Control of CD4 gene expression: connecting signals to outcomes in T cell development.
The control of CD4 gene expression is essential for proper T lymphocyte development. Signals transmitted from the T-cell antigen receptor (TCR) during the thymic selection processes are believed to be linked to the regulation of CD4 gene expression during specific stages of T cell development. Thus, a study of the factors that control CD4 gene expression may lead to further insight into the molecular mechanisms that drive thymic selection. In this review, we discuss the work conducted to date to identify and characterize the cis-acting transcriptional control elements in the CD4 locus and the DNA-binding factors that mediate their function. From these studies, it is becoming clear that the molecular mechanisms controlling CD4 gene expression are very complex and differ at each stage of development. Thus, the control of CD4 expression is subject to many different influences as the thymocyte develops.
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