Stienne C. et al.
The transcription factor Foxo3 plays a crucial role in myeloid cell function but its role in lymphoid cells remains poorly defined. Here, we have shown that Foxo3 expression was increased after T cell receptor engagement and played a specific role in the polarization of CD4+ T cells toward pathogenic T helper 1 (Th1) cells producing interferon-γ (IFN-γ) and granulocyte monocyte colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF). Consequently, Foxo3-deficient mice exhibited reduced susceptibility to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. At the molecular level, we identified Eomes as a direct target gene for Foxo3 in CD4+ T cells and we have shown that lentiviral-based overexpression of Eomes in Foxo3-deficient CD4+ T cells restored both IFN-γ and GM-CSF production. Thus, the Foxo3-Eomes pathway is central to achieve the complete specialized gene program required for pathogenic Th1 cell differentiation and development of neuroinflammation.