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Nat Immunol. 2013 Aug;14(8):867-75. doi: 10.1038/ni.2641. Epub 2013 Jun 30.

Transcription factor EBF1 is essential for the maintenance of B cell identity and prevention of alternative fates in committed cells.

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Department of Cellular and Molecular Immunology, Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Freiburg, Germany.


The transcription factors EBF1 and Pax5 have been linked to activation of the B cell lineage program and irreversible loss of alternative lineage potential (commitment), respectively. Here we conditionally deleted Ebf1 in committed pro-B cells after transfer into alymphoid mice. We found that those cells converted into innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) and T cells with variable-diversity-joining (VDJ) rearrangements of loci encoding both B cell and T cell antigen receptors. As intermediates in lineage conversion, Ebf1-deficient CD19(+) cells expressing Pax5 and transcriptional regulators of the ILC and T cell fates were detectable. In particular, genes encoding the transcription factors Id2 and TCF-1 were bound and repressed by EBF1. Thus, both EBF1 and Pax5 are required for B lineage commitment by repressing distinct and common determinants of alternative cell fates.

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