Cross-Tissue Transcriptomic Analysis of Human Secondary Lymphoid Organ-Residing ILC3s Reveals a Quiescent State in the Absence of Inflammation

Yotam E. Bar-Ephraim, Ferry Cornelissen, Natalie Papazian, Tanja Konijn, Remco M. Hoogenboezem, Mathijs A. Sanders, Bart A. Westerman, Mehmet Gönültas, Jaap Kwekkeboom, Joke M.M. Den Haan, Rogier M. Reijmers, Reina E. Mebius*, Tom Cupedo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A substantial number of human and mouse group 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3s) reside in secondary lymphoid organs, yet the phenotype and function of these ILC3s is incompletely understood. Here, we employed an unbiased cross-tissue transcriptomic approach to compare human ILC3s from non-inflamed lymph nodes and spleen to their phenotypic counterparts in inflamed tonsils and from circulation. These analyses revealed that, in the absence of inflammation, lymphoid organ-residing ILC3s lack transcription of cytokines associated with classical ILC3 functions. This was independent of expression of the natural cytotoxicity receptor NKp44. However, and in contrast to ILC3s from peripheral blood, lymphoid organ-residing ILC3s express activating cytokine receptors and have acquired the ability to be recruited into immune responses by inflammatory cytokines. This comprehensive cross-tissue dataset will allow for identification of functional changes in human lymphoid organ ILC3s associated with human disease. Bar-Ephraim et al. describe a cross-tissue transcriptional comparison of human ILC3s and show that ILC3s in lymph nodes and spleen share a transcriptional profile that is distinct from that of tonsil ILC3s. Lymphoid organ ILC3s are a substantial pool of resting cells that can be recruited into immune responses upon local activation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)823-833
Number of pages11
JournalCell Reports
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2017

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