Author(s): Durum SK, Candias S, Nakajima H, Leonard WJ, Baird AM,
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Abstract VDJ recombination of T cell receptor and immunoglobulin loci occurs in immature lymphoid cells. Although the molecular mechanisms of DNA cleavage and ligation have become more clear, it is not understood what controls which target loci undergo rearrangement. In interleukin 7 receptor (IL-7R)alpha-/- murine thymocytes, it has been shown that rearrangement of the T cell receptor (TCR)-gamma locus is virtually abrogated, whereas other rearranging loci are less severely affected. By examining different strains of mice with targeted mutations, we now observe that the signaling pathway leading from IL-7Ralpha to rearrangement of the TCR-gamma locus requires the gammac receptor chain and the gammac-associated Janus kinase Jak3. Production of sterile transcripts from the TCR-gamma locus, a process that generally precedes rearrangement of a locus, was greatly repressed in IL-7Ralpha-/- thymocytes. The repressed transcription was not due to a lack in transcription factors since the three transcription factors known to regulate this locus were readily detected in IL-7Ralpha-/- thymocytes. Instead, the TCR-gamma locus was shown to be methylated in IL-7Ralpha-/- thymocytes. Treatment of IL-7Ralpha-/- precursor T cells with the specific histone deacetylase inhibitor trichostatin A released the block of TCR-gamma gene rearrangement. This data supports the model that IL-7R promotes TCR-gamma gene rearrangement by regulating accessibility of the locus via demethylation and histone acetylation of the locus.
This article was published in J Exp Med
and referenced in Journal of Clinical & Cellular Immunology