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Palatine tonsils are important lymphoid organs featuring constant cross-talks between the commensal microorganisms and immune system, and have been implicated as critical autoimmunity origins for immune-related diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a common autoimmune disorder. However, there was no evidence to show link between tonsillar microbiota and RA. Here, we identified a significant dysbiosis of RA tonsillar microbiota, with loss of Streptococcus salivarius and its functional molecules salivaricins (a type of antibacterial peptides). Consistent with the niche-preference, S. salivarius and salivaricins administrated intranasally or intraorally conferred prophylactic and therapeutic efficacies against experimental arthritis. Moreover, we demonstrated, for the first time, that S. salivarius and salivaricins exerted immunosuppressive capacities via inhibiting CD4+ effector T cell subsets and autoantibody production in mice and human. These results uncover a communication between tonsillar microbiota and host autoimmunity, and identify the active components from tonsillar microbes in modulating immune homeostasis.

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