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Immunity. 2001 Apr;14(4):447-59.

Regulation of IL-4 gene expression by distal regulatory elements and GATA-3 at the chromatin level.

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  • 1Section of Immunobiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Using a transgenic approach, we examined distal regulatory elements located in the IL-4 locus and the role of GATA-3 at these elements. The intergenic DNase I hypersensitive sites (HSS) showed strong enhancement, and the intronic enhancer (IE) and HS5/HS5a sites showed weaker enhancement of the IL-4 promoter. Elements in the 3' region of the IL-4 gene contributed to Th2 specificity. All individual enhancers were T cell activation dependent but not Th2 specific, with the exception of IE. However, when these distal elements were combined into a "minilocus," expression was strongly enhanced and Th2 specific. GATA-3 mediated strong enhancement of IL-4 promoter activity in Th1 cells when the promoter was embedded in the minilocus or linked to HSS and IE, demonstrating that GATA-3 acts through these elements to regulate IL-4 gene expression.

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