E26 Transformation specific (Ets) family transcription factors control the expression of a large number of genes regulating hematopoietic cell development and function. Two such transcription factors, Ets-1 and myeloid Elf-1-like factor (MEF), have been shown to play critical roles in both natural killer (NK)- and NKT-cell development, but not in the development of conventional T cells. In this study, we address the role of E74-like factor 1 (Elf-1), another Ets family transcription factor that is closely related to MEF but divergent from Ets-1, in NK- and NKT-cell development using Elf-1-deficient (Elf-1 -/-) mice. Whereas the proportion of NK cells in Elf-1-/- mice was normal, the proportion of NKT cells was significantly reduced in the thymus and periphery of Elf-1-/- mice compared with wild-type (WT) mice. Although Ets-1-deficient mice lack NKT cells altogether, Elf-1 -/- mice exhibited only a partial block in NKT-cell development caused by a cell-intrinsic defect in the selection, survival, and maturation of NKT cells. In addition, residual NKT cells found in Elf-1-/- mice produced less cytokine upon antigen stimulation compared with WT NKT cells. Our data demonstrate that Elf-1 plays an important and nonredundant role in the development and function of NKT cells, but is not involved in NK-cell development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology