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J Immunol. 2001 Jun 1;166(11):6530-6.

A transcriptional block in the IL-2 promoter at the -150 AP-1 site in effector CD8+ T cells.

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Department of Immunology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195, USA.


Both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells that produce IL-2 in response to Ag recognition have been isolated. However, most effector CD8+ T cells recovered after exposure to Ag do not produce sufficient IL-2 to sustain growth, and depend on CD4+ T helper cells for this obligate growth factor. IL-2 expression in CD4+ T cells is primarily controlled at the level of transcription, but mechanisms restricting IL-2 production in CD8+ T cells have not been elucidated. To evaluate transcriptional regulation of the IL-2 gene in CD8+ T cells, we stably transfected reporter genes into Ag-specific CD8+ T cell clones. CD28+ CD8(+) T cells unable to transcribe the IL-2 gene in response to antigenic stimulation had a block in transactivation of the -150 CD28 response element (CD28RE)/AP-1 site of the IL-2 promoter, but did transactivate the composite NFAT/AP-1 and OCT/AP-1 sites, and a consensus AP-1 motif. Mutation of the nonconsensus -150 AP-1 site to a consensus AP-1 site, or insertion of a CD28RE/AP-1 consensus site upstream of the native -150 CD28RE/AP-1 site restored transactivation of the altered promoter. These results suggest that the defect at the -150 site may reflect the absence or inactivity of a required factor rather than repression of the IL-2 promoter.

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