Forkhead-box Transcription Factors and Their Role in the Immune System

Nat Rev Immunol. 2004 Nov;4(11):889-99. doi: 10.1038/nri1488.


It is more than a decade since the discovery of the first forkhead-box (FOX) transcription factor in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. In the intervening time, there has been an explosion in the identification and characterization of members of this family of proteins. Importantly, in the past few years, it has become clear that members of the FOX family have crucial roles in various aspects of immune regulation, from lymphocyte survival to thymic development. This review focuses on FOXP3, FOXN1, FOXJ1 and members of the FOXO subfamily and their function in the immune system.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / immunology*
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Humans
  • Immune System / immunology
  • Immune System / physiology*
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Mice
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology
  • Thymus Gland / embryology
  • Thymus Gland / immunology
  • Trans-Activators / immunology*
  • Transcription Factors / immunology*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • FOXJ1 protein, human
  • FOXP3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Foxp3 protein, mouse
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • Whn protein