The MHC class II transactivator gene (CIITA) is an important transcription factor regulating gene required for HLA class II MHC-restricted antigen presentation. Association with HLA class II variation, particularly HLA-DRB1*1501, has been well-established for multiple sclerosis (MS). In addition, the −168A/G CIITA promoter variant (rs3087456) has been reported to be associated with MS. Thus, a multi-stage investigation of variation within CIITA, DRB1*1501 and MS was undertaken in 6108 individuals. In stage 1, 24 SNPs within CIITA were genotyped in 1320 cases and 1363 controls (n = 2683). Rs4774 (missense +1614G/C; G500A) was associated with MS (P = 4.9 × 10−3), particularly in DRB1*1501 +individuals (P = 1 × 10−4). No association was observed for the −168A/G promoter variant. In stage 2, rs4774 was genotyped in 973 extended families; rs4774*C was also associated with increased risk for MS in DRB1*1501+ families (P = 2.3 × 10−2). In a third analysis, rs4774 was tested in cases and controls (stage 1) combined with one case per family (stage 2) for increased power. Rs4774*C was associated with MS (P = 1 × 10−3), particularly in DRB1*1501+ cases and controls (P = 1 × 10−4). Results obtained from logistic regression analysis showed evidence for interaction between rs4774*C and DRB1*1501 associated with risk for MS (ratio of ORs = 1.72, 95% CI 1.28–2.32, P = 3 × 10−4). Furthermore, rs4774*C was associated with DRB1*1501+ MS when conditioned on the presence (OR = 1.67, 95% CI = 1.19–2.37, P = 1.9 × 10−3) and absence (OR = 1.49, 95% CI = 1.15–1.95, P = 2.3 × 10−3) of CLEC16A rs6498169*G, a putative MS risk allele adjacent to CIITA. Our results provide strong evidence supporting a role for CIITA variation in MS risk, which appears to depend on the presence of DRB1*1501.
HLA-DRB1 shared epitope (SE) alleles are the strongest genetic determinants for autoantibody positive rheumatoid arthritis (RA). One of the key regulators in expression of HLA class II receptors is MHC class II transactivator (CIITA). A variant of the CIITA gene has been found to associate with inflammatory diseases.
We wanted to explore whether the risk variant rs3087456 in the CIITA gene interacts with the HLA-DRB1 SE alleles regarding the risk of developing RA. We tested this hypothesis in a case-control study with 11767 individuals from four European Caucasian populations (6649 RA cases and 5118 controls).
We found no significant additive interaction for risk alleles among Swedish Caucasians with RA (n = 3869, attributable proportion due to interaction (AP) = 0.2, 95%CI: −0.2–0.5) or when stratifying for anti-citrullinated protein antibodies (ACPA) presence (ACPA positive disease: n = 2945, AP = 0.3, 95%CI: −0.05–0.6, ACPA negative: n = 2268, AP = −0.2, 95%CI: −1.0–0.6). We further found no significant interaction between the main subgroups of SE alleles (DRB1*01, DRB1*04 or DRB1*10) and CIITA. Similar analysis of three independent RA cohorts from British, Dutch and Norwegian populations also indicated an absence of significant interaction between genetic variants in CIITA and SE alleles with regard to RA risk.
Our data suggest that risk from the CIITA locus is independent of the major risk for RA from HLA-DRB1 SE alleles, given that no significant interaction between rs3087456 and SE alleles was observed. Since a biological link between products of these genes is evident, the genetic contribution from CIITA and class II antigens in the autoimmune process may involve additional unidentified factors.
