Single molecule DNA methylation and hydroxymethylation reveal unique epigenetic identity profiles of T helper cells

Chloe Goldsmith, Valentin Thevin, Oliver Fesneau, Maria I Matias, Julie Perrault, Ali hani Abid, Naomi Taylor, Valérie Dardalhon, Julien C Marie, Hector Hernandez-Vargas

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    Abstract

    Both identity and plasticity of CD4 T helper (Th) cells are regulated in part by epigenetic mechanisms. However, a method that reliably and readily profiles DNA base modifications is still needed to finely study Th cell differentiation. Cytosine methylation (5mC) and cytosine hydroxymethylation (5hmC) are DNA modifications that identify stable cell phenotypes but their potential to characterize intermediate cell transitions has not yet been evaluated. To assess transition states in Th cells, we developed a new method to profile Th cell identity using cas9-targeted single molecule nanopore sequencing and found that 5mC and 5hmC can be used as markers of cellular identity. Targeting as few as 10 selected genomic loci, we were able to distinguish major differentiated T cell subtypes as well as intermediate phenotypes by their native DNA 5mC/5hmC patterns. Moreover, by using off-target sequences we were able to infer transcription factor activities relevant to each cell subtype. Our analysis demonstrates the importance of epigenetic regulation by 5mC and 5hmC modifications in the establishment of Th cell identity. Furthermore, our data highlight the potential to exploit this immune profiling application to elucidate the pathogenic role of Th transition states in autoimmune diseases.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1029-1039
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Immunology
    Volume212
    Issue number6
    DOIs
    Publication statusIn preparation - 4 Feb 2023

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