Dr. Marleis Meisel,PhD., Assistant Professor in the Department of Immunology and former PLRC Pilot & Feasibility grant awardee, coauthored a manuscript in Nature Immunology entitled, “IFNγ-induction of TH1-like regulatory T cells controls antiviral responses”, which was an extension of her P&F project.
Gocher-Demske, A.M., Cui, J., Szymczak-Workman, A.L. et al. IFNγ-induction of TH1-like regulatory T cells controls antiviral responses. Nat Immunol (2023). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41590-023-01453-w
Regulatory T (Treg) cells are an immunosuppressive population that are required to maintain peripheral tolerance and prevent tissue damage from immunopathology, via anti-inflammatory cytokines, inhibitor receptors and metabolic disruption. Here we show that Treg cells acquire an effector-like state, yet remain stable and functional, when exposed to interferon gamma (IFNγ) during infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis and influenza A virus. Treg cell-restricted deletion of the IFNγ receptor (encoded by Ifngr1), but not the interleukin 12 (IL12) receptor (encoded by Il12rb2), prevented TH1-like polarization (decreased expression of T-bet, CXC motif chemokine receptor 3 and IFNγ) and promoted TH2-like polarization (increased expression of GATA-3, CCR4 and IL4). TH1-like Treg cells limited CD8+ T cell effector function, proliferation and memory formation during acute and chronic infection. These findings provide fundamental insights into how Treg cells sense inflammatory cues from the environment (such as IFNγ) during viral infection to provide guidance to the effector immune response. This regulatory circuit prevents prolonged immunoinflammatory responses and shapes the quality and quantity of the memory T cell response.