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IL-2 is the first cytokine produced when naive T helper (Th) cells are activated and differentiate into dividing pre-Th0 proliferating precursors. IL-2 expression is blocked in naive, but not activated or memory, Th cells by the transcription factor Ets-2 that binds to the antigen receptor response element (ARRE)-2 of the proximal IL-2 promoter. Ets-2 acts as an independent preinduction repressor in naive Th cells and does not interact physically with the transcription factor NFAT (nuclear factor of activated T-cells) that binds to the ARRE-2 in activated Th cells. In naive Th cells, Ets-2 mRNA expression, Ets-2 protein levels, and Ets-2 binding to ARRE-2 decrease upon cell activation followed by the concomitant expression of IL-2. Cyclosporine A stabilizes Ets-2 mRNA and protein when the cells are activated. Ets-2 silences directly constitutive or induced IL-2 expression through the ARRE-2. Conversely, Ets-2 silencing allows for constitutive IL-2 expression in unstimulated cells. Ets-2 binding to ARRE-2 in chromatin is stronger in naive compared with activated or memory Th cells; in the latter, Ets-2 participates in a change of the IL-2 promoter architecture, possibly to facilitate a quick response when the cells re-encounter antigen. We propose that Ets-2 expression and protein binding to the ARRE-2 of the IL-2 promoter are part of a strictly regulated process that results in a physiological transition of naive Th cells to Th0 cells upon antigenic stimulation. Malfunction of such a repression mechanism at the molecular level could lead to a disturbance of later events in Th cell plasticity, leading to autoimmune diseases or other pathological conditions. © 2016 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


Ioannis Panagoulias, Tassos Georgakopoulos, Ioanna Aggeletopoulou, Marios Agelopoulos, Dimitris Thanos, Athanasia Mouzaki. Transcription Factor Ets-2 Acts as a Preinduction Repressor of Interleukin-2 (IL-2) Transcription in Naive T Helper Lymphocytes. The Journal of biological chemistry. 2016 Dec 23;291(52):26707-26721

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PMID: 27815505

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