MHC class II transactivator represses human IL-4 gene transcription by interruption of promoter binding with CBP/p300, STAT6 and NFAT1 via histone hypoacetylation

Xiaorong Zhou, Yang Jiang, Liming Lu, Qing Ding, Zhijun Jiao, Yun Zhou, Lijun Xin, Kuang Yen Chou

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19 Scopus citations


In addition to its property of enhancing major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II expression, the class II transactivator (CIITA) was recently demonstrated to be involved in T helper type 1/type 2 (Th1/Th2) differentiation by regulating interleukin-4 (IL-4) gene transcription. There was however, controversy regarding whether CIITA promotes or suppresses IL-4 expression in the experiments with transgenic mice. To clarify the discrepancy by using simpler experimental systems, human Jurkat T cells that express IL-4 but not interferon-γ, even if stimulated with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate plus ionomycin, were used for CIITA transfection. Significant suppression of IL-4 gene expression was demonstrated. Simultaneously, histones H3 and H4 in the IL-4 promoter were hypoacetylated. The suppression could be totally reversed by the histone deacetylatase inhibitor trichostatin A. Furthermore, the IL-4 expression was determined in primarily established human Th1/Th2 cells to which CIITA small interference RNA (siRNA) had been introduced. A substantially increased level of IL-4 was recorded in the CIITA siRNA-transfected Th1 cells, which was in parallel with significantly enhanced acetylation in histone H3 of the IL-4 promoter. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis indicated that CIITA abrogated the binding of coactivator CBP/p300 and transcription factors STAT6/NFAT1 to IL-4 promoter in the CIITA-transfected cells. In conclusion, CIITA was active in the repression of transcription activation of human IL-4 gene in both the T-cell line and the primary human CD4 T cells by preventing transcription factors from binding to IL-4 promoter through histone hypoacetylation. Our data confirm a potential significant role of CIITA in controlling Th1/Th2 differentiation via modulation of IL-4 gene activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-485
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2007



  • Histone acetylation
  • Interleukin-4
  • Major histocompatibility complex class II transactivator
  • T helper type1/type 2 subsets

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology

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