The ht beta gene encodes a novel CACCC box-binding protein that regulates T-cell receptor gene expression
A gene encoding a novel CACCC box-binding protein that binds to the promoter region of the human T-cell receptor (TCR) V beta 8.1 gene and the mouse TCR alpha gene silencer has been cloned. This gene, termed ht beta, contains four zinc fingers of the class Cys2-X12-His2 that may be responsible for DNA binding and a highly negatively charged region that defines a putative transcriptional activation domain. Analysis of the expression of ht beta mRNA revealed similar expression levels and patterns in various cell lines. The bacterially expressed ht beta protein can bind to the CACCC box in both the human TCR V beta 8.1 gene promoter and the mouse TCR alpha gene silencer. The CACCC box is essential for efficient transcription of the V beta 8.1 promoter. Cotransfection with an ht beta expression plasmid and a reporter vector indicated that ht beta can activate human TCR V beta 8.1 gene transcription. ht beta also is able to counteract the silencing effect of the mouse TCR alpha gene silencer. The CACCC box has been found in almost all V beta 8.1 gene subfamily members and in both TCR alpha and beta gene enhancers in humans and mice. These results suggest that the CACCC box-binding protein may have an important regulatory function for TCR gene expression in alpha beta T cells versus gamma delta T cells.