Tryptophan Catabolism and T Cell Responses

  • Andrew L. Mellor
  • David Munn
  • Phillip Chandler
  • Derin Keskin
  • Theodore Johnson
  • Brendan Marshall
  • Kanchan Jhaver
  • Babak Baban
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 527)


Cells expressing indoleamine 2,3 dioxygenase (IDO) play key roles in regulating adaptive immune responses orchestrated by T cells. In this report we discuss our working model, the tryptophan depletion hypothesis, to explain links between IDO expression and inhibition of T cell responses. We posit that IDO+ cells, particularly professional antigen presenting cells (APCs) promote T cell entry but block cell cycle progression due to tryptophan catabolism. We discuss experimental evidence supporting predictions from the tryptophan depletion hypothesis and the implications that this model has for understanding the origin of tolerant states that explain immunological paradoxes, such as fetal survival, tumor persistence and failure to eradicate pathogens like HIV that cause persistent infections.


Block Cell Cycle Progression Tryptophan Catabolism Tryptophan Degradation Potential Biological Role Indoleamine Dioxygenase 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andrew L. Mellor
    • 1
  • David Munn
    • 2
  • Phillip Chandler
  • Derin Keskin
  • Theodore Johnson
  • Brendan Marshall
  • Kanchan Jhaver
  • Babak Baban
  1. 1.Program in Molecular Immunology, Institute of Molecular Medicine and GeneticsMedical College of GeorgiaAugustaUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Medicine and PediatricsMedical College of GeorgiaAugustaUSA

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