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Down-regulation of IL-7Rα expression in human T cells via DNA methylation

Cited 53 time in Web of Science Cited 53 time in Scopus

Kim, Hang-Rae; Hwang, Kyung-A; Kim, Ki-Chan; Kang, Insoo

Issue Date
American Association of Immunologists
Journal of Immunology, Vol.178 No.9, pp.5473-5479
IL-7 is critical for the development and survival of T cells. Recently, we found two subsets of human CD8(+) T cells expressing IL-7R alpha(high) and IL-7R alpha(low) with different cell survival responses to IL-7. Although these CD8(+) T cell subsets have differential IL-7R alpha gene expression, the mechanism for this is unknown. DNA methylation is an important gene regulatory mechanism and is associated with the inactivation of gene expression. Thus, we investigated a role for DNA methylation in differentially regulating IL-7R alpha gene expression in human CD8(+) T cells and Jurkat T cells. IL-7R alpha(high)CD8+ T cells had decreased methylation in the IL-7R alpha gene promoter compared with IL-7R alpha(low)CD8(+) T cells and Jurkat T cells with low levels of IL-7R alpha. Treating Jurkat T cells with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine, which reduced DNA methylation, increased IL-7R alpha expression. Plus, the unmethylated IL-7R alpha gene promoter construct had higher levels of promoter activity than the methylated one as measured by a luciferase reporter assay. These findings suggest that DNA methylation is involved in regulating IL-7R alpha expression in T cells via affecting IL-7R alpha gene promoter activity, and that the methylation of this gene promoter could be a potential target for modifying IL-7-mediated T cell development and survival.
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  • College of Medicine
Research Area Function, Immune modulation by metabolites, T-cell anergy, differentiation of memory CD8+ T cells, metabolism


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