ChIP-on-chip analysis identifies IL-22 as direct target gene of ectopically expressed FOXP3 transcription factor in human T cells
BACKGROUND:The transcription factor (TF) forkhead box P3 (FOXP3) is constitutively expressed at high levels in naturally occurring CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (nTregs). It is not only the most accepted marker for that cell population but is also considered lineage determinative. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) of TFs in combination with genomic tiling microarray analysis (ChIP-on-chip) has been shown to be an appropriate tool for identifying FOXP3 transcription factor binding sites (TFBSs) on a genome-wide scale. In combination with microarray expression analysis, the ChIP-on-chip technique allows identification of direct FOXP3 target genes.RESULTS:ChIP-on-chip analysis of the human FOXP3 expressed in resting and PMA/ionomycin--stimulated Jurkat T cells revealed several thousand putative FOXP3 binding sites and demonstrated the importance of intronic regions for FOXP3 binding. The analysis of expression data showed that the stimulation-dependent down-regulation of IL-22 was correlated with direct FOXP3 binding in the IL-22 promoter region. This association was confirmed by real-time PCR analysis of ChIP-DNA. The corresponding ChIP-region also contained a matching FOXP3 consensus sequence.CONCLUSIONS:Knowledge of the general distribution patterns of FOXP3 TFBSs in the human genome under resting and activated conditions will contribute to a better understanding of this TF and its influence on direct target genes, as well as its importance for the phenotype and function of Tregs. Moreover, FOXP3-dependent repression of Th17-related IL-22 may be relevant to an understanding of the phenomenon of Treg/Th17 cell plasticity.