Genome-wide regulatory analysis reveals T-bet controls Th17 lineage differentiation through direct suppression of IRF4

M Refik Gökmen, R Dong, Aditi Kanhere, N Powell, E Perucha , Ian Jackson, JK Howard, M Hernandez-Fuentes, Richard G Jenner, Lord GM

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28 Citations (Scopus)


The complex relationship between Th1 and Th17 cells is incompletely understood. The transcription factor T-bet is best known as the master regulator of Th1 lineage commitment. However, attention is now focused on the repression of alternate T cell subsets mediated by T-bet, particularly the Th17 lineage. It has recently been suggested that pathogenic Th17 cells express T-bet and are dependent on IL-23. However, T-bet has previously been shown to be a negative regulator of Th17 cells. We have taken an unbiased approach to determine the functional impact of T-bet on Th17 lineage commitment. Genome-wide analysis of functional T-bet binding sites provides an improved understanding of the transcriptional regulation mediated by T-bet, and suggests novel mechanisms by which T-bet regulates T helper cell differentiation. Specifically, we show that T-bet negatively regulates Th17 lineage commitment via direct repression of the transcription factor interferon regulatory factor-4 (IRF4). An in vivo analysis of the pathogenicity of T-bet deficient T cells demonstrated that mucosal Th17 responses were augmented in the absence of T-bet, and we have demonstrated that the role of T-bet in enforcing Th1 responses and suppressing Th17 responses are separable. The interaction of the two key transcription factors T-bet and IRF4 during the determination of T cell fate choice significantly advances our understanding of the mechanisms underlying the development of pathogenic T cells.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5925
Number of pages5932
JournalJournal of Immunology
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


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