IL-2R signaling is essential for regulatory T cell (Treg) function. However, the precise contribution of IL-2 during Treg thymic development, peripheral homeostasis and lineage stability remains unclear. Here we show that IL-2R signaling is required by thymic Tregs at an early step for expansion and survival, and a later step for functional maturation. Using inducible, conditional deletion of CD25 in peripheral Tregs, we also find that IL-2R signaling is indispensable for Treg homeostasis, whereas Treg lineage stability is largely IL-2-independent. CD25 knockout peripheral Tregs have increased apoptosis, oxidative stress, signs of mitochondrial dysfunction, and reduced transcription of key enzymes of lipid and cholesterol biosynthetic pathways. A divergent IL-2R transcriptional signature is noted for thymic Tregs versus peripheral Tregs. These data indicate that IL-2R signaling in the thymus and the periphery leads to distinctive effects on Treg function, while peripheral Treg survival depends on a non-conventional mechanism of metabolic regulation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)