Activated human T cells accomplish MHC class II expression through T cell-specific occupation of class II transactivator promoter III

Tjadine M Holling, Nienke van der Stoep, Edwin Quinten, Peter J van den Elsen
Journal of Immunology 2002 January 15, 168 (2): 763-70
Activated human T cells express HLA-DR, HLA-DQ, and HLA-DP on their surface, but the regulation and functioning of MHC class II molecules in T lymphocytes are poorly understood. Because the MHC class II transactivator (CIITA) is essential for MHC class II expression, we have investigated transcriptional activation of CIITA in activated T cells. In this study, we show that in human activated CD4(+) T cells, CIITA promoter III (CIITA-PIII) drives the expression of CIITA. The in vivo genomic footprint analysis revealed activated T cell-specific occupation of CIITA-PIII. Subsequent EMSA analysis of several promoter regions showed differences in banding pattern among activated T cells, naive T cells, primary B cells, and Raji B cells. Activating response element (ARE)-1 is shown to interact with the acute myeloid leukemia 2 transcription factor in nuclear extracts derived from both T and B cells. Interestingly, the acute myeloid leukemia 3 transcription factor was bound in nuclear extracts of T cells only. The ARE-2 sequence is able to bind CREB/activating transcription factor family members in both T and B cells. In addition, a yet unidentified Ets family member was found to interact with site C in activated T cells, whereas in B cells site C was bound by PU.1 and Pip/IFN regulatory factor 4/IFN consensus sequence binding protein for activated T cells. In Jurkat T cells, both ARE-1 and ARE-2 are crucial for CIITA-PIII activity, similar to Raji B cells. The differential banding pattern in in vivo genomic footprinting and transcription factor binding at the ARE-1 and site C between T cells and B cells probably reflects differences in CIITA-PIII activation pathways employed by these cell types.

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