Combined with TCR stimuli, extracellular cytokine signals initiate the differentiation of naive CD4(+) T cells into specialized effector T-helper (Th) and regulatory T (Treg) cell subsets. The lineage specification and commitment process occurs through the combinatorial action of multiple transcription factors (TFs) and epigenetic mechanisms that drive lineage-specific gene expression programs. In this article, we review recent studies on the transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of distinct Th cell lineages. Moreover, we review current study linking immune disease-associated single-nucleotide polymorphisms with distal regulatory elements and their potential role in the disease etiology.
Keywords: SNPs; STATs; T-helper cell; epigenetic modification; gene regulation; transcription factors.
© 2014 The Authors. Immunological Reviews Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.