Control of T Helper Cell Differentiation--in Search of Master Genes

Science's STKE  12 Sep 2000:
Vol. 2000, Issue 49, pp. pe1
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2000.49.pe1

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Naïve T helper (TH0) cells can differentiate into one of two distinct populations: TH1 and TH2. Each population is characterized by the expression of specific cytokines and their ability to participate in cell-mediated or humoral immune responses. Recent efforts at identifying the molecular mechanisms through which TH0 cells become TH1 or TH2 cells have been promising. A number of transcription factors, including GATA-3 and T-bet, have been identified that promote the differentiation of TH0 cells and the maintenance of the differentiated cell phenotype. Dong and Flavell review recent findings on proteins that control the fate of TH0 differentiation, whether by promotion or inhibition, and discuss the role of epigenesis in the differentiation process.

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