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J Immunol. 2003 Mar 1;170(5):2417-26.

BATF transgenic mice reveal a role for activator protein-1 in NKT cell development.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA.


The importance of regulated AP-1 activity during T cell development was assessed using transgenic mice overexpressing BATF, a basic leucine zipper transcription factor and an AP-1 inhibitor. BATF transgenic animals possess normal thymic cellularity and all major T cell subsets, but show impaired thymocyte proliferation in vitro and no induction of IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, and IL-13 expression. Since NKT cells are largely responsible for cytokine production in the thymus, this population was examined by detection of the V alpha 14-J alpha 281 TCR, flow cytometry of NK1.1(+) TCR beta(+) cells, and analysis of cytokine production by heat-stable Ag(low) thymocytes and peripheral NKT cells stimulated in vivo. Results show a severe under-representation of NKT cells in BATF transgenic animals, providing the first evidence that the precise control of AP-1-mediated transcription is critical for the proper emergence of thymus-derived NKT cells in the mouse.

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