T follicular helper (Tfh) cells are essential for efficient B cell responses, yet the factors that regulate differentiation of this CD4+ Tcell subset are incompletely understood. Here we found that the KLF2 transcription factor serves to restrain Tfh cell generation. Induced KLF2 deficiency in activated CD4+ Tcells led to increased Tfh cell generation and B cell priming, whereas KLF2 overexpression prevented Tfh cell production. KLF2 promotes expression of the trafficking receptor S1PR1, and S1PR1 downregulation is essential for efficient Tfh cell production. However, KLF2 also induced expression of the transcription factor Blimp-1, which repressed transcription factor Bcl-6 and thereby impaired Tfh cell differentiation. Furthermore, KLF2 induced expression of the transcription factors T-bet and GATA3 and enhanced Th1 differentiation. Hence, our data indicate KLF2 ispivotal for coordinating CD4+ Tcell differentiation through two distinct and complementary mechanisms: via control of Tcell localization and by regulation of lineage-defining transcription factors.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank Hugh Rosen (Research Institute of Scripps Clinic) for S1PR1-GFP reporter mice; Kathy Pape, and Jessica Yang (UMN) for practical advice; Phil Nance and Shane Crotty (LIAI, La Jolla) for reagents and wise suggestions, and the Jamequist lab for intellectual input. This work was supported by NIH award R37 AI38903 (to SCJ).