The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II transactivator gene (CIITA) encodes an important transcription factor regulating genes required for human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class II MHC-restricted antigen presentation. Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes, particularly HLA class II, are strongly associated with risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Given the strong biological relationship between CIITA and HLA class II genes, a comprehensive investigation of CIITA variation in RA was conducted. This study tested 31 CIITA SNPs in 2542 RA cases and 3690 controls (N = 6232). All individuals were of European ancestry, as determined by ancestry informative genetic markers. No evidence for association between CIITA variation and RA was observed after a correction for multiple testing was applied. This is the largest study to fully characterize common genetic variation in CIITA, including an assessment of haplotypes. Results exclude even a modest role for common CIITA polymorphisms in susceptibility to RA.
rheumatoid arthritis; autoimmunity; CIITA; MHC2TA
The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II transactivator (CIITA) regulates the expression of genes involved in the immune response, including MHC class II genes and the interleukin-4 gene. Interactions between CIITA and sequence-specific, DNA-binding proteins are required for CIITA to function as an activator of MHC class II genes. CIITA also interacts with the coactivators CBP (also called p300), and this interaction leads to synergistic activation of MHC class II promoters. Here, we report that CIITA forms complexes with itself and that a central region, including the GTP-binding domain is sufficient for self-association. Additionally, this central region interacts with the C-terminal leucine-rich repeat as well as the N-terminal acidic domain. LXXLL motifs residing in the GTP-binding domain are essential for self-association. Finally, distinct differences exist among various CIITA mutant proteins with regard to activation function, subcellular localization, and association with wild-type protein and dominant-negative potential.
Knockdown of the insulator factor CCCTC binding factor (CTCF), which binds XL9, an intergenic element located between HLA-DRB1 and HLA-DQA1, was found to diminish expression of these genes. The mechanism involved interactions between CTCF and class II transactivator (CIITA), the master regulator of major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC-II) gene expression, and the formation of long-distance chromatin loops between XL9 and the proximal promoter regions of these MHC-II genes. The interactions were inducible and dependent on the activity of CIITA, regulatory factor X, and CTCF. RNA fluorescence in situ hybridizations show that both genes can be expressed simultaneously from the same chromosome. Collectively, the results suggest a model whereby both HLA-DRB1 and HLA-DQA1 loci can interact simultaneously with XL9, and describe a new regulatory mechanism for these MHC-II genes involving the alteration of the general chromatin conformation of the region and their regulation by CTCF.
The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II transactivator CIITA plays a pivotal role in the control of the cellular immune response through the quantitative regulation of MHC class II expression. We have analyzed a region of CIITA with similarity to leucine-rich repeats (LRRs). CIITA LRR alanine mutations abolish both the transactivation capacity of full-length CIITA and the dominant-negative phenotype of CIITA mutants with N-terminal deletions. We demonstrate direct interaction of CIITA with the MHC class II promoter binding protein RFX5 and could also detect novel interactions with RFXANK, NF-YB, and -YC. However, none of these interactions is influenced by CIITA LRR mutagenesis. On the other hand, chromatin immunoprecipitation shows that in vivo binding of CIITA to the MHC class II promoter is dependent on LRR integrity. LRR mutations lead to an impaired nuclear localization of CIITA, indicating that a major function of the CIITA LRRs is in nucleocytoplasmic translocation. There is, however, evidence that the CIITA LRRs are also involved more directly in MHC class II gene transactivation. CIITA interacts with a novel protein of 33 kDa in a manner sensitive to LRR mutagenesis. CIITA is therefore imported into the nucleus by an LRR-dependent mechanism, where it activates transcription through multiple protein-protein interactions with the MHC class II promoter binding complex.
The 19S proteasome regulatory particle plays a critical role in cellular proteolysis. However, emerging evidence suggests roles for 19S proteasome subunits in regulating yeast and mammalian transcription. It has been previously shown that Sug1 is important for the transcription of MHC II molecules. We report here that Sug1 also has a role in regulating transcription of class I MHC and the MHC II-like molecules, HLA-DM and HLA-DO. Reduction of Sug1 expression causes a decrease in the transcription of MHC I and MHC II-like molecules. In addition, we show that association of Sug1 with MHC promoters is followed by the recruitment of the CREB-binding protein (CBP) and the class II transactivator (CIITA). Reduction of Sug1 expression is accompanied by decreased recruitment of CBP and CIITA to the MHC promoters and decreased histone H3 acetylation in these promoters. These studies suggest that Sug1 plays a critical role in transcription of MHC class I, and the MHC class II-like molecules, HLA-DM and HLA-DO.
