Host defense requires the specification of CD4+ helper T (Th) cells into distinct fates, including Th1 cells that preferentially produce interferon-γ (IFN-γ). IFN-γ, a member of a large family of anti-pathogenic and anti-tumor IFNs, induces T-bet, a lineage-defining transcription factor for Th1 cells, which in turn supports IFN-γ production in a feed-forward manner. Herein, we show that a cell-intrinsic role of T-bet influences how T cells perceive their secreted product in the environment. In the absence of T-bet, IFN-γ aberrantly induced a type I IFN transcriptomic program. T-bet preferentially repressed genes and pathways ordinarily activated by type I IFNs to ensure that its transcriptional response did not evoke an aberrant amplification of type I IFN signaling circuitry, otherwise triggered by its own product. Thus, in addition to promoting Th1 effector commitment, T-bet acts as a repressor in differentiated Th1 cells to prevent abberant autocrine type I IFN and downstream signaling.
Keywords: ChIP-seq; JAK-STAT pathway; RNA-seq; STAT; T helper cells; T-bet; immunoregulation; interferon gamma; signal transducer and activator of transcription; transcription; type I interferons.
Published by Elsevier Inc.