Transcriptional control of MHC class II gene expression during differentiation from B cells to plasma cells

P. Dellabona, F. Latron, A. Maffei, L. Scarpellino, R. S. Accolla

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In this study we investigated the molecular mechanisms responsible for the extinction of the constitutive MHC class II gene expression of human B cells on somatic cell hybridization with murine plasmocytoma cells. We found that this event is due to trans-acting suppressor functions of mouse origin pre-existing in the plasmocytoma cells and acting at transcriptional level. Transcription of the entire family of human class II genes is suppressed, including genes as DO β for which a distinct regulation of expression in B cells had been previously demonstrated. Suppression appears specific for class II genes because in the hybrids expression of MHC class I genes of mouse is unaffected and of human only partially reduced. Interestingly, also murine invariant chain gene is expressed in both parental plasmocytoma and hybrid cells although at reduced amounts as compared to a murine class II positive B cell line. The class II negative phenotype of hybrid cells and parental plasmocytoma cells is highly stable and unaffected by treatment with protein synthesis inhibitors, suggesting that the transcriptional suppressor function is not mediated by rapid, labile turning-over proteins. Possible mechanisms responsible for transcriptional regulation of MHC class II gene expression during terminal differentiation of B cells to plasma cells are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2902-2910
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology


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