Reversible CD8 expression induced by common cytokine receptor gamma chain-dependent cytokines in a cloned CD4(+) T(h)1 cell line

Int Immunol. 2002 Mar;14(3):259-66. doi: 10.1093/intimm/14.3.259.


T cells that are intrathymically lineage committed are believed to maintain their CD4 or CD8 co-receptor expression. Here, we investigated whether intrathymic lineage commitment involves irreversible genetic modification or whether co-receptor expression can be reprogrammed depending on external stimuli. The CD4(+) T(h)1 clone 2D6 established from splenic T cells as an IL-12-dependent line survived in culture with IL-2, IL-7 or IL-15 alone. Surprisingly, CD8 expression occurred in 2D6 cells upon replacement of IL-12 with any one of the three cytokines that stimulate the common cytokine receptor gamma chain, yielding CD4(+)CD8(+) 2D6 cells. CD8 expression declined when IL-2 was replaced with IL-12 and CD8 induction was inhibited when IL-12 was included in IL-2 or IL-7 culture. Our observations show that even a lineage-committed mature T cell can be reprogrammed for co-receptor expression in response to particular external stimuli.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD8 Antigens / biosynthesis*
  • CD8 Antigens / genetics
  • Clone Cells
  • Cytokines / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Interleukin Receptor Common gamma Subunit
  • Interleukin-12 / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Interleukin-12 / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-15 / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-2 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-4 / pharmacology
  • Interleukin-7 / pharmacology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7 / metabolism*
  • Th1 Cells / immunology*


  • CD8 Antigens
  • Cytokines
  • Il2rg protein, mouse
  • Interleukin Receptor Common gamma Subunit
  • Interleukin-15
  • Interleukin-2
  • Interleukin-7
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7
  • Interleukin-12
  • Interleukin-4