This study examines mucosa-specific regulatory pathways involved in modulation of interferon-γ (IFN-γ) in lamina propria T cells. Previous studies identified mucosa-specific CD2 cis-elements within the -204 to -108 bp IFNG promoter. Within this region, a single-site nucleotide polymorphism, -179G/T, imparts tumor necrosis factor-α stimulation of IFNG in peripheral blood lymphocytes, and is linked with accelerated AIDS progression. We discovered a putative estrogen response element (ERE) introduced by the -179T, which displays selective activation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) vs lamina propria mononuclear cells (LPMC). Transfection of PBMC with constructs containing the -179G or -179T site revealed CD2-mediated enhancement of the -179T compared to -179G allele, although, in LPMC, a similar level of expression was detected. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) analysis demonstrated CD2-mediated nucleoprotein binding to the -179T but not the -179G in PBMC. In LPMC, binding is constitutive to both -179G and -179T regions. Sequence and EMSA analysis suggests that the -179T allele creates an ERE-like binding site capable of binding recombinant estrogen receptor. Estrogen response element transactivation is enhanced by CD2 signaling, but inhibited by estrogen in PBMC but not in LPMC, although expression of estrogen receptor was similar. This is the first report to describe a potential molecular mechanism responsible for selectively controlling IFN-γ production in LPMC.
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