Th cell effector subsets develop in response to specific cytokine environments. The development of a particular cytokine-secreting pattern requires an integration of signals that may promote the development of opposing pathways. A recent example of this paradigm is the IL-9-secreting Th9 cell that develops in response to TGF-β and IL-4, cytokines that, in isolation, promote the development of inducible regulatory T cells and Th2 cells, respectively. To determine how the balance of these factors results in priming for IL-9 secretion, we examined the effects of each pathway on transcription factors that regulate Th cell differentiation. We demonstrated that TGF-β induces the PU.1-encoding Sfpi1 locus and that this is independent of IL-4-induced STAT6 activation. IL-4-activated STAT6 is required for repressing the expression of T-bet and Foxp3 in Th9 cells, transcription factors that inhibit IL-9 production, and STAT6 is required for the induction of IRF4, which promotes Th9 development. These data established a transcription factor network that regulates IL-9 and demonstrated how combinations of cytokine signals generate cytokine-secreting potential by altering the expression of a panel of transcription factors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy