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. 2014 Dec 1;193(11):5480-7.
doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1303417. Epub 2014 Oct 29.

T Cell Factor 1 Represses CD8+ Effector T Cell Formation and Function

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T Cell Factor 1 Represses CD8+ Effector T Cell Formation and Function

Machteld M Tiemessen et al. J Immunol. .
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The Wnt-responsive transcription factor T cell factor 1 (Tcf1) is well known for its role in thymic T cell development and the formation of memory CD8(+) T cells. However, its role in the initial phases of CD8(+) T effector cell formation has remained unexplored. We report that high levels of Wnt signaling and Tcf1 are operational in naive and memory CD8(+) T cells, whereas Wnt signaling and Tcf1 were low in effector CD8(+) T cells. CD8(+) T cells deficient in Tcf1 produce IFN-γ more rapidly, coinciding with increased demethylation of the IFN-γ enhancer and higher expression of the transcription factors Tbet and Blimp1. Moreover, virus-specific Tcf1(-/-) CD8(+) T cells show accelerated expansion in acute infection, which is associated with increased IFN-γ and TNF production and lower viral load. Genetic complementation experiments with various Tcf1 isoforms indicate that Tcf1 dosage and protein stability are critical in suppressing IFN-γ production. Isoforms lacking the β-catenin binding domain are equally effective in inhibiting CD8(+) effector T cell formation. Thus, Tcf1 functions as a repressor of CD8(+) effector T cell formation in a β-catenin/Wnt-independent manner.

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