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J Immunol. 2001 Oct 15;167(8):4414-20.

The cell type-specific expression of the murine IL-13 gene is regulated by GATA-3.

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


IL-13, a Th2 cell-specific cytokine, is a major effector molecule mediating several pathological features of allergic asthma. However, the transcriptional regulation of the IL-13 gene remains unclear. Here we demonstrate, by using intracellular cytokine staining, that IL-13 is not always coexpressed with other Th2 cytokines in normal Th cells on a single cell basis. In addition, we identified and cloned a minimal inducible and cell type-specific promoter of the murine IL-13 gene. The cell type specificity of the minimal IL-13 promoter is mediated by a functionally critical GATA-3 site that binds endogenous GATA-3 proteins, whereas the induction by PMA/ionomycin is mediated by distinct cis-acting elements. Furthermore, by expressing GATA-3 in wild-type and c-maf transgenic Th1 cells, we demonstrate that the expression of IL-13 is regulated by a mechanism distinct from that regulating the expression of IL-4, and that the expression of Th1 and Th2 cytokine genes does not have to be mutually exclusive in effector Th cells.

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