The Journal Of Experimental Medicine
Nutrient deprivation based on the loss of essential amino acids by catabolic enzymes in the microenvironment is a critical means to control inflammatory responses and immune tolerance. Here we report the novel finding that Tph-1 (tryptophan hydroxylase-1), a synthase which catalyses the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin and exhausts tryptophan, is a potent regulator of immunity. In models of skin allograft tolerance, tumor growth, and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, Tph-1 deficiency breaks allograft tolerance, induces tumor remission, and intensifies neuroinflammation, respectively. All of these effects of Tph-1 deficiency are independent of its downstream product serotonin. Because mast cells (MCs) appear to be the major source of Tph-1 and restoration of Tph-1 in the MC compartment in vivo compensates for the defect, these experiments introduce a fundamentally new mechanism of MC-mediated immune suppression that broadly impacts multiple arms of immunity.