Editor's Summary

9 October 2008

Bacterial ATP helps TH17 cells


The intestinal lamina propria, a layer of cells forming part of the mucous membrane, boasts a complicated mix of cell populations, including the selective presence of TH17 or T helper 17 cells, the subset of T helpers that produces interleukin 17. A study in mice now shows that commensal bacteria activate a unique subset of intestinal dendritic cells to induce interleukin-6 production and TGF-beta activation, thereby promoting the local differentiation of TH17 cells. It is the ATP that the bacteria produce that promotes this effect. This finding highlights the importance of commensal bacteria and ATP in immuno-logical diseases, and may help in determining the mechanisms by which aberrant TH17 cell responses result in immune disorders including inflammatory bowel diseases.

LetterATP drives lamina propria TH17 cell differentiation

Koji Atarashi, Junichi Nishimura, Tatsuichiro Shima, Yoshinori Umesaki, Masahiro Yamamoto, Masaharu Onoue, Hideo Yagita, Naoto Ishii, Richard Evans, Kenya Honda & Kiyoshi Takeda

doi:10.1038/nature07240