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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Induction of the CTLA-4 gene in human lymphocytes is dependent on NFAT binding the proximal promoter.

CTLA-4 is a member of the costimulatory family, has homology to CD28, and binds the B7 family of ligands. Unlike CD28, CTLA-4 ligation transmits a negative signal in T cells. CTLA-4 expression, while inducible in most T cells, is expressed constitutively on T cells with a regulatory phenotype. The mechanism controlling CTLA-4 expression in human T cells is poorly characterized, thus we sought to better understand the mechanism of activation of the CTLA-4 gene. By cloning the 5' upstream promoter and creating promoter-deletion reporter constructs, we show that the proximal promoter is critical for activating the CTLA-4 gene. Within this region, we identify a NFAT consensus sequence that binds NFAT with high affinity that differs from other NFAT sequences and does not recruit AP-1. Analysis of the chromatin proteins in the native CTLA-4 gene shows that this promoter region becomes associated with acetylated histones by chromatin immunoprecipitation assays. In addition, NFAT1 binds to the promoter of the CTLA-4 gene after stimulation by chromatin immunoprecipitation. The functional requirement of the NFAT site for CTLA-4 transcription was demonstrated by mutations in the NFAT site that abolished the activity of the promoter. Furthermore, inhibitors of NFAT suppressed CTLA-4 gene expression, indicating that NFAT plays a critical role in regulating the induction of the CTLA-4 gene in lymphocytes. The identification of NFAT as a critical regulator of the CTLA-4 gene suggests that targeting NFAT function may lead to novel approaches to modulate the CTLA-4 gene to control the immune response.[1]


  1. Induction of the CTLA-4 gene in human lymphocytes is dependent on NFAT binding the proximal promoter. Gibson, H.M., Hedgcock, C.J., Aufiero, B.M., Wilson, A.J., Hafner, M.S., Tsokos, G.C., Wong, H.K. J. Immunol. (2007) [Pubmed]
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