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J Exp Med. 2003 Oct 6;198(7):1069-76.

Constitutive cytokine mRNAs mark natural killer (NK) and NK T cells poised for rapid effector function.

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  • 1University of California-San Francisco, Box 0654, C-443, 521 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.

Abstract

Natural killer (NK) and NK T cells are tissue lymphocytes that secrete cytokines rapidly upon stimulation. Here, we show that these cells maintain distinct patterns of constitutive cytokine mRNAs. Unlike conventional T cells, NK T cells activate interleukin (IL)-4 and interferon (IFN)-gamma transcription during thymic development and populate the periphery with both cytokine loci previously modified by histone acetylation. Similarly, NK cells transcribe and modify the IFN-gamma gene, but not IL-4, during developmental maturation in the bone marrow. Lineage-specific patterns of cytokine transcripts predate infection and suggest evolutionary selection for invariant but distinct types of effector responses among the earliest responding lymphocytes.

PMID:
14530376
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2194220
Free PMC Article
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