The contribution of thymic antigen-presenting-cell (APC) subsets in selecting a self-tolerant Tcell population remains unclear. We show that bone marrow (BM) APCs and medullary thymic epithelial cells (mTECs) played nonoverlapping roles in shaping the Tcell receptor (TCR) repertoire by deletion and regulatory T (Treg) cell selection of distinct TCRs. Aire, which induces tissue-specific antigen expression in mTECs, affected the TCR repertoire in a manner distinct from mTEC presentation. Approximately half of Aire-dependent deletion or Treg cell selection utilized a pathway dependent on antigen presentation by BM APCs. Batf3-dependent CD8α+ dendritic cells (DCs) were the crucial BM APCs forTreg cell selection via this pathway, showing enhanced ability to present antigens from stromal cells. These results demonstrate the division of function between thymic APCs in shaping the self-tolerant TCR repertoire and reveal an unappreciated cooperation between mTECs and CD8α+ DCs for presentation of Aire-induced self-antigens to developing thymocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)414-426
Number of pages13
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 18 2014


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