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Immunity. 2001 Dec;15(6):959-70.

Mutation of E2F2 in mice causes enhanced T lymphocyte proliferation, leading to the development of autoimmunity.

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Department of Animal Biology and Genetics, Faculty of Sciences, University of the Basque Country, Bilbao, E-48080, Spain.


E2Fs are important regulators of proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. Here we characterize the phenotype of mice deficient in E2F2. We show that E2F2 is required for immunologic self-tolerance. E2F2(-/-) mice develop late-onset autoimmune features, characterized by widespread inflammatory infiltrates, glomerular immunocomplex deposition, and anti-nuclear antibodies. E2F2-deficient T lymphocytes exhibit enhanced TCR-stimulated proliferation and a lower activation threshold, leading to the accumulation of a population of autoreactive effector/memory T lymphocytes, which appear to be responsible for causing autoimmunity in E2F2-deficient mice. Finally, we provide support for a model to explain E2F2's unexpected role as a suppressor of T lymphocyte proliferation. Rather than functioning as a transcriptional activator, E2F2 appears to function as a transcriptional repressor of genes required for normal S phase entry, particularly E2F1.

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