Yukiko Watanabe

Chiba University, Chiba-shi, Chiba-ken, Japan

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Publications (8)32.51 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Epigenetic modifications, such as posttranslational modifications of histones, play an important role in gene expression and regulation. These modifications are in part mediated by the Trithorax group (TrxG) complex and the Polycomb group (PcG) complex, which activate and repress transcription, respectively. We herein investigate the role of Menin, a component of the TrxG complex in T helper (Th) cell differentiation and show a critical role for Menin in differentiation and maintenance of Th17 cells. Menin(-/-) T cells do not efficiently differentiate into Th17 cells, leaving Th1 and Th2 cell differentiation intact in in vitro cultures. Menin deficiency resulted in the attenuation of Th17-induced airway inflammation. In differentiating Th17 cells, Menin directly bound to the Il17a gene locus and was required for the deposition of permissive histone modifications and recruitment of the RNA polymerase II transcriptional complex. Interestingly, although Menin bound to the Rorc locus, Menin was dispensable for the induction of Rorc expression and permissive histone modifications in differentiating Th17 cells. In contrast, Menin was required to maintain expression of Rorc in differentiated Th17 cells, indicating that Menin is essential to stabilize expression of the Rorc gene. Thus, Menin orchestrates Th17 cell differentiation and function by regulating both the induction and maintenance of target gene expression.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Functionally polarized CD4+ T helper (Th) cells such as Th1, Th2 and Th17 cells are central to the regulation of acquired immunity. However, the molecular mechanisms governing the maintenance of the polarized functions of Th cells remain unclear. GATA3, a master regulator of Th2 cell differentiation, initiates the expressions of Th2 cytokine genes and other Th2-specific genes. GATA3 also plays important roles in maintaining Th2 cell function and in continuous chromatin remodeling of Th2 cytokine gene loci. However, it is unclear whether continuous expression of GATA3 is required to maintain the expression of various other Th2-specific genes. In this report, genome-wide DNA gene expression profiling revealed that GATA3 expression is critical for the expression of a certain set of Th2-specific genes. We demonstrated that GATA3 dependency is reduced for some Th2-specific genes in fully developed Th2 cells compared to that observed in effector Th2 cells, whereas it is unchanged for other genes. Moreover, effects of a loss of GATA3 expression in Th2 cells on the expression of cytokine and cytokine receptor genes were examined in detail. A critical role of GATA3 in the regulation of Th2-specific gene expression is confirmed in in vivo generated antigen-specific memory Th2 cells. Therefore, GATA3 is required for the continuous expression of the majority of Th2-specific genes involved in maintaining the Th2 cell identity.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(6):e66468. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To develop more effective vaccines and strategies to regulate chronic inflammatory diseases, it is important to understand the mechanisms of immunological memory. Factors regulating memory CD4(+) T helper (Th)-cell pool size and function remain unclear, however. We show that activation of type I invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells with glycolipid ligands and activation of type II natural killer T (NKT) cells with the endogenous ligand sulfatide induced dramatic proliferation and expansion of memory, but not naïve, CD4 T cells. NKT cell-induced proliferation of memory Th1 and Th2 cells was dependent largely on the production of IL-2, with Th2-cell proliferation also affected by loss of IL-4. Type II NKT cells were also required for efficient maintenance of memory CD4 T cells in vivo. Activation of iNKT cells resulted in up-regulation of IFN-γ expression by memory Th2 cells. These IFN-γ-producing memory Th2 cells showed a decreased capability to induce Th2 cytokines and eosinophilic airway inflammation. Thus, activated NKT cells directly regulate memory CD4 T-cell pool size and function via the production of cytokines in vivo.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2012; 109(42):16992-7. · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Schnurri (Shn)-2 is a large zinc finger-containing protein implicated in cell growth, signal transduction and lymphocyte development. Here, we report that Shn-2-deficient (Shn-2(-/-)) mice develop CD3-positive lymphoma spontaneously. In Shn-2(-/-) mice, we observed decreased cytotoxicity of natural killer (NK) cells accompanied by decreased expression of perforin and granzyme-B. In addition, phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 5 was reduced in Shn-2(-/-) NK cells, while phosphorylation of STAT3 and protein expression of nuclear factor-κB p65 subunit were enhanced in Shn-2(-/-) NK cells. Moreover, cell-surface expression of activation molecules such as CD27, CD69 and CD122 were decreased on Shn-2(-/-) NK cells. Thus, Shn-2 is considered to play an important role in the activation and function of NK cells and the development of T cell lymphoma in vivo.
