Effectors and memories: Bcl6 and Blimp1 in T and B lymphocyte differentiation
Bcl-6 and Blimp-1 have recently been identified as key transcriptional regulators of effector and memory differentiation in CD4+ T cells and CD8+ T cells. Bcl-6 and Blimp-1 were previously known to be critical regulators of effector and memory differentiation of B lymphocytes. The new findings unexpectedly point to the Bcl-6 and Blimp-1 regulatory axis as a ubiquitous mechanism for controlling effector and memory lymphocyte differentiation and function. Bcl-6 and Blimp-1 are antagonistic transcription factors and can function as a self-reinforcing genetic switch for cell-fate decisions. However, their influences in different lymphocytes are complex. Here we review and examine the commonalities and differences in the functions of these transcription factors in CD4+ follicular helper TFH lymphocytes, effector CD8+ T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes.