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Science 325 (5943): 953-955

Copyright © 2009 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science


The Yin and Yang of Follicular Helper T Cells

Amit Awasthi, and Vijay K. Kuchroo

The human immune system can harness an arsenal of lymphocytes called CD4+ T cells, in an adaptive response to infection by a variety of pathogens, including parasites, bacteria, and fungi. Once activated, CD4+ T cells can differentiate into subsets of helper T cells [TH1, TH2, TH17, regulatory T (Treg), and follicular T (TFH)], whose effector functions include secreting the cytokines necessary for clearing pathogens and inducing inflammatory responses. Each helper T cell subtype is also critical for helping B lymphocytes produce pathogen-specific antibodies (1). Until now, master transcription factors have been identified that regulate the generation of helper T cell lineages except for TFH cells. On pages 1006 and 1001 of this issue, Johnston et al. (2) and Nurieva et al. (3), and a study by Yu et al. (4), report that the transcription factor Bcl6 is a master transcription factor that controls the generation of TFH cells. However, Bcl6 must work against another transcription factor, Blimp-1, to promote this differentiation process.

Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

E-mail: vkuchroo{at}

Germinal Center T Follicular Helper Cell IL-4 Production Is Dependent on Signaling Lymphocytic Activation Molecule Receptor (CD150).
I. Yusuf, R. Kageyama, L. Monticelli, R. J. Johnston, D. DiToro, K. Hansen, B. Barnett, and S. Crotty (2010)
J. Immunol. 185, 190-202
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
A novel subset of T-helper cells: follicular T-helper cells and their markers.
C. Laurent, N. Fazilleau, and P. Brousset (2010)
Haematologica 95, 356-358
   Full Text »    PDF »
Mechanisms Underlying Lineage Commitment and Plasticity of Helper CD4+ T Cells.
J. J. O'Shea and W. E. Paul (2010)
Science 327, 1098-1102
   Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »

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