The transcription factor c-Maf plays a critical and selective role in IL-4 gene transcription. Little is known about the mechanism that guides c-Maf regulation during early T cell activation. We report that IL-6 but not EL-4 or other cytokines, rapidly opregulates c-Maf transcription, as early as 3 h after TCR activation in naive CD4+ T cells. c-Maf induction requires both IL-6- and TCR-initiated signals, and is independent of IL-4/Stat6 signals. Cyclosporin A and FK506, which target calcineurie and thereby inhibit TCR-mediated Ca2+ signal pathways, block IL-6-mediated c-Maf expression. We show that Stat3 binds the c-maf promoter in CD4 T cells after IL-6 stimulation, and also transactivates the c-maf promoter in reporter gene assays. IL-6 induces similar c-Maf-expression in protein kinase C0-deficient CD4+ T cells. Furthermore, IL-6 enhances IL-4 gene expression very early after TCR activation in both wild-type and Stat6-deficient CD4+ T cells. Our findings suggest that IL-6 plays a unique role in initiating c-Maf expression after TCR engagement, and may subsequently regulate early IL-4 production and Th2 commitment.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy