Sakaguchi S, Hombauer M, Hassan H, Tanaka H, Yasmin N, Naoe Y, Bilic I, Moser MA, Hainberger D, Mayer H, Seiser C, Bergthaler A, Taniuchi I, Ellmeier W
CD8 coreceptor expression is dynamically regulated during thymocyte development and is tightly controlled by the activity of at least 5 different cis-regulatory elements. Despite the detailed characterization of the Cd8 loci, the regulation of the complex expression pattern of CD8 cannot be fully explained by the activity of the known Cd8 enhancers. In this study, we revisited the Cd8ab gene complex with bioinformatics and transgenic reporter gene expression approaches to search for additional Cd8 cis-regulatory elements. This led to the identification of an ECR (ECR-4), which in transgenic reporter gene expression assays, directed expression preferentially in CD44(hi)CD62L(+) CD8(+) T cells, including innate-like CD8(+) T cells. ECR-4, designated as Cd8 enhancer E8VI, was bound by Runx/CBFβ complexes and Bcl11b, indicating that E8VI is part of the cis-regulatory network that recruits transcription factors to the Cd8ab gene complex in CD8(+) T cells. Transgenic reporter expression was maintained in LCMV-specific CD8(+) T cells upon infection, although short-term, in vitro activation led to a down-regulation of E8VI activity. Finally, E8VI directed transgene expression also in CD8αα(+) DCs but not in CD8αα-expressing IELs. Taken together, we have identified a novel Cd8 enhancer that directs expression in CD44(hi)CD62L(+) CD8(+) T cells, including innate-like and antigen-specific effector/memory CD8(+) T cells and in CD8αα(+) DCs, and thus, our data provide further insight into the cis-regulatory networks that control CD8 expression.