[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transcription factors of the STAT family are critical in the cytokine-mediated functional differentiation of CD4(+) helper T cells. Signaling inhibitors of the SOCS family negatively regulate the activation of STAT proteins; however, their roles in the differentiation and function of helper T cells are not well understood. Here we found that the SOCS protein CIS, which was substantially induced by interleukin 4 (IL-4), negatively regulated the activation of STAT3, STAT5 and STAT6 in T cells. CIS-deficient mice spontaneously developed airway inflammation, and CIS deficiency in T cells led to greater susceptibility to experimental allergic asthma. CIS-deficient T cells showed enhanced differentiation into the TH2 and TH9 subsets of helper T cells. STAT5 and STAT6 regulated IL-9 expression by directly binding to the Il9 promoter. Our data thus demonstrate a critical role for CIS in controlling the proallergic generation of helper T cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: T helper 17 (Th17) cells specifically transcribe the Il17 and Il17f genes, which are localized in the same chromosome region, but the underlying mechanism is unclear. Here, we report a cis element that we previously named conserved noncoding sequence 2 (CNS2) physically interacted with both Il17 and Il17f gene promoters and was sufficient for regulating their selective transcription in Th17 cells. Targeted deletion of CNS2 resulted in impaired retinoic acid-related orphan receptor gammat (RORγt)-driven IL-17 expression in vitro. CNS2-deficient T cells also produced substantially decreased amounts of IL-17F. These cytokine defects were associated with defective chromatin remodeling in the Il17-Il17f gene locus, possibly because of effects on CNS2-mediated recruitment of histone-modifying enzymes p300 and JmjC domain-containing protein 3 (JMJD3). CNS2-deficient animals were also shown to be resistant to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Our results thus suggest that CNS2 is sufficient and necessary for Il17 and optimal Il17f gene transcription in Th17 cells.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interleukin-17F (IL-17F), produced by Th17 cells and other immune cells, is a member of IL-17 cytokine family with highest homology to IL-17A. IL-17F has been shown to have multiple functions in inflammatory responses. While IL-17A plays important roles in cancer development, the function of IL-17F in tumorigenesis has not yet been elucidated. In the current study, we found that IL-17F is expressed in normal human colonic epithelial cells, but this expression is greatly decreased in colon cancer tissues. To examine the roles of IL-17F in colon cancer, we have used IL-17F over-expressing colon cancer cell lines and IL-17F-deficient mice. Our data showed decreased tumor growth of IL-17F-transfected HCT116 cells comparing to mock transfectants when transplanted in nude mice. Conversely, there were increased colonic tumor numbers and tumor areas in Il-17f(-/-) mice than those from wild-type controls after colon cancer induction. These results indicate that IL-17F plays an inhibitory role in colon tumorigenesis in vivo. In IL-17F over-expressing tumors, there was no significant change in leukocyte infiltration; instead, we found decreased VEGF levels and CD31(+) cells. While the VEGF levels were increased in the colon tissues of Il-17f(-/-) mice with colon cancer. Together, our findings demonstrate a protective role for IL-17F in colon cancer development, possibly via inhibiting tumor angiogenesis.
PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(4):e34959. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Toll-like receptors (TLRs) have previously been shown to play critical roles in the activation of innate immunity. Here, we describe that T cell expression of TLR2 regulates T helper 17 (Th17) cell responses. Stimulation with TLR2 agonists promoted Th17 differentiation in vitro and led to more robust proliferation and Th17 cytokine production. Using the experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) model, we found that TLR2 regulated Th17 cell-mediated autoimmunity in vivo and that loss of TLR2 in CD4(+) T cells dramatically ameliorated EAE. This study thus reveals a critical role of a TLR in the direct regulation of adaptive immune response and pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: IL-23/IL-17 axis is an important regulator in various inflammatory diseases. However, the role of IL-23 in allergic airway inflammation is not well understood. In this study, we show that in an allergen-induced asthma model, mice with transgenic overexpression of IL-23R exhibited increased airway infiltration of eosinophils and Th2 cytokine production, whereas those deficient in IL-23 displayed reduced airway inflammation. In vitro, IL-23-IL-23R signaling promoted GATA-3 expression and enhanced Th2 cytokine expression. Conversely, in the absence of this signal, Th2 cell differentiation was partially inhibited. Therefore, IL-23 signaling may regulate allergic asthma through modulation of Th2 cell differentiation.
