Global regulator SATB1 recruits beta-catenin and regulates T(H)2 differentiation in Wnt-dependent manner

PLoS Biol. 2010 Jan 26;8(1):e1000296. doi: 10.1371/journal.pbio.1000296.


In vertebrates, the conserved Wnt signalling cascade promotes the stabilization and nuclear accumulation of beta-catenin, which then associates with the lymphoid enhancer factor/T cell factor proteins (LEF/TCFs) to activate target genes. Wnt/beta -catenin signalling is essential for T cell development and differentiation. Here we show that special AT-rich binding protein 1 (SATB1), the T lineage-enriched chromatin organizer and global regulator, interacts with beta-catenin and recruits it to SATB1's genomic binding sites. Gene expression profiling revealed that the genes repressed by SATB1 are upregulated upon Wnt signalling. Competition between SATB1 and TCF affects the transcription of TCF-regulated genes upon beta-catenin signalling. GATA-3 is a T helper type 2 (T(H)2) specific transcription factor that regulates production of T(H)2 cytokines and functions as T(H)2 lineage determinant. SATB1 positively regulated GATA-3 and siRNA-mediated knockdown of SATB1 downregulated GATA-3 expression in differentiating human CD4(+) T cells, suggesting that SATB1 influences T(H)2 lineage commitment by reprogramming gene expression. In the presence of Dickkopf 1 (Dkk1), an inhibitor of Wnt signalling, GATA-3 is downregulated and the expression of signature T(H)2 cytokines such as IL-4, IL-10, and IL-13 is reduced, indicating that Wnt signalling is essential for T(H)2 differentiation. Knockdown of beta-catenin also produced similar results, confirming the role of Wnt/beta-catenin signalling in T(H)2 differentiation. Furthermore, chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis revealed that SATB1 recruits beta-catenin and p300 acetyltransferase on GATA-3 promoter in differentiating T(H)2 cells in a Wnt-dependent manner. SATB1 coordinates T(H)2 lineage commitment by reprogramming gene expression. The SATB1:beta-catenin complex activates a number of SATB1 regulated genes, and hence this study has potential to find novel Wnt responsive genes. These results demonstrate that SATB1 orchestrates T(H)2 lineage commitment by mediating Wnt/beta-catenin signalling. This report identifies a new global transcription factor involved in beta-catenin signalling that may play a major role in dictating the functional outcomes of this signalling pathway during development, differentiation, and tumorigenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation
  • E1A-Associated p300 Protein / metabolism
  • GATA3 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • GATA3 Transcription Factor / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Matrix Attachment Region Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Signal Transduction
  • Th2 Cells / cytology
  • Th2 Cells / metabolism*
  • Wnt Proteins / metabolism*
  • beta Catenin / chemistry
  • beta Catenin / metabolism*


  • GATA3 Transcription Factor
  • Matrix Attachment Region Binding Proteins
  • SATB1 protein, human
  • Wnt Proteins
  • beta Catenin
  • E1A-Associated p300 Protein
  • EP300 protein, human