SAMHD1 posttranscriptionally controls the expression of Foxp3 and helios in human T regulatory cells

Yong Chan Kim, Kee Kwang Kim, Jeongheon Yoon, David W. Scott*, Ethan M. Shevach

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Clinical application of Ag-specific T regulatory cells (Tregs) offers promise for the treatment of undesirable immune diseases. To achieve this goal, long-term expansion of Tregs is required to obtain sufficient numbers of cells. However, human Tregs are not stable ex vivo. Therefore, we previously developed an innovative Treg expansion protocol using 25mer-phosphorothioated random oligonucleotides (ODNps25). The addition of ODNps25 successfully resulted in the stabilization of engineered Ag-specific Tregs; however, the mechanism is not fully characterized. We first identified sterile a motif histidine-aspartate-domain containing protein 1 (SAMHD1) as an ODNps25-binding protein using a UV-cross-linking pull-down strategy. SAMHD1 physically interacted with the 39 untranslated region of Foxp3 mRNA and was translocated from nucleus to cytoplasm after ODNps25 treatment. Importantly, addition of ODNps25 enhanced the interaction of SAMHD1 and Foxp3 mRNA significantly, and this interaction was increased by TCR stimulation. Because ODNps25 binds to the nuclease (HD) domain of SAMHD1, we then established that overexpression of a dNTPase-deficient mutant (D137N) in Tregs significantly stabilized the expression level of the Foxp3 protein. Furthermore, we found that TCR stimulation upregulates phosphorylation of the threonine residue (Thr592), which is a regulatory site to control SAMHD1 activity, and phosphorylation of Thr592 is critical to control SAMHD1 activity to stabilize the expression of Foxp3 and Helios in Tregs. Taken together, we suggest that the interaction of ODNPs25 in HD or phosphorylation of Thr592 by TCR stimulation interferes with nuclease activity of SAMHD1, thereby stabilizing 39 untranslated region of Foxp3 and Helios mRNAs in long-term culture.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1671-1680
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 15 Sep 2018
Externally publishedYes


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