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Front. Immunol. | doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.00937

Deep Surveying of the Transcriptional and Alternative Splicing Signatures for Decidual CD8+ T Cells at the First Trimester of Human Healthy Pregnancy

 Weihong Zeng1,  Xinmei Liu1,  Zhicui Liu2, Ying Zheng1,  Tian Yu1, Shaliu Fu3, Xiao Li1, Jing Zhang1,  Siming Zhang1,  Xiaoling Ma1,  Xiaorui Liu1, Xiaoli Qin1,  Khanniche Asma4, Yan Zhang5*,  Tian FuJu1* and  Yi Lin1*
  • 1International Peace Maternity & Child Health Hospital, China
  • 2Department of Dermatology, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, China
  • 3School of Life Science, Tongji University, China
  • 4Shanghai Institute of Immunology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, China
  • 5Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, China

Decidual CD8+ (dCD8) T cells have been proposed to play important roles in immune protection against the invading pathogens and in tolerance toward the growing semi-allogeneic fetus during early pregnancy. However, their phenotypic and functional characteristics remain poorly defined. Here, we performed the first analysis of the transcriptional and alternative splicing (AS) signatures for human first-trimester dCD8 T cells using high-throughput mRNA sequencing. Our data revealed that dCD8 T cells have distinct transcriptional and AS landscapes as compared with their autologous peripheral blood CD8+ (pCD8) T counterparts. Furthermore, human dCD8 T cells were observed to contain CD8-Treg and effector-memory T-cell subsets, and display enhanced functionality in terms of degranulation and cytokine production on a per-cell basis. Additionally, we have identified the novel splice junctions that use a high ratio of the noncanonical splicing motif GC-AG and found that AS is not a major contributor to the gene expression-level changes between paired pCD8 and dCD8 T cells. Together, our findings not only provide a comprehensive framework of the transcriptional and AS landscapes but also reveal the functional feature of human dCD8 T cells, which are of great importance in understanding the biology of these cells and the physiology of human healthy pregnancy.

Keywords: Human decidual CD8+ T cells, early healthy pregnancy, ranscriptome and alternative splicing, High-throughput mRNA sequencing, Functional feature

Received: 18 Dec 2017; Accepted: 16 Apr 2018.

Edited by:

Vladimir Brusic, Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Australia

Reviewed by:

John J. Miles, James Cook University, Australia
Zhaocai Zhou, Institute of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences (CAS), China  

Copyright: © 2018 Zeng, Liu, Liu, Zheng, Yu, Fu, Li, Zhang, Zhang, Ma, Liu, Qin, Asma, Zhang, FuJu and Lin. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Prof. Yan Zhang, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan, China, zyan2200@gmail.com
Dr. Tian FuJu, International Peace Maternity & Child Health Hospital, Shanghai, China, tianfuju2012@126.com
Prof. Yi Lin, International Peace Maternity & Child Health Hospital, Shanghai, China, yilinonline@126.com