Molecular immunology

The zinc finger transcription factor ZXDC activates CCL2 gene expression by opposing BCL6-mediated repression.

PMID 23954399


The zinc finger X-linked duplicated (ZXD) family of transcription factors has been implicated in regulating transcription of major histocompatibility complex class II genes in antigen presenting cells; roles beyond this function are not yet known. The expression of one gene in this family, ZXD family zinc finger C (ZXDC), is enriched in myeloid lineages and therefore we hypothesized that ZXDC may regulate myeloid-specific gene expression. Here we demonstrate that ZXDC regulates genes involved in myeloid cell differentiation and inflammation. Overexpression of the larger isoform of ZXDC, ZXDC1, activates expression of monocyte-specific markers of differentiation and synergizes with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (which causes differentiation) in the human leukemic monoblast cell line U937. To identify additional gene targets of ZXDC1, we performed gene expression profiling which revealed multiple inflammatory gene clusters regulated by ZXDC1. Using a combination of approaches we show that ZXDC1 activates transcription of a gene within one of the regulated clusters, chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2; monocyte chemoattractant protein 1; MCP1) via a previously defined distal regulatory element. Further, ZXDC1-dependent up-regulation of the gene involves eviction of the transcriptional repressor B-cell CLL/lymphoma 6 (BCL6), a factor known to be important in resolving inflammatory responses, from this region of the promoter. Collectively, our data show that ZXDC1 is a regulator in the process of myeloid function and that ZXDC1 is responsible for Ccl2 gene de-repression by BCL6.