Identification of Acvr2a as a Th17 cell-specific gene induced during Th17 differentiation

Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2011;75(11):2138-41. doi: 10.1271/bbb.110436. Epub 2011 Nov 7.


IL-17-producing T lymphocytes have been found to comprise a distinct lineage of T helper cells (Th17 cells) that are major causes of autoimmune diseases such as EAE, RA, and IBD. In this study, we found that activin receptor type-2A (Acvr2a) is a gene induced during the differentiation of this effector cell lineage as compared with naïve T cells. The transcript of Acvr2a was not induced in Th1 and Th2 cells, and both TGF-β and IL-6 were required for the induction of Acvr2a. When the differentiation of Th17 cells was inhibited by all tarans retinoic acid (ATRA) which induces regulatory T cell (Treg) differentiation under Th17 differentiation conditions, expression of Acvr2a was also inhibited. Hence we propose that Acvr2a is a Th17 specific gene making Th17 cells distinct from other helper T cells, Th1, Th2, and Treg.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activin Receptors, Type II / genetics
  • Activin Receptors, Type II / immunology
  • Activin Receptors, Type II / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / metabolism
  • Th17 Cells / immunology
  • Th17 Cells / metabolism*
  • Th2 Cells / metabolism
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta / metabolism*
  • Tretinoin / pharmacology*


  • Interleukin-6
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta
  • Tretinoin
  • Activin Receptors, Type II
  • activin receptor type II-A