Naive CD4+ T cells differentiate into functionally diverse T helper (Th) cell subsets. Th2 cells play a pathogenic role in asthma, yet a clear picture of their transcriptional profile is lacking. We performed single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) of T helper cells from lymph node, lung, and airways in the house dust mite (HDM) model of allergic airway disease. scRNA-seq resolved transcriptional profiles of naive CD4+ T, Th1, Th2, regulatory T (Treg) cells, and a CD4+ T cell population responsive to type I interferons. Th2 cells in the airways were enriched for transcription of many genes, including Cd200r1, Il6, Plac8, and Igfbp7, and their mRNA profile was supported by analysis of chromatin accessibility and flow cytometry. Pathways associated with lipid metabolism were enriched in Th2 cells, and experiments with inhibitors of key metabolic pathways supported roles for glucose and lipid metabolism. These findings provide insight into the differentiation of pathogenic Th2 cells in the context of allergy.
Keywords: ATAC-seq; T helper; Th2; asthma; house dust mite; interleukin; metabolism; single-cell RNA Sequencing.
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