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Cell. 2000 Mar 17;100(6):655-69.

A novel transcription factor, T-bet, directs Th1 lineage commitment.

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


Naive T helper cells differentiate into two subsets, Th1 and Th2, each with distinct functions and cytokine profiles. Here, we report the isolation of T-bet, a Th1-specific T box transcription factor that controls the expression of the hallmark Th1 cytokine, IFNgamma. T-bet expression correlates with IFNgamma expression in Th1 and NK cells. Ectopic expression of T-bet both transactivates the IFNgamma gene and induces endogenous IFNgamma production. Remarkably, retroviral gene transduction of T-bet into polarized Th2 and Tc2 primary T cells redirects them into Th1 and Tc1 cells, respectively, as evidenced by the simultaneous induction of IFNgamma and repression of IL-4 and IL-5. Thus, T-bet initiates Th1 lineage development from naive Thp cells both by activating Th1 genetic programs and by repressing the opposing Th2 programs.

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