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Tomar S; Ganesan V; Sharma A; Zeng C; Waggoner L; Smith A; Kim CH; Licona-Limón P; Reinhardt RL; Flavell RA; Wang YH; Hogan SP (2021)

IL-4–BATF SIGNALING DIRECTLY MODULATES IL-9 PRODUCING MUCOSAL MAST CELL (MMC9) FUNCTION IN EXPERIMENTAL FOOD ALLERGY

J ALLERGY CLIN IMMUN 147(1):280-295
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© 2020 American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology Background: This study group has previously identified IL-9–producing mucosal mast cell (MMC9) as the primary source of IL-9 to drive intestinal mastocytosis and experimental IgE-mediated food allergy. However, the molecular mechanisms that regulate the expansion of MMC9s remain unknown. Objectives: This study hypothesized that IL-4 regulates MMC9 development and MMC9-dependent experimental IgE-mediated food allergy. Methods: An epicutaneous sensitization model was used and bone marrow reconstitution experiments were performed to test the requirement of IL-4 receptor α (IL-4Rα) signaling on MMC9s in experimental IgE-mediated food allergy. Flow cytometric, bulk, and single-cell RNA-sequencing analyses on small intestine (SI) MMC9s were performed to illuminate MMC9 transcriptional signature and the effect of IL-4Rα signaling on MMC9 function. A bone marrow–derived MMC9 culture system was used to define IL-4–BATF signaling in MMC9 development. Results: Epicutaneous sensitization– and bone marrow reconstitution–based models of IgE-mediated food allergy revealed an IL-4 signaling-dependent cell-intrinsic effect on SI MMC9 accumulation and food allergy severity. RNA-sequencing analysis of SI-MMC9s identified 410 gene transcripts reciprocally regulated by IL-4 signaling, including Il9 and Batf. In silico analyses identified a 3491-gene MMC9 transcriptional signature and identified 2 transcriptionally distinct SI MMC9 populations enriched for metabolic or inflammatory programs. Employing an in vitro MMC9-culture model system showed that generation of MMC9-like cells was induced by IL-4 and this was in part dependent on BATF. Conclusions: IL-4Rα signaling directly modulates MMC9 function and exacerbation of experimental IgE-mediated food allergic reactions. IL-4Rα regulation of MMC9s is in part BATF-dependent and occurs via modulation of metabolic transcriptional programs.