19S ATPase; HLA-DM; HLA-DO; MHC class I; transcriptional regulation; Sug1
The class II transactivator (CIITA) is a key regulatory factor for MHC class II expression. Here, we demonstrate that PKCδ plays an important role in regulating IFN-γ-inducible CIITA gene expression in macrophages. Inhibition of PKCδ by either a PKCδ inhibitor or a dominant negative (DN) mutant form of PKCδ led to down-regulation of CIITA expression. The decrease in CIITA expression by PKCδ inhibition was in part due to the reduced recruitment of serine 727-phosphorylated Stat1 and histone acetyltransferases to the CIITA promoter. As a result, IFN-γ induced histone acetylation at the CIITA promoter is also compromised. However, inhibition of PKCδ did not affect IRF-1 expression or IRF-1 binding to the CIITA promoter. Therefore, we report, for the first time, that PKCδ is an essential signaling molecule to achieve the maximal expression of CIITA in response to IFN-γ in macrophages. In addition, although IRF-1 is a key transcription factor to activate the IFN-γ inducible CIITA promoter, the effect of PKCδ on CIITA expression is mediated primarily by serine phosphorylation of Stat1.
monocytes; macrophages; MHC; protein kinases; STAT1; transcription factors; gene regulation
The class II transactivator (CIITA) is a master transcriptional regulator of major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC-II) promoters. CIITA does not bind DNA, but it interacts with the transcription factors RFX5, NF-Y, and CREB and associated chromatin-modifying enzymes to form an enhanceosome. This report examines the effects of histone deacetylases 1 and 2 (HDAC1/HDAC2) on MHC-II gene induction by gamma interferon (IFN-γ) and CIITA. The results show that an inhibitor of HDACs, trichostatin A, enhances IFN-γ-induced MHC-II expression, while HDAC1/HDAC2 inhibits IFN-γ- and CIITA-induced MHC-II gene expression. mSin3A, a corepressor of HDAC1/HDAC2, is important for this inhibition, while NcoR, a corepressor of HDAC3, is not. The effect of this inhibition is directed at CIITA, since HDAC1/HDAC2 reduces transactivation by a GAL4-CIITA fusion protein. CIITA binds to overexpressed and endogenous HDAC1, suggesting that HDAC and CIITA may affect each other by direct or indirect association. Inhibition of HDAC activity dramatically increases the association of NF-YB and RFX5 with CIITA, the assembly of CIITA, NF-YB, and RFX5 enhanceosome, and the extent of H3 acetylation at the MHC-II promoter. These results suggest a model where HDAC1/HDAC2 affect the function of CIITA through a disruption of MHC-II enhanceosome and relevant coactivator-transcription factor association and provide evidence that CIITA may act as a molecular switch to modulate MHC-II transcription by coordinating the functions of both histone acetylases and HDACs.
MHC class II transactivator CIITA inhibits the function of HTLV-2 Tax-2 viral transactivator and, consequently, the replication of the virus in infected cells. Moreover overexpression of the nuclear factor NF-YB, that cooperates with CIITA for the expression of MHC class II genes, results also in inhibition of Tax-2 transactivation. The purpose of this investigation was to assess the cellular and molecular basis of the CIITA-mediated inhibition on Tax-2, and the relative role of NF-YB in this phenomenon.
By co-immunoprecipitation of lysates from 293T cells cotransfected with CIITA or fragments of it, and Tax-2 it was assessed whether the two factors interact in vivo. A similar approach was used to assess Tax-2-NF-YB interaction. In parallel, deletion fragments of CIITA were tested for the inhibition of Tax-2-dependent HTLV-2 LTR-luciferase transactivation. Subcellular localization of CIITA and Tax-2 was investigated by immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy.
CIITA and Tax-2 interact in vivo through at least two independent regions, at the 1-252 N-term and at the 410-1130 C-term, respectively. Interestingly only the 1-252 N-term region mediates Tax-2 functional inhibition. CIITA and Tax-2 are localized both in the cytoplasm and in the nucleus, when separately expressed. Instead, when coexpressed, most of Tax-2 colocalize with CIITA in cytoplasm and around the nuclear membrane. The Tax-2 minor remaining nuclear portion also co-localizes with CIITA. Interestingly, when CIITA nucleus-cytoplasm shuttling is blocked by leptomycin B treatment, most of the Tax-2 molecules are also blocked and co-localize with CIITA in the nucleus, suggesting that CIITA-Tax-2 binding does not preclude Tax-2 entry into the nucleus.
