Allocating T Cell Fate

Science's STKE  11 Nov 2003:
Vol. 2003, Issue 208, pp. tw442
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2003.208.tw442

The attributes of helper T cells are governed by two master transcriptional regulators, GATA3 and T-bet, which coordinate the expression of specific cytokine genes. However, neither factor appears critical in CD8+ T cell function, leading Pearce et al. (see the Perspective by Hatton and Weaver) to explore other pathways that might specify the transcriptional program in these cells. This trail ended in the identification of Eomesodermin (Eomes), a T-box transcription factor related to T-bet and already characterized as a key regulator of mesodermal differentiation. Eomes was specifically up-regulated in activated CD8+ T cells, and forced cellular expression of the factor conferred CD8+ characteristics in cells that had already differentiated into T helper-2 type cells. Disruption of expression significantly reduced the CD8 cytolytic program and interferon gamma expression. Thus, Eomes is likely to cooperate with T-bet in regulating distinct aspects of cell-mediated immunity.

E. L. Pearce, A. C. Mullen, G. A. Martins, C. M. Krawczyk, A. S. Hutchins, V. P. Zediak, M. Banica, C. B. DiCioccio, D. A. Gross, C. Mao, H. Shen, N. Cereb, S. Y. Yang, T. Lindsten, J. Rossant, C. A. Hunter, S. L. Reiner, Control of effector CD8+ T cell function by the transcription factor Eomesodermin. Science 302, 1041-1043 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]

R. D. Hatton, C. T. Weaver, T-bet or not T-bet. Science 302, 993-994 (2003). [Abstract] [Full Text]