Ikaros and RAG-2-mediated antisense transcription are responsible for lymphocyte-specific inactivation of NWC promoter.
ABSTRACT: Recombination activating gene-2 (RAG-2) and NWC are strongly evolutionarily conserved overlapping genes which are convergently transcribed. In non-lymphoid cells the NWC promoter is active whereas in lymphocytes it is inactive due to the DNA methylation. Analysing the mechanism responsible for lymphocyte-specific methylation and inactivation of NWC promoter we found that Ikaros, a lymphocyte-specific transcription factor, acts as a repressor of NWC promoter--thus identifying a new Ikaros target--but is insufficient for inducing its methylation which depends on the antisense transcription driven by RAG-2 promoter. Possible implications of these observations for understanding evolutionary mechanisms leading to lymphocyte specific expression of RAG genes are discussed.
Project description:NWC is a third gene within recombination activating gene (RAG) locus, which unlike RAG genes is ubiquitously expressed and encodes a unique protein containing three strongly evolutionarily conserved domains not found in any other known protein. To get insight into its function we identified several proteins co-immunoprecipitating with NWC protein and generated new NWC-deficient mice. Here, we present evidence that unlike many other ubiquitously expressed evolutionarily conserved proteins, functional inactivation of NWC does not cause any gross developmental, physiological or reproductive abnormalities and that under physiological conditions NWC may be involved in assembling and functioning of cilia, cell surface organelles found on nearly every eukaryotic cell.
Project description:CD4+ T cells can be instructed by nonantigen-specific signals to differentiate into functionally distinct lineages with mutually exclusive patterns of cytokine production. The molecular events that drive interferon-gamma (IFN gamma) production during Th1 development are well understood, but mechanisms that silence this cytokine during Th2 polarization are not clear. In this study, we find that the tbx21 gene encoding the Th1 master regulator T-bet is a direct target of the transcriptional repressor Ikaros. In Th2 cells, which do not express T-bet, strong Ikaros binding could be detected at the endogenous tbx21 promoter, whereas this gene was not occupied by Ikaros in T-bet-expressing Th1 cells. Inhibition of Ikaros DNA binding activity during Th2 polarization resulted in loss of Ikaros promoter occupancy, increased T-bet expression, and inappropriate T-bet-dependent production of IFN gamma. Ikaros was also required for epigenetic imprinting of the ifn gamma locus during Th2 polarization, and loss of Ikaros function in vivo led to an inappropriate Th1 response to the parasite Shistosoma mansoni. These studies demonstrate that Ikaros, a factor with an established role in lymphocyte development, also regulates the development of peripheral T helper responses.
Project description:Expression of Rag1 and Rag2 is tightly regulated in developing T cells to mediate TCR gene assembly. Here we have investigated the molecular mechanisms governing the assembly and disassembly of a transcriptionally active RAG locus chromatin hub in CD4+CD8+ thymocytes. Rag1 and Rag2 gene expression in CD4+CD8+ thymocytes depends on Rag1 and Rag2 promoter activation by a distant antisilencer element (ASE). We identify GATA3 and E2A as critical regulators of the ASE, and Runx1 and E2A as critical regulators of the Rag1 promoter. We reveal hierarchical assembly of a transcriptionally active chromatin hub containing the ASE and RAG promoters, with Rag2 recruitment and expression dependent on assembly of a functional ASE-Rag1 framework. Finally, we show that signal-dependent down-regulation of RAG gene expression in CD4+CD8+ thymocytes depends on Ikaros and occurs with disassembly of the RAG locus chromatin hub. Our results provide important new insights into the molecular mechanisms that orchestrate RAG gene expression in developing T cells.
Project description:The Ikaros transcription factor is both a key regulator of lymphocyte differentiation and a tumor suppressor in T lymphocytes. Mice carrying a hypomorphic mutation (Ik(L/L)) in the Ikaros gene all develop thymic lymphomas. Ik(L/L) tumors always exhibit strong activation of the Notch pathway, which is required for tumor cell proliferation in vitro. Notch activation occurs early in tumorigenesis and may precede transformation, as ectopic expression of the Notch targets Hes-1 and Deltex-1 is detected in thymocytes from young Ik(L/L) mice with no overt signs of transformation. Notch activation is further amplified by secondary mutations that lead to C-terminal truncations of Notch 1. Strikingly, restoration of Ikaros activity in tumor cells leads to a rapid and specific downregulation of Notch target gene expression and proliferation arrest. Furthermore, Ikaros binds to the Notch-responsive element in the Hes-1 promoter and represses Notch-dependent transcription from this promoter. Thus, Ikaros-mediated repression of Notch target gene expression may play a critical role in defining the tumor suppressor function of this factor.
