Different transcription factors have been shown to control the transition of naive T cells into T helper 1 (Th1)/Th2 subsets. The T-cell-specific transcription factor GATA-3 is known to be selectively expressed in murine developing Th2 cells and to exert a positive action on Th2-specific cytokine production. Investigating GATA-3 gene regulation in human T cells we have found that naive T cells highly express GATA-3, and during early T2 or T1 polarization, respectively, they either maintain or quickly down-regulate expression. In developing T2 cells, as well as in committed Th2 cell lines and clones, we found a positive correlation among GATA-3, interleukin (IL)-5 and IL-4 gene expression kinetics, supporting the positive action of GATA-3 on Th2-specific cytokine production. A possible relationship between GATA-3 gene expression and the down-regulation of the IL-12 receptor (β2-chain; IL-12Rβ2) gene was evident only in the early phases of T2 polarization (within 24 hr), and not demonstrated at later times. During T-cell commitment the presence of IL-4 in the culture was essential to maintain or enhance GATA-3 transcription, while IL-12 was not necessary for full repression of GATA-3. Finally, we showed selective GATA-3 up-regulation in human Th2 cell lines and clones and the maintainance of a low basal level of GATA-3 expression in Th1 cells upon activation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas