Constitutive cytokine mRNAs mark natural killer (NK) and NK T cells poised for rapid effector function.


Journal Article

Natural killer (NK) and NK T cells are tissue lymphocytes that secrete cytokines rapidly upon stimulation. Here, we show that these cells maintain distinct patterns of constitutive cytokine mRNAs. Unlike conventional T cells, NK T cells activate interleukin (IL)-4 and interferon (IFN)-gamma transcription during thymic development and populate the periphery with both cytokine loci previously modified by histone acetylation. Similarly, NK cells transcribe and modify the IFN-gamma gene, but not IL-4, during developmental maturation in the bone marrow. Lineage-specific patterns of cytokine transcripts predate infection and suggest evolutionary selection for invariant but distinct types of effector responses among the earliest responding lymphocytes.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Stetson, DB; Mohrs, M; Reinhardt, RL; Baron, JL; Wang, Z-E; Gapin, L; Kronenberg, M; Locksley, RM

Published Date

  • October 6, 2003

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 198 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 1069 - 1076

PubMed ID

  • 14530376

Pubmed Central ID

  • 14530376

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-1007

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1084/jem.20030630


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States