Naive CD4+ T lymphocytes initially undergo antigen-specific activation to promote a broad-spectrum response before adopting bespoke cytokine expression profiles shaped by intercellular microenvironmental cues, resulting in pathogen-focused modular cytokine responses. Interleukin (IL)-4-induced Gata3 upregulation is important for the helper type 2 T cell (TH2 cell) polarization associated with anti-helminth immunity and misdirected allergic inflammation. Whether additional microenvironmental factors participate is unclear. Using whole mouse-genome CRISPR-Cas9 screens, we discovered a previously unappreciated role for αvβ3 integrin in TH2 cell differentiation. Low-level αvβ3 expression by naive CD4+ T cells contributed to pan-T cell activation by promoting T-T cell clustering and IL-2/CD25/STAT5 signaling. Subsequently, IL-4/Gata3-induced selective upregulation of αvβ3 licensed intercellular αvβ3-Thy1 interactions among TH2 cells, enhanced mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling, supported differentiation and promoted IL-5/IL-13 production. In mice, αvβ3 was required for efficient, allergen-driven, antigen-specific lung TH2 cell responses. Thus, αvβ3-expressing TH2 cells form multicellular factories to propagate and amplify TH2 cell responses.
© 2022. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature America, Inc.