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January 2009 - March 2010

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Medical School
Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology

PI: Michael A. Farrar

Regulation of Lymphocyte Development and Activation by STAT5

The transcription factor STAT5 plays a key role in the development of both B and T lymphocytes. These researchers have demonstrated that activation of this transcription factor is sufficient to restore lymphocyte development in the absence of the cytokine IL7. They are using STAT5 chromatin immunoprecipitation assays and gene microarrays to identify STAT5 target genes required for this process. These studies should shed light on the molecular mechanisms that entrain lymphocyte development.

STAT5 also plays an important role in regulating numbers of mature T cells. The cytokine IL7 is important in ensuring that T cell numbers remain relatively constant (referred to as T cell homeostasis). The researchers have identified two genes, bcl-xL and pim-1, as key target genes in this process and are characterizing the mechanism by which STAT5 drives T cell homeostasis.

Finally, STAT5 plays a key role in promoting the development of a subset of T cells, called suppressor T cells, which play an important role in preventing autoimmunity. The group is identifying STAT5 target genes that regulate suppressor T cell development and functional activity.

Group Members

Lynn Heltemes-Harris, Research Associate
Casey Katerndahl, Graduate Student
Linxi Li, Graduate Student
Laura Ramsey, Graduate Student
Kieng Bao Vang, Graduate Student
Amanda Vegoe, Staff
Mark Willette, Graduate Student