Eapen A, Kottyan L, Parameswaran S, Forney C, Edsall L, Miller D, Donmez O, Weirauch M, Dunn K, Lu X, Granitto M, Rowden H, Magier A, Pujato M, Chen X, Bernstein D, Devonshire A, and Rothenberg M. Epigenetic and Transcriptional Dysregulation in T cells of Patients with Atopic Dermatitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol 2022; 149(2):AB5.
J Allergy Clin Immunol
Rationale: Atopic dermatitis (AD) is linked to genetic and environmental risk factors. The effect of these factors on molecular and transcriptional events is not well understood. Immunologically, AD involves skin barrier defects and CD4+ T cells that produce inflammatory cytokines and amplify epidermal dysfunction Our objective was to investigate epigenetic mechanisms that may account for genetic susceptibility in CD4+ T cells.
Methods: We measured chromatin accessibility (ATAC-seq), NFKB1 binding (ChIP-seq), and gene expression (RNA-seq) in anti-CD3/CD28 stimulated CD4+ T cells from 6 subjects with active moderate-to-severe AD and 6 age-matched non-allergic controls.
Results: AD genetic risk loci were enriched for open chromatin regions in stimulated CD4+ T cells. The majority of ATAC-seq peaks were shared between matched AD-control pairs, consistent with those sections of chromatin being equally available. In contrast, NFKB DNA binding motifs were enriched in AD-dependent open chromatin. NFKB1 ChIP-seq identified genomic regions that were more strongly bound in AD cases, more strongly bound in controls, or shared between cases and controls. Chromatin that was strongly accessible and bound by NFKB1 in AD was enriched for AD genetic risk variants. Using whole genome sequencing data, we identified genotype-dependent accessible chromatin at AD risk loci corresponding to 32 genes with genotype-dependent expression in stimulated CD4+ T cells.
Conclusions: The response of CD4+ T cells to stimulation is AD-specific and results in differential chromatin accessibility and transcription factor binding. These differences in transcriptional regulation result in epigenetic and transcriptional dysregulation in CD4+ T cells of patients with AD.