Distinct effects of T-bet in Th1 lineage commitment and IFN-γ production in CD4 and CD8 T cells
T-bet is a member of the T-box family of transcription factors that appears to regulate lineage commitment in CD4 T helper (TH) lymphocytes in part by activating the hallmark TH1 cytokine, interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma). IFN-gamma is also produced by natural killer (NK) cells and most prominently by CD8 cytotoxic T cells, and is vital for the control of microbial pathogens. Although T-bet is expressed in all these cell types, it is required for control of IFN-gamma production in CD4 and NK cells, but not in CD8 cells. This difference is also apparent in the function of these cell subsets. Thus, the regulation of a single cytokine, IFN-gamma, is controlled by distinct transcriptional mechanisms within the T cell lineage.