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Nat Immunol. 2002 Jun;3(6):549-57. Epub 2002 May 13.

T-bet is a STAT1-induced regulator of IL-12R expression in naïve CD4+ T cells.

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Department of Pathology and Immunology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Washington University School of Medicine, Box 8118, 660 S. Euclid Ave., St. Louis, MO 63110, USA.


T helper type 1 (T(H)1) cell development involves interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) signaling through signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) and interleukin-12 (IL-12) signaling through STAT4 activation. We examined here T-bet regulation and evaluated the actions of T-bet in STAT1- and STAT4-dependent T(H)1 development processes. We found that T-bet expression during T cell activation was strongly dependent on IFN-gamma signaling and STAT1 activation, but was independent of STAT4. Ectopic T-bet expression strongly increased IFN-gamma production in T(H)2 cells activated by PMA-ionomycin, but weakly increased IFN-gamma production in T(H)2 cells stimulated by IL-12 IL-18 or OVA peptide antigen-presenting cell stimulation. In contrast, IL-12 IL-18 induced IFN-gamma production remained STAT4-dependent despite ectopic T-bet expression. Ectopic T-bet expression selectively induced expression of IL-12Rbeta2, but not IL-18Ralpha, in wild-type and STAT1(-/-) T(H)2 cells, but did not extinguish expression of GATA-3 and T(H)2 cytokines. Finally, ectopic T-bet did not directly induce expression of endogenous T- bet independently of IFN-gamma or STAT1. Thus, T-bet is induced by IFN-gamma and STAT1 signaling during T cell activation. In addition, T-bet mediates STAT1-dependent processes of T(H)1 development, including the induction of IL-12Rbeta2.

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