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Eur J Immunol. 2014 Jul;44(7):1886-95. doi: 10.1002/eji.201344279. Epub 2014 Jun 16.

IRF4 at the crossroads of effector T-cell fate decision.

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Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hospital Hygiene, University of Marburg, Marburg, Germany.


Interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4) is a transcription factor that is expressed in hematopoietic cells and plays pivotal roles in the immune response. Originally described as a lymphocyte-specific nuclear factor, IRF4 promotes differentiation of naïve CD4(+) T cells into T helper 2 (Th2), Th9, Th17, or T follicular helper (Tfh) cells and is required for the function of effector regulatory T (eTreg) cells. Moreover, IRF4 is essential for the sustained differentiation of cytotoxic effector CD8(+) T cells, for CD8(+) T-cell memory formation, and for differentiation of naïve CD8(+) T cells into IL-9-producing (Tc9) and IL-17-producing (Tc17) CD8(+) T-cell subsets. In this review, we focus on recent findings on the role of IRF4 during the development of CD4(+) and CD8(+) T-cell subsets and the impact of IRF4 on T-cell-mediated immune responses in vivo.


CD4+ T cells; CD8+ T cells; Interferon regulatory factor 4; T-cell differentiation; T-cell subsets

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