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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Transient inhibition of interleukin 4 signaling by T cell receptor ligation.

Interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-12 together with T cell receptor (TCR) engagement are crucial for the differentiation of CD4(+) T cells into T helper (Th)2 or Th1 cells, respectively. Although IL-4 receptors (IL-4Rs) but not IL-12Rs are expressed on naive CD4(+) T cells, IL-4 has no apparent advantage over IL-12 in driving naive T cell differentiation when the cells are primed with both IL-4 and IL-12 in vitro. It was found that IL-4-induced phosphorylation of Janus kinases 1 and 3, IL-4R alpha, signal transducer and activator of transcription 6, and insulin receptor substrate 2 was strikingly but transiently inhibited by TCR ligation both in conventional and TCR transgenic T cells. TCR engagement also blocked the expression of an IL-4-inducible gene. Signals induced by other cytokines, including IL-2, IL-6, and interferon alpha, but not by insulin-like growth factor 1, were also blocked by TCR engagement. The capacity of various inhibitors to reverse TCR-mediated inhibition of IL-4 signaling suggested that activation of the Ras-mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway and of the calcineurin pathway contribute to desensitizing IL-4R. IL-4 responsiveness returned at about the time ( approximately 12 h) that IL-12-mediated signaling was first observed. Thus, through different mechanisms, neither IL-4R nor IL-12R has any clear advantage in polarizing cells; rather, the availability of cytokine is probably the limiting factor in this process.[1]


  1. Transient inhibition of interleukin 4 signaling by T cell receptor ligation. Zhu, J., Huang, H., Guo, L., Stonehouse, T., Watson, C.J., Hu-Li, J., Paul, W.E. J. Exp. Med. (2000) [Pubmed]
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