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Dev Biol. 2007 Mar 15;303(2):703-14. Epub 2006 Dec 8.

Runx3 regulates dendritic epidermal T cell development.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, The Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot 76100, Israel.


The Runx3 transcription factor regulates development of T cells during thymopoiesis and TrkC sensory neurons during dorsal root ganglia neurogenesis. It also mediates transforming growth factor-beta signaling in dendritic cells and is essential for development of skin Langerhans cells. Here, we report that Runx3 is involved in the development of skin dendritic epidermal T cells (DETCs); an important component of tissue immunoregulation. In developing DETCs, Runx3 regulates expression of the alphaEbeta7 integrin CD103, known to affect migration and epithelial retention of DETCs. It also regulates expression of IL-2 receptor beta (IL-2Rbeta) that mediates cell proliferation in response to IL-2 or IL-15. In the absence of Runx3, the reduction in CD103 and IL-2Rbeta expression on Runx3(-/-) DETC precursors resulted in impaired cell proliferation and maturation, leading to complete lack of skin DETCs in Runx3(-/-) mice. The data demonstrate the requirement of Runx3 for DETCs development and underscore the importance of CD103 and IL-2Rbeta in this process. Of note, while Runx3(-/-) mice lack both DETCs and Langerhans cells, the two most important components of skin immune surveillance, the mice did not develop skin lesions under pathogen-free (SPF) conditions.

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