The transcription factor GATA-3 controls cell fate and maintenance of type 2 innate lymphoid cells

Immunity. 2012 Oct 19;37(4):634-48. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2012.06.020. Epub 2012 Oct 11.


Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) reside at mucosal surfaces and control immunity to intestinal infections. Type 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2s) produce cytokines such as IL-5 and IL-13, are required for immune defense against helminth infections, and are involved in the pathogenesis of airway hyperreactivity. Here, we have investigated the role of the transcription factor GATA-3 for ILC2 differentiation and maintenance. We showed that ILC2s and their lineage-specified bone marrow precursors (ILC2Ps), as identified here, were characterized by continuous high expression of GATA-3. Analysis of mice with temporary deletion of GATA-3 in all ILCs showed that GATA-3 was required for the differentiation and maintenance of ILC2s but not for RORγt(+) ILCs. Thus, our data demonstrate that GATA-3 is essential for ILC2 fate decisions and reveal similarities between the transcriptional programs controlling ILC and T helper cell fates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Marrow Cells / immunology
  • Cell Lineage*
  • Cell Movement
  • GATA3 Transcription Factor / immunology*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Immunity, Innate*
  • Intestines / cytology
  • Intestines / immunology
  • Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Mice
  • Receptors, Immunologic / immunology


  • GATA3 Transcription Factor
  • Gata3 protein, mouse
  • Klrg1 protein, mouse
  • Receptors, Immunologic