Flt3 ligand expands bona fide innate lymphoid cell precursors in vivo.
ABSTRACT: A common helper-like innate lymphoid precursor (CHILP) restricted to the innate lymphoid cells (ILC) lineage has been recently characterized. While specific requirements of transcription factors for CHILPs development has been partially described, their ability to sense cytokines and react to peripheral inflammation remains unaddressed. Here, we found that systemic increase in Flt3L levels correlated with the expansion of Lineage (Lin)neg?4?7+ precursors in the adult murine bone marrow. Expanded Linneg?4?7+ precursors were bona fide CHILPs as seen by their ability to differentiate into all helper ILCs subsets but cNK in vivo. Interestingly, Flt3L-expanded CHILPs transferred into lymphopenic mice preferentially reconstituted the small intestine. While we did not observe changes in serum Flt3L during DSS-induced colitis in mice or plasma from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) patients, elevated Flt3L levels were detected in acute malaria patients. Interestingly, while CHILP numbers were stable during the course of DSS-induced colitis, they expanded following increased serum Flt3L levels in malaria-infected mice, hence suggesting a role of the Flt3L-ILC axis in malaria. Collectively, our results indicate that Flt3L expands CHILPs in the bone marrow, which might be associated with specific inflammatory conditions.
Project description:IL-33 promotes type 2 immunity, epithelial repair, and tissue fibrosis by activating group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2). ILC2 lack all known surface markers of mature T, B, NK, and myeloid cell lineages (Linneg), express the IL-33 receptor ST2, and release type 2 cytokines which contribute to cholangiocyte proliferation and activation of hepatic stellate cells. This pathway results in massive proliferation of the extrahepatic bile duct (EHBD) but also exacerbates liver fibrosis, suggesting that there may be tissue-specific subpopulations of IL-33-induced ILC. To determine the tissue-specific subsets of ILC in the hepatobiliary system, we analyzed CD45+Linneg mononuclear cells from IL-33 treated adult Balb/c mouse liver or EHBD by single cell RNA sequencing. Principal component analysis identified 6 major CD45+Linneg cell classes, two of which were restricted to the EHBD. One of these classes, biliary immature myeloid (BIM) cells, was predicted to interact with ILC2 by a network of shared receptor-ligand pairs. BIM highly expressed Gp49 and ST2 receptors on the cell surface while lacking surface expression of markers for mature myeloid cells. In conclusion, single cell RNA sequencing identified IL-33 responsive cell groups regionally confined to the liver or extrahepatic bile duct, including a novel population of CD45+Linneg Gp49-expressing mononuclear cells.
Project description:Transcription factor (TF) reporter mice have proved integral to the characterization of murine innate lymphoid cell (ILC) development and function. Here, we implemented a CRISPR/Cas9-generated combinatorial reporter approach for the simultaneous resolution of several key TFs throughout ILC development in both the fetal liver and adult bone marrow. We demonstrate that the Tcf7-expressing early innate lymphoid precursor (EILP) and the common helper ILC precursor (CHILP) both contain a heterogeneous mixture of specified ILC and lymphoid tissue inducer (LTi) precursors with restricted lineage potential rather than a shared precursor. Moreover, the earliest specified precursor to the LTi lineage was identified upstream of these populations, before Tcf7 expression. These findings match dynamic changes in chromatin accessibility associated with the expression of key TFs (i.e., GATA3 and RORγ(t)), highlighting the distinct origins of ILC and LTi lineages at the epigenetic and functional levels, and provide a revised map for ILC development.
Project description:The cellular and molecular events that drive the early development of innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) remain poorly understood. We show that the transcription factor TCF-1 is required for the efficient generation of all known adult ILC subsets and their precursors. Using novel reporter mice, we identified a new subset of early ILC progenitors (EILPs) expressing high amounts of TCF-1. EILPs lacked efficient T and B lymphocyte potential but efficiently gave rise to NK cells and all known adult helper ILC lineages, indicating that they are the earliest ILC-committed progenitors identified so far. Our results suggest that upregulation of TCF-1 expression denotes the earliest stage of ILC fate specification. The discovery of EILPs provides a basis for deciphering additional signals that specify ILC fate.
