Research ArticleMUCOSAL IMMUNOLOGY

Diet modulates colonic T cell responses by regulating the expression of a Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron antigen

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Science Immunology  08 Feb 2019:
Vol. 4, Issue 32, eaau9079
DOI: 10.1126/sciimmunol.aau9079

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Dietary modulation of T cell immunity

Commensal intestinal bacteria respond to dietary changes by modifying gene expression, leading to shifts in the levels of bacterial antigens encountered by the intestinal immune system. Wegorzewska et al. developed a mouse model system to investigate whether CD4+ T cell recognition of protein antigens of the gut symbiont Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron is subject to dietary modulation. TCR transgenic T cells for an outer membrane vesicle protein differentiated into both regulatory and effector T cells, with colitis emerging after selective regulatory T cell depletion. Dietary glucose was observed to strongly repress the T cell–detected antigen. These findings suggest that dietary modifications that reduce expression of immunodominant antigens targeted by T cells could help ameliorate some forms of human inflammatory bowel disease.