Regulatory T (Treg) cells are an essential cell subset for the maintenance of immune homeostasis. Treg cells are characterized by a distinct pattern of gene expression, including the upregulation of immune-suppressive genes and the silencing of inflammatory genes. The molecular mechanisms involved in the development and maintenance of Tregs have been extensively investigated. We have identified essential transcription factors NR4a and Smad2/3 in the development of thymic Tregs and induced Tregs, respectively. This article reviews the roles of transcription factors in the differentiation, maintenance, and function of Treg cells.
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