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Isolation of the murine interleukin 2 gene and characterization of its regulatory architecture


Novak, Thomas John (1990) Isolation of the murine interleukin 2 gene and characterization of its regulatory architecture. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/w4je-df30.


Interleukin 2 (IL2) is the primary growth hormone used by mature T cells and this lymphokine plays an important role in the magnification of cell-mediated immune responses. Under normal circumstances its expression is limited to antigen-activated type 1 helper T cells (TH1) and the ability to transcribe this gene is often regarded as evidence for commitment to this developmental lineage. There is, however, abundant evidence than many non-TH1 T cells, under appropriate conditions, possess the ability to express this gene. Of paramount interest in the study of T-cell development is the mechanisms by which differentiating thymocytes are endowed with particular combinations of cell surface proteins and response repertoires. For example, why do most helper T cells express the CD4 differentiation antigen?

As a first step in understanding these developmental processes the gene encoding IL2 was isolated from a mouse genomic library by probing with a conspecific IL2 cDNA. The sequence of the 5' flanking region from + 1 to -2800 was determined and compared to the previously reported human sequence. Extensive identity exists between +1 and -580 (86%) and sites previously shown to be crucial for the proper expression of the human gene are well conserved in both sequence location in the mouse counterpart.

Transient expression assays were used to evaluate the contribution of various genomic sequences to high-level gene expression mediated by a cloned IL2 promoter fragment. Differing lengths of 5' flanking DNA, all terminating in the 5' untranslated region, were linked to a reporter gene, bacterial chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) and enzyme activity was measured after introduction into IL2-producing cell lines. No CAT was ever detected without stimulation of the recipient cells. A cloned promoter fragment containing only 321 bp of upstream DNA was expressed well in both Jurkat and EL4.El cells. Addition of intragenic or downstream DNA to these 5' IL2-CAT constructs showed that no obvious regulatory regions resided there. However, increasing the extent of 5' DNA from -321 to -2800 revealed several positive and negative regulatory elements. One negative region that was well characterized resided between -750 and -1000 and consisted almost exclusively of alternating purine and pyrimidines. There is no sequence resembling this in the human gene now, but there is evidence that there may have once been.

No region, when deleted, could relax either the stringent induction-dependence on cell-type specificity displayed by this promoter. Reagents that modulated endogenous IL2 expression, such as cAMP, cyclosporin A, and IL1, affected expression of the 5' IL2-CAT constructs also. For a given reagent, expression from all expressible constructs was suppressed or enhanced to the same extent. This suggests that these modulators affect IL2 expression through perturbation of a central inductive signal rather than by summation of the effects of discrete, independently regulated, negative and positive transcription factors.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Biology
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Major Option:Biology
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Rothenberg, Ellen V.
Thesis Committee:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:2 January 1990
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:03192015-094028652
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8792
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:20 Mar 2015 14:49
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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