Epigenetic Histone Modifications Do Not Control Ig Locus Contraction and Intranuclear Localization in Cells with Dual B Cell-Macrophage Potential

Hodawadekar, S.; Wei, F.; Yu, D.; Thomas-Tikhonenko, A.; Atchison, M.L.

The Journal of Immunology 177(9): 6165-6171


DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.177.9.6165
Accession: 068490411

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Somatic rearrangement of the Ig genes during B cell development is believed to be controlled, at least in part, by accessibility of the loci to the recombinational machinery. Accessibility is poorly understood, but appears to be controlled by a combination of histone posttranslational modifications, large scale Ig locus contractions, and changes in intranuclear localization of the loci. These changes are regulated by developmental stage-specific as well as tissue-specific mechanisms. We previously isolated a murine B cell lymphoma line, Myc5, that can oscillate between the B cell and macrophage lineages depending upon growth conditions. This line provides an opportunity to study tissue-specific regulation of epigenetic mechanisms operating on the Ig loci. We found that when Myc5 cells are induced to differentiate from B cells into macrophages, expression of macrophage-specific transcripts was induced (M-CSFR, F4/80, and CD14), whereas B cell-specific transcripts decreased dramatically (mb-1, E47, IRF4, Pax5, and Igkappa). Loss of Igkappa transcription was associated with reduced Igkappa locus contraction, as well as increased association with heterochromatin protein-1 and association of the Igkappa locus with the nuclear periphery. Surprisingly, however, we found that histone modifications at the Igkappa locus remained largely unchanged whether the cells were grown in vivo as B cells, or in vitro as macrophages. These results mechanistically uncouple histone modifications at the Igkappa locus from changes in locus contraction and intranuclear localization.