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Keywords:

  • Bcl11b;
  • T cells;
  • transcription factor;
  • identity;
  • natural killer;
  • reprogramming;
  • immunotherapy

Summary:  T-cell development primarily occurs in the thymus and involves in the interactions of many important transcription factors. Until recently, no single transcription factor has been identified to be essential for T-cell lineage commitment or maintenance of T-cell identity. Recent studies have now identified the zinc finger transcription factor Bcl11b to be essential for T-cell development and for maintenance of T-cell identity. Remarkably, T cells acquire NK cell properties upon Bcl11b deletion. These reprogrammed cells have unique properties in proliferation, cytokine dependency and killing target cells, and may therefore provide a new cell source for some cell-based therapies.