Finally, the nuclear factor NF-YB, also strongly binds to Tax-2. Notably, although endogenous NF-YB does not inhibit Tax-2-dependent HTLV-2 LTR transactivation, it still binds to Tax-2, and in presence of CIITA, this binding seems to increase.
These results strongly suggest that CIITA inhibit Tax-2 by binding the viral transactivator both directly or through a tripartite interaction with NF-YB in. CIITA is therefore a viral restriction factor for HTLV-2 and this open the possibility to control HTLV-2 viral replication and spreading by the controlled induction of CIITA in infected cells
Osteoclast activity and the fine balance between bone formation and resorption is affected by inflammatory factors such as cytokines and T lymphocyte activity, mediated by major histocompatibility complex (MHC) molecules, in turn regulated by the MHC class II transactivator (MHC2TA). We investigated the effect of functional polymorphisms in the MHC2TA gene (CIITA), and two additional genes; C-type lectin domain 16A (CLEC16A), in linkage disequilibrium with CIITA and Interferon-γ (IFNG), an inducer of CIITA; on bone density, bone resorption markers, bone loss and fracture risk in 75 year-old women followed for up to 10 years (OPRA n = 1003) and in young adult women (PEAK-25 n = 999). CIITA was associated with BMD at age 75 (lumbar spine p = 0.011; femoral neck (FN) p = 0.049) and age 80 (total body p = 0.015; total hip p = 0.042; FN p = 0.028). Carriers of the CIITA rs3087456(G) allele had 1.8–3.4% higher BMD and displayed increased rate of bone loss between age 75 and 80 (FN p = 0.013; total hip p = 0.030; total body p = 3.8E−5). Despite increasing bone loss, the rs3087456(G) allele was protective against incident fracture overall (p = 0.002), osteoporotic fracture and hip fracture. Carriers of CLEC16A and IFNG variant alleles had lower BMD (p<0.05) and ultrasound parameters and a lower risk of incident fracture (CLEC16A, p = 0.011). In 25-year old women, none of the genes were associated with BMD. In conclusion, variation in inflammatory genes CIITA, CLEC-16A and INFG appear to contribute to bone phenotypes in elderly women and suggest a role for low-grade inflammation and MHC class II expression for osteoporosis pathogenesis.
One mechanism frequently utilized by tumor cells to escape immune system recognition and elimination is suppression of cell surface expression of Major Histocompatibility Class II (MHC II) molecules. Expression of MHC II is regulated primarily at the level of transcription by the Class II Transactivator, CIITA, and decreased CIITA expression is observed in multiple tumor types. We investigate here contributions of epigenetic modifications to transcriptional silencing of CIITA in variants of the human breast cancer cell line MDA MB 435. Significant increases in histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation upon IFN-γ stimulation correlate with reductions in transcription factor recruitment to the interferon-γ inducible CIITA promoter, CIITApIV, and with significantly increased CIITApIV occupancy by the histone methyltransferase enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2). Most compelling is evidence that decreased expression of EZH2 in MDA MB 435 variants results in significant increases in CIITA and HLA-DRA mRNA expression, even in the absence of interferon-γ stimulation, as well as increased cell surface expression of MHC II. Together, these data add mechanistic insight to prior observations of increased EZH2 expression and decreased CIITA expression in multiple tumor types.
