Helper T cell differentiation is controlled by the cell cycle

Jennifer J. Bird, Daniel R. Brown, Alan C. Mullen, Naomi H. Moskowitz, Michael A. Mahowald, Jenny R. Sider, Thomas F. Gajewski, Chyung Ru Wang, Steven L. Reiner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

739 Scopus citations


Helper T (Th) cell differentiation is highly regulated by cytokines but initiated by mitogens. By examining gene expression in discrete generations of dividing cells, we have delineated the relationship between proliferation and differentiation. Initial expression of IL-2 is cell cycle-independent, whereas effector cytokine expression is cell cycle-dependent. IFNγ expression increases in frequency with successive cell cycles, while IL-4 expression requires three cell divisions. Cell cycle progression and cytokine signaling act in concert to relieve epigenetic repression and can be supplanted by agents that hyperacetylate histones and demethylate DNA. Terminally differentiated cells exhibit stable epigenetic modification and cell cycle-independent gene expression. These data reveal a novel mechanism governing Th cell fate that initially integrates proliferative and differentiative signals and subsequently maintains stability of the differentiated state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-237
Number of pages9
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Infectious Diseases


Dive into the research topics of 'Helper T cell differentiation is controlled by the cell cycle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this