Author(s): Cockerill PN, Shannon MF, Bert AG, Ryan GR, Vadas MA
Granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF) and interleukin 3 (IL-3) are pleiotropic hemopoietic growth factors whose genes are closely linked and induced in T lymphocytes in a cyclosporin A (CsA)-sensitive fashion. Since we found that the human GM-CSF and IL-3 proximal promoters were not sufficient to account for the observed regulation of these genes, we mapped DNase I hypersensitive sites across the GM-CSF/IL-3 locus in the Jurkat human T-cell line to identify additional regulatory elements. We located an inducible DNase I hypersensitive site, 3 kb upstream of the GM-CSF gene, that functioned as a strong CsA-sensitive enhancer of both the GM-CSF and IL-3 promoters. Binding studies employing Jurkat cell nuclear extracts indicated that four sites within the enhancer associate with the inducible transcription factor AP1. Three of these AP1 elements lie within sequences that also associate with factors resembling the CsA-sensitive, T cell-specific transcription factor NFAT. We provide additional evidence suggesting that an AP1-like factor represents one of the components of NFAT. We propose that the intergenic enhancer described here is required for the correctly regulated activation of both GM-CSF and IL-3 gene expression in T cells and that it mediates the CsA sensitivity of the GM-CSF/IL-3 locus.