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J Immunol. 2010 Jun 15;184(12):6746-55. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1000776. Epub 2010 May 21.

PLZF induces the spontaneous acquisition of memory/effector functions in T cells independently of NKT cell-related signals.

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Immunology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, New York, NY 10065, USA.


The broad complex, tramtrack, bric-a-brac-zinc finger (BTB-ZF) transcription factor promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger (PLZF) is required for development of the characteristic innate/effector functions of NKT cells. In this study, we report the characterization and functional analysis of transgenic mouse T cells with forced expression of PLZF. PLZF expression was sufficient to provide some memory/effector functions to T cells without the need for Ag stimulation or proliferation. The acquisition of this phenotype did not require the proliferation typically associated with T cell activation. Furthermore, PLZF transgenic cells maintained a diverse TCR repertoire, indicating that there was no preferential expansion of specific clones. Functionally, PLZF transgenic CD4 and CD8 lymphocytes were similar to wild type memory cells, in that they had similar requirements for costimulation and exhibited a similar pattern of cytokine secretion, with the notable exception that transgenic T cells produced significantly increased levels of IL-17. Whereas transgene-mediated PLZF expression was not sufficient to rescue NKT cell development in Fyn- or signaling lymphocytic activation-associated protein (SAP)-deficient mice, the acquisition of memory/effector functions induced by PLZF in conventional T cells was independent of Fyn and SAP. These data show that PLZF is sufficient to promote T cell effector functions and that PLZF acts independently of SAP- and Fyn-mediated signaling pathways.

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