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REV-ERB Regulates TH17 Cell Development and Autoimmunity

Amir, M;Chaudhari, S;Wang, R;Campbell, S;Mosure, SA;Chopp, LB;Lu, Q;Shang, J;Pelletier, OB;He, Y;Doebelin, C;Cameron, MD;Kojetin, DJ;Kamenecka, TM;Solt, LA;

RORt is well recognized as the lineage-defining transcription factor for T helper 17 (TH17) cell development. However, the cell-intrinsic mechanisms that negatively regulate TH17 cell development and autoimmunity remain poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that the transcriptional repressor REV-ERB is exclusively expressed in TH17 cells, competes with RORt for their shared DNA consensus sequence, and negatively regulates TH17 cell development via repression of genes traditionally characterized as RORt dependent, including Il17a. Deletion of REV-ERB enhanced TH17-mediated pro-inflammatory cytokine expression, exacerbating experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and colitis. Treatment with REV-ERB-specific synthetic ligands, which have similar phenotypic properties as ROR modulators, suppressed TH17 cell development, was effective in colitis intervention studies, and significantly decreased the onset, severity, and relapse rate in several models of EAE without affecting thymic cellularity. Our results establish that REV-ERB negatively regulates pro-inflammatory TH17 responses in vivo and identifies the REV-ERBs as potential targets for the treatment of TH17-mediated autoimmune diseases. Copyright 2018 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.