Scientific reports

Notch regulates Th17 differentiation and controls trafficking of IL-17 and metabolic regulators within Th17 cells in a context-dependent manner.

PMID 27974744


Th17 cells play critical roles in host defense and autoimmunity. Emerging data support a role for Notch signaling in Th17 cell differentiation but whether it is a positive or negative regulator remains unclear. We report here that T cell-specific deletion of Notch receptors enhances Th17 cell differentiation in the gut, with a corresponding increase in IL-17 secretion. An increase in Th17 cell frequency was similarly observed following immunization of T cell specific Notch mutant mice with OVA/CFA. However, in this setting, Th17 cytokine secretion was impaired, and increased intracellular retention of IL-17 was observed. Intracellular IL-17 co-localized with the CD71 iron transporter in the draining lymph node of both control and Notch-deficient Th17 cells. Immunization induced CD71 surface expression in control, but not in Notch-deficient Th17 cells, revealing defective CD71 intracellular transport in absence of Notch signaling. Moreover, Notch receptor deficient Th17 cells had impaired mTORC2 activity. These data reveal a context-dependent impact of Notch on vesicular transport during high metabolic demand suggesting a role for Notch signaling in the bridging of T cell metabolic demands and effector functions. Collectively, our findings indicate a prominent regulatory role for Notch signaling in the fine-tuning of Th17 cell differentiation and effector function.