An activation-responsive element in the murine IL-4 gene is the site of an inducible DNA-protein interaction

David Tara, Deborah L. Weiss, Melissa A. Brown*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


IL-4 is a pleiotropic cytokine whose expression is limited to a subset of activated T cells and cells of the basophil/mast cell lineage. It plays a key role in regulating many immune responses; however, little is known about the intracellular signaling events that lead to the selective and transient IL-4 expression in either of these cell types. In this study, the molecular basis of stimulation-dependent transcription in T cells was explored. To identify cis elements that regulate IL-4 gene transcription, various amounts of the 5′ flanking region of the murine IL-4 gene were linked to a chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (CAT) reporter gene and tested for the ability to modulate CAT gene transcription in PMA-stimulated EL-4 T cells. These experiments indicate that multiple positive and negativeacting elements contribute to the overall level of IL-4 transcription. These elements are located both proximal and distal to the transcription initiation site (TIS). An activation responsive element is located within 87 bp of the IL-4 gene TIS. This sequence is sufficient to confer responsiveness to PMA-mediated signals and results in a 10- to 20-fold induction of CAT reporter gene activity compared to activity detected in unstimulated cells. Proteins that specifically bind sequences within this region (-88 to -60) are detected in both unstimulated and stimulated EL-4 T cell nuclear extracts. An additional DNA-protein interaction is detected only when extracts from stimulated cells are analyzed. Base substitutions within the -88 to -60 sequence affect both transactivation function and protein/DNA interactions and demonstrate that sequences between -78 and -69 bp are critical. Together, these data supporta model in which T cell activation signals stimulate binding of a nuclear protein(s) to a preexisting IL-4 DNA-protein complex. Proteins detected in these promoter proximal DNA-protein complexes are likely to be key elements in facilitating stimulationdependent IL-4 transcription.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3617-3626
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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