Eomesodermin controls a unique differentiation program in human IL-10 and IFN-γ coproducing regulatory T cells

Paola Gruarin, Stefano Maglie, Marco De Simone, Barbara Häringer, Chiara Vasco, Valeria Ranzani, Roberto Bosotti, Johanna S Noddings, Paola Larghi, Federica Facciotti, Maria L Sarnicola, Martina Martinovic, Mariacristina Crosti, Monica Moro, Riccardo L Rossi, Maria E Bernardo, Flavio Caprioli, Franco Locatelli, Grazisa Rossetti, Sergio AbrignaniMassimiliano Pagani, Jens Geginat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Whether human IL-10-producing regulatory T cells ("Tr1") represent a distinct differentiation lineage or an unstable activation stage remains a key unsolved issue. Here, we report that Eomesodermin (Eomes) acted as a lineage-defining transcription factor in human IFN-γ/IL-10 coproducing Tr1-like cells. In vivo occurring Tr1-like cells expressed Eomes, and were clearly distinct from all other CD4+ T-cell subsets, including conventional cytotoxic CD4+ T cells. They expressed Granzyme (Gzm) K, but had lost CD40L and IL-7R expression. Eomes antagonized the Th17 fate, and directly controlled IFN-γ and GzmK expression. However, Eomes binding to the IL-10 promoter was not detectable in human CD4+ T cells, presumably because critical Tbox binding sites of the mouse were not conserved. A precommitment to a Tr1-like fate, i.e. concominant induction of Eomes, GzmK, and IFN-γ, was promoted by IL-4 and IL-12-secreting myeloid dendritic cells. Consistently, Th1 effector memory cells contained precommitted Eomes+ GzmK+ T cells. Stimulation with T-cell receptor (TCR) agonists and IL-27 promoted the generation of Tr1-like effector cells by inducing switching from CD40L to IL-10. Importantly, CD4+ Eomes+ T-cell subsets were present in lymphoid and nonlymphoid tissues, and their frequencies varied systemically in patients with inflammatory bowel disease and graft-versus-host disease. We propose that Eomes+ Tr1-like cells are effector cells of a unique GzmK-expressing CD4+ T-cell subset.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - Nov 15 2018


Dive into the research topics of 'Eomesodermin controls a unique differentiation program in human IL-10 and IFN-γ coproducing regulatory T cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this