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Neutrophils are short-lived blood cells that play a critical role in host defense against infections. To better comprehend neutrophil functions and their regulation, we provide a complete epigenetic and functional overview of their differentiation stages from bone marrow-residing progenitors to mature circulating cells. Integration of epigenetic and transcriptome dynamics reveals an enforced regulation of differentiation, through cellular functions such as: release of proteases, respiratory burst, cell cycle regulation and apoptosis. We observe an early establishment of the cytotoxic capability, whilst the signaling components that activate antimicrobial mechanisms are transcribed at later stages, outside the bone marrow, thus preventing toxic effects in the bone marrow niche. Altogether, these data reveal how the developmental dynamics of the epigenetic landscape orchestrate the daily production of large number of neutrophils required for innate host defense and provide a comprehensive overview of the epigenomes of differentiating human neutrophils.

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