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Title: Early growth response genes -2 and -3 are essential for optimal immune responses
Author: Ghaffari, Emma Louise Marie
Awarding Body: Brunel University
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2013
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Early Growth Response Genes (EGR) is a family of four transcription factors containing a unique zinc finger domain. EGR-2 and EGR-3 are important for hindbrain development and myelination. These transcription factors are also necessary for lymphocyte function however, the mechanisms are still unclear. Previous findings have shown that EGR-2cKO mice develop lupus-like autoimmune disease with high levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines despite showing normal T and B cell proliferation after mitogenic stimulation. Therefore we established the CD2-EGR-2-/-EGR-3-/- mouse model to explore the phenotype, susceptibility to autoimmune disease and relevant lymphocyte function. We discovered that CD2-EGR-2-/-EGR-3-/- mice developed severe systemic autoimmune disease and expressed high levels of inflammatory cytokines. More importantly we discovered a novel finding that CD2-EGR-2-/-EGR-3-/- T and B cells had impaired cell proliferation after mitogenic stimulation. Further investigations revealed that the molecular mechanism defected in the T cell receptor signalling pathway is due to a dysfunction in Activator Protein-1 (AP-1). AP-1 is a heterodimeric protein composed of AP-1 family members including Jun, Atf and Fos. Our data shows that EGR-2 and EGR-3 directly bind with the Atf family member Batf, which prevents Batf’s inhibitory function on AP-1 activation. This research demonstrates that EGR-2 and EGR-3 intrinsically regulate chronic inflammation and also positively regulate antigen receptor activation. In conclusion EGR-2 and EGR-3 are essential for providing optimal immune responses, whilst limiting inflammatory immunopathology. We propose that this new model could be used for studying autoimmune disease.
Supervisor: Li, S.-L. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Immunology ; Biology ; Adaptive immunity ; T cell receptor signalling ; Autoimmunity