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PLoS One. 2011;6(9):e24441. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024441. Epub 2011 Sep 6.

Altered development of NKT cells, γδ T cells, CD8 T cells and NK cells in a PLZF deficient patient.

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  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York, United States of America.


In mice, the transcription factor, PLZF, controls the development of effector functions in invariant NKT cells and a subset of NKT cell-like, γδ T cells. Here, we show that in human lymphocytes, in addition to invariant NKT cells, PLZF was also expressed in a large percentage of CD8+ and CD4+ T cells. Furthermore, PLZF was also found to be expressed in all γδ T cells and in all NK cells. Importantly, we show that in a donor lacking functional PLZF, all of these various lymphocyte populations were altered. Therefore, in contrast to mice, PLZF appears to control the development and/or function of a wide variety of human lymphocytes that represent more than 10% of the total PBMCs. Interestingly, the PLZF-expressing CD8+ T cell population was found to be expanded in the peripheral blood of patients with metastatic melanoma but was greatly diminished in patients with autoimmune disease.

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