Commensal microbiota regulates T cell fate decision in the gut

Yukihiro Furusawa, Yuuki Obata, Koji Hase

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)


Commensal microbiota shapes the intestinal immune system by regulating T helper(TH)cell lineage differentiation. For example, Bacteroides fragilis colonization not only optimizes the systemic TH1/TH2 balance, but also can induce regulatory T (Treg) cell differentiation in the gut. In addition, segmented filamentous bacteria (SFB) facilitate the development of TH17 cells in the small intestine. The 17 strains within clusters IV, XIVa, and XVIII of Clostridiales found in human feces can also induce the differentiation and expansion of Treg cells in the colon. Thus, the regulation of THcell differentiation by commensal bacteria is evident; however, the molecular mechanisms underlying these processes remain uncertain. Recent studies have demonstrated that bacterial components, as well as their metabolites, play a central role in regulating THcell development. Furthermore, these metabolites can elicit changes in histone posttranslational modification to modify the expression of critical regulators of T cell fate. In this review, we discuss the mechanisms and biological significance of microbiota-dependent THdifferentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-25
Number of pages9
JournalSeminars in Immunopathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015 Jan


  • DNA methylation
  • Histone modifications
  • Microbiota
  • Regulatory T cells
  • T17 cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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