T cells increase cholesterol biosynthesis upon activation to generate substrates for cellular growth and proliferation. The ubiquitously expressed liver X receptor β (LXRβ) encoded by the Nr1h2 gene is a critical regulator of cholesterol homeostasis in mammalian cells; however, its cell-intrinsic role in T cell biology remains poorly understood. We report that ablation of LXRβ in T cells leads to spontaneous T cell activation and T lymphocytopenia. Unexpectedly, analysis of mixed bone marrow chimeric mice revealed a cell-autonomous survival defect that reduced the fitness of LXRβ-deficient effector T cells, suggesting that the heightened immune activation in mice harboring LXRβ-deficient T cells was due to impaired regulatory T (T reg) cell functionality. Indeed, we found that single-copy deletion of Nr1h2 in T reg cells disrupted activated T reg cell metabolism and fitness and resulted in early-onset fatal autoimmune disease. Our study demonstrated an indispensable requirement for T reg cell–intrinsic LXRβ function in immune homeostasis and provides a basis for immunological therapies through targeting of this receptor.

This article is distributed under the terms of an Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike–No Mirror Sites license for the first six months after the publication date (see http://www.rupress.org/terms/). After six months it is available under a Creative Commons License (Attribution–Noncommercial–Share Alike 4.0 International license, as described at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/).
You do not currently have access to this content.