Transcriptional regulation of germinal center B and plasma cell fates by dynamical control of IRF4.
ABSTRACT: The transcription factor IRF4 regulates immunoglobulin class switch recombination and plasma cell differentiation. Its differing concentrations appear to regulate mutually antagonistic programs of B and plasma cell gene expression. We show IRF4 to be also required for generation of germinal center (GC) B cells. Its transient expression in vivo induced the expression of key GC genes including Bcl6 and Aicda. In contrast, sustained and higher concentrations of IRF4 promoted the generation of plasma cells while antagonizing the GC fate. IRF4 cobound with the transcription factors PU.1 or BATF to Ets or AP-1 composite motifs, associated with genes involved in B cell activation and the GC response. At higher concentrations, IRF4 binding shifted to interferon sequence response motifs; these enriched for genes involved in plasma cell differentiation. Our results support a model of "kinetic control" in which signaling-induced dynamics of IRF4 in activated B cells control their cell-fate outcomes.
Project description:TET enzymes are dioxygenases that promote DNA demethylation by oxidizing the methyl group of 5-methylcytosine to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC). Here, we report a close correspondence between 5hmC-marked regions, chromatin accessibility and enhancer activity in B cells, and a strong enrichment for consensus binding motifs for basic region-leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factors at TET-responsive genomic regions. Functionally, Tet2 and Tet3 regulate class switch recombination (CSR) in murine B cells by enhancing expression of Aicda, which encodes the activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) enzyme essential for CSR. TET enzymes deposit 5hmC, facilitate DNA demethylation, and maintain chromatin accessibility at two TET-responsive enhancer elements, TetE1 and TetE2, located within a superenhancer in the Aicda locus. Our data identify the bZIP transcription factor, ATF-like (BATF) as a key transcription factor involved in TET-dependent Aicda expression. 5hmC is not deposited at TetE1 in activated Batf-deficient B cells, indicating that BATF facilitates TET recruitment to this Aicda enhancer. Our study emphasizes the importance of TET enzymes for bolstering AID expression and highlights 5hmC as an epigenetic mark that captures enhancer dynamics during cell activation.
Project description:Although Bach2 has an important role in regulating the Th2-type immune response, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. We herein demonstrate that Bach2 associates with Batf and binds to the regulatory regions of the Th2 cytokine gene loci. The Bach2-Batf complex antagonizes the recruitment of the Batf-Irf4 complex to AP-1 motifs and suppresses Th2 cytokine production. Furthermore, we find that Bach2 regulates the Batf and Batf3 expressions via two distinct pathways. First, Bach2 suppresses the maintenance of the Batf and Batf3 expression through the inhibition of IL-4 production. Second, the Bach2-Batf complex directly binds to the Batf and Batf3 gene loci and reduces transcription by interfering with the Batf-Irf4 complex. These findings suggest that IL-4 and Batf form a positive feedback amplification loop to induce Th2 cell differentiation and the subsequent Th2-type immune response, and Bach2-Batf interactions are required to prevent an excessive Th2 response.
Project description:BATF family transcription factors (BATF, BATF2 and BATF3) form hetero-trimers with JUNB and either IRF4 or IRF8 to regulate cell fate in T cells and dendritic cells in vivo. While each combination of the hetero-trimer has a distinct role, some degree of cross-compensation was observed. The basis for the differential actions of IRF4 and IRF8 with BATF factors and JUNB is still unknown. We propose that the differences in function between these hetero-trimers may be caused by differences in their DNA binding preferences. While all three BATF family transcription factors have similar binding preferences when binding as a hetero-dimer with JUNB, the cooperative binding of IRF4 or IRF8 to the hetero-dimer/DNA complex could change the preferences. We used Spec-seq, which allows for the efficient and accurate determination of relative affinity to a large collection of sequences in parallel, to find differences between cooperative DNA binding of IRF4, IRF8 and BATF family members.We found that without IRF binding, all three hetero-dimer pairs exhibit nearly the same binding preferences to both expected wildtype binding sites TRE (TGA(C/G)TCA) and CRE (TGACGTCA). IRF4 and IRF8 show the very similar DNA binding preferences when binding with any of the three hetero-dimers. No major change of binding preferences was found in the half-sites between different hetero-trimers. IRF proteins bind with substantially lower affinity with either a single nucleotide spacer between IRF and BATF binding site or with an alternative mode of binding in the opposite orientation. In addition, the preference to CRE binding site was reduced with either IRF binding in all BATF-JUNB combinations.The specificities of BATF, BATF2 and BATF3 are all very similar as are their interactions with IRF4 and IRF8. IRF proteins binding adjacent to BATF sites increases affinity substantially compared to sequences with spacings between the sites, indicating cooperative binding through protein-protein interactions. The preference for the type of BATF binding site, TRE or CRE, is also altered when IRF proteins bind. These in vitro preferences aid in the understanding of in vivo binding activities.
