Independent and Epigenetic Regulation of the Interleukin-4 Alleles in CD4+ T Cells

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Science  28 Aug 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5381, pp. 1352-1354
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5381.1352

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How an individual effector T cell acquires a particular cytokine expression pattern from many possible patterns remains unclear. CD4+ T cells from F1 mice, which allowed assignment of the parental origin of interleukin-4 (IL-4) transcripts, were divided into clones that expressed IL-4 biallelically or monoallelically from either allele. The allelic pattern was transmitted as a stable epigenetic trait. Regulation of cytokine expression by a mechanism that treats each allele independently suggests a probabilistic process by which a diverse repertoire of combinatorially assorted cytokine gene expression patterns could be generated among the clonally related daughters of a single precursor cell.

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