Epigenetics in immune cells

Epigenetics in immune cells is the study of changes in gene activity that persist following immune cell division and do not involve alteration of the nucleotide sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms include DNA methylation and chromatic remodelling and they provide a molecular basis for cellular memory.

Latest Research and Reviews

  • Research
    | Open Access

    BATF is a transcription factor that is needed for IL-9 production by T helper 9 cells. Here the authors show that STAT5 is needed at the Il9 locus to enable BATF to function in this manner and that this interaction can reprogram other T helper subsets into IL-9 producing cells, thus regulating the immune response to disease.

    • Yongyao Fu
    • , Jocelyn Wang
    • , Gayathri Panangipalli
    • , Benjamin J. Ulrich
    • , Byunghee Koh
    • , Chengxian Xu
    • , Rakshin Kharwadkar
    • , Xiaona Chu
    • , Yue Wang
    • , Hongyu Gao
    • , Wenting Wu
    • , Jie Sun
    • , Robert S. Tepper
    • , Baohua Zhou
    • , Sarath Chandra Janga
    • , Kai Yang
    •  & Mark H. Kaplan
  • Reviews |

    A transcription factor network triggered by Notch signalling in the thymus guides proliferating, multipotent progenitor cells into the T cell pathway. This Review describes how these factors work to establish regulatory target specificity, epigenomic impact and irreversibility for T cell identity.

    • Hiroyuki Hosokawa
    •  & Ellen V. Rothenberg
  • Research
    | Open Access

    The development of activated B cells into antibody-secreting cells (ASC) is a critical step for humoral immunity. Here the authors show, using adoptive transfers and single cell RNA sequencing, that commitment to ASC occurs soon following B cell activation, and is coordinated by specific transcriptome programs and proliferation kinetics.

    • Christopher D. Scharer
    • , Dillon G. Patterson
    • , Tian Mi
    • , Madeline J. Price
    • , Sakeenah L. Hicks
    •  & Jeremy M. Boss
  • Research |

    During the activation of mouse macrophages by lipopolysaccharides, histone deacetylase 3 controls inflammatory responses by both repressing and activating gene transcription depending on its differential association with transcription factors.

    • Hoang C. B. Nguyen
    • , Marine Adlanmerini
    • , Amy K. Hauck
    •  & Mitchell A. Lazar
    Nature 584, 286-290
  • Research
    | Open Access

    Alveolar macrophages are known to derive from embryonic precursors although the regulation of this process is poorly understood. Here the authors propose a key role for histone deacetylase 3 as an epigenetic regulator of lung alveolar macrophage development.

    • Yi Yao
    • , Queping Liu
    • , Indra Adrianto
    • , Xiaojun Wu
    • , James Glassbrook
    • , Namir Khalasawi
    • , Congcong Yin
    • , Qijun Yi
    • , Zheng Dong
    • , Frederic Geissmann
    • , Li Zhou
    •  & Qing-Sheng Mi

News and Comment

  • Comments & Opinion |

    Anjana Rao describes the team effort to define the changes in chromatin accessibility in naive T cells during TH1 and TH2 cell differentiation after stimulation with TCR ligands and the appropriate cytokines. Her lab showed that differentiated TH1 and TH2 cells, which produce the cytokines IFN-γ and IL-4, respectively, displayed distinct patterns of DNase I hypersensitivity, histone acetylation and NFAT1 transcription factor binding around the Ifng and Il4 genes. This project turned them into a ‘real’ immunology lab!

    • Anjana Rao
    Nature Immunology 21, 1473-1476
  • Research Highlights |

    New research suggests that haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) can contribute to trained immunity. Stimulation with lipopolysaccharide establishes long-lasting epigenetic changes in HSCs that confer improved responsiveness to secondary stimulation.

    • Lucy Bird
  • News & Views |

    Epigenetic modifications are associated with distinct stages of autoreactive CD8+ T cell differentiation. DNA methylation and chromatin changes guide the acquisition of a memory-like phenotype and sustain prolonged autoimmune effector responses.

    • Luca Petiti
    •  & Luigia Pace
    Nature Immunology 21, 492-494
  • News & Views |

    A genome-wide screening of functionally active enhancers, combined with analyses of chromatin features, transcription factor binding and gene expression, reveals general principles of gene regulatory networks in activated B cells.

    • Alexia Martínez de Paz
    •  & Steven Zvi Josefowicz
    Nature Immunology 21, 110-112