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Transcriptome and Chromatin Landscape of iNKT cells are Shaped by Subset Differentiation and Antigen Exposure

By Mallory Paynich Murray, Isaac Engel, Gregory Seumois, Sara Herrera de la Mata, Sandy Lucette Rosales, Ashu Sethi, Ashmitaa Logandha Ramamoorthy Premlal, Goo-Young Seo, Jason A Greenbaum, Pandurangan Vijayanand, James P. Scott-Browne, Mitchell Kronenberg

Posted 27 Oct 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.10.27.357673

Invariant natural killer T cells (iNKT cells) differentiate into thymic and peripheral NKT1, NKT2 and NKT17 subsets. We determined if the gene programs associated with these thymic subsets were maintained in peripheral sites, the influence of tissue location, and if there were large-scale changes after antigen exposure. RNA-seq and ATAC-seq analyses showed that iNKT cells in any subset were similar, regardless of tissue location. Lung iNKT cell subsets possessed the most distinct location-specific features, shared with other innate lymphocytes in the lung, possibly consistent with increased activation. After antigenic stimulation, iNKT cells underwent chromatin and transcription changes leading to two populations: one similar to follicular helper T cells and the other like NK or effector cells. Phenotypic analysis indicated these changes were observed long-term, suggesting that iNKT cells gene programs are not fixed, but they are capable of chromatin remodeling after antigen to give rise to several new subsets. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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