Notch signaling plays important roles in Th cell activation. We show that in response to TLR ligation, dendritic cells up-regulate expression of Notch ligands Delta1 and Delta4 via a MyD88-dependent pathway. Expression of Delta1 or Delta4 by dendritic cells enhanced their ability to activate naive Th cells and promote Th1 cell development, and allowed them to strongly inhibit Th2 cell development. Promotion of Th1 cell development was dependent on IFN-γ and T-bet expression by responding Th cells. However, the inhibition of Th2 cell development occurred independently of IFN-γ or T-bet, and resulted from a block in IL-4-initiated commitment to the Th2 lineage. The promotion of Th1 cell development by Delta is not a reflection of the delivery of pro-Th1 instructional signal, but rather it is the result of a block in the downstream effects initiated by IL-4 signaling.
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