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J Immunol. 2008 May 1;180(9):5983-90.

SUMOylation regulates the transcriptional activity of JunB in T lymphocytes.

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Institut de Génétique Moléculaire de Montpellier, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Unité Mixte de Recherche 5535, 1919 route de Mende, Montpellier cedex 5, France.


The AP-1 family member JunB is a critical regulator of T cell function. JunB is a transcriptional activator of various cytokine genes, such as IL-2, IL-4, and IL-10; however, the post-translational modifications that regulate JunB activity in T cells are poorly characterized. We show here that JunB is conjugated with small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) on lysine 237 in resting and activated primary T cells and T cell lines. Sumoylated JunB associated with the chromatin-containing insoluble fraction of cells, whereas nonsumoylated JunB was also in the soluble fraction. Blocking JunB sumoylation by mutation or use of a dominant-negative form of the SUMO-E2 Ubc-9 diminished its ability to transactivate IL-2 and IL-4 reporter genes. In contrast, nonsumoylable JunB mutants showed unimpaired activity with reporter genes controlled by either synthetic 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate response elements or NF-AT/AP-1 and CD28RE sites derived from the IL-2 promoter. Ectopic expression of JunB in activated human primary CD4(+) T cells induced activation of the endogenous IL-2 promoter, whereas the nonsumoylable JunB mutant did not. Thus, our work demonstrates that sumoylation of JunB regulates its ability to induce cytokine gene transcription and likely plays a critical role in T cell activation.

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