Zinc finger-IRF composite elements bound by Ikaros/IRF4 complexes function as gene repression in plasma cell.
ABSTRACT: 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.
Project description:Recent discoveries suggest that the critical events leading to the anti-proliferative activity of the IMiD immunomodulatory agents lenalidomide and pomalidomide in multiple myeloma (MM) cells are initiated by Cereblon-dependent ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of substrate proteins Ikaros (IKZF1) and Aiolos (IKZF3). By performing kinetic analyses, we found that the downregulation or proteasomal degradation of Ikaros and Aiolos led to specific and sequential downregulation of c-Myc followed by IRF4 and subsequent growth inhibition and apoptosis. Notably, to ensure growth inhibition and cell death, sustained downregulation of Ikaros and Aiolos, c-Myc or IRF4 expression was required. In addition, we found that the half-maximal rate, rather than the final extent of Ikaros and Aiolos degradation, correlated to the relative efficacy of growth inhibition by lenalidomide or pomalidomide. Finally, we observed that all four transcription factors were elevated in primary MM samples compared with normal plasma cells. Taken together, our results suggest a functional link between Ikaros and Aiolos, and the pathological dysregulation of c-Myc and IRF4, and provide a new mechanistic understanding of the relative efficacy of lenalidomide and pomalidomide based on the kinetics of substrate degradation and downregulation of their downstream targets.
Project description:B cell lymphoma-6 (Bcl-6) is a transcriptional repressor that is required for the differentiation of T follicular helper (TFH) cell populations. Currently, the molecular mechanisms underlying the transcriptional regulation of Bcl-6 expression are unclear. In this study, we have identified the Ikaros zinc finger transcription factors Aiolos and Ikaros as novel regulators of Bcl-6. We found that increased expression of Bcl-6 in CD4+ Th cell populations correlated with enhanced enrichment of Aiolos and Ikaros at the Bcl6 promoter. Furthermore, overexpression of Aiolos or Ikaros, but not the related family member Eos, was sufficient to induce Bcl6 promoter activity. Intriguingly, STAT3, a known Bcl-6 transcriptional regulator, physically interacted with Aiolos to form a transcription factor complex capable of inducing the expression of Bcl6 and the TFH-associated cytokine receptor Il6ra Importantly, in vivo studies revealed that the expression of Aiolos was elevated in Ag-specific TFH cells compared with that observed in non-TFH effector Th cells generated in response to influenza infection. Collectively, these data describe a novel regulatory mechanism through which STAT3 and the Ikaros zinc finger transcription factors Aiolos and Ikaros cooperate to regulate Bcl-6 expression.
Project description:IKAROS is required for the differentiation of highly proliferative pre-B-cell precursors, and loss of IKAROS function indicates poor prognosis in precursor B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). Here we show that IKAROS regulates this developmental stage by positive and negative regulation of superenhancers with distinct lineage affiliations. IKAROS defines superenhancers at pre-B-cell differentiation genes together with B-cell master regulators such as PAX5, EBF1, and IRF4 but is required for a highly permissive chromatin environment, a function that cannot be compensated for by the other transcription factors. IKAROS is also highly enriched at inactive enhancers of genes normally expressed in stem-epithelial cells. Upon IKAROS loss, expression of pre-B-cell differentiation genes is attenuated, while a group of extralineage transcription factors that are directly repressed by IKAROS and depend on EBF1 relocalization at their enhancers for expression is induced. LHX2, LMO2, and TEAD-YAP1, normally kept separate from native B-cell transcription regulators by IKAROS, now cooperate directly with them in a de novo superenhancer network with its own feed-forward transcriptional reinforcement. Induction of de novo superenhancers antagonizes Polycomb repression and superimposes aberrant stem-epithelial cell properties in a B-cell precursor. This dual mechanism of IKAROS regulation promotes differentiation while safeguarding against a hybrid stem-epithelial-B-cell phenotype that underlies high-risk B-ALL.
