RORgt+ group 3 innate lymphoid cells (ILC3s) maintain intestinal homeostasis through secretion of type 3 cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-17 and IL-22. However, CCR6- ILC3s additionally co-express T-bet allowing for the acquisition of type 1 effector functions. While T-bet
controls the type 1 programming of ILC3s, the molecular mechanisms governing T-bet are undefined. Here, we identify c-Maf as a crucial negative regulator of murine T-bet+ CCR6- ILC3s. Phenotypic and transcriptomic profiling of c-Maf-deficient CCR6- ILC3s revealed a hyper type 1
differentiation status, characterized by overexpression of ILC1/NK cell-related genes and downregulation of type 3 signature genes. On the molecular level, c-Maf directly restrained T-bet
expression. Conversely, c-Maf expression was dependent on T-bet and regulated by IL-1b, IL-18 and Notch signals. Thus, we define c-Maf as a crucial cell-intrinsic brake in the type 1 effector acquisition which forms a negative feedback loop with T-bet to preserve the identity of CCR6-ILC3s.