Nature communications

MicroRNA-31 negatively regulates peripherally derived regulatory T-cell generation by repressing retinoic acid-inducible protein 3.

PMID 26165721


Peripherally derived regulatory T (pT(reg)) cell generation requires T-cell receptor (TCR) signalling and the cytokines TGF-β1 and IL-2. Here we show that TCR signalling induces the microRNA miR-31, which negatively regulates pT(reg)-cell generation. miR-31 conditional deletion results in enhanced induction of pT(reg) cells, and decreased severity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Unexpectedly, we identify Gprc5a as a direct target of miR-31. Gprc5a is known as retinoic acid-inducible protein 3, and its deficiency leads to impaired pT(reg-)cell induction and increased EAE severity. By generating miR-31 and Gprc5a double knockout mice, we show that miR-31 promotes the development of EAE through inhibiting Gprc5a. Thus, our data identify miR-31 and its target Gprc5a as critical regulators for pT(reg)-cell generation, suggesting a previously unrecognized epigenetic mechanism for dysfunctional T(reg) cells in autoimmune diseases.