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Regulatory T (Treg) cells require (interleukin-2) IL-2 for their homeostasis by affecting their proliferation, survival and activation. Here we investigated transcriptional and epigenetic changes after acute, periodic and persistent IL-2 receptor (IL-2R) signaling in mouse peripheral Treg cells in vivo using IL-2 or the long-acting IL-2-based biologic mouse IL-2-CD25. We show that initially IL-2R-dependent STAT5 transcription factor-dependent pathways enhanced gene activation, chromatin accessibility and metabolic reprogramming to support Treg cell proliferation. Unexpectedly, at peak proliferation, less accessible chromatin prevailed and was associated with Treg cell contraction. Restimulation of IL-2R signaling after contraction activated signature IL-2-dependent genes and others associated with effector Treg cells, whereas genes associated with signal transduction were downregulated to somewhat temper expansion. Thus, IL-2R-dependent Treg cell homeostasis depends in part on a shift from more accessible chromatin and expansion to less accessible chromatin and contraction. Mouse IL-2-CD25 supported greater expansion and a more extensive transcriptional state than IL-2 in Treg cells, consistent with greater efficacy to control autoimmunity. © 2022. Springer Nature America, Inc.


Alejandro Moro, Zhen Gao, Lily Wang, Aixin Yu, Sunnie Hsiung, Yuguang Ban, Aimin Yan, Corneliu M Sologon, X Steven Chen, Thomas R Malek. Dynamic transcriptional activity and chromatin remodeling of regulatory T cells after varied duration of interleukin-2 receptor signaling. Nature immunology. 2022 May;23(5):802-813

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PMID: 35449416

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