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Cell Mol Immunol. 2012 Mar;9(2):136-46. doi: 10.1038/cmi.2011.62. Epub 2012 Feb 6.

Trogocytosis of CD80 and CD86 by induced regulatory T cells.

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University of Toronto Transplant Institute, Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Trogocytosis is a process which involves the transfer of membrane fragments and cell surface proteins between cells. Various types of T cells have been shown to be able to acquire membrane-bound proteins from antigen-presenting cells and their functions can be modulated following trogocytosis. However, it is not known whether induced regulatory T cells (iTregs) can undergo trogocytosis, and if so, what the functional consequences of this process might entail. In this study, we show that iTregs can be generated from CD80(-/-)CD86(-/-) double knockout (DKO) mice. Using flow cytometry and confocal fluorescence microscopy, we demonstrate that iTregs generated from DKO mice are able to acquire both CD80 and CD86 from mature dendritic cells (mDCs) and that the acquisition of CD86 occurs to a higher extent than that of CD80. Furthermore, we found that after co-incubation with iTregs, dendritic cells (DCs) downregulate their surface expression of CD80 and CD86. The trogocytosis of both CD80 and CD86 occurs in a cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen-4 (CTLA-4), CD28 and programmed death ligand-1 (PDL1)-independent manner. Importantly, we showed that iTregs that acquired CD86 from mDCs expressed higher activation markers and their ability to suppress naive CD4(+) T-cell proliferation was enhanced, compared to iTregs that did not acquire CD86. These data demonstrate, for the first time, that iTregs can acquire CD80 and CD86 from mDCs, and the acquisition of CD86 may enhance their suppressive function. These findings provide novel understanding of the interaction between iTregs and DCs, suggesting that trogocytosis may play a significant role in iTreg-mediated immune suppression.

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