The regulation of memory CD4(+) helper T (Th) cell function, such as polarized cytokine production, remains unclear. Here we show that memory T helper 2 (Th2) cells are divided into four subpopulations by CD62L and CXCR3 expression. All four subpopulations produced interleukin-4 (IL-4) and IL-13, whereas only the CD62L(lo)CXCR3(lo) population produced IL-5 accompanied by increased H3-K4 methylation at the Il5 gene locus. The transcription factor Eomesodermin (encoded by Eomes) was highly expressed in memory Th2 cells, whereas its expression was selectively downregulated in the IL-5-producing cells. Il5 expression was enhanced in Eomes-deficient cells, and Eomesodermin was shown to interact with the transcription factor GATA3, preventing GATA3 binding to the Il5 promoter. Memory Th2 cell-dependent airway inflammation was attenuated in the absence of the CD62L(lo)CXCR3(lo) population but was enhanced by Eomes-deficient memory Th2 cells. Thus, IL-5 production in memory Th2 cells is regulated by Eomesodermin via the inhibition of GATA3 activity.
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.