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Identification of the novel FOXP3-dependent T cell transcription factor MEOX1 by high-dimensional analysis of human CD4 T cells.

Frontiers in immunology

Authors: Kevin Baßler, Lisa Schmidleithner, Mehrnoush Hadaddzadeh Shakiba, Tarek Elmzzahi, Maren Köhne, Stefan Floess, Rebekka Scholz, Naganari Ohkura, Timothy Sadlon, Kathrin Klee, Anna Neubauer, Shimon Sakaguchi, Simon C Barry, Jochen Huehn, Lorenzo Bonaguro, Thomas Ulas, Marc Beyer

CD4 T cells play a central role in the adaptive immune response through their capacity to activate, support and control other immune cells. Although these cells have become the focus of intense research, a comprehensive understanding of the underlying regulatory networks that orchestrate CD4 T cell function and activation is still incomplete. Here, we analyzed a large transcriptomic dataset consisting of 48 different human CD4 T cell conditions. By performing reverse network engineering, we identified six common denominators of CD4 T cell functionality (CREB1, E2F3, AHR, STAT1, NFAT5 and NFATC3). Moreover, we also analyzed condition-specific genes which led us to the identification of the transcription factor MEOX1 in T cells. Expression of MEOX1 was comparable to FOXP3 in T cells and can be upregulated by IL-2. Epigenetic analyses revealed a permissive epigenetic landscape for MEOX1 solely in T cells. Knockdown of MEOX1 in T cells revealed a profound impact on downstream gene expression programs and T cell suppressive capacity. These findings in the context of CD4 T cells contribute to a better understanding of the transcriptional networks and biological mechanisms controlling CD4 T cell functionality, which opens new avenues for future therapeutic strategies.

Copyright © 2023 Baßler, Schmidleithner, Shakiba, Elmzzahi, Köhne, Floess, Scholz, Ohkura, Sadlon, Klee, Neubauer, Sakaguchi, Barry, Huehn, Bonaguro, Ulas and Beyer.

PMID: 37559728

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