Foxp3+ CD25+ regulatory T cells specific for a neo-self-antigen develop at the double-positive thymic stage

Julie Cabarrocas, Cécile Cassan, Fay Magnusson, Eliane Piaggio, Lennart Mars, Jens Derbinski, Bruno Kyewski, David Alexandre Gross, Benoit L. Salomon, Khashayarsha Khazaie, Abdelhadi Saoudi, Roland S. Liblau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Thymus-derived regulatory T cells (Tregs) expressing CD4, CD25, and the transcription factor Foxp3 play major roles in preventing autoimmunity. The Treg population is enriched in T cells expressing high-avidity self-reactive T cell receptors, and thymic epithelial cells expressing self-antigens (Ag) have been implicated in their induction and/or selection. However, the thymic selection events leading to Treg lineage commitment remain unclear. We followed the thymic development of self-Ag-specific Tregs in double-transgenic mice coexpressing a neo-self-Ag, hemagglutinin (HA) under the control of a neural tissue-specific promoter, and a transgenic class II-restricted T cell antigen receptor specific for HA111-119. Our data show that the promiscuous expression of the HA transgene in thymic epithelial cells is involved in the selective induction and/or expansion of HA-specific Foxp3+ Treg thymic precursors as early as the double-positive stage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8453-8458
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number22
StatePublished - May 30 2006


  • Autoimmunity
  • Immune tolerance
  • Nervous system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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