Understanding the mechanisms that modulate helper T lymphocyte functions is crucial to decipher normal and pathogenic immune responses in humans. To identify molecular determinants influencing the pathogenicity of T cells, we separated ex vivo-isolated primary human memory T lymphocytes on the basis of their ability to produce high levels of inflammatory cytokines. We found that the inflammatory, cytokine-producing phenotype of memory T lymphocytes was defined by a specific core gene signature and was mechanistically regulated by the constitutive activation of the NF-κB pathway and by the expression of the transcriptional repressor BHLHE40. BHLHE40 attenuated the expression of anti-inflammatory factors, including miR-146a, a negative regulator of NF-κB activation and ZC3H12D, an RNase of the Regnase-1 family able to degrade inflammatory transcripts. Our data reveal a molecular network regulating the proinflammatory phenotype of human memory T lymphocytes, with the potential to contribute to disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy