TLR7/9 signals are capable of mounting massive interferon (IFN) response in plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) immediately after viral infection, yet the involvement of epigenetic regulation in this process has not been documented. Here, we report that zinc finger CXXC family epigenetic regulator CXXC5 is highly expressed in pDCs, where it plays a crucial role in TLR7/9- and virus-induced IFN response. Notably, genetic ablation of CXXC5 resulted in aberrant methylation of the CpG-containing island (CGI) within the Irf7 gene and impaired IRF7 expression in steady-state pDCs. Mechanistically, CXXC5 is responsible for the recruitment of DNA demethylase Tet2 to maintain the hypomethylation of a subset of CGIs, a process coincident with active histone modifications and constitutive transcription of these CGI-containing genes. Consequently, CXXC5-deficient mice had compromised early IFN response and became highly vulnerable to infection by herpes simplex virus and vesicular stomatitis virus. Together, our results identify CXXC5 as a novel epigenetic regulator for pDC-mediated antiviral response.
- Submitted: 21 July 2016
- Revision received 20 January 2017
- Accepted: 3 March 2017
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