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Int Immunol. 1994 Apr;6(4):515-21.

IFN-gamma represses epsilon germline transcription and subsequently down-regulates switch recombination to epsilon.

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Department of Medicine, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY 10032.


Cytokines have the ability to regulate the isotypes of antibodies produced during an immune response. For instance, IL-4 has been shown to induce the production of IgE by B cells, while IFN-gamma has been shown to inhibit this induction. Recent work has revealed that IL-4 appears to induce class switching to epsilon through its ability to specifically induce germline epsilon transcripts. Germline epsilon transcription appears to target class-switch recombination to the epsilon locus. However, the mechanism by which IFN-gamma inhibits the IL-4 induction of IgE is unknown. We hypothesized that IFN-gamma and IL-4 may have antagonistic effects on the same stage of B cell differentiation. Northern blotting analyses show that IFN-gamma suppresses the IL-4 induction of germline epsilon transcripts. In transient transfection assays, the IL-4 induction of transcription imparted by the minimal 179 bp germline epsilon promoter is repressed by IFN-gamma. Utilizing a digestion circularization-polymerase chain reaction assay we show that IL-4 induces switch recombination to epsilon, while IFN-gamma suppresses switch recombination to epsilon. These studies support a model that, through their differential effects on a cis-controlling element that regulates germline epsilon transcription, IL-4 and IFN-gamma are able to modulate B cell switch recombination to epsilon in a coordinated manner.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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