Transcriptional Profiling of Mouse Eosinophils Identifies Distinct Gene Signatures Following Cellular Activation

Avishay Dolitzky, Guy Shapira, Sharon Grisaru-Tal, Inbal Hazut, Shmulik Avlas, Yaara Gordon, Micahl Itan, Noam Shomron, Ariel Munitz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Eosinophils are multifunctional, evolutionary conserved leukocytes that are involved in a plethora of responses ranging from regulation of tissue homeostasis to host defense and cancer. Eosinophils have been studied mostly in the context of Type 2 inflammatory responses such as those found in allergy. Nonetheless, it is now evident that they participate in Type 1 inflammatory responses and can respond to Type 1 cytokines such as IFN-γ. Recent data suggest that the pleotropic roles of eosinophils are due to heterogeneous responses to environmental cues. Despite this, the activation profile of eosinophils, in response to various stimuli is yet to be defined. To better understand the transcriptional spectrum of eosinophil activation, we exposed eosinophils to Type 1 (e.g. IFN-γ, E. coli) vs. Type 2 (e.g. IL-4) conditions and subjected them to global RNA sequencing. Our analyses show that IL-4, IFN-γ, E. coli and IFN-γ in the presence of E. coli (IFN-γ/E. coli)-stimulated eosinophils acquire distinct transcriptional profiles, which polarize them towards what we termed Type 1 and Type 2 eosinophils. Bioinformatics analyses using Gene Ontology based on biological processes revealed that different stimuli induced distinct pathways in eosinophils. These pathways were confirmed using functional assays by assessing cytokine/chemokine release (i.e. CXCL9, CCL24, TNF-α and IL-6) from eosinophils following activation. In addition, analysis of cell surface markers highlighted CD101 and CD274 as potential cell surface markers that distinguish between Type 1 and Type 2 eosinophils, respectively. Finally, the transcriptome signature of Type 1 eosinophils resembled that of eosinophils that were obtained from mice with experimental colitis whereas the transcriptome signature of Type 2 eosinophils resembled that of eosinophils from experimental asthma. Our data demonstrate that eosinophils are polarized to distinct “Type 1” and “Type 2” phenotypes following distinct stimulations. These findings provide fundamental knowledge regarding the heterogeneity of eosinophils and support the presence of transcriptional differences between Type 1 and Type 2 cells that are likely reflected by their pleotropic activities in diverse disease settings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number802839
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
StatePublished - 14 Dec 2021


FundersFunder number
Koret-UC Berkeley-Tel Aviv University
Office of Assistant Minister of Defense for Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear
UCSF-Tel Aviv University
Israel Cancer Research Fund11
Israel Science Foundation1852/16
Tel Aviv University
Queensland Brain Institute
Horizon 2020
Ministry of Defense


    • IFN-γ
    • IL-4
    • activation
    • eosinophils
    • heterogeneity
    • inflammation


    Dive into the research topics of 'Transcriptional Profiling of Mouse Eosinophils Identifies Distinct Gene Signatures Following Cellular Activation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this