Understanding the mechanisms underlying the acquisition and maintenance of effector function during T cell differentiation is important to unraveling how these processes can be dysregulated in the context of disease and manipulated for therapeutic intervention. In this study, we report the identification of a previously unappreciated regulator of murine T cell differentiation through the evaluation of a previously unreported activity of the kinase inhibitor, BioE-1197. Specifically, we demonstrate that liver kinase B1 (LKB1)-mediated activation of salt-inducible kinases epigenetically regulates cytokine recall potential in effector CD8+ and Th1 cells. Evaluation of this phenotype revealed that salt-inducible kinase–mediated phosphorylation-dependent stabilization of histone deacetylase 7 (HDAC7) occurred during late-stage effector differentiation. HDAC7 stabilization increased nuclear HDAC7 levels, which correlated with total and cytokine loci-specific reductions in the activating transcription mark histone 3 lysine 27 acetylation (H3K27Ac). Accordingly, HDAC7 stabilization diminished transcriptional induction of cytokine genes upon restimulation. Inhibition of this pathway during differentiation produced effector T cells epigenetically poised for enhanced cytokine recall. This work identifies a previously unrecognized target for enhancing effector T cell functionality.

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