Research Article

Differential IL-2 expression defines developmental fates of follicular versus nonfollicular helper T cells

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Science  14 Sep 2018:
Vol. 361, Issue 6407, eaao2933
DOI: 10.1126/science.aao2933

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(IL-)2 be or not to be?

Immunological T follicular helper (TFH) cells are a subpopulation of CD4+ T cells that support B cell antibody production and the establishment of B cell memory. By contrast, non-TFH cells orchestrate enhanced innate immune cell functions at sites of pathogen encounter. The factors underlying differentiation into a TFH or non-TFH cell remain poorly understood, though there is evidence to suggest that the T cell growth factor interleukin-2 (IL-2) may play a role. Using IL-2 reporter mice, DiToro et al. show that naïve CD4+ T cells that produce IL-2 are fated to become TFH cells, whereas nonproducers, which receive IL-2, become non-TFH cells. The CD4+ T cell–fate decision was linked to T cell receptor strength—only those naïve CD4+ T cells that received the highest T cell receptor signals were able to produce IL-2.

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