The B cell lymphoma (BCL)-6 transcriptional repressor protein is an important regulator of Th2 responses. Mice deficient in BCL-6 develop severe Th2-type inflammation that can develop even in the absence of IL-4 signaling. We have investigated the mechanism for how BCL-6 regulates Th2 cell differentiation and have found that IL-6 signaling can promote dramatically increased levels of Th2 differentiation in BCL-6-/- CD4 T cells compared with wild-type CD4 T cells. IL-6 can induce a low level of Th2 cytokine expression in BCL-6-/-STAT6-/- cells but not in STAT6-/- cells. Since the promoters for Th2 cytokines such as IL-4, IL-5, IL-10, and IL-13 do not contain consensus BCL-6 DNA binding sites, we investigated whether BCL-6 might regulate the GATA-3 transcription factor that activates the expression of multiple Th2 cytokines. Consistent with the idea that BCL-6 represses GATA-3 expression, we found that GATA-3 levels are up-regulated in BCL-6-/-STAT6-/- CD4 T cells compared with STAT6-/- CD4 T cells. Retrovirus-mediated expression of BCL-6 in BCL-6-/-STAT6-/- T cells as well as developing wild-type Th2 cells leads to a potent repression of IL-4 and IL-10 secretion. Retrovirus-mediated expression of BCL-6 in both BCL-6-/ -STAT6-/- and wild-type T cells also leads to a significant decrease in GATA-3 protein levels. Surprisingly, BCL-6 does not appear to regulate GATA-3 mRNA levels and thus BCL-6 appears to regulate GATA-3 expression at a posttranscriptional level. Regulation of GATA-3 protein levels is likely a key mechanism for how BCL-6 regulates. Th2 cytokine expression and Th2 differentiation independently of STAT6. These data also point to a novel regulatory mechanism for BCL-6 separate from transcriptional repression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy