CD25 and protein phosphatase 2A cooperate to enhance IL-2R signaling in human regulatory T cells

Ying Ding, Aixin Yu, George C. Tsokos, Thomas R. Malek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Low-dose IL-2 therapy is a direct approach to boost regulatory T cells (Tregs) and promote immune tolerance in autoimmune patients. However, the mechanisms responsible for selective response of Tregs to low-dose IL-2 is not fully understood. In this study we directly assessed the contribution of CD25 and protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) in promoting IL-2R signaling in Tregs. IL-2-induced tyrosine phosphorylation of STAT5 (pSTAT5) was proportional to CD25 levels on human CD4+ T cells and YT human NK cell line, directly demonstrating that CD25 promotes IL-2R signaling. Overexpression of the PP2A catalytic subunit (PP2Ac) by lentiviral transduction in human Tregs increased the level of IL-2R subunits and promoted tyrosine phosphorylation of Jak3 and STAT5. Interestingly, increased expression of CD25 only partially accounted for this enhanced activation of pSTAT5, indicating that PP2A promotes IL-2R signaling through multiple mechanisms. Consistent with these findings, knockdown of PP2Ac in human Tregs and impaired PP2Ac activity in mouse Tregs significantly reduced IL-2-dependent STAT5 activation. In contrast, overexpression or knockdown of PP2Ac in human T effector cells did not affect IL-2-dependent pSTAT5 activation. Overexpression of PP2Ac in human Tregs also increased the expressions of proteins related to survival, activation, and immunosuppressive function, and upregulated several IL-2-regulated genes. Collectively, these findings suggest that CD25 and PP2A cooperatively enhance the responsiveness of Tregs to IL-2, which provide potential therapeutic targets for low-dose IL-2 therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-104
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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