Programmed death-1 (PD-1) is a crucial negative regulator of CD8 T cell development and function, yet the mechanisms that control its expression are not fully understood. Through a nonbiased DNase I hypersensitivity assay, four novel regulatory regions within the Pdcd1 locus were identified. Two of these elements flanked the locus, bound the transcriptional insulator protein CCCTC-binding factor, and interacted with each other, creating a potential regulatory compartmentalization of the locus. In response to T cell activation signaling, NFATc1 bound to two of the novel regions that function as independent regulatory elements. STAT binding sites were identified in these elements as well. In splenic CD8 T cells, TCR-induced PD-1 expression was augmented by IL-6 and IL-12, inducers of STAT3 and STAT4 activity, respectively. IL-6 or IL-12 on its own did not induce PD-1. Importantly, STAT3/4 and distinct chromatin modifications were associated with the novel regulatory regions following cytokine stimulation. The NFATc1/STAT regulatory regions were found to interact with the promoter region of the Pdcd1 gene, providing a mechanism for their action. Together these data add multiple novel distal regulatory regions and pathways to the control of PD-1 expression and provide a molecular mechanism by which proinflammatory cytokines, such as IL-6 or IL-12, can augment PD-1 expression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy