GATA-3 promotes maturation, IFN-gamma production, and liver-specific homing of NK cells

Immunity. 2003 Nov;19(5):701-11. doi: 10.1016/s1074-7613(03)00294-2.


The GATA-3 transcription factor has a determinant role in T cell specification and is an essential mediator of T helper 2-type polarized immune responses. While both committed NK precursors and mature NK cells express GATA-3, a role of this transcription factor in murine NK cell differentiation is not known. We found that NK cells, in contrast to T cells, can be generated in the absence of GATA-3. However, while GATA-3 antagonizes IFN-gamma production in differentiating T cells, GATA-3-deficient NK cells paradoxically produced less IFN-gamma compared to control NK cells and failed to provide early protection in vivo against infection with Listeria monocytogenes. Surprisingly, GATA-3 was essential for NK cell homing to the liver. Our results suggest that GATA-3 promotes NK cell maturation and acts in this lineage to specify distinct effector phenotypes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Chimera
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / deficiency
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • GATA3 Transcription Factor
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / metabolism
  • Listeriosis / immunology
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Trans-Activators / deficiency
  • Trans-Activators / genetics
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • GATA3 Transcription Factor
  • Gata3 protein, mouse
  • Trans-Activators
  • Interferon-gamma