Tregs require specific epigenetic signatures to induce and maintain their suppressive function in the context of inflammation and cancer surveillance. In this issue of the JCI, Xiong and colleagues identify a critical role for the epigenetic repressor REST corepressor 1 (CoREST) in promoting Treg suppressive transcriptional and functional programs. Pharmacologic inhibition and genetic loss of CoREST in Tregs impaired organ allograft tolerance and unleashed antitumor immunity via epigenetic activation of effector T cell programs. We propose that exploiting epigenetic control mechanisms will further the translation of Treg-based therapeutics to target inflammatory and malignant disorders.
Luisa Morales-Nebreda, Kathryn A. Helmin, Benjamin D. Singer