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Regulatory T (Treg) cells establish and maintain tolerance to self-antigens and many foreign antigens, such as allergens, by suppressing effector T-cell proliferation and function. We have previously shown that human T-cell receptor (TCR) αβ-chains specific for allergen-derived epitopes confer allergen specificity on peripheral blood T cells of individuals with and without allergy. To study the feasibility of generating allergen-specific human Treg cells by retroviral transduction of a transcription unit encoding forkhead box protein 3 (FOXP3) and allergen-specific TCR αβ-chains. cDNAs encoding the α and β-chains of a Bet v 1(142-153)-specific TCR (TCR alpha variable region 6/TCR beta variable region 20) and human FOXP3 were linked via picornaviral 2A sequences and expressed as single translational unit from an internal ribosomal entry site-green fluorescence protein-containing retroviral vector. Retrovirally transduced peripheral blood T cells were tested for expression of transgenes, Treg phenotype, and regulatory capacity toward allergen-specific effector T cells. Transduced T cells displayed a Treg phenotype with clear-cut upregulation of CD25, CD39, and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4. The transduced cells were hyporesponsive in cytokine production and secretion and, like naturally occurring Treg cells, did not proliferate after antigen-specific or antigen-mimetic stimulation. However, proliferation was inducible upon exposure to exogenous IL-2. In coculture experiments, TRAV6(+)TRBV20(+)FOXP3(+) transgenic T cells, unlike FOXP3(+) single transgenic T cells or naturally occurring Treg cells, highly significantly suppressed T cell cytokine production and proliferation of corresponding allergen-specific effector T cells in an allergen-specific, dose-dependent manner. We demonstrate a transgenic approach to engineer human allergen-specific Treg cells that exert their regulatory function in an activation-dependent manner. Customized Treg cells might become useful for tolerance induction therapies in individuals with allergic and other immune-mediated diseases. Copyright © 2010 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Published by Mosby, Inc. All rights reserved.


Klaus G Schmetterer, Daniela Haiderer, Victoria M Leb-Reichl, Alina Neunkirchner, Beatrice Jahn-Schmid, Hans J Küng, Karina Schuch, Peter Steinberger, Barbara Bohle, Winfried F Pickl. Bet v 1-specific T-cell receptor/forkhead box protein 3 transgenic T cells suppress Bet v 1-specific T-cell effector function in an activation-dependent manner. The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology. 2011 Jan;127(1):238-45, 245.e1-3

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PMID: 21211658

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