Opposing regulation of T cell function by Egr-1/NAB 2 and Egr-2/Egr-3

Sam Collins, Michael A. Lutz, Paul E. Zarek, Robert A. Anders, Gilbert J. Kersh, Jonathan D. Powell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


TCR-induced NF-AT activation leads to the up-regulation of multiple genes involved in T cell anergy. Since NF-AT is also involved in T cell activation, we have endeavored to dissect TCR-induced activating and inhibitory genetic programs. This approach revealed roles for the early growth response (Egr) family of transcription factors and the Egr coactivator/corepressor NGFI-A-binding protein (NAB)2 in regulating T cell function. TCR-induced Egr-1 and NAB2 enhance T cell function, while Egr-2 and Egr-3 inhibit T cell function. In this report, we demonstrate that Egr-2 and Egr-3 are induced by NF-AT in the absence of AP-1, while Egr-1 and NAB2 both require AP-1-mediated transcription. Our data suggest that Egr-3 is upstream of Egr-2, and that mechanistically Egr-2 and Egr-3 suppress Egr-1 and NAB2 expression. Functionally, T cells from Egr-2 and Egr-3 null mice are hyperresponsive while T cells from Egr-3 transgenic, overexpressing mice are hyporesponsive. Furthermore, an in vivo model of autoimmune pneumonitis reveals that T cells from Egr-3 null mice hasten death while Egr-3-overexpressing T cells cause less disease. Overall, our data suggest that just as the Egr/NAB network of genes control cell fate in other systems, TCR-induced Egr-1, 2, 3 and NAB2 control the fate of antigen recognition in T cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)528-536
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Immunology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2008


  • Activation
  • EGR
  • NAB2
  • T cells
  • Tolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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