[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regulatory elements located within an ∼28-kb region 3' of the Igh gene cluster (3' regulatory region) are required for class switch recombination and for high levels of IgH expression in plasma cells. We previously defined novel DNase I hypersensitive sites (hs) 5, 6, 7 immediately downstream of this region. The hs 5-7 region (hs5-7) contains a high density of binding sites for CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF), a zinc finger protein associated with mammalian insulator activity, and is an anchor for interactions with CTCF sites flanking the D(H) region. To test the function of hs5-7, we generated mice with an 8-kb deletion encompassing all three hs elements. B cells from hs5-7 knockout (KO) (hs5-7KO) mice showed a modest increase in expression of the nearest downstream gene. In addition, Igh alleles in hs5-7KO mice were in a less contracted configuration compared with wild-type Igh alleles and showed a 2-fold increase in the usage of proximal V(H)7183 gene families. Hs5-7KO mice were essentially indistinguishable from wild-type mice in B cell development, allelic regulation, class switch recombination, and chromosomal looping. We conclude that hs5-7, a high-density CTCF-binding region at the 3' end of the Igh locus, impacts usage of V(H) regions as far as 500 kb away.
The Journal of Immunology 03/2012; 188(6):2556-66. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The 3' regulatory region (3' RR) of the Igh locus works at long distances on variable region (V(H)) and switch region (I) region promoters to initiate germ line (non-coding) transcription (GT) and promote class switch recombination (CSR). The 3' RR contains multiple elements, including enhancers (hs3a, hs1.2, hs3b, and hs4) and a proposed insulator region containing CTCF (CCCTC-binding factor) binding sites, i.e. hs5/6/7 and the downstream region ("38"). Notably, deletion of each individual enhancer (hs3a-hs4) has no significant phenotypic consequence, suggesting that the 3' RR has considerable structural flexibility in its function. To better understand how the 3' RR functions, we identified transcription factor binding sites and used chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays to monitor their occupancy in splenic B cells that initiate GT and undergo CSR (LPS±IL4), are deficient in GT and CSR (p50(-/-)), or do not undergo CSR despite efficient GT (anti-IgM+IL4). Like 3' RR enhancers, hs5-7 and the 38 region were observed to contain multiple Pax5 binding sites (in addition to multiple CTCF sites). We found that the Pax5 binding profile to the 3' RR dynamically changed during CSR independent of the specific isotype to which switching was induced, and binding focused on hs1.2, hs4, and hs7. CTCF-associated and CTCF-independent cohesin interactions were also identified. Our observations are consistent with a scaffold model in which a platform of active protein complexes capable of facilitating GT and CSR can be formed by varying constellations of 3' RR elements.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2011; 286(33):29303-12. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: B cell-specific expression of immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) genes utilizes two cis regulatory regions, the intronic enhancer (Emicro), located in the J(H)-Cmicro intron, and a complex regulatory region that lies 3' to the IgH gene cluster, 3' RR. We hypothesized that the 3' RR is involved in IgH gene transcription in plasma cells via physical interaction between distal 3' RR enhancers and target V(H) sequences, with loop formation by intervening DNA. In support of this hypothesis we report sequence data at DNA recombination breakpoints as evidence for loop formation preceding DNA inversion in a plasma cell line. In addition, using the chromosome conformation capture technique, physical interactions between V(H) and 3' RR were analyzed directly and detected in MPC11 plasma cells and variants and normal splenic B cells but not detected in splenic T cells or in non-B cells. V(H)-3' RR interactions were present in the absence of Emicro, but when the hs1,2 enhancer was replaced by a Neo(R) gene in a variant cell line lacking Emicro, H chain expression was lost, and interactions between V(H) and 3' RR and among the 3' RR regulators themselves were severely disrupted. In addition, the chromosome conformation capture technique detected interactions between the myc promoter and 3' RR elements in MPC11, which like other plasmacytomas contains a reciprocal translocation between the c-myc and the IgH locus. In sum, our data support a hypothesis that cis V(H)-3' RR and myc-3' RR interactions involve physical interactions between these DNA elements.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2007; 282(48):35169-78. · 4.65 Impact Factor