Interleukin-4 (IL-4) is a multifunctional cytokine that plays an important role in immune and inflammatory responses. Expression of the IL-4 gene is tightly controlled at the level of gene transcription by both positive and negative regulatory elements in the IL-4 promoter. Several constitutive nuclear factors have been identified that can interact with IL-4 promoter elements in DNA binding assays. Here we report that the zinc-finger protein YY-1 (Yin-Yang 1) can bind to multiple elements within the human IL-4 promoter. Cotransfection of Jurkat T cells with different IL-4 promoter/reporter constructs together with expression vectors encoding antisense, wild-type, or zinc finger-deleted mutant YY-1 suggested that YY-1 enhanced IL-4 promoter activity in a DNA-binding domain-dependent manner. Site-directed mutagenesis revealed that a proximal YY-1-binding site, termed YO (-59TCATTTT-53), was essential for YY-1-driven IL-4 promoter activity. In addition, cotransfected YY-1 enhanced both IL-4 promoter activity and endogenous IL-4 gene expression in nontransformed peripheral blood T cells. Thus, YY-1 positively regulates IL-4 gene expression in lymphocytes.
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