The human IL-13 locus in neonatal CD4+ T cells is refractory to the acquisition of a repressive chromatin architecture

Robin B. Webster, Yelitza Rodriguez, Walt T. Klimecki, Donata Vercelli

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63 Scopus citations


The Th2 cytokine IL-13 is a major effector molecule in human allergic inflammation. Notably, IL-13 expression at birth correlates with subsequent susceptibility to atopic disease. In order to characterize the chromatin-based mechanisms that regulate IL-13 expression in human neonatal CD4+ T cells, we analyzed patterns of DNase I hypersensitivity and epigenetic modifications within the IL-13 locus in cord blood CD4+ T cells, naive or differentiated in vitro under Th1- or Th2-polarizing conditions. In naive CD4+ T cells, hypersensitivity associated with DNA hypomethylation was limited to the distal promoter. Unexpectedly, during both Th1 and Th2 differentiation, the locus was extensively remodeled, as revealed by the formation of numerous HS sites and decreased DNA methylation. Obvious differences in chromatin architecture were limited to the proximal promoter, where strong hypersensitivity, hypomethylation, and permissive histone modifications were found selectively in Th2 cells. In addition to revealing the locations of putative cis-regulatory elements thatmaybe required to control IL-13 expression in neonatal CD4+ T cells, our results suggest that differential IL-13 expression may depend on the acquisition of a permissive chromatin architecture at the proximal promoter in Th2 cells rather than the formation of locus-wide repressive chromatin in Th1 cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)700-709
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 5 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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