Allergic diseases arise in susceptible individuals in part because of decrements in protective pathways. The mechanism by which these anti-inflammatory molecules become repressed remains unclear. We have previously reported that epithelial dectin-1 prevents aberrant type 2 responses and is downregulated in the epithelium of allergic patients. Here we report that dectin-1 is constitutively expressed by the respiratory epithelium in humans, and that IL-33 specifically acts as a repressor of dectin-1. Mechanistically, this occurs via IL-33-dependent STAT3 activation and the subsequent repression of the dectin-1 gene, CLEC7A. We have identified a novel enhancer region upstream of the proximal promoter of CLEC7A that is only accessible in epithelial cells, but not in hematopoietic cells. Epigenetic repression of CLEC7A through this newly identified locus, downstream of an aberrant IL-33-STAT3 axis, occurs in the epithelium of allergic individuals. Collectively, our data identify a mechanism of epigenetic fine-tuning of dectin-1 expression in epithelial cells that may participate in allergenicity.
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