Author(s): Schoenborn JR, Wilson CB
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Abstract Interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) is crucial for immunity against intracellular pathogens and for tumor control. However, aberrant IFN-gamma expression has been associated with a number of autoinflammatory and autoimmune diseases. This cytokine is produced predominantly by natural killer (NK) and natural killer T (NKT) cells as part of the innate immune response, and by Th1 CD4 and CD8 cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) effector T cells once antigen-specific immunity develops. Herein, we briefly review the functions of IFN-gamma, the cells that produce it, the cell extrinsic signals that induce its production and influence the differentiation of naïve T cells into IFN-gamma-producing effector T cells, and the signaling pathways and transcription factors that facilitate, induce, or repress production of this cytokine. We then review and discuss recent insights regarding the molecular regulation of IFN-gamma, focusing on work that has led to the identification and characterization of distal regulatory elements and epigenetic modifications with the IFN-gamma locus (Ifng) that govern its expression. The epigenetic modifications and three-dimensional structure of the Ifng locus in naive CD4 T cells, and the modifications they undergo as these cells differentiate into effector T cells, suggest a model whereby the chromatin architecture of Ifng is poised to facilitate either rapid opening or silencing during Th1 or Th2 differentiation, respectively.
This article was published in Adv Immunol
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology