An RNA twist to TH17 cells

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Science  04 Mar 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6277, pp. 1032
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf4691

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T helper lymphocytes play essential roles in the adaptive immune system. They come in distinct types defined by unique transcriptional programs that control their development and functions. Among these, T helper 17 (TH17) cells are important in protecting mucosal surfaces against fungal and bacterial infections. In addition, TH17 cells contribute to the pathogenesis of multiple autoimmune diseases (1). A recent study (2) adds yet another layer of complexity to the biology of these complex cells—an RNA helicase and a long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) that act together to control their effector functions.