Regulatory T cells (Tregs) control key events of immune tolerance, primarily by suppression of effector T cells. We previously revealed that Tregs rapidly suppress T cell receptor (TCR)-induced calcium store depletion in conventional CD4(+)CD25-T cells (Tcons) independently of IP3 levels, consequently inhibiting NFAT signaling and effector cytokine expression. Here, we study Treg suppression mechanisms through unbiased phosphoproteomics of primary human Tcons upon TCR stimulation and Treg-mediated suppression, respectively. Tregs induced a state of overall decreased phosphorylation as opposed to TCR stimulation. We discovered novel phosphosites (T595_S597) in the DEF6 (SLAT) protein that were phosphorylated upon TCR stimulation and conversely dephosphorylated upon coculture with Tregs. Mutation of these DEF6 phosphosites abrogated interaction of DEF6 with the IP3 receptor and affected NFAT activation and cytokine transcription in primary Tcons. This novel mechanism and phosphoproteomics data resource may aid in modifying sensitivity of Tcons to Treg-mediated suppression in autoimmune disease or cancer.
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King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, 1924 – 2015
Thuwal 23955-6900, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia