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Immunity. 2006 May;24(5):611-22.

Crucial role of MLL for the maintenance of memory T helper type 2 cell responses.

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Department of Immunology, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana Chuo-ku, Chiba 260-8670, Japan.


The Mixed-Lineage Leukemia (MLL) gene, a mammalian homolog of the Drosophila trithorax, is implicated in regulating the maintenance of Hox gene expression and hematopoiesis. The physiological functions of MLL in the immune system remain largely unknown. Although MLL(+/-) CD4 T cells differentiate normally into antigen-specific effector Th1/Th2 cells in vitro, the ability of memory Th2 cells to produce Th2 cytokines was selectively reduced. Furthermore, histone modifications at the Th2 cytokine gene loci were not properly maintained in MLL(+/-) memory Th2 cells. The reduced expression of MLL in memory Th2 cells resulted in decreased GATA3 expression accompanied with impaired GATA3 locus histone modifications. The direct association of MLL with the GATA3 locus and the Th2 cytokine gene loci was demonstrated. Memory Th2 cell-dependent allergic airway inflammation was decreased in MLL(+/-) Th2 cell-transferred mice. Thus, a crucial role for MLL in the maintenance of memory Th2 cell function is indicated.

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