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J Immunol. 2012 Jul 15;189(2):832-40. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1200854. Epub 2012 Jun 8.

Twist1 regulates Ifng expression in Th1 cells by interfering with Runx3 function.

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Department of Pediatrics, Herman B. Wells Center for Pediatric Research, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN 46202, USA.


A transcription factor network that includes STAT4, T-bet, and Runx3 promotes the differentiation of Th1 cells and inflammatory immune responses. How additional transcription factors regulate the function of Th1 cells has not been defined. In this study we show that the negative regulatory factor Twist1 decreases expression of T-bet, Runx3, and IL-12Rβ2 as it inhibits IFN-γ production. Ectopic expression of Runx3, but not T-bet or IL-12Rβ2, compensates for the effects of Twist1 on IFN-γ production, and Twist1 regulation of Ifng depends on complex formation with Runx3. Twist1 decreases Runx3 and T-bet binding at the Ifng locus, and it decreases chromatin looping within the Ifng locus. These data define an IL-12/STAT4-induced negative regulatory loop that impacts multiple components of the Th1 transcriptional network and provide further insight into regulation of Th1 differentiation.

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