Myeloid cells are a heterogenous and abundant population of haematopoietic cells that are virtually present in all mammalian tissues, where they monitor local microenvironment to maintain homeostasis. All myeloid cells originate from the pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells that undergo progressive restriction in their lineage potential to give rise to mature granulocytes and macrophages. Lineage restriction and differentiation are regulated by timely activation of specific set of lineage-specific transcription factors in concert with down-regulation of other set(s) of transcription factors that are important for alternative cell lineage potential. Altered expression of these lineage-specific transcription factors often leads to deregulation of myelopoiesis and resultant hematopoietic disorders. Therefore, lineage-specific transcription factors are essential for myeloid cell lineage differentiation and maturation. Mice with a null mutation of irf8, the gene that encodes IFN regulatory factor 8 (IRF8), exhibit massive accumulation of CD11b+Gr1+ immature myeloid cells (IMCs). Therefore, IRF8 is a myeloid cell lineage-specific transcription factor that plays an essential function in the regulation of myelopoiesis. Particularly, IRF8 may determine differentiation, lineage commitment, and immune function of monocytes versus granulocytes under physiological conditions.
A hallmark of cancer-bearing mice is the accumulation of CD11b+Gr1+ myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs). Interestingly, IRF8 is silenced in MDSCs from tumor-bearing mice. Therefore, IRF8 is apparently a key transcription factor that mediates MDSC differentiation. However, the molecular mechanism underlying IRF8 regulation of MDSCs is largely unknown. Because MDSCs is induced by inflammation, we therefore hypothesized that IRF8 may repress the expression of proinflammatory factors to mediate differentiation of MDSCs/IMCs under physiological and pathological conditions. To test this hypothesis, we made use of conventional IRF8 KO mice, mice with IRF8 deficiency only in myeloid cells, mice with IRF8 deficiency only in T cells, and tumor-bearing mouse models. Here we report an intriguing finding that although IRF8 conventional mice exhibit deregulated myeloid cell differentiation and resultant accumulation of CD11b+Gr1+ IMCs, surprisingly, mice with IRF8 deficiency only in myeloid cells exhibit normal myeloid cell lineage differentiation. Instead, mice with IRF8 deficiency only in T cells exhibited deregulated myeloid cell differentiation and IMC accumulation. We further demonstrated that IRF8-deficient T cells exhibit elevated GM-CSF expression and secretion. Treatment of mice with GM-CSF increased IMC accumulation, and adoptive transfer of IRF8-deficient T cells, but not GM-CSF-deficient T cells, increased IMC accumulation in the recipient chimera mice. Moreover, overexpression of IRF8 decreased GM-CSF expression in T cells. These data thus determine that IRF8 functions in T cells to repress GM-CSF expression to suppress IMCs. However, in tumor-bearing mice, IRF8 is silenced in MDSCs but not in T cells, suggesting a different mechanism of MDSC regulation by IRF8. We observed that silencing IRF8 using IRF8-specific siRNA dramatically increase GM-CSF expression in tumor cells. Therefore, IRF8 represses GM-CSF expression in tumor cells to mediate MDSC differentiation. In summary, we determine that IRF8 regulates GM-CSF expression in T cells and tumor cells, respectively, to mediate myelopoiesis under physiological and pathological conditions.
This abstract is also presented as Poster A84.
Citation Format: Amy Paschall, Ruihua Zhang, Kankana Bardhan, Chen-Feng Qi, Liang Peng, Geming Lu, Jianjun Yang, Miriam Merad, Mary Zimmerman, Tracy McGaha, Gang Zhou, Andrew Mellor, Scott I. Abrams, Herbert Morse, Keiko Ozato, Huabao Xiong, Kebin Liu. IRF8 regulates GM-CSF expression in T cells and tumor cells to mediate myeloid-derived suppressor cell differentiation. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Special Conference: Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy: A New Chapter; December 1-4, 2014; Orlando, FL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Immunol Res 2015;3(10 Suppl):Abstract nr PR05.
- ©2015 American Association for Cancer Research.