Identification of Novel Molecular Markers of Human Th17 Cells

Cells. 2020 Jul 3;9(7):1611. doi: 10.3390/cells9071611.


Th17 cells are important players in host defense against pathogens such as Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans, and Bacillus anthracis. Th17 cell-mediated inflammation, under certain conditions in which balance in the immune system is disrupted, is the underlying pathogenic mechanism of certain autoimmune disorders, e.g., rheumatoid arthritis, Graves' disease, multiple sclerosis, and psoriasis. In the present study, using transcriptomic profiling, we selected genes and analyzed the expression of these genes to find potential novel markers of Th17 lymphocytes. We found that APOD (apolipoprotein D); C1QL1 (complement component 1, Q subcomponent-like protein 1); and CTSL (cathepsin L) are expressed at significantly higher mRNA and protein levels in Th17 cells than in the Th1, Th2, and Treg subtypes. Interestingly, these genes and the proteins they encode are well associated with the function of Th17 cells, as these cells produce inflammation, which is linked with atherosclerosis and angiogenesis. Furthermore, we found that high expression of these genes in Th17 cells is associated with the acetylation of H2BK12 within their promoters. Thus, our results provide new information regarding this cell type. Based on these results, we also hope to better identify pathological conditions of clinical significance caused by Th17 cells.

Keywords: APOD; C1QL1; CTSL; Th17 cells.