Cell Research 11/2009; 20(1):62-71. · 10.53 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: How naive CD4(+) T cells commit to the T helper type 2 (T(H)2) lineage is poorly understood. Here we show that the basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor Dec2 was selectively expressed in T(H)2 cells. CD4(+) T cells from Dec2-deficient mice showed defective T(H)2 differentiation in vitro and in vivo in an asthma model and in response to challenge with a parasite antigen. Dec2 promoted expression of interleukin 4 (IL-4), IL-5 and IL-13 during early T(H)2 differentiation and directly bound to and activated transcription of genes encoding the transcription factors JunB and GATA-3. As GATA-3 induces Dec2 expression, our findings also indicate a feed-forward regulatory circuit during T(H)2 differentiation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although T helper 17 (Th17) cells have been found in tumor tissues, their function in cancer immunity is unclear. We found that interleukin-17A (IL-17A)-deficient mice were more susceptible to developing lung melanoma. Conversely, adoptive T cell therapy with tumor-specific Th17 cells prevented tumor development. Importantly, the Th17 cells retained their cytokine signature and exhibited stronger therapeutic efficacy than Th1 cells. Unexpectedly, therapy using Th17 cells elicited a remarkable activation of tumor-specific CD8(+) T cells, which were necessary for the antitumor effect. Th17 cells promoted dendritic cell recruitment into the tumor tissues and in draining lymph nodes increased CD8 alpha(+) dendritic cells containing tumor material. Moreover, Th17 cells promoted CCL20 chemokine production by tumor tissues, and tumor-bearing CCR6-deficient mice did not respond to Th17 cell therapy. Thus, Th17 cells elicited a protective inflammation that promotes the activation of tumor-specific CD8(+) T cells. These findings have important implications in antitumor immunotherapies.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A fundamental function of CD4+ helper T (T(H)) cells is the regulation of B cell-mediated humoral immunity. Development of T follicular helper (T(FH)) cells that provide help to B cells is mediated by the cytokines interleukin-6 and interleukin-21 but is independent of TH1, TH2, and TH17 effector cell lineages. Here, we characterize the function of Bcl6, a transcription factor selectively expressed in T(FH) cells. Bcl6 expression is regulated by interleukin-6 and interleukin-21. Bcl6 overexpression induced T(FH)-related gene expression and inhibited other T(H) lineage cell differentiation in a DNA binding-dependent manner. Moreover, Bcl6 deficiency in T cells resulted in impaired T(FH) cell development and germinal center reactions, and altered production of other effector T cell subsets. Our data thus illustrate that Bcl6 is required for programming of T(FH) cell generation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: T helper (Th) 17 cells have been recently discovered in both mouse and human. Here we show that interleukin-1 (IL-1) signaling on T cells is critically required for the early programming of Th17 cell lineage and Th17 cell-mediated autoimmunity. IL-1 receptor1 expression in T cells, which was induced by IL-6, was necessary for the induction of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and for early Th17 cell differentiation in vivo. Moreover, IL-1 signaling in T cells was required in dendritic cell-mediated Th17 cell differentiation from naive or regulatory precursors and IL-1 synergized with IL-6 and IL-23 to regulate Th17 cell differentiation and maintain cytokine expression in effector Th17 cells. Importantly, IL-1 regulated the expression of the transcription factors IRF4 and RORgammat during Th17 cell differentiation; overexpression of these two factors resulted in IL-1-independent Th17 cell polarization. Our data thus indicate a critical role of IL-1 in Th17 cell differentiation and this pathway may serve as a unique target for Th17 cell-mediated immunopathology.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Upon activation, naive CD4(+) T cells differentiate into effector Th cell subsets. The stability and plasticity of effector Th cells have not been well understood. In this study we used an IL-17F-red fluorescent protein reporter mouse to analyze the plasticity of Th17 cells in vitro and in vivo. We found that in vitro generated Th17 cells poorly maintained their differentiation program in vitro and could be reprogrammed into other T cell lineages. Moreover, upon transfer into lymphopenic hosts, Th17 cells rapidly lost their IL-17 expression and were converted into Th1 cells independently of IL-7 signaling. However, Th17 cells maintained their phenotypes well in normal animals, even in the absence of Ag and inflammation. These results, although suggesting the plasticity of Th17 cells, also indicate active maintenance of their program in vivo.
The Journal of Immunology 04/2009; 182(5):2565-8. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Th17 and regulatory T (Treg) cells play opposite roles in autoimmune diseases. However, the mechanisms underlying their proper migration to inflammatory tissues are unclear. In this study, we report that these two T cell subsets both express CCR6. CCR6 expression in Th17 cells is regulated by TGF-beta and requires two nuclear receptors, RORalpha and RORgamma. Th17 cells also express the CCR6 ligand CCL20, which is induced synergistically by TGF-beta and IL-6, which requires STAT3, RORgamma and IL-21. Th17 cells, by producing CCL20, promote migration of Th17 and Treg cells in vitro in a CCR6-dependent manner. Lack of CCR6 in Th17 cells reduces the severity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and Th17 and Treg recruitment into inflammatory tissues. Similarly, CCR6 on Treg cells is also important for their recruitment into inflammatory tissues. Our data indicate an important role of CCR6 in Treg and Th17 cell migration.
