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Nat Immunol. 2012 Nov;13(11):1037-44. doi: 10.1038/ni.2431. Epub 2012 Oct 18.

Cytokines of the γ(c) family control CD4+ T cell differentiation and function.

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Cytokine Biology Unit, Laboratory of Immunology, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA.


Naive CD4(+) T cells undergo massive proliferation and differentiation into at least four distinct helper T cell subsets after recognition of foreign antigen-derived peptides presented by dendritic cells. Each helper T cell subset expresses a distinct set of genes that encode unique transcription factor(s), as well as hallmark cytokines. The cytokine environment created by activated CD4(+) T cells, dendritic cells and/or other cell types during the course of differentiation is a major determinant for the helper T cell fate. This Review focuses on the role of cytokines of the common γ-chain (γ(c)) family in the determination of the effector helper T cell phenotype that naive CD4(+) T cells adopt after being activated and in the function of these helper T cells.

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