Richard A. Flavell talks with
ScienceWatch.com and answers a few questions about
this month's Fast Breaking Paper in the field of
Article Title: T cell-produced transforming growth
factor-beta 1 controls T cell tolerance and regulates Th1-
and Th17-cell differentiation
Authors: Li, MO;Wan,
Year: MAY 2007
* Yale Univ, Sch Med, Immunobiol Sect, 333 Cedar St, New
Haven, CT 06520 USA.
(addresses have been truncated)
Why do you think your paper is highly
Because it reveals a cellular mechanism of T cell regulation by the
pleiotropic cytokine TGF-beta1 that is central to the understanding of
Does it describe a new discovery,
methodology, or synthesis of knowledge?
It describes a new discovery in that T cell-produced TGF-beta1 plays an
essential role in the control of T cell responses.
Would you summarize the significance of your
paper in layman's terms?
T cells orchestrate the development of immune responses. Our findings
reveal a regulatory circuit whereby T cell-produced TGF-beta1 controls T
cell responses, which can be exploited for the immunotherapy of diseases
mediated by T cells.
How did you become involved in this
research, and were there any problems along the way?
Studies from us and others prior to this research revealed that TGF-beta1
is an important regulator of T cell responses. Therefore, to define the
cellular sources of TGF-beta1 involved in T cell regulation was a logical
extension of these studies.
Where do you see your research leading in
Future studies will define the function of TGF-beta1 produced by specific T
cell subsets such as regulatory T cells (Treg cells), and the significance
of this regulatory pathway in diseases.
Richard A. Flavell
Department of Immunobiology
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Yale University School of Medicine
New Haven, CT, USA
Keywords: T cell regulation, T cell-produced TGF-beta1,
immunoregulation, T cell responses, immune responses, T cell regulation,
pleiotropic cytokine TGF-beta1, regulatory T cells, Treg cells.