An integrated genomic analysis of aryl hydrocarbon receptor-mediated inhibition of B-cell differentiation

Toxicol Sci. 2010 Dec;118(2):454-69. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfq265. Epub 2010 Sep 6.


The aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) agonist 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) alters differentiation of B cells and suppresses antibody production. A combination of whole-genome, microarray-based chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP-on-chip), and time course gene expression microarray analysis was performed on the mouse B-cell line CH12.LX following exposure to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or LPS and TCDD to identify the primary and downstream transcriptional elements of B-cell differentiation that are altered by the AHR. ChIP-on-chip analysis identified 1893 regions with a significant increase in AHR binding with TCDD treatment. Transcription factor binding site analysis on the ChIP-on-chip data showed enrichment in AHR response elements. Other transcription factors showed significant coenrichment with AHR response elements. When ChIP-on-chip regions were compared with gene expression changes at the early time points, 78 genes were identified as potential direct targets of the AHR. AHR binding and expression changes were confirmed for a subset of genes in primary mouse B cells. Network analysis examining connections between the 78 potential AHR target genes and three transcription factors known to regulate B-cell differentiation indicated multiple paths for potential regulation by the AHR. Enrichment analysis on the differentially expressed genes at each time point evaluated the downstream impact of AHR-regulated gene expression changes on B-cell-related processes. AHR-mediated impairment of B-cell differentiation occurred at multiple nodes of the B-cell differentiation network and potentially through multiple mechanisms including direct cis-acting effects on key regulators of B-cell differentiation, indirect regulation of B-cell differentiation-related pathways, and transcriptional coregulation of target genes by AHR and other transcription factors.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genomics*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / toxicity*
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Lymphocyte Activation / drug effects
  • Lymphocyte Activation / immunology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / toxicity
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon / drug effects
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon / genetics*
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon / immunology
  • Spleen / cytology


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon