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Sepsis arises from diverse and incompletely understood dysregulated host response processes following infection that leads to life-threatening organ dysfunction. Here we showed that neutrophils and emergency granulopoiesis drove a maladaptive response during sepsis. We generated a whole-blood single-cell multiomic atlas (272,993 cells, n = 39 individuals) of the sepsis immune response that identified populations of immunosuppressive mature and immature neutrophils. In co-culture, CD66b+ sepsis neutrophils inhibited proliferation and activation of CD4+ T cells. Single-cell multiomic mapping of circulating hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) (29,366 cells, n = 27) indicated altered granulopoiesis in patients with sepsis. These features were enriched in a patient subset with poor outcome and a specific sepsis response signature that displayed higher frequencies of IL1R2+ immature neutrophils, epigenetic and transcriptomic signatures of emergency granulopoiesis in HSPCs and STAT3-mediated gene regulation across different infectious etiologies and syndromes. Our findings offer potential therapeutic targets and opportunities for stratified medicine in severe infection.

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Journal article


Nat Immunol

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