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Semin Immunol. 2011 Dec;23(6):446-52. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2011.06.001.

Regulation of self-tolerance by Qa-1-restricted CD8(+) regulatory T cells.

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  • 1Department of Cancer Immunology & AIDS, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, 450 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA.


Mounting an efficient immune response to pathogens while avoiding damage to host tissues is the central task of the immune system. Emerging evidence has highlighted the contribution of the CD8(+) lineage of regulatory T cells to the maintenance of self-tolerance. Specific recognition of the MHC class Ib molecule Qa-1 complexed to peptides expressed by activated CD4(+) T cells by regulatory CD8(+) T cells triggers an inhibitory interaction that prevents autoimmune responses. Conversely, defective Qa-1-restricted CD8(+) regulatory activity can result in development of systemic autoimmune disease. Here, we review recent research into the cellular and molecular basis of these regulatory T cells, their mechanism of suppressive activity and the potential application of these insights into new treatments for autoimmune disease and cancer.

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