The death receptor Fas removes activated lymphocytes through apoptosis. Previous transcriptional profiling predicted that Fas positively regulates interleukin-17 (IL-17)-producing T helper 17 (Th17) cells. Here, we demonstrate that Fas promoted the generation and stability of Th17 cells and prevented their differentiation into Th1 cells. Mice with T-cell- and Th17-cell-specific deletion of Fas were protected from induced autoimmunity, and Th17 cell differentiation and stability were impaired. Fas-deficient Th17 cells instead developed a Th1-cell-like transcriptional profile, which a new algorithm predicted to depend on STAT1. Experimentally, Fas indeed bound and sequestered STAT1, and Fas deficiency enhanced IL-6-induced STAT1 activation and nuclear translocation, whereas deficiency of STAT1 reversed the transcriptional changes induced by Fas deficiency. Thus, our computational and experimental approach identified Fas as a regulator of the Th17-to-Th1 cell balance by controlling the availability of opposing STAT1 and STAT3 to have a direct impact on autoimmunity.
How tissue-resident macrophages (TRM) impact adaptive immune responses remains poorly understood. We report novel mechanisms by which TRMs regulate T cell activities at tissue sites. These mechanisms are mediated by the complement receptor of immunoglobulin family (CRIg). Using animal models for autoimmune type 1 diabetes (T1D), we found that CRIg+ TRMs formed a protective barrier surrounding pancreatic islets. Genetic ablation of CRIg exacerbated islet inflammation and local T cell activation. CRIg exhibited a dual function of attenuating early T cell activation and promoting the differentiation of Foxp3+ regulatory (Treg) cells. More importantly, CRIg stabilized the expression of Foxp3 in Treg cells, by enhancing their responsiveness to interleukin-2. The expression of CRIg in TRMs was postnatally regulated by gut microbial signals and metabolites. Thus, environmental cues instruct TRMs to express CRIg, which functions as an immune checkpoint molecule to regulate adaptive immunity and promote immune tolerance.