regulates the transfer of antigen from mTECs to dendritic cells for induction of thymic tolerance.

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  • 1Immunology Division, Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, Parkville, Australia.

Abstract

To investigate the role of Aire in thymic selection, we examined the cellular requirements for generation of ovalbumin (OVA)-specific CD4 and CD8 T cells in mice expressing OVA under the control of the rat insulin promoter. Aire deficiency reduced the number of mature single-positive OVA-specific CD4(+) or CD8(+) T cells in the thymus, independent of OVA expression. Importantly, it also contributed in 2 ways to OVA-dependent negative selection depending on the T-cell type. Aire-dependent negative selection of OVA-specific CD8 T cells correlated with Aire-regulated expression of OVA. By contrast, for OVA-specific CD4 T cells, Aire affected tolerance induction by a mechanism that operated independent of the level of OVA expression, controlling access of antigen presenting cells to medullary thymic epithelial cell (mTEC)-expressed OVA. This study supports the view that one mechanism by which Aire controls thymic negative selection is by regulating the indirect presentation of mTEC-derived antigens by thymic dendritic cells. It also indicates that mTECs can mediate tolerance by direct presentation of Aire-regulated antigens to both CD4 and CD8 T cells.

PMID:
21505196
DOI:
10.1182/blood-2010-06-286393
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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