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Mol Immunol. 2009 Jul;46(11-12):2226-35. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2009.04.018. Epub 2009 May 14.

The human CD6 gene is transcriptionally regulated by RUNX and Ets transcription factors in T cells.

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  • 1Servei d'Immunologia, Hospital Clínic Universitari de Barcelona, Institut d'Investigacions Biomèdiques August Pi i Sunyer, Facultat de Medicina, Universitat de Barcelona, Villarroel 170, 08036 Barcelona, Spain.


CD6 is a lymphocyte surface receptor involved in lymphocyte activation and differentiation processes that is constitutively expressed on developing and mature T cells and on the B1a cells. To define the molecular basis for the tissue-specific expression of CD6 we have identified the transcription factors that control the activity of the proximal regulatory region of the human CD6 gene. The TATA-less CD6 promoter contains multiple transcriptional start sites, and its preferential activity in human T lymphocytes is dependent on RUNX- and Ets-binding sites located within a highly conserved region. RUNX and Ets-1 factors transactivated the CD6 promoter through recognition of the -215 and -230 binding sites, respectively. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays revealed that RUNX1 constitutively occupies the CD6 promoter in vivo, and knockdown experiments demonstrated that the steady-state level of CD6 mRNA is dependent on the expression of RUNX1, RUNX3 and Ets-1 transcription factors. Therefore, RUNX1/3 and Ets1 control the expression of CD6 in human T lymphocytes, thus expanding the range of T-cell specific and developmentally regulated lymphocyte gene targets involved in T-cell activation and differentiation.

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