Project description:Ikaros is important in the development and maintenance of the lymphoid system, functioning in part by associating with chromatin-remodeling complexes. We have studied the functions of Ikaros in the transition from pre-T cell to the CD4(+) CD8(+) thymocyte using an Ikaros null CD4(-) CD8(-) mouse thymoma cell line (JE131). We demonstrate that this cell line carries a single functional TCR ? gene rearrangement and expresses a surface pre-TCR. JE131 cells also carry nonfunctional rearrangements on both alleles of their TCR ? loci. Retroviral reintroduction of Ikaros dramatically increased the rate of transcription in the ? locus and TCR V?/J? recombination resulting in the appearance of many new ??TCR(+) cells. The process is RAG dependent, requires switch/sucrose nonfermentable chromatin-remodeling complexes and is coincident with the binding of Ikaros to the TCR ? enhancer. Furthermore, knockdown of Mi2/nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase complexes increased the frequency of TCR ? rearrangement. Our data suggest that Ikaros controls V?/J? recombination in T cells by controlling access of the transcription and recombination machinery to the TCR ? loci. The JE131 cell line should prove to be a very useful tool for studying the molecular details of this and other processes involved in the pre-T cell to ??TCR(+) CD4(+) CD8(+) thymocyte transition.
Project description:The Ikaros gene (Ikzf1) encodes a family of zinc-finger transcription factors implicated in hematopoietic cell differentiation. Here we show that Ikaros suppresses the development of basophils, which are proinflammatory cells of the myeloid lineage. In the absence of extrinsic basophil-inducing signals, Ikaros(-/-) (Ik(-/-)) mice exhibit increases in basophil numbers in blood and bone marrow and in their direct precursors in bone marrow and the spleen, as well as decreased numbers of intestinal mast cells. In vitro culture of Ik(-/-) bone marrow under mast cell differentiation conditions also results in predominance of basophils. Basophil expansion is associated with an increase in basophil progenitors, increased expression of Cebpa and decreased expression of mast cell-specifying genes Hes1 and microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (Mitf). Ikaros directly associates with regulatory sites within Cebpa and Hes1 and regulates the acquisition of permissive H3K4 tri-methylation marks at the Cebpa locus and reduces H3K4 tri-methylation at the Hes1 promoter. Ikaros blockade in cultured cells or transfer of Ik(-/-) bone marrow into irradiated Ik(+/+) recipients also results in increased basophils confirming a cell-intrinsic effect of Ikaros on basophil development. We conclude that Ikaros is a suppressor of basophil differentiation under steady-state conditions and that it acts by regulating permissive chromatin modifications of Cebpa.
Project description:Diminished Ikaros function has been implicated in the pathogenesis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood cancer. Therefore, a stringent regulation of Ikaros is of paramount importance for normal lymphocyte ontogeny. Here we provide genetic and biochemical evidence for a previously unknown function of Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) as a partner and posttranslational regulator of Ikaros, a zinc finger-containing DNA-binding protein that plays a pivotal role in immune homeostasis. We demonstrate that BTK phosphorylates Ikaros at unique phosphorylation sites S214 and S215 in the close vicinity of its zinc finger 4 (ZF4) within the DNA binding domain, thereby augmenting its nuclear localization and sequence-specific DNA binding activity. Our results further demonstrate that BTK-induced activating phosphorylation is critical for the optimal transcription factor function of Ikaros.
Project description:The recombination activating genes RAG-1 and RAG-2 are highly conserved throughout evolution and are necessary and essential for the DNA rearrangement of antigen-receptor gene segments. These convergently transcribed genes are expressed primarily by developing B and T lineage cells. In addition, recent data suggest that the RAG locus can be reactivated in mouse germinal center B cells. Despite these well-defined patterns of expression, little is known about mechanism(s) regulating transcription of the RAG locus. Experiments with a mouse fibroblast line stably transfected with a genomic fragment of the RAG locus suggest that the intergenic region between RAG-1 and RAG-2 may contain information modulating RAG transcription. In order to begin testing this hypothesis, we have sequenced the 7.0-kb RAG intergenic region of the mouse. The sequence did not contain open reading frames larger than 60 amino acids. Analysis with GCG software identified several potential transcription-factor binding sequences within this region. Many of these are associated with transcriptional regulation of the Ig locus.
Project description:The Ikaros transcription factor is a tumor suppressor that is also important for lymphocyte development. How post-translational modifications influence Ikaros function remains partially understood. We show that Ikaros undergoes sumoylation in developing T cells that correspond to mono-, bi- or poly-sumoylation by SUMO1 and/or SUMO2/3 on three lysine residues (K58, K240 and K425). Sumoylation occurs in the nucleus and requires DNA binding by Ikaros. Sumoylated Ikaros is less effective than unsumoylated forms at inhibiting the expansion of murine leukemic cells, and Ikaros sumoylation is abundant in human B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemic cells, but not in healthy peripheral blood leukocytes. Our results suggest that sumoylation may be important in modulating the tumor suppressor function of Ikaros.
Project description:T-cell development is accompanied by epigenetic changes that ensure the silencing of stem cell-related genes and the activation of lymphocyte-specific programmes. How transcription factors influence these changes remains unclear. We show that the Ikaros transcription factor forms a complex with Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) in CD4(-)CD8(-) thymocytes and allows its binding to more than 500 developmentally regulated loci, including those normally activated in haematopoietic stem cells and others induced by the Notch pathway. Loss of Ikaros in CD4(-)CD8(-) cells leads to reduced histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation and ectopic gene expression. Furthermore, Ikaros binding triggers PRC2 recruitment and Ikaros interacts with PRC2 independently of the nucleosome remodelling and deacetylation complex. Our results identify Ikaros as a fundamental regulator of PRC2 function in developing T cells.