CD8+ T Cells Utilize Highly Dynamic Enhancer Repertoires and Regulatory Circuitry in Response to Infections

Immunity. 2016 Dec 20;45(6):1341-1354. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2016.11.009. Epub 2016 Dec 13.


Differentiation of effector and memory CD8+ T cells is accompanied by extensive changes in the transcriptome and histone modifications at gene promoters; however, the enhancer repertoire and associated gene regulatory networks are poorly defined. Using histone mark chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with deep sequencing, we mapped the enhancer and super-enhancer landscapes in antigen-specific naive, differentiated effector, and central memory CD8+ T cells during LCMV infection. Epigenomics-based annotation revealed a highly dynamic repertoire of enhancers, which were inherited, de novo activated, decommissioned and re-activated during CD8+ T cell responses. We employed a computational algorithm to pair enhancers with target gene promoters. On average, each enhancer targeted three promoters and each promoter was regulated by two enhancers. By identifying enriched transcription factor motifs in enhancers, we defined transcriptional regulatory circuitry at each CD8+ T cell response stage. These multi-dimensional datasets provide a blueprint for delineating molecular mechanisms underlying functional differentiation of CD8+ T cells.

Keywords: CD8 T cells; Central memory; Effector CD8 T cells; Enhancer-promoter interactome; Enhancers; Epigenetics; Hi-C; Naïve CD8 T cells; Super enhancers; Transcriptional regulatory network.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Animals
  • Arenaviridae Infections / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation
  • Computational Biology / methods
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic / genetics
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic / immunology*
  • Epigenomics / methods
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology*
  • Gene Regulatory Networks
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing
  • Lymphocyte Activation / genetics
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology*
  • Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus
  • Mice
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / immunology