Gamma interferon (IFN-γ) is an inflammatory cytokine that has complex effects on myogenesis. Here, we show that the IFN-γ-induced inhibition of myogenesis is mediated by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II transactivator, CIITA, which binds to myogenin and inhibits its activity. In IFN-γ-treated myoblasts, the inhibition of muscle-specific genes includes the expression of myogenin itself, while in myotubes, myogenin expression is unaffected. Thus, CIITA appears to act by both repressing the expression and inhibiting the activity of myogenin at different stages of myogenesis. Stimulation by IFN-γ in skeletal muscle cells induces CIITA expression as well as MHC class II gene expression. The IFN-γ-mediated repression is reversible, with myogenesis proceeding normally upon removal of IFN-γ. Through overexpression studies, we confirm that the expression of CIITA, independent of IFN-γ, is sufficient to inhibit myogenesis. Through knockdown studies, we also demonstrate that CIITA is necessary for the IFN-γ-mediated inhibition of myogenesis. Finally, we show that CIITA, which lacks DNA binding activity, is recruited to muscle-specific promoters coincident with reductions in RNA polymerase II recruitment. Thus, this work reveals how IFN-γ modulates myogenesis and demonstrates a key role for CIITA in this process.
The MHC class II transactivator (CIITA) is the master transcriptional regulator of genes involved in MHC class II restricted antigen presentation. Previously we suggested another role of CIITA in Th1/Th2 balance by demonstrating that forced expression of CIITA in murine T cells repressed Th1 immunity both in vitro and in vivo. However, the results were contradictory to the report that CIITA functioned to suppress the production of Th2 cytokine by CD4+ T cells in CIITA deficient mice. In this study, we investigated the influence of constitutive expression of CIITA in T cells on Th2 immune response in vivo using murine experimental colitis model. In the dextran sodium sulfate-induced acute colitis, a disease involving innate immunity, CIITA transgenic mice and wild type control mice showed similar progression of the disease. However, the development of oxazolone-induced colitis, a colitis mediated by predominantly Th2 immune response, was aggravated in CIITA-transgenic mice. And, CD4+ T cells from the mesenteric lymph node of CIITA-transgenic mice treated with oxazolone exhibited a high level of IL-4 secretion. Together, these data demonstrate that constitutive expression of CIITA in T cells skews immune response to Th2, resulting in aggravation of Th2-mediated colitis in vivo.
MHC class II transactivator protein; CIITA Protein; Inflammatory Bowel Diseases; Interleukin-4; Th2 Cells
IFN-γ expression increases during the inflammatory response after bleomycin injury in mice. IFN-γ deficiency attenuates lung inflammation and fibrosis. Because IFN-γ stimulates class II transactivator (CIITA) expression, which activates major histocompatibility class (MHC) II and represses collagen expression, it was hypothesized that CIITA mediates IFN-γ action after bleomycin injury. To test this hypothesis, two CIITA mouse lines, one carrying a mutation of the leucine-rich region of CIITA (CIITA C−/−) and one with a deletion extending into the GTP-binding domain (CIITA G−/−), were used. IFN-γ treatment of lung cells isolated from both strains of mice induced mutant CIITA expression, which did not activate MHC II transcription. Collagen expression was similar in both mutant mouse strains and comparable to C57BL/6 (wild-type) mice. When mice were exposed to intratracheal bleomycin, both strains of CIITA mutant mice retained body weight and altered inflammation at 14 days after bleomycin injury compared with bleomycin-treated wild-type mice. However, there was no difference in fibrosis as judged by histology, mRNA, and protein expression of lungs. Bronchoalveolar lavage cells from CIITA C−/− and C57BL/6 lungs were examined at 3, 7, and 14 days after bleomycin injury. CD4 mRNA expression in bronchoalveolar lavage cells was down-regulated, whereas IL-4 and IL-10 expression was up-regulated, in CIITA C−/− mice, indicating a diminished, skewed Th2 response. The expression of IFN-γ was the same in all mice tested. Combined, our data suggest that CIITA mutations altered the immune response without affecting fibrosis.
