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Keywords:

  • Gata3;
  • Il-4;
  • Il-5;
  • Il-13;
  • Stat6;
  • T;
  • Helper;
  • Subset;
  • Th2

Abstract

The T helper subsets Th1 and Th2 regulate specific types of immune responses by producing distinct sets of cytokines. Differentiation of the T helper subsets from their common precursors, naive CD4+ T cells, is induced by antigen stimulation and controlled by various other conditions. Of these conditions, the contributions of the cytokine environment have been the best characterized. The presence of interleukin-4 (IL-4) directs the differentiation towards Th2 cells, whereas IL-12 induces Th1 differentiation. The Th2 signature cytokine genes encoding IL-4, IL-13, and IL-5 are clustered, and noncoding regions such as the intergenic region of the IL-4 and IL-13 genes are highly conserved from mice to humans. Alteration of the chromatin structure of this Th2 cytokine cluster region is detected as nuclease-accessible regions specific to Th2 cells. Activation of STAT6 promotes Th2 differentiation by inducing Th2-specific transcription factors, including GATA3. Expression of GATA3 induces Th2 differentiation and enhances the Th2 cell?specific chromatin accessibility, indicating that GATA3 is a key protein that regulates differentiation through chromatin remodeling. T helper subset differentiation provides a good system to study gene expression regulation at the chromatin level.