Regulation of MHC class II gene expression by the class II transactivator

Nat Rev Immunol. 2005 Oct;5(10):793-806. doi: 10.1038/nri1708.


MHC class II molecules are pivotal for the adaptive immune system, because they guide the development and activation of CD4+ T helper cells. Fulfilling these functions requires that the genes encoding MHC class II molecules are transcribed according to a strict cell-type-specific and quantitatively modulated pattern. This complex gene-expression profile is controlled almost exclusively by a single master regulatory factor, which is known as the class II transactivator. As we discuss here, differential activation of the three independent promoters that drive expression of the gene encoding the class II transactivator ultimately determines the exquisitely regulated pattern of MHC class II gene expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology*
  • Genes, MHC Class II / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Models, Immunological*
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Trans-Activators / genetics*


  • MHC class II transactivator protein
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Trans-Activators