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J Exp Med. 2000 Jul 3;192(1):105-15.

GATA-3 induces T helper cell type 2 (Th2) cytokine expression and chromatin remodeling in committed Th1 cells.

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Department of Immunology, DNAX Research Institute, Palo Alto, California 94304-1104, USA.


Committed T helper type 1 (Th1) and Th2 effector cells, resulting from chronic antigenic stimulation in interleukin (IL)-12 and IL-4, are implicated in the pathology of autoimmune and allergic diseases. Committed Th1 cells cannot be induced to change their cytokine profiles in response to antigenic stimulation and Th2 cytokine-inducing conditions. Here, we report that ectopic expression of GATA-3 induced Th2-specific cytokine expression not only in developing Th1 cells but also in otherwise irreversibly committed Th1 cells and a Th1 clone, HDK1. Moreover, cAMP, an inhibitor of cytokine production by Th1 cells, markedly augmented Th2 cytokine production in GATA-3-expressing Th1 cells. Ectopic expression of GATA-3 in developing Th1 cells, but not in Th1 clone HDK1, induced endogenous GATA-3, suggesting an autoregulatory mechanism for maintenance of GATA-3 expression in Th2 cells. Structure-function analyses of GATA-3 revealed that the NH(2)-terminal transactivation domain and the COOH-terminal zinc finger domain of GATA-3 were critical, whereas the NH(2)-terminal zinc finger domain was dispensable for the induction of IL-4. Both zinc fingers, however, were required for IL-5 induction. A Th2-specific DNaseI-hypersensitive site of the IL-4 locus was detected in GATA-3-expressing Th1 cells. Thus, GATA-3 can change the phenotype of committed Th1 cells, previously considered to be irreversible.

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