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Immunity. 2003 Jun;18(6):801-11.

Transcriptional regulation of th2 differentiation by inducible costimulator.

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Department of Immunology, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Helper T (Th) cell differentiation is accompanied by complex transcriptional changes. Although costimulatory receptors are important in Th differentiation, the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. Here we examine the transcriptional mechanisms by which ICOS regulates Th2 differentiation and selective IL-4 expression by effector T cells. We found impaired expression of c-Maf transcription factor functionally associated with the IL-4 defect in ICOS(-/-) cells. c-Maf expression in effector cells was regulated by IL-4 levels during Th differentiation. ICOS costimulation potentiated the T cell receptor (TcR)-mediated initial IL-4 production, possibly through the enhancement of NFATc1 expression. These data indicate that ICOS, by enhancing TcR signals at an early stage of T cell activation, regulates IL-4 transcription and T cell function in effector cells.

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