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Nat Immunol. 2005 Apr;6(4):373-81. Epub 2005 Mar 6.

The zinc finger protein cKrox directs CD4 lineage differentiation during intrathymic T cell positive selection.

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Laboratory of Immune Cell Biology, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


The genetic programs directing CD4 or CD8 T cell differentiation in the thymus remain poorly understood. While analyzing gene expression during intrathymic T cell selection, we found that Zfp67, encoding the zinc finger transcription factor cKrox, was upregulated during the differentiation of CD4(+) but not CD8(+) T cells. Expression of a cKrox transgene impaired CD8 T cell development and caused major histocompatibility complex class I-restricted thymocytes to differentiate into CD4(+) T cells with helper properties rather than into cytotoxic CD8(+) T cells, as normally found. CD4 lineage differentiation mediated by cKrox required its N-terminal BTB (bric-a-brac, tramtrack, broad complex) domain. These findings identify cKrox as a chief CD4 differentiation factor during positive selection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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