SOSTDC1-producing follicular helper T cells promote regulatory follicular T cell differentiation

Thursday, August 20, 2020 - 13:01 in Biology & Nature

Germinal center (GC) responses potentiate the generation of follicular regulatory T (TFR) cells. However, the molecular cues driving TFR cell formation remain unknown. Here, we show that sclerostin domain-containing protein 1 (SOSTDC1), secreted by a subpopulation of follicular helper T (TFH) cells and T–B cell border–enriched fibroblastic reticular cells, is developmentally required for TFR cell generation. Fate tracking and transcriptome assessment in reporter mice establishes SOSTDC1-expressing TFH cells as a distinct T cell population that develops after SOSTDC1– TFH cells and loses the ability to help B cells for antibody production. Notably, Sostdc1 ablation in TFH cells results in substantially reduced TFR cell numbers and consequently elevated GC responses. Mechanistically, SOSTDC1 blocks the WNT–β-catenin axis and facilitates TFR cell differentiation.

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