collagen; CIITA; IFN-γ; fibrosis; bleomycin
Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) productively infects CD34+ progenitor-derived, mature Langerhans-type dendritic cells (matLC) and reduces surface expression of MHC class II complexes (MHC II) by increasing intracellular retention of these molecules. To determine whether HCMV also inhibits MHC II expression by other mechanisms, we assessed mRNA levels of the class II transcriptional regulator, CIITA, and several of its target genes in infected matLC. Levels of CIITA, HLA-DRA (DRA) and DRB transcripts, and new DR protein synthesis were compared in mock-infected and HCMV-infected cells by quantitative PCR and pulse-chase immunoprecipitation analyses, respectively. CIITA mRNA levels were significantly lower in HCMV-infected matLC as compared to mock-infected cells. When assessed in the presence of Actinomycin D, the stability of CIITA transcripts was not diminished by HCMV. Analysis of promoter-specific CIITA isoforms revealed that types I, III and IV all were decreased by HCMV, a result that differs from changes after incubation of these cells with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Exposure to UV-inactivated virus failed to reduce CIITA mRNA levels, implicating de novo viral gene expression in this effect. HCMV-infected matLC also expressed lower levels of DR transcripts and reduced DR protein synthesis rates compared to mock-infected matLC. In summary, we demonstrate that HCMV infection of a human dendritic cell subset inhibits constitutive CIITA expression, most likely at the transcriptional level, resulting in reduced MHC II biosynthesis. We suggest this represents a new mechanism of modulation of mature LC by HCMV.
Dendritic cells; viral; MHC
Antigen-dependent stimulation of T cells plays a critical role in adaptive immunity and host defense. Activation of major histocompatibility complex II (MHC II) molecules, dictated by Class II transactivator (CIITA), is considered a pivotal step in this process. The mechanism underlying differential regulation of CIITA activity by the post-translational modification machinery (PTM) and its implications are not clearly appreciated. Here, we report that SIRT1, a type III deacetylase, interacts with and deacetylates CIITA. SIRT1 activation augments MHC II transcription by shielding CIITA from proteasomal degradation and promoting nuclear accumulation and target binding of CIITA. In contrast, depletion of SIRT1 upregulates CIITA acetylation and attenuates its activity. Nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) that synthesizes NAD+ required for SIRT1 activation exerts similar effects on CIITA activity. Two different types of stress stimuli, hypobaric hypoxia and oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL), induce the acetylation of CIITA and suppress its activity by inhibiting the SIRT1 expression and activity. Thus, our data link SIRT1-mediated deacetylation of CIITA to MHC II transactivation in macrophages and highlight a novel strategy stress cues may employ to manipulate host adaptive immune system.
Constitutive major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II gene expression is tightly restricted to antigen presenting cells and is under developmental control. Cells of the B cell lineage acquire the capacity to express MHC class II genes early during ontogeny and lose this property during terminal differentiation into plasma cells. Cell fusion experiments have suggested that the extinction of MHC class II expression in plasma cells is due to a dominant repression, but the underlying mechanisms are not understood. CIITA was recently identified as an MHC class II transactivator that is essential for MHC class II expression in B lymphocytes. We show here that inactivation of MHC class II genes in plasmocytes is associated with silencing of the CIITA gene. Moreover, experimentally induced expression of CIITA in plasmocytes leads to reexpression of MHC class II molecules to the same level as that observed on B lymphocytes. We therefore conclude that the loss of MHC class II expression observed upon terminal differentiation of B lymphocytes into plasmocytes results from silencing of the transactivator gene CIITA.
The human promyelocytic cell line THP-1 expresses high level of HLA class II (HLA-II) molecules after IFN-γ treatment. Here, we report a variant of THP-1 that does not express HLA-II after IFN-γ. The variant's HLA-II phenotype is constant over time in culture and it is not related to a defective IFN-γ-signalling pathway. Transfection of CIITA, the HLA-II transcriptional activator, under the control of a cytomegalovirus promoter rescues high level of HLA-DR surface expression in the variant indicating that the biosynthetic block resides in the expression of CIITA and not in the CIITA-dependent transactivation of the HLA-II promoters. Treatment of the variant with 5-azacytidine (5-aza), which inhibits CpG methylation, restores inducibility of HLA-II by IFN-γ both at transcriptional and phenotypic level and antigen presenting and processing function of the variant. DNA studies demonstrate that the molecular defect of the THP-1 variant originates from the methylation of the CIITA promoter IV. Furthermore, treatment with 5-aza produces a substantial demethylation of CIITA promoter IV and a significant increase of IFN-γ-dependent HLA-II expression in another myelomonocytic cell line, U937. Therefore hyper-methylation of CIITA promoter IV may be a relevant mechanism of epigenetic control preventing HLA-II IFN-γ inducibility in the myelomonocytic cell lineage.
