Spectrum of Treg and self-reactive T cells: single cell perspectives from old friend HTLV-1

by | Jun 12, 2024 | Publications

Discov Immunol. 2024 May 13;3(1):kyae006. doi: 10.1093/discim/kyae006. eCollection 2024.


Despite extensive regulatory T cell (Treg) research, fundamental questions on in vivo dynamics remain to be answered. The current study aims to dissect several interwoven concepts in Treg biology, highlighting the ‘self-reactivity’ of Treg and their counterparts, namely naturally-arising memory-phenotype T-cells, as a key mechanism to be exploited by a human retroviral infection. We propose the novel key concept, Periodic T cell receptor (TCR)-signalled T-cells, capturing self-reactivity in a quantifiable manner using the Nr4a3-Timer-of-cell-kinetics-and-activity (Tocky) technology. Periodic and brief TCR signals in self-reactive T-cells contrast with acute TCR signals during inflammation. Thus, we propose a new two-axis model for T-cell activation by the two types of TCR signals or antigen recognition, elucidating how Foxp3 expression and acute TCR signals actively regulate Periodic TCR-signalled T-cells. Next, we highlight an underappreciated branch of immunological research on Human T-cell Leukemia Virus type 1 (HTLV-1) that precedes Treg studies, illuminating the missing link between the viral infection, CD25, and Foxp3. Based on evidence by single-cell analysis, we show how the viral infection exploits the regulatory mechanisms for T-cell activation and suggests a potential role of periodic TCR signalling in infection and malignant transformation. In conclusion, the new perspectives and models in this study provide a working framework for investigating Treg within the self-reactive T-cell spectrum, expected to advance understanding of HTLV-1 infection, cancer, and immunotherapy strategies for these conditions.

PMID:38863793 | PMC:PMC11165433 | DOI:10.1093/discim/kyae006

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