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Science. 1998 Aug 28;281(5381):1352-4.

Independent and epigenetic regulation of the interleukin-4 alleles in CD4+ T cells.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Departments of Medicine and Microbiology/Immunology, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), San Francisco, CA 94143-0654, USA.


How an individual effector T cell acquires a particular cytokine expression pattern from many possible patterns remains unclear. CD4+ T cells from F1 mice, which allowed assignment of the parental origin of interleukin-4 (IL-4) transcripts, were divided into clones that expressed IL-4 biallelically or monoallelically from either allele. The allelic pattern was transmitted as a stable epigenetic trait. Regulation of cytokine expression by a mechanism that treats each allele independently suggests a probabilistic process by which a diverse repertoire of combinatorially assorted cytokine gene expression patterns could be generated among the clonally related daughters of a single precursor cell.

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