Project description:Interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4) and IRF8 regulate B, T, macrophage, and dendritic cell differentiation. They are recruited to cis-regulatory Ets-IRF composite elements by PU.1 or Spi-B. How these IRFs target genes in most T cells is enigmatic given the absence of specific Ets partners. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing in T helper 17 (T(H)17) cells reveals that IRF4 targets sequences enriched for activating protein 1 (AP-1)-IRF composite elements (AICEs) that are co-bound by BATF, an AP-1 factor required for T(H)17, B, and dendritic cell differentiation. IRF4 and BATF bind cooperatively to structurally divergent AICEs to promote gene activation and T(H)17 differentiation. The AICE motif directs assembly of IRF4 or IRF8 with BATF heterodimers and is also used in T(H)2, B, and dendritic cells. This genomic regulatory element and cognate factors appear to have evolved to integrate diverse immunomodulatory signals.
Project description:The Ets family transcription factor PU.1 and the interferon regulatory factor (IRF)4 and IRF8 regulate gene expression by binding to composite DNA sequences known as Ets/interferon consensus elements. Although all three factors are expressed from the onset of B-cell development, single deficiency of these factors in B-cell progenitors only mildly impacts on bone marrow B lymphopoiesis. Here we tested whether PU.1 cooperates with IRF factors in regulating early B-cell development. Lack of PU.1 and IRF4 resulted in a partial block in development the pre-B-cell stage. The combined deletion of PU.1 and IRF8 reduced recirculating B-cell numbers. Strikingly, all PU.1/IRF4 and ~50% of PU.1/IRF8 double deficient mice developed pre-B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) associated with reduced expression of the established B-lineage tumor suppressor genes, Ikaros and Spi-B. These genes are directly regulated by PU.1/IRF4/IRF8, and restoration of Ikaros or Spi-B expression inhibited leukemic cell growth. In summary, we demonstrate that PU.1, IRF4 and IRF8 cooperate to regulate early B-cell development and to prevent pre-B-ALL formation.
Project description:The role of AP-1 transcription factors in early B cell development and function is still incompletely characterized. Here we address the role of Fra-2 in B cell differentiation. Deletion of Fra-2 leads to impaired B cell proliferation in the bone marrow. In addition, IL-7-stimulated pro-B cell cultures revealed a reduced differentiation from large pre-B cells to small B cells and immature B cells. Gene profiling and chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing analyses unraveled a transcriptional reduction of the transcription factors Foxo1, Irf4, Ikaros, and Aiolos in Fra-2-deficient B cells. Moreover, expression of IL7Rα and Rag 1/2, downstream targets of Irf4 and Foxo1, were also reduced in the absence of Fra-2. Pro-B cell proliferation and small pre-B cell differentiation were fully rescued by expression of Foxo1 and Irf4 in Fra-2-deficient pro-B cells. Hence, Fra-2 is a key upstream regulator of Foxo1 and Irf4 expression and influences proliferation and differentiation of B cells at multiple stages.
Project description:Aiolos/Ikaros family zinc finger 3 (IKZF3), a member of the Ikaros family of lymphocyte maturation-driving transcription factors, is highly expressed in hematopoietic malignancies. However, its role in epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and cancer stem cell (CSC)-like properties in lung cancer remains unknown. Human lung cancer cell lines H1299 with overexpressing Aiolos (H1299-Aiolos) and A549 with overexpressing Aiolos (A549-Aiolos) were generated by stable transfection. Cell migration and invasion assays were done to demonstrate their invasion and migration ability. Sphere formation assay was used to determine their tumor-initiating capability. Aiolos overexpression induced EMT and increased migration/invasiveness in H1299 and A549 cells. Aiolos overexpression also increased metastatic ability in vivo. Aiolos overexpression upregulated the expression of Twist and matrix metalloproteinase 16 (MMP16). By using knockdown of Twist or an inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase, EMT, migration/invasiveness ability, and MMP16 expression were reversed in H1299-Aiolos and A549-Aiolos cells. Overexpression of Aiolos upregulated the CSC-like properties in lung cancer cells, and were also reversed by an inhibitor of PI 3-kinase. For lung cancer cells, Aiolos overexpression promotes EMT and CSC-like properties through upregulating the PI 3-kinase/Akt pathway. The information is helpful for developing therapeutic strategies targeting Aiolos expression for lung cancer treatment.
