HDAC3 restrains CD8-lineage genes to maintain a bi-potential state in CD4+CD8+ thymocytes for CD4-lineage commitment

Rachael Laura Philips, Jeong Heon Lee, Krutika Gaonkar, Pritha Chanana, Ji Young Chung, Sinibaldo R. Romero Arocha, Aaron Schwab, Tamas Ordog, Virginia Smith Shapiro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


CD4 and CD8 T cells are vital components of the immune system. We found that histone deacetylase 3 (HDAC3) is critical for the development of CD4 T cells, as HDAC3-deficient DP thymocytes generate only CD8SP thymocytes in mice. In the absence of HDAC3, MHC Class II-restricted OT-II thymocytes are redirected to the CD8 cytotoxic lineage, which occurs with accelerated kinetics. Analysis of histone acetylation and RNA-seq reveals that HDAC3-deficient DP thymocytes are biased towards the CD8 lineage prior to positive selection. Commitment to the CD4 or CD8 lineage is determined by whether persistent TCR signaling or cytokine signaling predominates, respectively. Despite elevated IL-21R/γc/STAT5 signaling in HDAC3-deficient DP thymocytes, blocking IL-21R does not restore CD4 lineage commitment. Instead, HDAC3 binds directly to CD8-lineage promoting genes. Thus, HDAC3 is required to restrain CD8-lineage genes in DP thymocytes for the generation of CD4 T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere43821
StatePublished - Jan 18 2019


  • HDAC3
  • T cell development
  • immunology
  • inflammation
  • lineage commitment
  • mouse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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