Effector and Regulatory T Cells Roll at High Shear Stress by Inducible Tether and Sling Formation

Michael Abadier, Akula Bala Pramod, Sara McArdle, Alex Marki, Zhichao Fan, Edgar Gutierrez, Alex Groisman, Klaus Ley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The adaptive immune response involves T cell differentiation and migration to sites of inflammation. T cell trafficking is initiated by rolling on inflamed endothelium. Tethers and slings, discovered in neutrophils, facilitate cell rolling at high shear stress. Here, we demonstrate that the ability to form tethers and slings during rolling is highly inducible in T helper 1 (Th1), Th17, and regulatory T (Treg) cells but less in Th2 cells. In vivo, endogenous Treg cells rolled stably in cremaster venules at physiological shear stress. Quantitative dynamic footprinting nanoscopy of Th1, Th17, and Treg cells uncovered the formation of multiple tethers per cell. Human Th1 cells also showed tethers and slings. RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) revealed the induction of cell migration and cytoskeletal genes in sling-forming cells. We conclude that differentiated CD4 T cells stabilize rolling by inducible tether and sling formation. These phenotypic changes approximate the adhesion phenotype of neutrophils and support CD4 T cell access to sites of inflammation. Abadier et al. report that profound transcriptomic changes during CD4 T cell differentiation enable effector and regulatory T cells to form tethers and slings, enabling rolling at high shear stress. This inducible phenotype facilitates Th1, Th17, and Treg cell rolling and homing to inflamed peripheral tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3885-3899
Number of pages15
JournalCell Reports
Issue number13
StatePublished - Dec 26 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • CD4 T cell subsets
  • E-selectin
  • P-selectin
  • PSGL-1
  • RNA-seq
  • rolling
  • slings
  • tethers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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