FOXP3: Master Regulatory Transcriptional Factor

Thu, 09/13/2012 - 12:23

FOXP3, a forkhead family transcription factor specially expressed in regulatory T (Treg) cells, controls the expression of many key immune-regulatory genes. Treg cells are a population of T lymphocytes that have critical roles in the immune system homeostasis and tolerance to self and foreign antigens, the body's response to cancer and infectious agents. The transcription factor Foxp3 is crucial for Treg differentiation and function, and various Foxp3 mutations, both in scurfy mice and IPEX (immune dysregulation polyendocrinopathy, enteropathy, X chromosome-linked syndrome) patients, result in the development of complex autoimmune diseases, resulting from Treg deficiency (1). However, FOXP3 is also expressed in activated conventional human T cells, it was found that FOXP3 expression patterns in Treg and activated T cells are at cellular level.

Immunocytochemistry/Immunofluorescence: FOXP3 Antibody

Upon activation, human CD4(+) CD25(-) T cells expressed FOXP3 mainly in the cytoplasm, in sharp contrast to human CD4(+) CD25(+) Treg cells as determined by Immunohistochemistry using anti-FOXP3 antibodies (2). Available data suggests that FOXP3, is a master regulatory transcription factor and plays a central role in immune regulation mediated by FOXP3+ Treg cells. FOXP3 transcription, expression, modification and function require strict and precise regulation, understanding these molecular mechanisms in the context of the flexibility and plasticity of FOXP3+ Treg cells would therefore provide us with novel tools for the therapeutic modulation of Treg cell function to treat immune diseases, such as autoimmunity, infectious disease, allergy and cancer (3).

  1. PMID: 11137992
  2. PMID: 22678915
  3. PMID: 22048454

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