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CXXC Finger Protein 1 is Critical for T-cell Intrathymic Development through Regulating H3K4 Trimethylation
2017-01-17 OnClick: 161
T-cell development in the thymus is largely controlled by an epigenetic program, involving in both DNA methylation and histone modifications. Previous studies have identified Cxxc1 as a regulator of both cytosine methylation and histone 3 lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3). However, it is unknown whether Cxxc1 plays a role in thymocyte development. Here we show that T-cell development in the thymus is severely impaired in Cxxc1-deficient mice. Furthermore, we identify genome-wide Cxxc1-binding sites and H3K4me3 modification sites in wild-type and Cxxc1-deficient thymocytes. Our results demonstrate that Cxxc1 directly controls the expression of key genes important for thymocyte survival such as RORγt and for T-cell receptor signalling including Zap70 and CD8, through maintaining the appropriate H3K4me3 on their promoters. Importantly, we show that RORγt, a direct target of Cxxc1, can rescue the survival defects in Cxxc1-deficient thymocytes. Our data strongly support a critical role of Cxxc1 in thymocyte development.
Xinyang Hu and Yinchuan Xu who are Ph.D. candidates are the first authors. This study was published in Nature Communications and was funded by the National Science Fund for Excellent Young Scholars and the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program).