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

News and Comment

  • News & Views |

    Using high-resolution molecular and optical mapping of the three-dimensional genome, we found that the transcription factor TCF-1 is linked to changes in the structure of topologically associating domains in T cell progenitors that lead to interactions between previously insulated regulatory elements and target genes at late stages of T cell development.

  • News & Views |

    Alveolar macrophages (AMs), the resident macrophages of the lung, can be expanded ex vivo to generate large numbers of cells but show culture adaptations related to epigenetic and transcriptional changes. After transplantation into the lungs of mice, however, culture-expanded AMs lose these adaptations, fully restore in vivo identity and functionally reconstitute the AM pool.

    Nature Immunology 23, 358-359
  • News & Views |

    In the colonic environment, sustained Wnt–β-catenin activation in regulatory T cells promotes epigenetic rewiring toward proinflammatory RORγt+ Treg cells, whose expansion parallels the disease progression from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) to manifest colorectal cancer (CRC).

    • Stefania Canè
    •  & Vincenzo Bronte
    Nature Immunology 22, 400-401
  • Research Highlights |

    A systematic analysis of the ageing immune system of the mouse revealed the emergence of a novel T cell subset that displays markers of exhaustion. A similar T cell subset was also identified in ageing humans.

    • Alexandra Flemming
  • 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