Identification of a genomic enhancer that enforces proper apoptosis induction in thymic negative selection

Miki Arai Hojo, Kyoko Masuda, Hiroaki Hojo, Yosuke Nagahata, Keiko Yasuda, Daiya Ohara, Yusuke Takeuchi, Keiji Hirota, Yutaka Suzuki, Hiroshi Kawamoto, Shinpei Kawaoka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


During thymic negative selection, autoreactive thymocytes carrying T cell receptor (TCR) with overtly strong affinity to self-MHC/self-peptide are removed by Bim-dependent apoptosis, but how Bim is specifically regulated to link TCR activation and apoptosis induction is unclear. Here we identify a murine T cell-specific genomic enhancer EBAB (Bub1-Acoxl-Bim), whose deletion leads to accumulation of thymocytes expressing high affinity TCRs. Consistently, EBAB knockout mice have defective negative selection and fail to delete autoreactive thymocytes in various settings, with this defect accompanied by reduced Bim expression and apoptosis induction. By contrast, EBAB is dispensable for maintaining peripheral T cell homeostasis via Bim-dependent pathways. Our data thus implicate EBAB as an important, developmental stage-specific regulator of Bim expression and apoptosis induction to enforce thymic negative selection and suppress autoimmunity. Our study unravels a part of genomic enhancer codes that underlie complex and context-dependent gene regulation in TCR signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2603
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-12-2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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