Stage-specific epigenetic regulation of CD4 expression by coordinated enhancer elements during T cell development

Academic Article


  • The inheritance of gene expression patterns is dependent on epigenetic regulation, but the establishment and maintenance of epigenetic landscapes during T cell differentiation are incompletely understood. Here we show that two stage-specific Cd4 cis-elements, the previously characterized enhancer E4p and a novel enhancer E4m, coordinately promote Cd4 transcription in mature thymic MHC-II-specific T cells, in part through the canonical Wnt pathway. Specifically, E4p licenses E4m to orchestrate DNA demethylation by TET1 and TET3, which in turn poises the Cd4 locus for transcription in peripheral T cells. Cd4 locus demethylation is important for subsequent Cd4 transcription in activated peripheral T cells wherein these cis-elements become dispensable. By contrast, in developing thymocytes the loss of TET1/3 does not affect Cd4 transcription, highlighting an uncoupled event between transcription and epigenetic modifications. Together our findings reveal an important function for thymic cis-elements in governing gene expression in the periphery via a heritable epigenetic mechanism.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Issuree PD; Day K; Au C; Raviram R; Zappile P; Skok JA; Xue HH; Myers RM; Littman DR
  • Volume

  • 9
  • Issue

  • 1