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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Feb 1;108(5):2010-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1018974108. Epub 2011 Jan 13.

CD8+ T regulatory cells express the Ly49 Class I MHC receptor and are defective in autoimmune prone B6-Yaa mice.

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Department of Cancer Immunology and AIDS, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


The immune system includes a subpopulation of CD8(+) T cells equipped to inhibit the expansion of follicular T helper (T(FH)) cells, resulting in suppression of autoantibody production and associated lupus-like disease. These CD8(+) T regulatory (Treg) cells recognize Qa-1/peptide complexes on target T(FH) cells and depend on the IL-15 cytokine for development and function. Here we show that these CD8(+) Treg cells express a triad of surface receptors--CD44, CD122, and the class I MHC receptor Ly49--and account for <5% of CD8(+) T cells. Moreover, the development of systemic lupus erythematosus-like disease in B6-Yaa mutant mice is associated with a pronounced defect in CD8(+) Treg cell activity, suggesting that this regulatory subset may represent an effective therapeutic approach to systemic lupus erythematosus-like autoimmune disease.

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