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J Immunol. 2006 Nov 15;177(10):6650-9.

GATA-3 regulates the development and function of invariant NKT cells.

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Division of Rheumatology, Immunology, and Allergy, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Although invariant NKT (iNKT) cells participate in many aspects of immune responses, the molecular mechanisms regulating their development, maturation, and activation are still poorly understood. GATA-3 is a T cell-specific transcription factor that is also expressed in iNKT cells. The critical role of GATA-3 in conventional alphabeta T cells has been well documented, but whether GATA-3 also regulates the development and function of iNKT cells is unknown. In the present study, we report that deficiency of GATA-3 results in cell-intrinsic defects in the thymic development and peripheral maturation of murine iNKT cells. In addition, GATA-3 is also required for survival, activation, and effector functions of this unique population of T cells. Our data also reveal a previously unidentified peripheral maturation step that is GATA-3 dependent.

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