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The mechanisms by which IFN-g activates expression of interferon-stimulated genes that have inflammatory and host defense functions are well understood. In contrast, little is known about how IFN-g represses gene expression. By using transcriptomic and epigenomic analysis, we found that stable repression of a small group of genes by IFN-g is associated with recruitment of the histone methyltransferase EZH2 and deposition of the negative mark histone 3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) at their promoters. Repressed genes included MERTK, PPARG, and RANK, which have anti-inflammatory functions and promote osteoclast differentiation. Gene repression and H3K27me3 persisted after IFN-g signaling was terminated, and these silenced genes were no longer responsive to glucocorticoids, IL-4, and M-CSF. These results identify cytokineinduced H3K27 trimethylation as a mechanism that stabilizes gene silencing in macrophages. IFN-ginduced macrophage activation is thus reinforced by a chromatin-based mechanism that blocks antiinflammatory and opposing pathways.


This article was originally published in Cell Reports, available at DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.08.051.

This article is under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND) license.



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