Selective deletion of Eos (Ikzf4) in T-regulatory cells leads to loss of suppressive function and development of systemic autoimmunity

Ameya S. Gokhale, Arunakumar Gangaplara, Maria Lopez-Occasio, Angela M. Thornton, Ethan M. Shevach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Eos (lkzf4) is a member of the Ikaros family of transcription factors and is preferentially expressed in T-regulatory (Treg) cells. However, the role of Eos in Treg function is controversial. One study using siRNA knock down of Eos demonstrated that it was critical for Treg suppressor function. In contrast, Treg from mice with a global deficiency of Eos had normal Treg function in vitro and in vivo. To further dissect the function of Eos in Tregs, we generated mice with a conditional knock out of Eos in Treg cells (lkzf4fl/fl X Foxp3YFP−cre, Eos cKO). Deletion of Eos in Treg resulted in activation of CD4+Foxp3- and CD8+ T cells at the age of 3 months, cellular infiltration in non-lymphoid tissues, hyperglobulinemia, and anti-nuclear antibodies. While Tregs from Eos cKO mice displayed normal suppressive function in vitro, Eos cKO mice developed severe Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyletis (EAE) following immunization with myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) and Eos cKO Treg were unable to suppress Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). Eos cKO mice had decreased growth of the transplantable murine adenocarcinoma MC38 tumor accompanied by enhanced IFN-γ/TNF-α production by CD8+ T cells in tumor draining lymph nodes. Mice with a global deficiency of Eos or a deficiency of Eos only in T cells developed autoimmunity at a much older age (12 months or 7–8 months, respectively). Taken together, Eos appears to play an essential role in multiple aspects of Treg suppressor function, but also plays an as yet unknown role in the function of CD4+Foxp3- and CD8+ T cells and potentially in non-T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number102300
JournalJournal of Autoimmunity
StatePublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • EAE
  • Eos
  • Foxp3
  • T effector cells
  • T regulatory cells
  • Transcription factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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