Polycomb group (PcG) gene products regulate the maintenance of homeobox gene expression in Drosophila and vertebrates. In the immune system, PcG molecules control cell cycle progression of thymocytes, Th2 cell differentiation, and the generation of memory CD4 T cells. In this paper, we extended the study of PcG molecules to the regulation of in vivo Th2 responses, especially allergic airway inflammation, by using conditional Ring1B-deficient mice with a CD4 T cell-specific deletion of the Ring1B gene (Ring1B -/- mice). In Ring1B-/- mice, CD4 T cell development appeared to be normal, whereas the differentiation of Th2 cells but not Th1 cells was moderately impaired. In an Ag-induced Th2-driven allergic airway inflammation model, eosinophilic inflammation was attenuated in Ring1B -/- mice. Interestingly, Ring1B-/- effector Th2 cells were highly susceptible to apoptosis in comparison with wild-type effector Th2 cells in vivo and in vitro. The in vitro experiments revealed that the expression of Bim was increased at both the transcriptional and protein levels in Ring1B -/- effector Th2 cells, and the enhanced apoptosis in Ring1B -/- Th2 cells was rescued by the knockdown of Bim but not the other proapoptotic genes, such as Perp, Noxa, or Bax. The enhanced apoptosis detected in the transferred Ring1B-/- Th2 cells in the lung of the recipient mice was also rescued by knockdown of Bim. Therefore, these results indicate that Ring1B plays an important role in Th2-driven allergic airway inflammation through the control of Bim-dependent apoptosis of effector Th2 cells in vivo.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy