Constitutive expression of Krüppel-like factor 3 (KLF3, BKLF) increases marginal zone (MZ) B cell numbers, a phenotype shared with mice lacking KLF2. Ablation of KLF3, known to interact with serum response factor (SRF), or SRF itself, results in fewer MZ B cells. It is unknown how these functional equivalences result. In this study, it is shown that KLF3 acts as transcriptional repressor for the leukocyte-specific integrin ?7 (Itgb7, Ly69) by binding to the ?7 promoter, as revealed by chromatin immunoprecipitation. KLF2 overexpression antagonizes this repression and also binds the ?7 promoter, indicating that these factors may compete for target sequence(s). Whereas ?7 is identified as direct KLF target, its repression by KLF3 is not connected to the MZ B cell increase because ?7-deficient mice have a normal complement of these and the KLF3-driven increase still occurs when ?7 is deleted. Despite this, KLF3 overexpression abolishes lymphocyte homing to Peyer's patches, much like ?7 deficiency does. Furthermore, KLF3 expression alone overcomes the MZ B cell deficiency when SRF is absent. SRF is also dispensable for the KLF3-mediated repression of ?7. Thus, despite the shared phenotype of KLF3 and SRF-deficient mice, cooperation of these factors appears neither relevant for the formation of MZ B cells nor for the regulation of ?7. Finally, a potent negative regulatory feedback loop limiting KLF3 expression is shown in this study, mediated by KLF3 directly repressing its own gene promoter. In summary, KLFs use regulatory circuits to steer lymphocyte maturation and homing and directly control leukocyte integrin expression.
CD8(+) T cells undergo rapid expansion during infection with intracellular pathogens, which is followed by swift and massive culling of primed CD8(+) T cells. The mechanisms that govern the massive contraction and maintenance of primed CD8(+) T cells are not clear. We show in this study that the transcription factor, FoxO3a, does not influence Ag presentation and the consequent expansion of CD8(+) T cell response during Listeria monocytogenes infection, but plays a key role in the maintenance of memory CD8(+) T cells. The effector function of primed CD8(+) T cells as revealed by cytokine secretion and CD107a degranulation was not influenced by inactivation of FoxO3a. Interestingly, FoxO3a-deficient CD8(+) T cells displayed reduced expression of proapoptotic molecules BIM and PUMA during the various phases of response, and underwent reduced apoptosis in comparison with wild-type cells. A higher number of memory precursor effector cells and memory subsets was detectable in FoxO3a-deficient mice compared with wild-type mice. Furthermore, FoxO3a-deficient memory CD8(+) T cells upon transfer into normal or RAG1-deficient mice displayed enhanced survival. These results suggest that FoxO3a acts in a cell-intrinsic manner to regulate the survival of primed CD8(+) T cells.
Krüppel-like factor 3 (Klf3) is a member of the Klf family of transcription factors. Klfs are widely expressed and have diverse roles in development and differentiation. In this study, we examine the function of Klf3 in B cell development by studying B lymphopoiesis in a Klf3 knockout mouse model. We show that B cell differentiation is significantly impaired in the bone marrow, spleen, and peritoneal cavity of Klf3 null mice and confirm that the defects are cell autonomous. In the bone marrow, there is a reduction in immature B cells, whereas recirculating mature cells are noticeably increased. Immunohistology of the spleen reveals a poorly structured marginal zone (MZ) that may in part be caused by deregulation of adhesion molecules on MZ B cells. In the peritoneal cavity, there are significant defects in B1 B cell development. We also report that the loss of Klf3 in MZ B cells is associated with reduced BCR signaling strength and an impaired ability to respond to LPS stimulation. Finally, we show increased expression of a number of Klf genes in Klf3 null B cells, suggesting that a Klf regulatory network may exist in B cells.
Splenic marginal zone (MZ) B cells are a lineage distinct from follicular and peritoneal B1 B cells. They are located next to the marginal sinus where blood is released. Here they pick up antigens and shuttle the load onto follicular dendritic cells inside the follicle. On activation, MZ B cells rapidly differentiate into plasmablasts secreting antibodies, thereby mediating humoral immune responses against blood-borne type 2 T-independent antigens. As Krüppel-like factors are implicated in cell differentiation/function in various tissues, we studied the function of basic Krüppel-like factor (BKLF/KLF3) in B cells. Whereas B-cell development in the bone marrow of KLF3-transgenic mice was unaffected, MZ B-cell numbers in spleen were increased considerably. As revealed in chimeric mice, this occurred cell autonomously, increasing both MZ and peritoneal B1 B-cell subsets. Comparing KLF3-transgenic and nontransgenic follicular B cells by RNA-microarray revealed that KLF3 regulates a subset of genes that was similarly up-regulated/down-regulated on normal MZ B-cell differentiation. Indeed, KLF3 expression overcame the lack of MZ B cells caused by different genetic alterations, such as CD19-deficiency or blockade of B-cell activating factor-receptor signaling, indicating that KLF3 may complement alternative nuclear factor-?B signaling. Thus, KLF3 is a driving force toward MZ B-cell maturation.
In young adult mice, the thymus produces about a million newly formed T cells every day that colonize peripheral lymphoid tissues. Mostly regarded as a primary lymphoid organ only, the relationship between the thymus and peripheral lymphoid organs is considered unidirectional. However, this perception has been challenged by reports showing that peripheral lymphocytes, mostly T cells, can migrate back into the thymus. The presence of recirculating T cells in the thymus is rather incongruous and raises the question: is the presence of peripheral T cells in the thymus superfluous or do these cells fulfill some relevant physiologic functions? There is now evidence that cells of the hematopoietic lineage, including T cells, can play an active role during thymocyte selection, a role generally considered the exclusive property of thymic epithelial cells and dendritic cells. Although, on a per cell basis, peripheral T cells in the thymus may be less efficient than thymus epithelial cells or dendritic cells at thymocyte positive and negative selection, they may nevertheless contribute to selection by influencing the selectable TCR repertoire and post-selection T cell functionality. Here, peripheral lymphocytes re-entering the thymus may be envisioned as Trojan horses as these cells may introduce antigens necessary for both positive and negative selection of T cells.
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