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    Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 α (HNF4A) is a highly conserved nuclear receptor that has been associated with ulcerative colitis. In mice, HNF4A is indispensable for the maintenance of intestinal homeostasis, yet the underlying mechanisms are poorly characterized. Here, we demonstrate that the expression of HNF4A in intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) is required for the proper development and composition of the intraepithelial lymphocyte (IEL) compartment. HNF4A directly regulates expression of immune signaling molecules including butyrophilin-like (Btnl) 1, Btnl6, H2-T3, and Clec2e that control IEC-IEL crosstalk. HNF4A selectively enhances the expansion of natural IELs that are TCRγδ+ or TCRαβ+CD8αα+ to shape the composition of IEL compartment. In the small intestine, HNF4A cooperates with its paralog HNF4G, to drive expression of immune signaling molecules. Moreover, the HNF4A-BTNL regulatory axis is conserved in human IECs. Collectively, these findings underscore the importance of HNF4A as a conserved transcription factor controlling IEC-IEL crosstalk and suggest that HNF4A maintains intestinal homeostasis through regulation of the IEL compartment. © 2022 Lei et al.


    Xuqiu Lei, Natalia Ketelut-Carneiro, Liraz Shmuel-Galia, Weili Xu, Ruth Wilson, Tim Vierbuchen, Yongzhi Chen, Andrea Reboldi, Joonsoo Kang, Karen L Edelblum, Doyle Ward, Katherine A Fitzgerald. Epithelial HNF4A shapes the intraepithelial lymphocyte compartment via direct regulation of immune signaling molecules. The Journal of experimental medicine. 2022 Aug 01;219(8)

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    PMID: 35792863

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