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A structurally distinct TGF-β mimic from an intestinal helminth parasite potently induces regulatory T cells

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  • Chris J C Johnston
  • Ravindra B. Kodali
  • Madeleine P.J. White
  • Yvonne Harcus
  • Cynthia S. Hinck
  • Andrea M. Kemter
  • Anna O. Kildemoes
  • Hannah Woodcock
  • Rachel C. Chambers
  • Andrew P. Hinck

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    Rights statement: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/. © The Author(s) 2017

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Original languageEnglish
Article number1741
Number of pages13
JournalNature Communications
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Nov 2017

Abstract

Helminth parasites defy immune exclusion through sophisticated evasion mechanisms, including activation of host immunosuppressive regulatory T (Treg) cells. The mouse parasite Heligmosomoides polygyrus can expand the host Treg population by secreting products that activate TGF-β signalling, but the identity of the active molecule is unknown. Here we identify an H. polygyrus TGF-β mimic (Hp-TGM) that replicates the biological and functional properties of TGF-β, including binding to mammalian TGF-β receptors and inducing mouse and human Foxp3+ Treg cells. Hp-TGM has no homology with mammalian TGF-β or other members of the TGF-β family, but is a member of the complement control protein superfamily. Thus, our data indicate that through convergent evolution, the parasite has acquired a protein with cytokine-like function that is able to exploit an endogenous pathway of immunoregulation in the host.

    Research areas

  • immune evasion, parasitic infection, regulatory T cells, transforming growth factor beta

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