5-azacytidine; gene regulation; MHC class II; transcription factors
Promyelocytic leukemia (PML) protein binds to and stabilizes CIITA at PML nuclear bodies, which promotes expression of the MHC class II gene locus in response to interferon-γ exposure.
Promyelocytic leukemia (PML) nuclear bodies selectively associate with transcriptionally active genomic regions, including the gene-rich major histocompatibility (MHC) locus. In this paper, we have explored potential links between PML and interferon (IFN)-γ–induced MHC class II expression. IFN-γ induced a substantial increase in the spatial proximity between PML bodies and the MHC class II gene cluster in different human cell types. Knockdown experiments show that PML is required for efficient IFN-γ–induced MHC II gene transcription through regulation of the class II transactivator (CIITA). PML mediates this function through protection of CIITA from proteasomal degradation. We also show that PML isoform II specifically forms a stable complex with CIITA at PML bodies. These observations establish PML as a coregulator of IFN-γ–induced MHC class II expression.
Rhabdomyosarcomas (RMS) are highly malignant pediatric sarcomas. We have discovered that the gene encoding the major histocompatibilty complex class II transactivator, CIITA, is silenced in cells representing both major subtypes of RMS. Silencing of CIITA prevents the IFN-γ inducible expression of MHC class II genes in these cells. Overexpression of CIITA in these cells can restore MHC expression. We have found that IFN-γ signaling is intact in these cells, but pSTAT1 and IRF1 do not bind to the CIITA PIV promoter. The CIITA promoter is not hypermethylated in RD (ERMS) cells, but does show a modestly enhanced methylation status in SJRH30 (ARMS) cells. We have found that histone acetylation, which normally increases on the CIITA PIV promoter following IFN-γ treatment, is blocked in both types of RMS cells. In RD cells, treatment with a histone deacetylase inhibitor (TSA) reverses the silencing of CIITA. In SJRH30 cells, treatment with DNA methyltransferase inhibitors and TSA cooperatively restores CIITA expression. Surprisingly, we have also shown that the expression of two components of the immunoproteasome, which are embedded in the class II locus, is stimulated by IFN-γ in certain RMS cells in the absence of stimulation by CIITA. CIITA overexpression can also activate the expression of these genes, indicating that the immunoproteasome genes LMP2 and LMP7 can be activated by both CIITA dependent and CIITA independent pathways.
The MHC class II transactivator (CIITA) and MHC class II expression is silenced during the differentiation of B cells to plasma cells. When B cell differentiation is carried out ex vivo, CIITA silencing occurs rapidly but the factors contributing to this event are not known. ZBTB32, also known as repressor of GATA3, was identified as an early repressor of CIITA in an ex vivo plasma cell differentiation model. ZBTB32 activity occurred at a time when Blimp-1, the regulator of plasma cell fate and suppressor of CIITA, was minimally induced. Ectopic expression of ZBTB32 suppressed CIITA and I-A gene expression in B cells. ShRNA depletion of ZBTB32 in a plasma cell line resulted in reexpression of CIITA and I-A. Compared to conditional Blimp-1 knock out and wild-type B cells, B cells from ZBTB32/ROG-knock out mice displayed delayed kinetics in silencing CIITA during ex vivo plasma cell differentiation. ZBTB32 was found to bind to the CIITA gene, suggesting that ZBTB32 directly regulates CIITA. Lastly, ZBTB32 and Blimp-1 coimmunoprecipitated, suggesting that the two repressors may ultimately function together to silence CIITA expression. These results introduce ZBTB32 as a novel regulator of MHC-II gene expression and a potential regulatory partner of Blimp-1 in repressing gene expression.
