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Yamano, Tomoyoshi; Dobes, Jan; Voboril, Matous; Steinert, Madlen; Brabec, Tomas; Zietara, Natalia; Dobesova, Martina; Ohnmacht, Caspar; Laan, Martti; Peterson, Part; Benes, Vladimir; Sedlacek, Radistav; Hanayama, Rikinari; Kolar, Michal; Klein, Ludger; Filipp, Dominik (2019): Aire-expressing ILC3-like cells in the lymph node display potent APC features. In: Journal of Experimental Medicine, Vol. 216, No. 5: pp. 1027-1037
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The autoimmune regulator (Aire) serves an essential function for T cell tolerance by promoting the "promiscuous" expression of tissue antigens in thymic epithelial cells. Aire is also detected in rare cells in peripheral lymphoid organs, but the identity of these cells is poorly understood. Here, we report that Aire protein-expressing cells in lymph nodes exhibit typical group 3 innate lymphoid cell (ILC3) characteristics such as lymphoid morphology, absence of "classical" hematopoietic lineage markers, and dependence on ROR gamma t. Aire(+) cells are more frequent among lineage-negative ROR gamma t(+) cells of peripheral lymph nodes as compared with mucosa-draining lymph nodes, display a unique Aire-dependent transcriptional signature, express high surface levels of MHCII and costimulatory molecules, and efficiently present an endogenously expressed model antigen to CD4(+). T cells. These findings define a novel type of ILC3-like cells with potent APC features, suggesting that these cells serve a function in the control of T cell responses.