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Int Immunol. 2003 Nov;15(11):1341-8.

Differential role for IL-7 in inducing lung Kruppel-like factor (Kruppel-like factor 2) expression by naive versus activated T cells.

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  • 1Center for Immunology and Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA.


Kruppel-like Factor 2 [KLF2, also called lung Kruppel-like factor (LKLF)] is a transcription factor shown to be necessary for the maintenance of naive T cells. KLF2 is expressed in both naive and memory cells, and is proposed to promote quiescence in these populations. During T cell stimulation, both KLF2 protein and mRNA are down-regulated, and loss of KLF2 appears to be critical for full T cell activation. It is unclear, however, how KLF2 expression is maintained in naive T cells. Recently it was proposed that IL-7, which is known to promote KLF2 re-expression in antigen-stimulated T cells, may also induce KLF2 expression in naive T cells. Here we address this issue by comparing the impact of IL-7 on KLF2 expression in naive and activated T cells. Use of bcl-2 transgenic T cells allowed us to uncouple the requirements for IL-7 in preserving naive T cell survival from its role in maintaining KLF2 expression. Our data demonstrates that IL-7 signals are not required for KLF2 maintenance in naive T cells, suggesting that this cytokine has distinct effects on KLF2 expression in naive versus activated T cells.

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