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Nat Immunol. 2011 Nov 13;13(1):77-85. doi: 10.1038/ni.2154.

TGF-β induces the expression of the adaptor Ndfip1 to silence IL-4 production during iTreg cell differentiation.

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Cell Pathology Division, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Mice deficient in the adaptor Ndfip1 develop inflammation at sites of environmental antigen exposure. We show here that such mice had fewer inducible regulatory T cells (iT(reg) cells). In vitro, Ndfip1-deficient T cells expressed normal amounts of the transcription factor Foxp3 during the first 48 h of iT(reg) cell differentiation; however, this expression was not sustained. Abortive Foxp3 expression was caused by production of interleukin 4 (IL-4) by Ndfip1(-/-) cells. We found that Ndfip1 expression was transiently upregulated during iT(reg) cell differentiation in a manner dependent on transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β). Once expressed, Ndfip1 promoted degradation of the transcription factor JunB mediated by the E3 ubiquitin ligase Itch, thus preventing IL-4 production. On the basis of our data, we propose that TGF-β signaling induces Ndfip1 expression to silence IL-4 production, thus permitting iT(reg) cell differentiation.

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