Project description:Interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4) is an IRF family transcription factor with critical roles in lymphoid development and in regulating the immune response. IRF4 binds DNA weakly owing to a carboxy-terminal auto-inhibitory domain, but cooperative binding with factors such as PU.1 or SPIB in B cells increases binding affinity, allowing IRF4 to regulate genes containing ETS-IRF composite elements (EICEs; 5'-GGAAnnGAAA-3'). Here we show that in mouse CD4(+) T cells, where PU.1/SPIB expression is low, and in B cells, where PU.1 is well expressed, IRF4 unexpectedly can cooperate with activator protein-1 (AP1) complexes to bind to AP1-IRF4 composite (5'-TGAnTCA/GAAA-3') motifs that we denote as AP1-IRF composite elements (AICEs). Moreover, BATF-JUN family protein complexes cooperate with IRF4 in binding to AICEs in pre-activated CD4(+) T cells stimulated with IL-21 and in T(H)17 differentiated cells. Importantly, BATF binding was diminished in Irf4(-/-) T cells and IRF4 binding was diminished in Batf(-/-) T cells, consistent with functional cooperation between these factors. Moreover, we show that AP1 and IRF complexes cooperatively promote transcription of the Il10 gene, which is expressed in T(H)17 cells and potently regulated by IL-21. These findings reveal that IRF4 can signal via complexes containing ETS or AP1 motifs depending on the cellular context, thus indicating new approaches for modulating IRF4-dependent transcription.
Project description:Interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4) is central to the transcriptional network of activated B-cell-like diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (ABC-DLBCL), an aggressive lymphoma subgroup defined by gene expression profiling. Since cofactor association modifies transcriptional regulatory input by IRF4, we assessed genome occupancy by IRF4 and endogenous cofactors in ABC-DLBCL cell lines. IRF4 partners with SPIB, PU.1 and BATF genome-wide, but SPIB provides the dominant IRF4 partner in this context. Upon SPIB knockdown IRF4 occupancy is depleted and neither PU.1 nor BATF acutely compensates. Integration with ENCODE data from lymphoblastoid cell line GM12878, demonstrates that IRF4 adopts either SPIB- or BATF-centric genome-wide distributions in related states of post-germinal centre B-cell transformation. In primary DLBCL high-SPIB and low-BATF or the reciprocal low-SPIB and high-BATF mRNA expression links to differential gene expression profiles across nine data sets, identifying distinct associations with SPIB occupancy, signatures of B-cell differentiation stage and potential pathogenetic mechanisms. In a population-based patient cohort, SPIBhigh/BATFlow-ABC-DLBCL is enriched for mutation of MYD88, and SPIBhigh/BATFlow-ABC-DLBCL with MYD88-L265P mutation identifies a small subgroup of patients among this otherwise aggressive disease subgroup with distinct favourable outcome. We conclude that differential expression of IRF4 cofactors SPIB and BATF identifies biologically and clinically significant heterogeneity among ABC-DLBCL.
Project description:Somatic hypermutation (SHM) and class-switch recombination (CSR) increase the affinity and diversify the effector functions of antibodies during immune responses. Although SHM and CSR are fundamentally different, their independent roles in regulating B cell fate have been difficult to uncouple because a single enzyme, activation-induced cytidine deaminase (encoded by Aicda), initiates both reactions. Here, we used a combination of Aicda and antibody mutant alleles that separate the effects of CSR and SHM on polyclonal immune responses. We found that class-switching to IgG1 biased the fate choice made by B cells, favoring the plasma cell over memory cell fate without significantly affecting clonal expansion in the germinal center (GC). In contrast, SHM reduced the longevity of memory B cells by creating polyreactive specificities that were selected against over time. Our data define the independent contributions of SHM and CSR to the generation and persistence of memory in the antibody system.
Project description:Higher- or lower-affinity GC B cells are directed to plasma cell or recycling GC cell fates; however, how commitment to the plasma cell fate takes place is unclear. By using the level of Bcl6 as a marker, we found that a population of light zone (LZ) GC cells, Bcl6loCD69hi with IRF4 and higher-affinity BCRs or Bcl6hiCD69hi with lower- affinity BCRs, favored the plasma cell or recycling GC cell fate, respectively. Mechanistically, CD40 acted as a dose-dependent regulator for Bcl6loCD69hi cell formation. Furthermore, we found that ICAM1 and SLAM levels on Bcl6loCD69hi cells were higher than on Bcl6hiCD69hi cells, thereby affording more stable TFH-GC B cell contacts, while attenuating this contact down-regulated IRF4. These data support the model that commitment to the plasma cell begins in the GC, and suggest that stability and possibly duration of TFH-GC B cell contacts are key for formation of plasma cell-prone precursor GC cells. Overall design: mRNA profiles of GC B cell subsets and GC-derived plasmablast were generated by barcode-based digital RNA sequencing.
