Regulation of the STAT3 pathway by lupus susceptibility gene Pbx1 in T cells

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Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a chronic autoimmune disease in which poorly characterized genetic factors lead to the production of proinflammatory or autoreactive T cells. Pre-B cell leukemia homeobox 1 (PBX1) is a transcription factor whose dominant negative isoform (PBX1-D) is overexpressed in the CD4+ T cells of SLE patients and lupus-prone mice. Pbx1-D overexpression favors the expansion of proinflammatory T cells and impairs regulatory T (Treg) cell development. Here we show that Pbx1 deficiency and Pbx1-D overexpression decreased STAT3 expression and activation in T cells. Accordingly, Pbx1 deficiency in T cells and Pbx1-D overexpression reduced STAT3-dependent TH17 cell polarization in vitro, but it had no effect in vivo at steady state. STAT3-dependent follicular helper T (TFH) cell polarization in vitro and splenic TFH cell frequency were not affected by either Pbx1 deficiency or Pbx1-D overexpression. Pbx1 deficiency also increased the expression of cell cycle arrest and pro-apoptotic genes, with an increased apoptosis in T cells. Our results suggest a complex interplay between PBX1 and STAT3, which may contribute to lupus pathogenesis through dysregulation of the cell cycle and apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Immunology
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • Lupus
  • Pbx1
  • STAT3
  • T cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology


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