E proteins are required to activate germline transcription of the TCR Vbeta8.2 gene

Eur J Immunol. 2008 Oct;38(10):2806-20. doi: 10.1002/eji.200838144.


Each TCR Vbeta gene is regulated by an individual Vbeta promoter, which becomes active prior to V(D) J recombination and drives germline transcription. It has been shown that Vbeta gene locus activation and recombination are dependent on the Vbeta promoter. However, transcription factors that regulate Vbeta germline transcription remain largely undefined. A major challenge in studying Vbeta gene germline transcription is the quantitative assessment of relatively low-level transcripts in T-cell progenitors. Here we used the established Vbeta8.2(CD2) knock-in mouse model to assess functions of E-protein transcription factors in Vbeta8.2 germline transcription. We show that E proteins are required for the activation but not the maintenance of the Vbeta8.2 germline transcription during thymocyte development. The activation of Vbeta8.2 germline transcription depends more on the E proteins encoded by the E2A gene than by the HEB gene. We further show that IL-7 receptor (IL-7R)-mediated signals are essential for Vbeta8.2 germline transcription. We provide evidence that IL-7R expression is only partially controlled by E2A, suggesting a role for E2A in driving Vbeta8.2 germline transcription independent of IL-7R activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Gene Knock-In Techniques
  • Genes, T-Cell Receptor beta*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Mutation
  • Peptide Fragments / genetics*
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta / genetics*
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7 / immunology
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7 / metabolism*
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Signal Transduction
  • T-Lymphocytes / cytology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Transcriptional Activation*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Receptors, Antigen, T-Cell, alpha-beta
  • Receptors, Interleukin-7
  • T-cell receptor Vbeta 8.2
  • Tcf12 protein, mouse
  • Tcf3 protein, mouse