T helper 17 (Th17) cells are key players in autoimmune diseases. However, the roles of non-coding RNAs in Th17 cell development and function are largely unknown. We found that deletion of the endoribonuclease-encoding Dicer1 specifically in Th17 cells protected mice from experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. We found that the Dicer1-regulated microRNA (miR)-183-96-182 cluster (miR-183C) was highly expressed in Th17 cells and was induced by cytokine IL-6-STAT3 signaling. miR-183C expression enhanced pathogenic cytokine production from Th17 cells during their development and promoted autoimmunity. Mechanistically, miR-183C in Th17 cells directly repressed expression of the transcription factor Foxo1. Foxo1 negatively regulated the pathogenicity of Th17 cells in part by inhibiting expression of cytokine receptor IL-1R1. These findings indicate that the miR-183C drives Th17 pathogenicity in autoimmune diseases via inhibition of Foxo1 and present promising therapeutic targets.
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