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Developmental Immunology
Volume 1 (1990), Issue 1, Pages 19-30

Identification of an IL-4-Inducible Gene Expressed in Differentiating Lymphocytes and Male Germ Cells

1Department of Cancer Biology, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA
2Department of Genetics and Development and the Center for Reproductive Studies, Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons, 360 West 168th Street, New York, New York 10032, USA
3Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA

Received 18 November 1989; Accepted 6 December 1989

Copyright © 1990 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Interleukin 4 (IL-4) is a cytokine that is involved in the differentiation of B and T lymphocytes. In this report, we describe the identification of a novel gene, N.52, which was cloned from the murine pre-B cell line R8205 grown in the presence of IL-4 for 48 hr. Although N.52 expression is detectable at low levels in unstimulated R8205 cells, the level of N.52 dramatically increases after only .4 hr exposure to IL-4 and remains at a high .level up to 48 hr. Although N.52 expression is low or absent in normal spleen B and T cells, its expression can be induced by the differentiation signals delivered by LPS in B cells and by Con A in T-cell hybrids. While N.52 mRNA is absent in all highly differentiated organs, it is detectable in stem cell harboring lymphoid tissues such as bone marrow, fetal liver, and thymus. Furthermore, N.52 mRNA is expressed at strikingly high levels in the testis, specifically in differentiating male germ cells. It is induced by differentiation signals triggered by the combination of cyclic AMP and retinoic acid in teratocarcinoma F9 cells. Taken together, these data suggest that N.52 is a developmentally regulated gene whose expression in cells of the immune and reproductive systems may be controlled by stimuli that induce differentiation.