Project description:The transcription factor BATF is required for the differentiation of interleukin 17 (IL-17)-producing helper T cells (TH17 cells) and follicular helper T cells (TFH cells). Here we identified a fundamental role for BATF in regulating the differentiation of effector of CD8(+) T cells. BATF-deficient CD8(+) T cells showed profound defects in effector population expansion and underwent proliferative and metabolic catastrophe early after encountering antigen. BATF, together with the transcription factors IRF4 and Jun proteins, bound to and promoted early expression of genes encoding lineage-specific transcription-factors (T-bet and Blimp-1) and cytokine receptors while paradoxically repressing genes encoding effector molecules (IFN-? and granzyme B). Thus, BATF amplifies T cell antigen receptor (TCR)-dependent expression of transcription factors and augments the propagation of inflammatory signals but restrains the expression of genes encoding effector molecules. This checkpoint prevents irreversible commitment to an effector fate until a critical threshold of downstream transcriptional activity has been achieved.
Project description:Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen 3C (EBNA3C) repression of CDKN2A p14(ARF) and p16(INK4A) is essential for immortal human B-lymphoblastoid cell line (LCL) growth. EBNA3C ChIP-sequencing identified >13,000 EBNA3C sites in LCL DNA. Most EBNA3C sites were associated with active transcription; 64% were strong H3K4me1- and H3K27ac-marked enhancers and 16% were active promoters marked by H3K4me3 and H3K9ac. Using ENCODE LCL transcription factor ChIP-sequencing data, EBNA3C sites coincided (±250 bp) with RUNX3 (64%), BATF (55%), ATF2 (51%), IRF4 (41%), MEF2A (35%), PAX5 (34%), SPI1 (29%), BCL11a (28%), SP1 (26%), TCF12 (23%), NF-κB (23%), POU2F2 (23%), and RBPJ (16%). EBNA3C sites separated into five distinct clusters: (i) Sin3A, (ii) EBNA2/RBPJ, (iii) SPI1, and (iv) strong or (v) weak BATF/IRF4. EBNA3C signals were positively affected by RUNX3, BATF/IRF4 (AICE) and SPI1/IRF4 (EICE) cooccupancy. Gene set enrichment analyses correlated EBNA3C/Sin3A promoter sites with transcription down-regulation (P < 1.6 × 10(-4)). EBNA3C signals were strongest at BATF/IRF4 and SPI1/IRF4 composite sites. EBNA3C bound strongly to the p14(ARF) promoter through SPI1/IRF4/BATF/RUNX3, establishing RBPJ-, Sin3A-, and REST-mediated repression. EBNA3C immune precipitated with Sin3A and conditional EBNA3C inactivation significantly decreased Sin3A binding at the p14(ARF) promoter (P < 0.05). These data support a model in which EBNA3C binds strongly to BATF/IRF4/SPI1/RUNX3 sites to enhance transcription and recruits RBPJ/Sin3A- and REST/NRSF-repressive complexes to repress p14(ARF) and p16(INK4A) expression.
Project description:The transcription factor (TF) interferon regulatory factor-4 (IRF4) promotes both germinal center (GC) reactions and plasma cell (PC) differentiation by binding to alternative DNA motifs including AP-1-IRF composite elements, Ets-IRF composite elements (EICEs), and interferon sequence response elements (ISREs). Although all of these motifs mediate transcriptional activation by IRF4, it is still unknown how some of the IRF4 target genes are downregulated upon PC differentiation. Here, we revealed a molecular mechanism of IRF4-mediated gene downregulation during PC differentiation. By combining IRF4 chromatin immunoprecipitation sequence and gene expression analysis, we identified zinc finger-IRF composite elements (ZICEs) in IRF4 binding regions aligned with genes whose expression was downregulated in PCs. The zinc finger TFs Ikaros and Aiolos were identified as IRF4 binding partners in PCs, and Ikaros but not Aiolos was essential for IRF4 binding to the ZICE sequence and for PC differentiation. The Ebf1 gene, which positively controls B-cell activation and GC reactions, was identified as one of the Ikaros/IRF4 target genes. Importantly, while the ZICE embeds the ISRE motif, IRF4 bound the ZICE motif as heterodimers with Ikaros for repression of target genes, which include Ebf1 In contrast, if the zinc finger motif is juxtaposed to the EICE motif, the Ikaros/PU.1/IRF4 complex functioned to activate target gene expression. Our findings revealed a novel mode of IRF4 activity upon PC differentiation where upon forming an Ikaros/IRF4 DNA-bound complex, a subset of genes is repressed.