Recent research has made great strides in uncovering the mechanisms by which the T helper 1 (Th1) cell gene expression program is established. In particular, studies examining the transcription factors T-bet, STAT1, and STAT4 have elucidated their roles in regulating Th1 signature genes, including Ifng, and have started to address their contributions to the epigenetic states in Th1 cells. Additionally, new findings have provided information about how the co-expression of T helper cell lineage-defining transcription factors impacts the phenotype of the cell. In this review, we will briefly highlight the research from the last few years examining the epigenetic states in T helper cells and the mechanisms by which they are established. We will then discuss how this new information contributes to our understanding of the flexibility of T helper cell genetic programs.
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