    Leukemia & lymphoma 09/2011; 53(3):479-86. · 2.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Differentiation of naive CD4 T cells into Th2 cells is accompanied by chromatin remodeling and increased expression of a set of Th2-specific genes, including those encoding Th2 cytokines. IL-4-mediated STAT6 activation induces high levels of transcription of GATA3, a master regulator of Th2 cell differentiation, and enforced expression of GATA3 induces Th2 cytokine expression. However, it remains unclear whether the expression of other Th2-specific genes is induced directly by GATA3. A genome-wide unbiased chromatin immunoprecipitation assay coupled with massive parallel sequencing analysis revealed that GATA3 bound to 1279 genes selectively in Th2 cells, and 101 genes in both Th1 and Th2 cells. Simultaneously, we identified 26 highly Th2-specific STAT6-dependent inducible genes by DNA microarray analysis-based three-step selection processes, and among them 17 genes showed GATA3 binding. We assessed dependency on GATA3 for the transcription of these 26 Th2-specific genes, and 10 genes showed increased transcription in a GATA3-dependent manner, whereas 16 genes showed no significant responses. The transcription of the 16 GATA3-nonresponding genes was clearly increased by the introduction of an active form of STAT6, STAT6VT. Therefore, although GATA3 has been recognized as a master regulator of Th2 cell differentiation, many Th2-specific genes are not regulated by GATA3 itself, but in collaboration with STAT6.
    The Journal of Immunology 06/2011; 186(11):6378-89. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Some polyphenols possess anti-allergic activities. Naringenin chalcone is one of the polyphenols that is present in the skin of red tomatoes. In this study, we investigated the effect of naringenin chalcone in allergic responses in vivo using an experimental mouse model system of allergic asthma. Allergic airway inflammation was induced in mice by sensitization and challenge with ovalbumin. Naringenin chalcone was orally administrated every day during the course of the experiment. Airway hyperreactivity, the eosinophilic infiltration in the bronchioalveolar lavage fluid and Th2 cytokine production from splenic CD4 T cells were assessed. Eosinophilic airway inflammation, airway hyperreactivity and Th2 cytokine production from CD4 T cells were significantly suppressed in mice that were treated with naringenin chalcone. Hyperproduction of mucus was slightly reduced. The results of this study suggest that naringenin chalcone suppresses asthmatic symptoms by inhibiting Th2 cytokine production from CD4 T cells. Thus, naringenin chalcone may be a useful supplement for the suppression of allergic symptoms in humans.
    Allergology International 03/2010; 59(1):67-73.
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    ABSTRACT: Airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness are central issues in the pathogenesis of asthma. CD69 is a membrane molecule transiently expressed on activated lymphocytes, and its selective expression in inflammatory infiltrates suggests that it plays a role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases. In CD69-deficient mice, OVA-induced eosinophilic airway inflammation, mucus hyperproduction, and airway hyperresponsiveness were attenuated. Cell transfer of Ag-primed wild-type but not CD69-deficient CD4 T cells restored the induction of allergic inflammation in CD69-deficient mice, indicating a critical role of CD69 expressed on CD4 T cells. Th2 responses induced by CD69-deficient CD4 T cells in the lung were attenuated, and the migration of CD4 T cells into the asthmatic lung was severely compromised. The expression of VCAM-1 was also substantially altered, suggesting the involvement of VCAM-1 in the CD69-dependent migration of Th2 cells into the asthmatic lung. Interestingly, the administration of anti-CD69 Ab inhibited the induction of the OVA-induced airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness. This inhibitory effect induced by the CD69 mAb was observed even after the airway challenge with OVA. These results indicate that CD69 plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of allergen-induced eosinophilic airway inflammation and hyperresponsiveness and that CD69 could be a possible therapeutic target for asthmatic patients.
    The Journal of Immunology 11/2009; 183(12):8203-15. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Studies of human asthma and of animal models of allergic airway inflammation revealed a crucial role for Th2 cells in the pathogenesis of allergic asthma. Kruppel-type zinc finger proteins are the largest family of a regulatory transcription factor for cellular development and function. Zinc finger protein (Zfp) 35 is an 18-zinc finger motif-containing Kruppel-type zinc finger protein, while its function remains largely unknown. The aim of this study was to clarify the role of Zfp35 in the pathogenesis of Th2-dependent allergic inflammation, such as allergic asthma. We examined airway eosinophilic inflammation and hyperresponsiveness in two mouse models, which use our newly generated Zfp35-deficient (Zfp35(-/-)) mice and adoptive transfer of cells. In Zfp35(-/-) mice, Th2 cell differentiation, Th2 cytokine production, eosinophilic inflammation, and airway hyperresponsiveness were substantially enhanced. Furthermore, adoptive transfer of Ag-sensitized Zfp35(-/-) CD4 T cells into the asthmatic mice resulted in enhanced airway inflammation and airway hyperresponsiveness. These results indicate that Zfp35 controls Th2 cell differentiation, allergic airway inflammation, and airway hyperresponsiveness in a negative manner. Thus, Zfp35 may control Th2-dependent diseases, such as allergic asthma.
    The Journal of Immunology 09/2009; 183(8):5388-96. · 5.52 Impact Factor