Peripheral induction of regulatory T (Treg) cells provides essential protection from inappropriate immune responses. CD4(+) T cells that lack endogenous miRNAs are impaired to differentiate into Treg cells, but the relevant miRNAs are unknown. We performed an overexpression screen with T-cell-expressed miRNAs in naive mouse CD4(+) T cells undergoing Treg differentiation. Among 130 candidates, the screen identified 29 miRNAs with a negative and 10 miRNAs with a positive effect. Testing reciprocal Th17 differentiation revealed specific functions for miR-100, miR-99a and miR-10b, since all of these promoted the Treg and inhibited the Th17 program without impacting on viability, proliferation and activation. miR-99a cooperated with miR-150 to repress the expression of the Th17-promoting factor mTOR. The comparably low expression of miR-99a was strongly increased by the Treg cell inducer "retinoic acid", and the abundantly expressed miR-150 could only repress Mtor in the presence of miR-99a. Our data suggest that induction of Treg cell differentiation is regulated by a miRNA network, which involves cooperation of constitutively expressed as well as inducible miRNAs.
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