1,25-Dihyroxyvitamin D3 promotes FOXP3 expression via binding to vitamin D response elements in its conserved noncoding sequence region
Kang, S.W.; Kim, S.H.; Lee, N.; Lee, W.-W.; Hwang, K.-A.; Shin, M.S.; Lee, S.-H.; Kim, W.-U.; Kang, I.
Journal of Immunology 188(11): 5276-5282
ISSN/ISBN: 1550-6606 PMID: 22529297 DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1101211
FOXP3-positive regulatory T (Treg) cells are a unique subset of T cells with immune regulatory properties. Treg cells can be induced from non-Treg CD4(+) T cells (induced Treg [iTreg] cells) by TCR triggering, IL-2, and TGF-β or retinoic acid. 1,25-Dihyroxyvitamin D(3) [1,25(OH)(2)VD(3)] affects the functions of immune cells including T cells. 1,25(OH)(2)VD(3) binds the nuclear VD receptor (VDR) that binds target DNA sequences known as the VD response element (VDRE). Although 1,25(OH)(2)VD(3) can promote FOXP3 expression in CD4(+) T cells with TCR triggering and IL-2, it is unknown whether this effect of 1,25(OH)(2)VD(3) is mediated through direct binding of VDR to the FOXP3 gene without involving other molecules. Also, it is unclear whether FOXP3 expression in 1,25(OH)(2)VD(3)-induced Treg (VD-iTreg) cells is critical for the inhibitory function of these cells. In this study, we demonstrated the presence of VDREs in the intronic conserved noncoding sequence region +1714 to +2554 of the human FOXP3 gene and the enhancement of the FOXP3 promoter activity by such VDREs in response to 1,25(OH)(2)VD(3). Additionally, VD-iTreg cells suppressed the proliferation of target CD4(+) T cells and this activity was dependent on FOXP3 expression. These findings suggest that 1,25(OH)(2)VD(3) can affect human immune responses by regulating FOXP3 expression in CD4(+) T cells through direct VDR binding to the FOXP3 gene, which is essential for inhibitory function of VD-iTreg cells.