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Immunity. 1999 Mar;10(3):377-86.

A novel role for the major histocompatibility complex class II transactivator CIITA in the repression of IL-4 production.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor 48109, USA.


Class II transactivator (CIITA) is known as a coactivator for MHC class II gene expression in antigen-presenting cells. Surprisingly, when CIITA-/- CD4 T cells were stimulated in the presence of IL-12, they produced not only IFNgamma but also high levels of IL-4. The IL-4 production is due to the accumulation of IL-4 gene transcripts in Th1 cells. This transcriptional control is observed in T cells differentiating to the Th1 but not Th2 lineage, consistent with induction of expression of the CIITA gene in T cells by IFNgamma. Thus, in addition to its role in transactivation of genes involved in antigen presentation, CIITA plays a critical role during the T cell differentiation by negatively regulating the IL-4 gene transcription.

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