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Immunity. 2005 Oct;23(4):419-29.

A two-step process for cytokine production revealed by IL-4 dual-reporter mice.

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Trudeau Institute, Saranac Lake, New York 12983, USA.


To monitor IL-4 expression at the single-cell level, we generated mice with insertions of different reporter genes into both copies of the Il4 gene that permitted the simultaneous analysis of IL-4 transcripts via GFP and IL-4 protein secretion by use of huCD2. Innate and adaptive cells competent for IL-4 production were marked by GFP, while cells that presently or recently secreted IL-4 additionally displayed huCD2. After challenge with the strictly enteric helminth, Heligmosomoides polygyrus, GFP-positive innate and adaptive cells disseminated widely, but IL-4 secretion was predominantly mediated by CD4+ T cells in the intestines and draining lymphoid organs. IL-4-competent cells persisted in cured animals, and memory responses reflected rapid cytokine production at the site of rechallenge. These data reveal a two-step process for cytokine production: the first generating poised cells that disseminate systemically and the second inducing the rapid production of the cytokine in response to local stimulation.

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