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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Apr 16;99(8):5545-50.

T-bet regulates IgG class switching and pathogenic autoantibody production.

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  • 1Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA 02115-6017, USA.


A molecular understanding of the regulation of IgG class switching to IL-4-independent isotypes, particularly to IgG2a, remains largely unknown. The T-box transcription factor T-bet directly regulates Th1 lineage commitment by CD4 T cells, but its role in B lymphocytes has been largely unexplored. We show here a role for T-bet in the regulation of IgG class switching, especially to IgG2a. T-bet-deficient B lymphocytes demonstrate impaired production of IgG2a, IgG2b, and IgG3 and, most strikingly, are unable to generate germ-line or postswitch IgG2a transcripts in response to IFN-gamma. Conversely, enforced expression of T-bet initiates IgG2a switching in cell lines and primary cells. This function contributes critically to the pathogenesis of murine lupus, where the absence of T-bet strikingly reduces B cell-dependent manifestations, including autoantibody production, hypergammaglobulinemia, and immune-complex renal disease and, in particular, abrogates IFN-gamma-mediated IgG2a production. Classical T cell manifestations persisted, including lymphadenopathy and cellular infiltrates of skin and liver. These results identify T-bet as a selective transducer of IFN-gamma-mediated IgG2a class switching in B cells and emphasize the importance of this regulation in the pathogenesis of humorally mediated autoimmunity.

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