Transcriptional regulation of CD4 gene expression by T cell factor-1/β-catenin pathway

Zhaofeng Huang, Huimin Xie, Vassilio Ioannidis, Werner Held, Hans Clevers, Maureen S. Sadim, Zuoming Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


By interacting with MHC class II molecules, CD4 facilitates lineage development as well as activation of Th cells. Expression of physiological levels of CD4 requires a proximal CD4 enhancer to stimulate basic CD4 promoter activity. T cell factor (TCF)-1/ β-catenin pathway has previously been shown to regulate thymocyte survival via up-regulating antiapoptotic molecule Bcl-XL. By both loss and gain of function studies, in this study we show additional function of TCF-1/β-catenin pathway in the regulation of CD4 expression in vivo. Mice deficient in TCF-1 displayed significantly reduced protein and mRNA levels of CD4 in CD4+CD8+ double-positive (DP) thymocytes. A transgene encoding Bcl-2 restored survival but not CD4 levels of TCF-1-/- DP cells. Thus, TCF-1-regulated survival and CD4 expression are two separate events. In contrast, CD4 levels were restored on DP TCF-1-/- cells by transgenic expression of a wild-type TCF-1, but not a truncated TCF-1 that lacks a domain required for interacting with β-catenin. Furthermore, forced expression of a stabilized β-catenin, a coactivator of TCF-1, resulted in up-regulation of CD4. TCF-1 or stabilized β-catenin greatly stimulated activity of a CD4 reporter gene driven by a basic CD4 promoter and the CD4 enhancer. However, mutation of a potential TCF binding site located within the enhancer abrogated TCF-1 and β-catenin-mediated activation of CD4 reporter. Finally, recruitment of TCF-1 to CD4 enhancer was detected in wild-type but not TCF-1 null mice by chromatin-immunoprecipitation analysis. Thus, our results demonstrated that TCF/β-catenin pathway enhances CD4 expression in vivo by recruiting TCF-1 to stimulate CD4 enhancer activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4880-4887
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


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