The Journal of Immunology 01/2009; 181(12):8391-401. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Naïve CD4(+) helper T (TH) cells, upon activation by antigen-presenting cells (APC), differentiate into different types of effector cells that are characterized by their distinct cytokine production profiles and immune regulatory functions. In addition to TH1 and TH2 cells, a third subset of effector TH cells has recently been described and termed TH17. Since their identification, TH17 cells have emerged as crucial players in infectious, inflammatory, and autoimmune diseases, and cancer. In this review, we summarize the latest discoveries on the cytokine-mediated regulation and transcriptional programming of TH17 cells and their roles in different immune responses and diseases.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 12/2008; 1143:188-211. · 4.38 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: After activation, CD4(+) helper T (Th) cells differentiate into distinct effector subsets. Although chemokine (C-X-C motif) receptor 5-expressing T follicular helper (Tfh) cells are important in humoral immunity, their developmental regulation is unclear. Here we show that Tfh cells had a distinct gene expression profile and developed in vivo independently of the Th1 or Th2 cell lineages. Tfh cell generation was regulated by ICOS ligand (ICOSL) expressed on B cells and was dependent on interleukin-21 (IL-21), IL-6, and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3). However, unlike Th17 cells, differentiation of Tfh cells did not require transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) or Th17-specific orphan nuclear receptors RORalpha and RORgamma in vivo. Finally, naive T cells activated in vitro in the presence of IL-21 but not TGF-beta signaling preferentially acquired Tfh gene expression and promoted germinal-center reactions in vivo. This study thus demonstrates that Tfh is a distinct Th cell lineage.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regulatory T (Treg) and T helper 17 (Th17) cells were recently proposed to be reciprocally regulated during differentiation. To understand the underlying mechanisms, we utilized a Th17 reporter mouse with a red fluorescent protein (RFP) sequence inserted into the interleukin-17F (IL-17F) gene. Using IL-17F-RFP together with a Foxp3 reporter, we found that the development of Th17 and Foxp3(+) Treg cells was associated in immune responses. Although TGF-beta receptor I signaling was required for both Foxp3 and IL-17 induction, SMAD4 was only involved in Foxp3 upregulation. Foxp3 inhibited Th17 differentiation by antagonizing the function of the transcription factors RORgammat and ROR*. In contrast, IL-6 overcame this suppressive effect of Foxp3 and, together with IL-1, induced genetic reprogramming in Foxp3(+) Treg cells. STAT3 regulated Foxp3 downregulation, whereas STAT3, RORgamma, and ROR* were required for IL-17 expression in Treg cells. Our data demonstrate molecular antagonism and plasticity of Treg and Th17 cell programs.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although interleukin (IL) 17 has been extensively characterized, the function of IL-17F, which has an expression pattern regulated similarly to IL-17, is poorly understood. We show that like IL-17, IL-17F regulates proinflammatory gene expression in vitro, and this requires IL-17 receptor A, tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 6, and Act1. In vivo, overexpression of IL-17F in lung epithelium led to infiltration of lymphocytes and macrophages and mucus hyperplasia, similar to observations made in IL-17 transgenic mice. To further understand the function of IL-17F, we generated and analyzed mice deficient in IL-17F or IL-17. IL-17, but not IL-17F, was required for the initiation of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Mice deficient in IL-17F, but not IL-17, had defective airway neutrophilia in response to allergen challenge. Moreover, in an asthma model, although IL-17 deficiency reduced T helper type 2 responses, IL-17F-deficient mice displayed enhanced type 2 cytokine production and eosinophil function. In addition, IL-17F deficiency resulted in reduced colitis caused by dextran sulfate sodium, whereas IL-17 knockout mice developed more severe disease. Our results thus demonstrate that IL-17F is an important regulator of inflammatory responses that seems to function differently than IL-17 in immune responses and diseases.
Journal of Experimental Medicine 06/2008; 205(5):1063-75. · 13.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: T cell functional differentiation is mediated by lineage-specific transcription factors. T helper 17 (Th17) has been recently identified as a distinct Th lineage mediating tissue inflammation. Retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor gamma (ROR gamma) was shown to regulate Th17 differentiation; ROR gamma deficiency, however, did not completely abolish Th17 cytokine expression. Here, we report Th17 cells highly expressed another related nuclear receptor, ROR alpha, induced by transforming growth factor-beta and interleukin-6 (IL-6), which is dependent on signal transducer and activator of transcription 3. Overexpression of ROR alpha promoted Th17 differentiation, possibly through the conserved noncoding sequence 2 in Il17-Il17f locus. ROR alpha deficiency resulted in reduced IL-17 expression in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, ROR alpha and ROR gamma coexpression synergistically led to greater Th17 differentiation. Double deficiencies in ROR alpha and ROR gamma globally impaired Th17 generation and completely protected mice against experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Therefore, Th17 differentiation is directed by two lineage-specific nuclear receptors, ROR alpha and ROR gamma.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: After activation, CD4+ helper T (T(H)) cells differentiate into distinct effector subsets that are characterized by their unique cytokine expression and immunoregulatory function. During this differentiation, T(H)1 and T(H)2 cells produce interferon-gamma and interleukin (IL)-4, respectively, as autocrine factors necessary for selective lineage commitment. A distinct T(H) subset, termed T(HIL-17), T(H)17 or inflammatory T(H) (T(H)i), has been recently identified as a distinct T(H) lineage mediating tissue inflammation. T(H)17 differentiation is initiated by transforming growth factor-beta and IL-6 (refs 5-7) and reinforced by IL-23 (ref. 8), in which signal transduction and activators of transcription (STAT)3 and retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor (ROR)-gamma mediate the lineage specification. T(H)17 cells produce IL-17, IL-17F and IL-22, all of which regulate inflammatory responses by tissue cells but have no importance in T(H)17 differentiation. Here we show that IL-21 is another cytokine highly expressed by mouse T(H)17 cells. IL-21 is induced by IL-6 in activated T cells, a process that is dependent on STAT3 but not ROR-gamma. IL-21 potently induces T(H)17 differentiation and suppresses Foxp3 expression, which requires STAT3 and ROR-gamma, which is encoded by Rorc. IL-21 deficiency impairs the generation of T(H)17 cells and results in protection against experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. IL-21 is therefore an autocrine cytokine that is sufficient and necessary for T(H)17 differentiation, and serves as a target for treating inflammatory diseases.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During differentiation of naive CD4+ helper T (TH) cells into effector cells, specific cytokine gene loci undergo extensive changes in chromatin modification. A novel lineage of TH cells that is regulated by transforming growth factor-beta (TGFbeta) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) has been identified recently as promoting tissue inflammation. These inflammatory TH (THi) cells, also called TH17 or TH(IL-17), produce IL-17 and IL-17F, two highly homologous cytokines that have genes located in the same chromosomal region. Here, using chromatin immunoprecipitation techniques, we have demonstrated that similar to the regulation in TH1 and TH2 cell lineages, polarization of THi cells was accompanied by selective chromatin remodeling events. Histone H3 acetylation and Lys-4 tri-methylation were specifically associated with IL-17 and IL-17F gene promoters in THi lineage. At an early stage of T cell activation, histone acetylation on these promoters was greatly promoted by a combination of TGFbeta and IL-6, suggesting their synergistic role in initiating chromatin accessibility for transcription factors. Furthermore, we identified multiple noncoding sequences within the IL-17-IL-17F locus conserved across species. These elements were also associated with hyperacetylated histone 3 in a lineage-specific manner and may thus serve as potential regulatory regions. In summary, our results demonstrate for the first time that THi cell differentiation is associated with epigenetic changes in the IL-17-IL-17F locus, which suggests novel mechanisms in T cell functional regulation.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2007; 282(9):5969-72. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interleukin-17 (IL-17)-producing helper T (TH) cells, named as TH(IL-17), TH17, or inflammatory TH (THi), have been recently identified as a novel effector lineage. However, how cytokine signals mediate THi differentiation is unclear. We found that IL-6 functioned to up-regulate IL-23R and that IL-23 synergized with IL-6 in promoting THi generation. STAT3, activated by both IL-6 and IL-23, plays a critical role in THi development. A hyperactive form of STAT3 promoted THi development, whereas this differentiation process was greatly impaired in STAT3-deficient T cells. Moreover, STAT3 regulated the expression of retinoic acid receptor-related orphan receptor gamma-T (RORgamma t), a THi-specific transcriptional regulator; STAT3 deficiency impaired RORgamma t expression and led to elevated expression of T-box expressed in T cells (T-bet) and Forkhead box P3 (Foxp3). Our data thus demonstrate a pathway whereby cytokines regulate THi differentiation through a selective STAT transcription factor that functions to regulate lineage-specific gene expression.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2007; 282(13):9358-63. · 4.65 Impact Factor