Cytokines are cell-to-cell signaling proteins that play a central role in immune development, pathogen responses, and diseases. Cytokines are highly regulated at the transcriptional level by combinations of transcription factors (TFs) that recruit cofactors and the transcriptional machinery. In this article published in Nucleic Acids Research, we mined through three decades of studies to generate a comprehensive database, CytReg (cytreg.bu.edu), reporting 843 and 647 interactions between TFs and cytokine genes, in human and mouse respectively. By integrating CytReg with other functional datasets, we determined general principles governing the transcriptional regulation of cytokine genes. In particular, we show a correlation between TF connectivity and immune phenotype and disease, we discuss the balance between tissue-specific and pathogen-activated TFs regulating each cytokine gene, and cooperativity and plasticity in cytokine regulation. We also illustrate the use of our database as a blueprint to predict TF–disease associations and identify potential TF–cytokine regulatory axes in autoimmune diseases. Finally, we discuss research biases in cytokine regulation studies, and use CytReg to predict novel interactions based on co-expression and motif analyses which we further validated experimentally. Overall, this resource provides a framework for the rational design of future cytokine gene regulation studies.
#Carrasco Pro S, #Dafonte Imedio A, Santoso CS, Gan KA, Sewell JA, Martinez M, Sereda R, Mehta S, Fuxman Bass JI. Global landscape of mouse and human cytokine transcriptional regulation. Nucleic Acids Res. 2018. https://doi.org/10.1093/nar/gky787 (# co-first authors)