ZBTB46 defines and regulates ILC3s that protect the intestine

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21 Scopus citations


RORγt is a lineage-specifying transcription factor that is expressed by immune cells that are enriched in the gastrointestinal tract and promote immunity, inflammation and tissue homeostasis1–15. However, fundamental questions remain with regard to the cellular heterogeneity among these cell types, the mechanisms that control protective versus inflammatory properties and their functional redundancy. Here we define all RORγt+ immune cells in the intestine at single-cell resolution and identify a subset of group 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3s) that expresses ZBTB46, a transcription factor specifying conventional dendritic cells16–20. ZBTB46 is robustly expressed by CCR6+ lymphoid-tissue-inducer-like ILC3s that are developmentally and phenotypically distinct from conventional dendritic cells, and its expression is imprinted by RORγt, fine-tuned by microbiota-derived signals and increased by pro-inflammatory cytokines. ZBTB46 restrains the inflammatory properties of ILC3s, including the OX40L-dependent expansion of T helper 17 cells and the exacerbated intestinal inflammation that occurs after enteric infection. Finally, ZBTB46+ ILC3s are a major source of IL-22, and selective depletion of this population renders mice susceptible to enteric infection and associated intestinal inflammation. These results show that ZBTB46 is a transcription factor that is shared between conventional dendritic cells and ILC3s, and identify a cell-intrinsic function for ZBTB46 in restraining the pro-inflammatory properties of ILC3s and a non-redundant role for ZBTB46+ ILC3s in orchestrating intestinal health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)159-165
Number of pages7
Issue number7925
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2022
Externally publishedYes


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