MeCP2 enforces Foxp3 expression to promote regulatory T cells' resilience to inflammation.
Forkhead box P3(+) (Foxp3(+)) regulatory T cells (Tregs) are crucial for peripheral tolerance. During inflammation, steady Foxp3 expression in Tregs is essential for maintaining their lineage identity and suppressive function. However, the molecular machinery governing Tregs' resilience to inflammation-induced Foxp3 destabilization remains elusive. Here, we demonstrate that methyl-CpG binding protein 2 (MeCP2), an eminent epigenetic regulator known primarily as the etiological factor of Rett syndrome, is critical to sustain Foxp3 expression in Tregs during inflammation. In response to inflammatory stimuli, MeCP2 is specifically recruited to the Conserved Non-Coding sequence 2 region of the foxp3 locus, where it collaborates with cAMP responsive element binding protein 1 to promote local histone H3 acetylation, thereby counteracting inflammation-induced epigenetic silencing of foxp3. Consequently, Treg-specific deletion of MeCP2 causes spontaneous immune activation in mice and failure in protection against autoimmunity. Furthermore, we demonstrate that Foxp3 expression in MeCP2-deficient Tregs diminishes with time, resulting in their failure to suppress effector T-cell-mediated colitis. Thus, MeCP2 serves as a critical safeguard that confers Tregs with resilience against inflammation.
Li, C; Jiang, S; Liu, S-Q; Lykken, E; Zhao, L-T; Sevilla, J; Zhu, B; Li, Q-J
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