Project description:Thalidomide, lenalidomide and pomalidomide have greatly improved the outcome of patients with multiple myeloma. However, their effects on plasma cells, the healthy counterpart of myeloma cells, are unknown. Here, we investigated lenalidomide effects on normal human plasma cell generation using an in vitro model. Lenalidomide inhibited the generation of pre-plasmablasts and early plasma cells, while it moderately affected plasmablast production. It also reduced the expression level of Ikaros, Aiolos, and IRF4 transcription factors, in plasmablasts and early plasma cells. This suggests that their differential sensitivity to lenalidomide is not due to a difference in Ikaros or Aiolos degradation. Lenalidomide also inhibited long-lived plasma cell generation, but did not impair their long-term survival once generated. This last observation is in agreement with the finding that lenalidomide treatment for 3-18 months did not affect the bone marrow healthy plasma cell count in allografted patients with multiple myeloma. Our findings should prompt to investigate whether lenalidomide resistance in patients with multiple myeloma could be associated with the emergence of malignant plasmablasts or long-lived plasma cells that are less sensitive to lenalidomide.
Project description:The activated B-cell (ABC) to plasmablast transition encompasses the cusp of antibody-secreting cell (ASC) differentiation. We explore this transition with integrated analysis in human cells, focusing on changes that follow removal from CD40-mediated signals. Within hours of input signal loss, cell growth programs shift toward enhanced proliferation, accompanied by ER-stress response, and up-regulation of ASC features. Clustering of genomic occupancy for IRF4, BLIMP1, XBP1, and CTCF with histone marks identifies a dichotomy: XBP1 and IRF4 link to induced but not repressed gene modules in plasmablasts, whereas BLIMP1 links to modules of ABC genes that are repressed, but not to activated genes. Between ABC and plasmablast states, IRF4 shifts away from AP1/IRF composite elements while maintaining occupancy at IRF and ETS/IRF elements. This parallels the loss of BATF expression, which is identified as a potential BLIMP1 target. In plasmablasts, IRF4 acquires an association with CTCF, a feature maintained in plasma cell myeloma lines. Thus, shifting occupancy links IRF4 to both ABC and ASC gene expression, whereas BLIMP1 occupancy links to repression of the activation state.
Project description:BAFF is a B cell survival and maturation factor implicated in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). In this in vitro study, we describe that soluble BAFF in combination with IL-2 and IL-21 is a T cell contact-independent inducer of human B cell proliferation, plasmablast differentiation, and IgG secretion from circulating CD27+ memory and memory-like CD27-IgD- double-negative (DN) B cells, but not CD27-IgD+ naive B cells. In contrast, soluble CD40L in combination with IL-2 and IL-21 induces these activities in both memory and naive B cells. Blood from healthy donors and SLE patients have similar circulating levels of IL-2, whereas SLE patients exhibit elevated BAFF and DN B cells and reduced IL-21. B cell differentiation transcription factors in memory, DN, and naive B cells in SLE show elevated levels of Aiolos, whereas Ikaros levels are unchanged. Treatment with CC-220, a modulator of the cullin ring ligase 4-cereblon E3 ubiquitin ligase complex, reduces Aiolos and Ikaros protein levels and BAFF- and CD40L-induced proliferation, plasmablast differentiation, and IgG secretion. The observation that the soluble factors BAFF, IL-2, and IL-21 induce memory and DN B cell activation and differentiation has implications for extrafollicular plasmablast development within inflamed tissue. Inhibition of B cell plasmablast differentiation by reduction of Aiolos and Ikaros may have utility in the treatment of SLE, where elevated levels of BAFF and Aiolos may prime CD27+ memory and DN memory-like B cells to become Ab-producing plasmablasts in the presence of BAFF and proinflammatory cytokines.