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Identifying Foxp3-expressing suppressor T cells with a bicistronic reporter.


Regulatory T cells are critical for maintaining self-tolerance and to negatively regulate immune responses. Foxp3 is a regulatory T cell-specific transcription factor that functions as the master regulator of the development and function of regulatory T cells. Here, we report the generation of a mouse model, in which a bicistronic reporter expressing a red fluorescent protein has been knocked into the endogenous Foxp3 locus. Using this mouse model, we assessed Foxp3 expression in various lymphocyte compartments and identified previously unreported Foxp3-expressing cells. In addition, we showed that de novo Foxp3 expression along with suppressive function were induced by TGF-beta in activated CD4 T cells in vitro. Finally, we demonstrated that non-Foxp3-expressing CD4 T cells could not be converted into Foxp3-expressing cells upon adoptive transfer into immunodeficient hosts. This Foxp3 bicistronic reporter knockin mouse model should greatly enhance the study of regulation and function of Foxp3-expressing regulatory T cells.

Pubmed ID: 15795373


  • Wan YY
  • Flavell RA


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Publication Data

April 5, 2005

Associated Grants

  • Agency: NIDDK NIH HHS, Id: R01 DK51665

Mesh Terms

  • Adoptive Transfer
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Reporter
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Luminescent Proteins
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Models, Animal
  • Models, Immunological
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Severe Combined Immunodeficiency
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta