Analysis of CR2/CD21 transcriptional regulation by chromatin structural variation and notch activity in human cell models

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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[Truncated abstract] Human complement receptor 2 (CR2/CD21) is a cell surface glycoprotein detected on specific cells involved in immunity, which binds complement C3 cleavage fragments, cellular ligands IFN-α and CD23 as well as the EBV coat protein, gp350/220. During the early stages of B-cell development CR2/CD21 is silenced. Expression is initiated on immature B-cells escaping negative selection. During peripheral maturation CR2/CD21 is up-regulated with B-cell sub-populations showing distinctive surface levels (comparatively low, intermediate or high). CR2/CD21 is silenced upon terminal plasmacytic differentiation. Appropriate timing and expression level of CR2/CD21 is important for the development of a healthy B-cell repertoire. Previous studies have identified sequences within the proximal promoter and first intron of CR2/CD21 that cooperate within native chromatin to control cell-specific silencing. Further, analysis of cultured human cells has revealed chromatin structural variation causing DNase I hypersensitivity at these regulatory sites in a CR2/CD21-expressing mature B-cell line (Raji) which are absent in a non-lymphoid cell type (K562). The primary focus of the present study involved characterising chromatin structural variation over previously recognized DNase I hypersensitive regions at the CR2/CD21 locus in human cells to understand how chromatin structure might regulate developmental expression of CR2/CD21. ... These studies provide evidence that notch signaling influences CR2/CD21 expression in human cell lines. First, in vivo binding of CBF1 to CR2/CD21 sequences in the proximal promoter and CRS implies that CR2/CD21 is a direct target of notch activation. Second, the effect of exogenous notch signalling molecules on CR2/CD21 proximal promoter activity was modulated by factors binding tandem E-boxes near the transcriptional start site suggesting that the notch pathway may also influence CR2/CD21 expression via control of HLH molecules. Third, initiation of CR2/CD21 expression was observed in a nonexpressing pre-B cell line (Reh) by co-culture with stromal cells expressing a notch ligand (OP9-DL) but not control stroma (OP9-GFP). Together, these findings support a role for notch regulation of B-cell maturation and invite speculation that initiation of CR2/CD21 expression following negative selection of immature B-cells involves crosstalk between HLH transcriptional regulators and the notch pathway. Furthermore, the Reh/OP9-DL co-culture system may provide a model to directly study the relationship between cell signalling molecules, transcription factor regulation, chromatin structural variation and differentiation of B-cells.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2007


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