The MHC class II transactivator (CIITA), the master regulator of MHC class II (MHC II) expression, is a co-activator that controls MHC II transcription. Human B lymphocytes express MHC II constitutively due to persistent activity of CIITA promoter III (pIII), one of the four potential promoters (pI-pIV) of this gene. Although increases in MHC II expression in B cells in response to cytokines have been observed and induction of MHC II and CIITA by IFN-γ has been studied in a number of different cell types, the specific effects of IFN-γ on CIITA expression in B cells have not been studied. To investigate the regulation of CIITA expression by IFN-γ in B cells, RT-PCR, in vivo and in vitro protein/DNA binding studies, and functional promoter analyses were performed. Both MHC II and CIITA type IV-specific RNAs increased in human B lymphocytes in response to IFN-γ treatment. CIITA promoter analysis confirmed that pIV is IFN-γ inducible in B cells and that the GAS and IRF-E sites are necessary for full induction. DNA binding of IRF-1 and IRF-2, members of the IFN regulatory factor family, was up-regulated in B cells in response to IFN-γ and increased the activity of CIITA pIV. In vivo genomic footprint analysis demonstrated proteins binding at the GAS, IRF-E and E box sites of CIITA pIV. Although CIITA pIII is considered to be the hematopoietic-specific promoter of CIITA, these findings demonstrate that pIV is active in B lymphocytes and potentially contributes to the expression of CIITA and MHC II in these cells.
CIITA; B lymphocytes; IFN-γ; IRF-1; IRF-2
Major histocompatibility complex class II (MHC-II) molecules present peptide antigens to CD4-positive T cells and are of critical importance for the immune response. The MHC-II transactivator CIITA is essential for all aspects of MHC-II gene expression examined so far and thus constitutes a master regulator of MHC-II expression. In this study, we generated and analyzed mutant CIITA molecules which are able to suppress endogenous MHC-II expression in a dominant negative manner for both constitutive and inducible MHC-II expression. Dominant negative CIITA mutants were generated via specific restriction sites and by functional selection from a library of random N-terminal CIITA deletions. This functional selection strategy was very effective, leading to strong dominant negative CIITA mutants in which the N-terminal acidic and proline/serine/threonine-rich regions were completely deleted. Dominant negative activity is dependent on an intact C terminus. Efficient repression of endogenous MHC-II mRNA levels was quantified by RNase protection analysis. The quantitative effects of various dominant negative CIITA mutants on mRNA expression levels of the different MHC-II isotypes are very similar. The optimized dominant negative CIITA mutants isolated by functional selection should be useful for in vivo repression of MHC-II expression.
MHC class II transactivator (CIITA), a co-activator that controls MHC class II (MHC II) transcription, functions as the master regulator of MHC II expression. Persistent activity of the CIITA type III promoter (pIII), one of the four potential promoters of this gene, is responsible for constitutive expression of MHC II by B lymphocytes. In addition, IFN-γ induces expression of CIITA in these cells through the type IV promoter (pIV). Positive regulatory domain 1-binding factor 1 (PRDI-BF1), called B lymphocyte-induced maturation protein 1 (Blimp-1) in mice, represses the expression of CIITA pIII in plasma and multiple myeloma cells. To investigate regulation of CIITA pIV expression by PRDI-BF1 in the B lymphocyte lineage, protein/DNA binding studies, and functional promoter analyses were performed. PRDI-BF1 bound to the IRF-E site in CIITA pIV. Ectopic expression of either PRDI-BF1 or Blimp-1 repressed this promoter in B lymphocytes. In vitro binding and functional analyses of CIITA pIV demonstrated that the IFN regulatory factor-element (IRF-E) is the target of this repression. In vivo genomic footprint analysis demonstrated protein binding at the IRF-E site of CIITA pIV in U266 myeloma cells, which express PRDI-BF1. PRDI-BF1β, a truncated form of PRDI-BF1 that is co-expressed in myeloma cells, also bound to the IRF-E site and repressed CIITA pIV. These findings demonstrate for the first time that, in addition to silencing expression of CIITA pIII in B lymphocytes, PRDI-BF1 is capable of binding and suppressing CIITA pIV.
PRDI-BF1; Blimp-1; CIITA; B lymphocytes; multiple myeloma