T-bet and GATA3 orchestrate Th1 and Th2 differentiation through lineage-specific targeting of distal regulatory elements

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Arnulf Hertweck
  • Urvashi Bhatia
  • M Refik Gökmen
  • Esperanza Perucha
  • Ian Jackson
  • Graham M Lord
  • Richard G Jenner

Colleges, School and Institutes


T-bet and GATA3 regulate the CD4+ T cell Th1/Th2 cell fate decision but little is known about the interplay between these factors outside of the murine Ifng and Il4/Il5/Il13 loci. Here we show that T-bet and GATA3 bind to multiple distal sites at immune regulatory genes in human effector T cells. These sites display markers of functional elements, act as enhancers in reporter assays and are associated with a requirement for T-bet and GATA3. Furthermore, we demonstrate that both factors bind distal sites at Tbx21 and that T-bet directly activates its own expression. We also show that in Th1 cells, GATA3 is distributed away from Th2 genes, instead occupying T-bet binding sites at Th1 genes, and that T-bet is sufficient to induce GATA3 binding at these sites. We propose these aspects of T-bet and GATA3 function are important for Th1/Th2 differentiation and for understanding transcription factor interactions in other T cell lineage decisions.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1268
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 2012