Tissue homeostasis is critically dependent on the function of tissue-resident lymphocytes, including lipid-reactive invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells. Yet, if and how the tissue environment shapes the antigen specificity of iNKT cells remains unknown. By analysing iNKT cells from lymphoid tissues of mice and humans we demonstrate that their T cell receptor (TCR) repertoire is highly diverse and is distinct for cells from various tissues resulting in differential lipid-antigen recognition. Within peripheral tissues iNKT cell recent thymic emigrants exhibit a different TCR repertoire than mature cells, suggesting that the iNKT population is shaped after arrival to the periphery. Consistent with this, iNKT cells from different organs show distinct basal activation, proliferation and clonal expansion. Moreover, the iNKT cell TCR repertoire changes following immunisation and is shaped by age and environmental changes. Thus, post-thymic modification of the TCR-repertoire underpins the distinct antigen specificity for iNKT cells in peripheral tissues.
The RNAseq data are available in the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database with accession number GSE131420.
Analysis of transcriptomic profile of iNKT cellsNCBI Gene Expression Omnibus, GSE131420.
- Patricia Barral
- Rebeca Jimeno
- Graham Anderson
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
Animal experimentation: All animal experiments were approved by the Francis Crick Institute's and the King's College London's Animal Welfare and Ethical Review Body and the United Kingdom Home Office.
Human subjects: Human tissues used in this study were collected with ethical approval from UK Research Ethics Committees administered through the Integrated Research Application System. All samples were collected with informed consent.
- Chyung-Ru Wang, Northwestern University, United States
© 2019, Jimeno et al.
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Age-associated DNA methylation in blood cells convey information on health status. However, the mechanisms that drive these changes in circulating cells and their relationships to gene regulation are unknown. We identified age-associated DNA methylation sites in six purified blood-borne immune cell types (naive B, naive CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, granulocytes, monocytes, and NK cells) collected from healthy individuals interspersed over a wide age range. Of the thousands of age-associated sites, only 350 sites were differentially methylated in the same direction in all cell types and validated in an independent longitudinal cohort. Genes close to age-associated hypomethylated sites were enriched for collagen biosynthesis and complement cascade pathways, while genes close to hypermethylated sites mapped to neuronal pathways. In silico analyses showed that in most cell types, the age-associated hypo- and hypermethylated sites were enriched for ARNT (HIF1β) and REST transcription factor (TF) motifs, respectively, which are both master regulators of hypoxia response. To conclude, despite spatial heterogeneity, there is a commonality in the putative regulatory role with respect to TF motifs and histone modifications at and around these sites. These features suggest that DNA methylation changes in healthy aging may be adaptive responses to fluctuations of oxygen availability.