CD4+ T helper (Th) differentiation is regulated by diverse inputs, including the vitamin A metabolite retinoic acid (RA). RA acts through its receptor RARα to repress transcription of inflammatory cytokines, but is also essential for Th-mediated immunity, indicating complex effects of RA on Th specification and the outcome of the immune response. We examined the impact of RA on the genome-wide transcriptional response during Th differentiation to multiple subsets. RA effects were subset-selective and were most significant in Th9 cells. RA globally antagonized Th9-promoting transcription factors and inhibited Th9 differentiation. RA directly targeted the extended Il9 locus and broadly modified the Th9 epigenome through RARα. RA-RARα activity limited murine Th9-associated pulmonary inflammation, and human allergic inflammation was associated with reduced expression of RA target genes. Thus, repression of the Th9 program is a major function of RA-RARα signaling in Th differentiation, arguing for a role for RA in interleukin 9 (IL-9) related diseases.
Keywords: ATAC-seq; ChIP-seq; Enhancers; Interleukin 9; Interleukins; RNA sequencing; Retinoic acid; T helper cells; Th9 cells; vitamin A.
Published by Elsevier Inc.