International journal of molecular sciences

Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) downregulates the cell surface expression of the CD4 molecule.

PMID 23109825


Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) has been implicated in preventing the fetus from undergoing maternal T cell-mediated immune responses, yet the mechanism underlying these kinds of IDO-mediated immune responses has not been fully elucidated. Since the CD4 molecule plays a central role in the onset and regulation of antigen-specific immune responses, and T cell is sensitive in the absence of tryptophan, we hypothesize that IDO may reduce cell surface CD4 expression. To test this hypothesis, an adenoviral vector-based construct IDO-EGFP was generated and the effect of IDO-EGFP on CD4 expression was determined on recombinant adenoviral infected C8166 and MT-2 cells, by flow cytometry and/or Western blot analysis. The results revealed a significant downregulation of cell membrane CD4 in pAd-IDOEGFP infected cells when compared to that of mock-infected cells or infection with empty vector pAd-EGFP. Further experiments disclosed that either an addition of tryptophan or IDO inhibitor could partly restore CD4 expression in pAd-IDOEGFP infected C8166 cells. Our findings suggest that downregulation of CD4 by IDO might be one of the mechanisms through which IDO regulates T cell-mediated immune responses.