IL-10 is an immunoregulatory cytokine that has broad effects across the immune system. In Th cell subsets, Th2 cells produce considerable amounts of IL-10. The transcription factors that regulate IL-10 production in Th2 cells are still incompletely described. In this study, we demonstrate that the ETS family transcription factor ETS variant (Etv)5 regulates IL-10 production in Th2 cells. T cell-specific Etv5-deficient and littermate control mice demonstrated that IL-10 production and gene expression were significantly decreased in the absence of Etv5. In an Aspergillus fumigatus extract-induced inflammation model, IL-10-producing CD4+ T cells in bronchoalveolar lavage and lung were significantly decreased in mice that lacked Etv5 in T cells, compared with control mice. We showed that Etv5 directly binds to the Il10 locus conserved noncoding sequence 3 site and that it activates gene expression in a luciferase reporter assay and following retroviral transduction. Etv5 deficiency did not affect the expression of other transcription factors known to be important for expression of IL-10, including Jun family members, GATA3, E4BP4, and IFN regulatory factor 4. However, in the absence of Etv5, binding of these transcription factors to the Il10 locus was dramatically reduced. Ectopic Etv5 expression in Th2 cells that lack Etv5 restored IL-10 production and the binding of IL-10-inducing transcription factors including E4BP4, IFN regulatory factor 4, and GATA3. Taken together, we conclude that Etv5 plays a crucial role in regulating IL-10 production in Th2 cells by facilitating the binding of IL-10-inducing transcription factors at the Il10 locus.
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