RUNX proteins in transcription factor networks that regulate T-cell lineage choice

Nat Rev Immunol. 2009 Feb;9(2):106-15. doi: 10.1038/nri2489.


Recent research has uncovered complex transcription factor networks that control the processes of T-cell development and differentiation. RUNX (runt-related transcription factor) proteins are among the many factors that have crucial roles in these networks. In this Review, we examine the mechanisms by which RUNX complexes act together with other transcription factors, such as Th-POK (T-helper-inducing POZ/Kruppel-like factor) and GATA-binding protein 3 (GATA3) in determining the CD4/CD8 lineage choice of developing thymocytes. In addition, we discuss evidence indicating that RUNX complexes are also involved in the differentiation of effector T-cell subsets and that the molecular mechanisms by which RUNX proteins regulate T-cell fate decisions are conserved between the thymus and periphery.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Lineage / genetics*
  • Cell Lineage / immunology
  • Core Binding Factor alpha Subunits / genetics
  • Core Binding Factor alpha Subunits / metabolism*
  • Cytokines / biosynthesis
  • GATA3 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • GATA3 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Regulatory Networks*
  • Humans
  • Lymphopoiesis / genetics*
  • Thymus Gland / immunology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Core Binding Factor alpha Subunits
  • Cytokines
  • GATA3 Transcription Factor
  • GATA3 protein, human
  • Th-POK protein, mouse
  • Transcription Factors