Project description:Innate lymphoid cell (ILC) development proposes that ILC precursors (ILCPs) segregate along natural killer (NK) cell versus helper cell (ILC1, ILC2, ILC3) pathways, the latter depending on expression of Id2, Zbtb16, and Gata3. We have developed an Id2-reporter strain expressing red fluorescent protein (RFP) in the context of normal Id2 expression to re-examine ILCP phenotype and function. We show that bone-marrow ILCPs were heterogeneous and harbored extensive NK-cell potential in vivo and in vitro. By multiplexing Id2RFP with Zbtb16CreGFP and Bcl11btdTomato strains, we made a single-cell dissection of the ILCP compartment. In contrast with the current model, we have demonstrated that Id2+Zbtb16+ ILCPs included multi-potent ILCPs that retained NK-cell potential. Late-stage ILC2P and ILC3P compartments could be defined by differential Zbtb16 and Bcl11b expression. We suggest a revised model for ILC differentiation that redefines the cell-fate potential of helper-ILC-restricted Zbtb16+ ILCPs.
Project description:Helper Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are tissue resident lymphocytes that play a critical role in a number of biological processes. Several transcription factors are required for the differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) into ILCs. Recent studies demonstrate GATA3 as a transcriptional regulator that plays an essential role in ILC development. We aimed to modulate the differentiation of human cord blood-derived CD34<sup>+</sup> cells into ILCs by transient and ectopic expression of mRNA encoding transcription factors known to be important for ILC lineage differentiation, including GATA3, TOX, NFIL3, ID2, and ROR?t. Using this experimental protocol, only GATA3 significantly modulated HSCs to differentiate into helper ILCs. Transient overexpression of GATA3 drove the emergence of CD34<sup>+</sup>?4?7<sup>+</sup> early ILC progenitors during the first few days of culture. These ILC progenitors further acquired IL-7R? and CD117 to give rise to immediate ILC precursors. In support of these findings, analysis of the genes induced by GATA3 in HSCs showed an upregulation of those associated with ILC development. Moreover, we show GATA3 also acts on more committed progenitors and significantly shifts the differentiation of progenitors away from the ILC1/NK lineage to the ILC2 and ILC3 lineage. In summary, transient overexpression of GATA3 mRNA in CD34<sup>+</sup> HSCs enhances the differentiation of HSCs into the helper ILC lineages, at the expense of NK cell development.
Project description:Flt3 signaling plays a crucial role in regulating the survival and differentiation of lymphoid progenitors into B cell precursors (BCPs) in bone marrow. To define further the role of Flt3 signaling in lymphoid progenitor survival, mice deficient in Flt3 ligand that also expressed a Bcl2 transgene (E?-bcl2tg flt3l(-/-)) were generated. Intracellular flow cytometry established transgene expression in primitive hematopoietic progenitors, including lineage-negative Sca-1(+) c-kit(+) (LSK(+)) CD27(-) cells enriched for functional hematopoietic stem cells. Compared with flt3l(-/-) mice, E?-bcl2tg flt3l(-/-) mice had significantly increased multipotential progenitors (MPPs), IL-7R(+) common lymphoid progenitors, and B cell precursors. To determine whether forced expression of Bcl2 was sufficient to restore lymphoid priming in the absence of Flt3 signaling E?-bcl2tg flt3l(-/-)rag1-gfp(+) mice were generated. Analysis of E?-bcl2tg flt3l(-/-)rag1-gfp(+) mice revealed that the Bcl2 transgene had no effect on lymphoid priming before CD19 expression. Thus, forced expression of a survival gene can bypass the requirement for threshold levels of Flt3 signaling requisite for lymphoid priming. Temporal Flt3 ligand (FL) replacement therapy in flt3l(-/-) mice revealed specific requirements for Flt3 signaling in the expansion and maintenance of Flt3(+hi) MPP and Flt3(+) all lymphoid progenitors, but not Flt3(+) B lymphoid progenitors (BLPs), the immediate precursors of BCPs. BCPs were restored after temporal in vivo FL treatment, albeit with delayed kinetics. Together, these results show that Flt3 regulates the proliferation, survival, and maintenance of developmental stage-specific hematopoietic progenitors that give rise to BCPs.
