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Immunity. 1999 Jun;10(6):745-51.

The transcription factor c-Maf controls the production of interleukin-4 but not other Th2 cytokines.

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Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115-6017, USA.


IL-4 promotes the differentiation of naive CD4+ T cells into IL-4-producing T helper 2 (Th2) cells. Previous work provided suggestive but not conclusive evidence that the transcription factor c-Maf directed the tissue-specific expression of IL-4. It was not known whether c-Maf controlled the transcription of other Th2 cytokine genes. To elucidate the role of c-Maf in vivo, we examined cytokine production in mice lacking c-Maf (c-maf(-/-)). CD4+ T cells and NK T cells from c-maf(-/-) mice were markedly deficient in IL-4 production. However, the mice produced normal levels of IL-13 and IgE, and, when differentiated in the presence of exogenous IL-4, c-maf(-/-) T cells produced approximately normal levels of other Th2 cytokines. We conclude that c-Maf has a critical and selective function in IL-4 gene transcription in vivo.

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