Molecular control of follicular helper T cell development and differentiation

Haijing Wu, Yaxiong Deng, Ming Zhao, Jianzhong Zhang, Min Zheng, Genghui Chen, Linfeng Li, Zhibiao He, Qianjin Lu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Citations (SciVal)


Follicular helper T cells (Tfh) are specialized helper T cells that are predominantly located in germinal centers and provide help to B cells. The development and differentiation of Tfh cells has been shown to be regulated by transcription factors, such as B-cell lymphoma 6 protein (Bcl-6), signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) and B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein-1 (Blimp-1). In addition, cytokines, including IL-21, have been found to be important for Tfh cell development. Moreover, several epigenetic modifications have also been reported to be involved in the determination of Tfh cell fate. The regulatory network is complicated, and the number of novel molecules demonstrated to control the fate of Tfh cells is increasing. Therefore, this review aims to summarize the current knowledge regarding the molecular regulation of Tfh cell development and differentiation at the protein level and at the epigenetic level to elucidate Tfh cell biology and provide potential targets for clinical interventions in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number02470
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Issue numberOCT
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Oct 25

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Immunology in the medical area


  • Bcl-6
  • Blimp-1
  • Epigenetics
  • Tfh
  • Transcription factors


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