DataSheet_1_Th17 Cell-Mediated Colitis Is Positively Regulated by Interferon Regulatory Factor 4 in a T Cell-Extrinsic Manner.docx (1.51 MB)
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DataSheet_1_Th17 Cell-Mediated Colitis Is Positively Regulated by Interferon Regulatory Factor 4 in a T Cell-Extrinsic Manner.docx

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posted on 2021-01-29, 13:07 authored by Vera Buchele, Patrick Konein, Tina Vogler, Timo Kunert, Karin Enderle, Hanif Khan, Maike Büttner-Herold, Christian H. K. Lehmann, Lukas Amon, Stefan Wirtz, Diana Dudziak, Markus F. Neurath, Clemens Neufert, Kai Hildner

Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs) are characterized by chronic, inflammatory gastrointestinal lesions and often require life-long treatment with immunosuppressants and repetitive surgical interventions. Despite progress in respect to the characterization of molecular mechanisms e.g. exerted by TNF-alpha, currently clinically approved therapeutics fail to provide long-term disease control for most patients. The transcription factor interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4) has been shown to play important developmental as well as functional roles within multiple immune cells. In the context of colitis, a T cell-intrinsic role of IRF4 in driving immune-mediated gut pathology is established. Here, we conversely addressed the impact of IRF4 inactivation in non-T cells on T cell driven colitis in vivo. Employing the CD4+CD25 naïve T cell transfer model, we found that T cells fail to elicit colitis in IRF4-deficient compared to IRF4-proficient Rag1−/− mice. Reduced colitis activity in the absence of IRF4 was accompanied by hampered T cell expansion both within the mesenteric lymph node (MLN) and colonic lamina propria (cLP). Furthermore, the influx of various myeloids, presumably inflammation-promoting cells was abrogated overall leading to a less disrupted intestinal barrier. Mechanistically, gene profiling experiments revealed a Th17 response dominated molecular expression signature in colon tissues of IRF4-proficient, colitic Rag1−/− but not in colitis-protected Rag1−/−Irf4−/− mice. Colitis mitigation in Rag1−/−Irf4−/− T cell recipients resulted in reduced frequencies and absolute numbers of IL-17a-producing T cell subsets in MLN and cLP possibly due to a regulation of conventional dendritic cell subset 2 (cDC2) known to impact Th17 differentiation. Together, extending the T cell-intrinsic role for IRF4 in the context of Th17 cell driven colitis, the provided data demonstrate a Th17-inducing and thereby colitis-promoting role of IRF4 through a T cell-extrinsic mechanism highlighting IRF4 as a putative molecular master switch among transcriptional regulators driving immune-mediated intestinal inflammation through both T cell-intrinsic and T cell-extrinsic mechanisms. Future studies need to further dissect IRF4 controlled pathways within distinct IRF4-expressing myeloid cell types, especially cDC2s, to elucidate the precise mechanisms accounting for hampered Th17 formation and, according to our data, the predominant mechanism of colitis protection in Rag1−/−Irf4−/− T cell receiving mice.