Indexed on: 06 Jul '16Published on: 06 Jul '16Published in: Frontiers in immunology
Recent reports give insights into the role of the T-box transcription factors, T-bet and Eomesodermin (Eomes), in NK cell biology. In this mini-review, we recapitulate the initial reports that delineate T-bet and Eomes as master regulators of NK cell development, maturation, and function. We discuss how T-bet and Eomes expression is regulated during NK cell development and peripheral maturation. Furthermore, we summarize the current literature on the role of T-bet and Eomes in the transcriptional regulation of NK cell function and review possible effects of T-box transcription factor anomalies during aging, infection, cancer, and after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. We discuss how the current data argue in favor of a model of T-bet and Eomes synergy in transcriptional regulation of NK cell function and identify T-box transcription factors as potential targets for therapeutic interventions.