Acquisition of a functional T cell receptor during T lymphocyte development is enforced by HEB and E2A transcription factors.
ABSTRACT: The T cell receptor (TCR) is required for positive selection and the subsequent transition from the CD4(+)CD8(+) double-positive (DP) to the CD4(+) or CD8(+) single-positive (SP) stage of alphabeta T cell development. The molecular mechanism that maintains DP fate prior to the acquisition of a functional TCR is not clear. We have shown here that the structurally and functionally related transcription factors HEB and E2A work together to maintain DP fate and to control the DP to SP transition. Simultaneous deletion of HEB and E2A in DP thymocytes was sufficient for DP to SP transition independent of TCR. Loss of HEB and E2A allowed DP cells to bypass the requirement for TCR-mediated positive selection, downregulate DP-associated genes, and upregulate SP-specific genes. These results identify HEB and E2A as the gatekeepers that maintain cells at the DP stage of development until a functional alphabetaTCR is produced.
Project description:The double-positive (DP) to single-positive (SP) transition during T cell development is initiated by downregulation of the E protein transcription factors HEB and E2A. Here, we have demonstrated that in addition to regulating the onset of this transition, HEB and E2A also play a separate role in CD4(+) lineage choice. Deletion of HEB and E2A in DP thymocytes specifically blocked the development of CD4(+) lineage T cells. Furthermore, deletion of the E protein inhibitors Id2 and Id3 allowed CD4(+) T cell development but blocked CD8(+) lineage development. Analysis of the CD4(+) lineage transcriptional regulators ThPOK and Gata3 placed HEB and E2A upstream of CD4(+) lineage specification. These studies identify an important role for E proteins in the activation of CD4(+) lineage differentiation as thymocytes undergo the DP to SP transition.
Project description:The development of T cells from multipotent progenitors in the thymus occurs by cascades of interactions between signaling molecules and transcription factors, resulting in the loss of alternative lineage potential and the acquisition of the T-cell functional identity. These processes require Notch signaling and the activity of GATA3, TCF1, Bcl11b, and the E-proteins HEB and E2A. We have shown that HEB factors are required to inhibit the thymic NK cell fate and that HEBAlt allows the passage of T-cell precursors from the DN to DP stage but is insufficient for suppression of the NK cell lineage choice. HEB factors are also required to enforce the death of cells that have not rearranged their TCR genes. The synergistic interactions between Notch1, HEBAlt, HEBCan, GATA3, and TCF1 are presented in a gene network model, and the influence of thymic stromal architecture on lineage choice in the thymus is discussed.
Project description:To investigate gene targets of the E-proteins HEB and E2A during the CD4+CD8+ double positive (DP) stage of T cell development. We examined E-protein function by simultaneous removal of both HEB (Tcf12) and E2A (Tcfe2a) genes at the DP stage. This was done by crossing mice containing HEB floxed and E2A floxed alleles to a CD4Cre background (Tcf12f/fTcfe2af/fCD4Cre mice). Microarray analysis was used to compare gene expression in HEB and E2A double deficient DP thymocytes (Cre+) to Cre- control DP thymocytes. Keywords: genetic modification Overall design: CD4+CD8+ DP cells were sorted from Tcf12f/fTcfe2af/fCD4Cre+ (Cre+) and Tcf12f/fTcfe2af/fCD4Cre- (Cre-) thymus. The same CD4hiCD8hi gate was used for Cre+ and Cre- sorting, to assure analysis of population expressing similar CD4 and CD8 levels. Independent sorts from two mice per genotype were done: Cre+ A, Cre+ B, Cre- A, Cre- B. Total RNA was extracted for array analysis. Two comparisons were performed: Cre+ to a mouse reference sample and Cre- to this same reference, each done in duplicate (2 biological replicas).
Project description:Recent studies have identified a number of transcriptional regulators, including E proteins, EBF1, FOXO1, and PAX5, that act together to orchestrate the B-cell fate. However, it still remains unclear as to how they are linked at the earliest stages of B-cell development. Here, we show that lymphocyte development in HEB-ablated mice exhibits a partial developmental arrest, whereas B-cell development in E2A(+/-)HEB(-/-) mice is completely blocked at the LY6D(-) common lymphoid progenitor stage. We show that the transcription signatures of E2A- and HEB-ablated common lymphoid progenitors significantly overlap. Notably, we found that Foxo1 expression was substantially reduced in the LY6D(-) HEB- and E2A-deficient cells. Finally, we show that E2A binds to enhancer elements across the FOXO1 locus to activate Foxo1 expression, linking E2A and FOXO1 directly in a common pathway. In summary, the data indicate that the earliest event in B-cell specification involves the induction of FOXO1 expression and requires the combined activities of E2A and HEB.
