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Open Access Research article

Characterization of an Oct1 orthologue in the channel catfish, Ictalurus punctatus: A negative regulator of immunoglobulin gene transcription?

Mara L Lennard1, Jun-ichi Hikima1, David A Ross1, Corine P Kruiswijk2, Melanie R Wilson3, Norman W Miller3 and Gregory W Warr1*

  • * Corresponding author: Gregory W Warr warrgw@musc.edu

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Sciences Center and Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425, USA

2 Cell Biology and Immunology Group, Wageningen Institute of Animal Sciences, Wageningen University, 6709 PG Wageningen, The Netherlands

3 Department of Microbiology, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS 39216, USA

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BMC Molecular Biology 2007, 8:8  doi:10.1186/1471-2199-8-8

Published: 31 January 2007

Abstract

Background

The enhancer (Eμ3') of the immunoglobulin heavy chain locus (IGH) of the channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus) has been well characterized. The functional core region consists of two variant Oct transcription factor binding octamer motifs and one E-protein binding μE5 site. An orthologue to the Oct2 transcription factor has previously been cloned in catfish and is a functionally active transcription factor. This study was undertaken to clone and characterize the Oct1 transcription factor, which has also been shown to be important in driving immunoglobulin gene transcription in mammals.

Results

An orthologue of Oct1, a POU family transcription factor, was cloned from a catfish macrophage cDNA library. The inferred amino acid sequence of the catfish Oct1, when aligned with other vertebrate Oct1 sequences, revealed clear conservation of structure, with the POU specific subdomain of catfish Oct1 showing 96% identity to that of mouse Oct1. Expression of Oct1 was observed in clonal T and B cell lines and in all tissues examined. Catfish Oct1, when transfected into both mammalian (mouse) and catfish B cell lines, unexpectedly failed to drive transcription from three different octamer-containing reporter constructs. These contained a trimer of octamer motifs, a fish VH promoter, and the core region of the catfish Eμ3' IGH enhancer, respectively. This failure of catfish Oct1 to drive transcription was not rescued by human BOB.1, a co-activator of Oct transcription factors that stimulates transcription driven by catfish Oct2. When co-transfected with catfish Oct2, Oct1 reduced Oct2 driven transcriptional activation. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays showed that catfish Oct1 (native or expressed in vitro) bound both consensus and variant octamer motifs. Putative N- and C-terminal activation domains of Oct1, when fused to a Gal4 DNA binding domain and co-transfected with Gal4-dependent reporter constructs were transcriptionally inactive, which may be due in part to a lack of residues associated with activation domain function.

Conclusion

An orthologue to mammalian Oct1 has been found in the catfish. It is similar to mammalian Oct1 in structure and expression. However, these results indicate that the physiological functions of catfish Oct1 differ from those of mammalian Oct1 and include negative regulation of transcription.