Project description:Group 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3s) expressing the transcription factor (TF) ROR?t are important for the defense and homeostasis of host intestinal tissues. The zinc finger TF Ikaros, encoded by Ikzf1, is essential for the development of ROR?t(+) fetal lymphoid tissue inducer (LTi) cells and lymphoid organogenesis, but its role in postnatal ILC3s is unknown. Here, we show that small-intestinal ILC3s had lower Ikaros expression than ILC precursors and other ILC subsets. Ikaros inhibited ILC3s in a cell-intrinsic manner through zinc-finger-dependent inhibition of transcriptional activity of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, a key regulator of ILC3 maintenance and function. Ablation of Ikzf1 in ROR?t(+) ILC3s resulted in increased expansion and cytokine production of intestinal ILC3s and protection against infection and colitis. Therefore, in contrast to being required for LTi development, Ikaros inhibits postnatal ILC3 development and function to regulate gut immune responses at steady state and in disease.
Project description:Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) include cytotoxic natural killer cells and distinct groups of cytokine-producing innate helper cells which participate in immune defense and promote tissue homeostasis. Circulating human ILC precursors (ILCP) able to generate all canonical ILC subsets via multi-potent or uni-potent intermediates according to our previous work. Here we show potential cooperative roles for the Notch and IL-23 signaling pathways for human ILC differentiation from blood ILCP using single cell cloning analyses and validate these findings in patient samples with rare genetic deficiencies in IL12RB1 and RORC. Mechanistically, Notch signaling promotes upregulation of the transcription factor RORC, enabling acquisition of Group 1 (IFN-γ) and Group 3 (IL-17A, IL-22) effector functions in multi-potent and uni-potent ILCP. Interfering with RORC or signaling through its target IL-23R compromises ILC3 effector functions but also generally suppresses ILC production from multi-potent ILCP. Our results identify a Notch->RORC- > IL-23R pathway which operates during human ILC differentiation. These observations may help guide protocols to expand functional ILC subsets in vitro with an aim towards novel ILC therapies for human disease.
Project description:Macrophages play a central role in intestinal immunity, but inappropriate macrophage activation is associated with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Here, we identify granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF) as a critical regulator of intestinal macrophage activation in patients with IBD and mice with dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-induced colitis. We find that GM-CSF drives the maturation and polarization of inflammatory intestinal macrophages, promoting anti-microbial functions while suppressing wound-healing transcriptional programs. Group 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3s) are a major source of GM-CSF in intestinal inflammation, with a strong positive correlation observed between ILC or CSF2 transcripts and M1 macrophage signatures in IBD mucosal biopsies. Furthermore, GM-CSF-dependent macrophage polarization results in a positive feedback loop that augmented ILC3 activation and type 17 immunity. Together, our data reveal an important role for GM-CSF-mediated ILC-macrophage crosstalk in calibrating intestinal macrophage phenotype to enhance anti-bacterial responses, while inhibiting pro-repair functions associated with fibrosis and stricturing, with important clinical implications.
Project description:Whereas the critical roles of innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) in adult are increasingly appreciated, their developmental hierarchy in early human fetus remains largely elusive. In this study, we sorted human hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, lymphoid progenitors, putative ILC progenitor/precursors and mature ILCs in the fetal hematopoietic, lymphoid and non-lymphoid tissues, from 8 to 12 post-conception weeks, for single-cell RNA-sequencing, followed by computational analysis and functional validation at bulk and single-cell levels. We delineated the early phase of ILC lineage commitment from hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells, which mainly occurred in fetal liver and intestine. We further unveiled interleukin-3 receptor as a surface marker for the lymphoid progenitors in fetal liver with T, B, ILC and myeloid potentials, while IL-3RA<sup>-</sup> lymphoid progenitors were predominantly B-lineage committed. Notably, we determined the heterogeneity and tissue distribution of each ILC subpopulation, revealing the proliferating characteristics shared by the precursors of each ILC subtype. Additionally, a novel unconventional ILC2 subpopulation (CRTH2<sup>-</sup> CCR9<sup>+</sup> ILC2) was identified in fetal thymus. Taken together, our study illuminates the precise cellular and molecular features underlying the stepwise formation of human fetal ILC hierarchy with remarkable spatiotemporal heterogeneity.