The central goal of our laboratory is to understand the regulation of lymphoid cells through molecular mechanisms of signal transduction and transcriptional control. A long-standing focus has been on changes that influence the effector function of mature lymphocytes. Work in the laboratory is oriented toward the identification of new regulatory mechanisms using cell lines and primary cells, and the validation of these in vitro findings in mouse models of immune responses and diseases. In this review, we summarize key insights into the regulation of T helper cell function during the phase of immunity where effector responses arise de novo. Particular interest has been centered on cytokine gene regulation as part of T cell differentiation into the Th1 and Th2 subsets. Information on IL-4 receptor signaling and the role of NF-kappaB transcription factors is reviewed. Our more recent work is designed to understand how regulation at the Th1/2 effector stages is related to the control of memory T cell survival, immune recall responses, and the role of these responses in immune-mediated disease.