Project description:Innate and adaptive lymphoid development is orchestrated by the activities of E proteins and their antagonist Id proteins, but how these factors regulate early T cell progenitor (ETP) and innate lymphoid cell (ILC) development remains unclear. Using multiple genetic strategies, we demonstrated that E proteins E2A and HEB acted in synergy in the thymus to establish T cell identity and to suppress the aberrant development of ILCs, including ILC2s and lymphoid-tissue-inducer-like cells. E2A and HEB orchestrated T cell fate and suppressed the ILC transcription signature by activating the expression of genes associated with Notch receptors, T cell receptor (TCR) assembly, and TCR-mediated signaling. E2A and HEB acted in ETPs to establish and maintain a T-cell-lineage-specific enhancer repertoire, including regulatory elements associated with the Notch1, Rag1, and Rag2 loci. On the basis of these and previous observations, we propose that the E-Id protein axis specifies innate and adaptive lymphoid cell fate.
Project description:Nodal signaling, mediated through SMAD transcription factors, is necessary for pluripotency maintenance and endoderm commitment. We have identified a new motif, termed SMAD Complex Associated (SCA) that is bound by SMAD2/3/4 and FOXH1 in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and derived endoderm. We demonstrate that two bHLH proteins - HEB and E2A - bind the SCA motif at regions overlapping SMAD2/3 and FOXH1. Further, we show that HEB and E2A associate with SMAD2/3 and FOXH1, suggesting they form a complex at critical target regions. This association is biologically important, as E2A is critical for mesendoderm specification, gastrulation, and Nodal signal transduction in Xenopus tropicalis embryos. Taken together, E2A is a novel Nodal signaling cofactor that associates with SMAD2/3 and FOXH1 and is necessary for mesendoderm differentiation. ChIP-seq of Smad2/3 and Input in X.tropicalis, stage 10.5 embryo.
Project description:The transcription factors E2A and HEB (members of the E protein family) have been shown to play essential roles in lymphocyte development, while their negative regulators, the Id proteins, have been implicated in both lymphocyte development and in the CD8(+) T-cell immune response. Here, we show that E proteins also influence CD8(+) T cells responding to infection. E protein expression was upregulated by CD8(+) T cells during the early stages of infection and increased E protein DNA-binding activity could be detected upon TCR stimulation. Deficiency in the E proteins, E2A and HEB, led to increased frequency of terminally differentiated effector KLRG1(hi) CD8(+) T cells in mice during infection, and decreased generation of longer-lived memory-precursor cells during the immune response. These data suggest a model whereby E protein transcription factor activity favors rapid memory-precursor T-cell formation while their negative regulators, Id2 and Id3, are both required for robust effector CD8(+) T-cell response during infection.
Project description:Nodal signaling, mediated through SMAD transcription factors, is necessary for pluripotency maintenance and endoderm commitment. We identified a new motif, termed SMAD complex-associated (SCA), that is bound by SMAD2/3/4 and FOXH1 in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and derived endoderm. We demonstrate that two basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) proteins-HEB and E2A-bind the SCA motif at regions overlapping SMAD2/3 and FOXH1. Furthermore, we show that HEB and E2A associate with SMAD2/3 and FOXH1, suggesting they form a complex at critical target regions. This association is biologically important, as E2A is critical for mesendoderm specification, gastrulation, and Nodal signal transduction in Xenopus tropicalis embryos. Taken together, E proteins are novel Nodal signaling cofactors that associate with SMAD2/3 and FOXH1 and are necessary for mesendoderm differentiation.
Project description:The E-protein transcription factors E2A and HEB play important roles at several stages of hematopoiesis. However, the exact mechanism for theire action and the main targets in the LY6D negative common lymphoid progentior (CLP) compartment remains unknown. By adressing this question, we will gain important infromation regarding the early events leading to B-cell specification. FACS sorted LY6D negative common lymphoid progenitors from WT, HEB-KO and E2A-KO mice were subjected to RNA extraction and hybridization on Affymetrix microarrays. At least two independent sorts were performed per genotype. During each sort, cells were pooled from several bone marrows.
Project description:Proteins containing the basic-helix-loop-helix (B-HLH) domain have been shown to be important in regulating cellular differentiation. We have isolated a cDNA for a human B-HLH factor, denoted HEB, that shares nearly complete identity in the B-HLH domain with the immunoglobulin enhancer binding proteins encoded by the E2A and ITF2 genes (E proteins). Functional characterization of the protein expressed from this cDNA indicates that HEB is a third member of the E-protein class of B-HLH factors. HEB mRNA was found to be expressed in several tissues and cell types, including skeletal muscle, thymus, and a B-cell line. HEB, ITF2, and the E12 product of the E2A gene all bound to a similar spectrum of E-box sequences as homo-oligomers. All three factors also formed hetero-oligomers with myogenin, and the DNA-binding specificity and binding off-rates (dissociation rates) were modulated after hetero-oligomerization. Both homo- and hetero-oligomers of these proteins were able to distinguish between very closely related E-box sequences. In addition, HEB was shown to form hetero-oligomers with the E12 and ITF2 proteins. Finally, HEB was able to activate gene expression. These data demonstrate that HEB shares characteristics with other E proteins and show that HEB can interact with members of both the myogenic regulatory class and the E-protein class of B-HLH factors. HEB is therefore likely to play an important role in regulating lineage-specific gene expression.