Control of Germinal Center Localization and Lineage Stability of Follicular Regulatory T Cells by the Blimp1 Transcription Factor

Academic Article


  • Follicular regulatory T (TFR) cells are a specialized suppressive subset that controls the germinal center (GC) response and maintains humoral self-tolerance. The mechanisms that maintain TFR lineage identity and suppressive activity remain largely unknown. Here, we show that expression of Blimp1 by FoxP3+ TFR cells is essential for TFR lineage stability, entry into the GC, and expression of regulatory activity. Deletion of Blimp1 in TFR cells reduced FoxP3 and CTLA-4 expression and increased pro-inflammatory cytokines and spontaneous production of autoantibodies, including elevated IgE. Maintenance of TFR stability reflected Blimp1-dependent repression of the IL-23R-STAT3 axis and activation of the CD25-STAT5 pathway, while silenced IL-23R-STAT3 or increased STAT5 activation rescued the Blimp1-deficient TFR phenotype. Blimp1-dependent control of CXCR5/CCR7 expression also regulated TFR homing into the GC. These findings uncover a Blimp1-dependent TFR checkpoint that enforces suppressive activity and acts as a gatekeeper of GC entry.
  • Published In

  • Cell Reports  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Wang L; Shen E; Luo L; Rabe H; Wang Q; Yin J; Yang X; Liu W; Sido JM; Nakagawa H
  • Start Page

  • 1848
  • End Page

  • 1861.e6
  • Volume

  • 29
  • Issue

  • 7