The pre-TCRα (pTα) is exclusively expressed in immature thymocytes and constitutes the pre-TCR complex with TCRβ, which regulates early T cell differentiation. Despite the recent identification of the pTα enhancer, the contribution of the promoter region, the direct DNA-protein interaction, and the regulation of such interaction along with T cell development have not been investigated. We analyzed the pTα promoter region and identified the critical elements for transcription of the pTα gene. The pTα promoter was found to contain two consecutive E-box elements that are critical for pTα transcription. The E-box elements in the promoter region formed the specific DNA-protein complex that was exclusively observed in immature thymocytes, not in mature thymocytes and T cells. The E proteins in this complex were identified as E2A and HeLa E-box binding protein (HEB), and overexpression of E2A and HEB resulted in activation of the pTα promoter. The binding complex in the consecutive E-boxes in the pTα promoter changed along with T cell development, as a distinct DNA-binding complex was observed in mature T cells. Comparing the E-box regions in the enhancer and the promoter, those in the promoter appear to make a greater contribution to pTα gene transcription.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy