Indexed on: 16 Sep '21Published on: 16 Sep '21Published in: Nature communications
EOMES and T-BET are related T-box transcription factors that control natural killer (NK) cell development. Here we demonstrate that EOMES and T-BET regulate largely distinct gene sets during this process. EOMES is dominantly expressed in immature NK cells and drives early lineage specification by inducing hallmark receptors and functions. By contrast, T-BET is dominant in mature NK cells, where it induces responsiveness to IL-12 and represses the cell cycle, likely through transcriptional repressors. Regardless, many genes with distinct functions are co-regulated by the two transcription factors. By generating two gene-modified mice facilitating chromatin immunoprecipitation of endogenous EOMES and T-BET, we show a strong overlap in their DNA binding targets, as well as extensive epigenetic changes during NK cell differentiation. Our data thus suggest that EOMES and T-BET may distinctly govern, via differential expression and co-factors recruitment, NK cell maturation by inserting partially overlapping epigenetic regulations. © 2021. The Author(s).