The Th2 cytokine gene locus has emerged as a remarkable example of coordinated gene expression, the regulation of which seems to be rooted in an extensive array of cis-regulatory regions. Using a hypothesis-generating computational approach that integrated multispecies (n = 11) sequence comparisons with algorithm-based transcription factor binding-site predictions, we sought to identify evolutionarily conserved noncoding regions (ECRs) and motifs shared among them, which may underlie coregulation. Twenty-two transcription factor families were predicted to have binding sites in at least two Th2 ECRs. The ranking of these shared motifs according to their distribution and relative frequency pointed to a regulatory hierarchy among the transcription factor families. GATA sites were the most prevalent and widely distributed, consistent with the known role of GATA3 as a Th2 master switch. Unexpectedly, sites for ETS-domain proteins were also predicted within several Th2 ECRs and the majority of these sites were found to support Ets-1 binding in vitro and in vivo. Of note, the expression of all three Th2 cytokines (IL-5, -13, and -4) was significantly and selectively decreased in Th2 cells generated from Ets-1-deficient mice. Collectively, these data suggest that Ets-1 contributes to Th2 cytokine gene regulation by interacting with multiple cis-regulatory regions throughout the Th2 locus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy