Chromatin contributions to the regulation of innate immunity

Stephen T. Smale, Alexander Tarakhovsky, Gioacchino Natoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A fundamental property of cells of the innate immune system is their ability to elicit a transcriptional response to a microbial stimulus or danger signal with a high degree of cell type and stimulus specificity. The selective response activates effector pathways to control the insult and plays a central role in regulating adaptive immunity through the differential regulation of cytokine genes. Selectivity is dictated by signaling pathways and their transcription factor targets. However, a growing body of evidence supports models in which different subsets of genes exhibit distinct chromatin features that play active roles in shaping the response. Chromatin also participates in innate memory mechanisms that can promote tolerance to a stimulus or prime cells for a more robust response. These findings have generated interest in the capacity to modulate chromatin regulators with small-molecule compounds for the treatment of diseases associated with innate or adaptive immunity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)489-511
Number of pages23
JournalAnnual Review of Immunology
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Chromatin
  • Epigenetics
  • Innate immunity
  • Macrophages
  • Transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy


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