Early Th1 Cell Differentiation Is Marked by a Tfh Cell-like Transition

Molecular Immunology and Inflammation Branch, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.
Immunity (Impact Factor: 21.56). 12/2011; 35(6):919-31. DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2011.11.012
Source: PubMed


Follicular helper T (Tfh) cells comprise an important subset of helper T cells; however, their relationship with other helper lineages is incompletely understood. Herein, we showed interleukin-12 acting via the transcription factor STAT4 induced both Il21 and Bcl6 genes, generating cells with features of both Tfh and Th1 cells. However, STAT4 also induced the transcription factor T-bet. With ChIP-seq, we defined the genome-wide targets of T-bet and found that it repressed Bcl6 and other markers of Tfh cells, thereby attenuating the nascent Tfh cell-like phenotype in the late phase of Th1 cell specification. Tfh-like cells were rapidly generated after Toxoplasma gondii infection in mice, but T-bet constrained Tfh cell expansion and consequent germinal center formation and antibody production. Our data argue that Tfh and Th1 cells share a transitional stage through the signal mediated by STAT4, which promotes both phenotypes. However, T-bet represses Tfh cell functionalities, promoting full Th1 cell differentiation.

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    • "With regards to the relationship between TFH cells and other CD4+ T-cell subsets, a negative regulation exists as Bcl6 represses the expression or function of the master regulators of other Th-cell lineages, i.e., T-bet (Th1), GATA3 (Th2), and RORγt (Th17) (75–77). However, this effect appears to be partial, as TFH cells can produce IFN-γ (82), IL-4 (83, 84), or IL-17 (85), hallmarks of Th1, Th2, and Th17 cells. "
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    ABSTRACT: In comparison to adults, newborns display a heightened susceptibility to pathogens and a propensity to develop allergic diseases. Particular properties of the neonatal immune system can account for this sensitivity. Indeed, a defect in developing protective Th1-type responses and a skewing toward Th2 immunity characterize today the neonatal T-cell immunity. Recently, new findings concerning Th17, regulatory helper T-cell, and follicular helper T-cell subsets in newborns have emerged. In some circumstances, development of effector inflammatory Th17-type responses can be induced in neonates, while differentiation in regulatory T-cells appears to be a default program of neonatal CD4(+) T-cells. Poor antibody production, affinity maturation, and germinal center reaction in vaccinated neonates are correlated with a limiting expansion of TFH lymphocytes. We review herein the factors accounting for and the implications of the unbalanced neonatal helper T-cell immunity.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Frontiers in Immunology
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    • "Tfh cells are found mainly in lymphoid tissue but are rare in the circulation. Although Th1 cells can re-differentiate to Tfh-like cells [63], Tbet-deficient CD4 T cells have an increased ability to generate Tfh cells, both in vivo and in vitro [64]. Thus Tbet may suppress the differentiation of Tfh cells, and the Thpp cells (lacking Tbet- expression) might have an increased ability to differentiate into the Tfh cells that drive the antibody response that is important for protection against influenza. "
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    ABSTRACT: Within overall Th1-like human memory T cell responses, individual T cells may express only some of the characteristic Th1 cytokines when reactivated. In the Th1-oriented memory response to influenza, we have tested the contributions of two potential mechanisms for this diversity: variable expression of cytokines by a uniform population during activation, or different stable subsets that consistently expressed subsets of the Th1 cytokine pattern. To test for short-term variability, in vitro-stimulated influenza-specific human memory CD4+ T cells were sorted according to IL-2 and IFNγ expression, cultured briefly in vitro, and cytokine patterns measured after restimulation. Cells that were initially IFNγ+ and either IL-2+ or IL-2- converged rapidly, containing similar proportions of IL-2-IFNγ+ and IL-2+IFNγ+ cells after culture and restimulation. Both phenotypes expressed Tbet, and similar patterns of mRNA. Thus variability of IL-2 expression in IFNγ+ cells appeared to be regulated more by short-term variability than by stable differentiated subsets. In contrast, heterogeneous expression of IFNγ in IL-2+ influenza-specific T cells appeared to be due partly to stable T cell subsets. After sorting, culture and restimulation, influenza-specific IL-2+IFNγ- and IL-2+IFNγ+ cells maintained significantly biased ratios of IFNγ+ and IFNγ- cells. IL-2+IFNγ- cells included both Tbetlo and Tbethi cells, and showed more mRNA expression differences with either of the IFNγ+ populations. To test whether IL-2+IFNγ-Tbetlo cells were Thpp cells (primed but uncommitted memory cells, predominant in responses to protein vaccines), influenza-specific IL-2+IFNγ- and IL-2+IFNγ+ T cells were sorted and cultured in Th1- or Th2-generating conditions. Both cell types yielded IFNγ-secreting cells in Th1 conditions, but only IL-2+IFNγ- cells were able to differentiate into IL-4-producing cells. Thus expression of IL-2 in the anti-influenza response may be regulated mainly by short term variability, whereas different T cell subsets, Th1 and Thpp, may contribute to variability in IFNγ expression.
    Full-text · Article · May 2014 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Upon transduction, there was substantial silencing of STAT1 (79%, Figures S5A and S5B), and a large reduction in clonal expansion of transduced cells (Figure S5C). We found a slight but reproducible reduction in T-bet expression after transfer into WT congenic hosts (Figure S5D), which was not surprising given that STAT4 has also been shown to drive T-bet expression (Nakayamada et al., 2011). Despite differences in clonal expansion, there were no differences in Tfh cells or Bcl6 expression at 8 dpi (Figures S5E and S5F). "
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    ABSTRACT: Follicular helper T (Tfh) cells are required for the establishment of T-dependent B cell memory and high affinity antibody-secreting cells. We have revealed herein opposing roles for signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and type I interferon (IFN) signaling in the differentiation of Tfh cells following viral infection. STAT3-deficient CD4(+) T cells had a profound defect in Tfh cell differentiation, accompanied by decreased germinal center (GC) B cells and antigen-specific antibody production during acute infection with lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus. STAT3-deficient Tfh cells had strikingly increased expression of a number of IFN-inducible genes, in addition to enhanced T-bet synthesis, thus adopting a T helper 1 (Th1) cell-like effector phenotype. Conversely, IFN-αβ receptor blockade restored Tfh and GC B cell phenotypes in mice containing STAT3-deficient CD4(+) T cells. These data suggest mutually repressive roles for STAT3 and type I IFN signaling pathways in the differentiation of Tfh cells following viral infection.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Immunity
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