• Open Access

STAT6-dependent and -independent mechanisms in Th2 polarization



Th2 cells play a key role in directing immune responses against helminths. Additionally, Th2 cells are crucial for many types of allergic reactions. Whereas the molecular mechanisms underlying the differentiation of other types of Th cells are well understood, Th2 differentiation is still a controversial topic. IL-4 and its downstream transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)6 are well-known key mediators in Th2 differentiation. The fact that Th2 cells themselves are the most potent source of IL-4 suggests that additional mechanisms promoting the initiation of Th2 differentiation exist. This article gives an overview on STAT6-dependent and -independent mechanisms involved in the process of Th2 polarization, including Notch, mTORC2, IL-2/STAT5, and Wnt. Furthermore, we emphasize the role of STAT6 not only as a transcriptional activator promoting Th2 development, but also in fine-tuning alternative signaling pathways which are involved in the initiation of Th2 polarization.