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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Dec 18;98(26):15137-42.

T-bet is rapidly induced by interferon-gamma in lymphoid and myeloid cells.

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Lymphocyte Cell Biology Section, Arthritis and Rheumatism Branch, National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


Differentiation of naive CD4(+) T cells into IFN-gamma-producing T helper 1 (T(H)1) cells is pivotal for protective immune responses against intracellular pathogens. T-bet, a recently discovered member of the T-box transcription factor family, has been reported to play a critical role in this process, promoting IFN-gamma production. Although terminal T(H)1 differentiation occurs over days, we now show that challenge of mice with a prototypical T(H)1-inducing stimulus, Toxoplasma gondii soluble extract, rapidly induced IFN-gamma and T-bet; T-bet induction was substantially lower in IFN-gamma-deficient mice. Naive T cells expressed little T-bet, but this transcription factor was induced markedly by the combination of IFN-gamma and cognate antigen. Human myeloid antigen-presenting cells showed T-bet induction after IFN-gamma stimulation alone, and this induction was antagonized by IL-4 and granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor. Although T-bet was induced rapidly and directly by IFN-gamma, it was not induced by IFN-alpha, lipopolysaccharide, or IL-1, indicating that this action of IFN-gamma was specific. Moreover, T-bet induction was dependent on Stat1 but not Stat4. These data argue for a model in which IFN-gamma gene regulation involves an autocrine loop, whereby the cytokine regulates a transcription factor that promotes its own production. These findings substantially alter the current view of T-bet in IFN-gamma regulation and promotion of cell-mediated immune responses.

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