B-lymphocyte-induced maturation protein (Blimp-1) is a transcriptional repressor that is considered to be a master regulator of terminal B-cell development because it is sufficient to trigger differentiation in the BCL(1)-cell model. Transcription of the c-myc gene is repressed by Blimp-1 during B-cell differentiation. In this study, we have explored the mechanism by which Blimp-1 represses transcription by using Gal4-fusion protein assays and assays in which Blimp-1 represses the natural c-myc promoter. The results show that Blimp-1 represses the c-myc promoter by an active mechanism that is independent of the adjacently bound activator YY1. Blimp-1 contains two regions that independently associate with histone deacetylase (HDAC) and endogenous Blimp-1 in nuclear extracts binds in vitro to the c-myc Blimp-1 site in a complex containing HDAC. The functional importance of recruiting HDAC for Blimp-1-dependent repression of c-myc transcription is supported by two experiments. First, the HDAC inhibitor tricostatin A inhibits Blimp-1-dependent repression in cotransfection assays. Second, a chromatin immunoprecipitation assay shows that expression of Blimp-1 causes deacetylation of histone H3 associated with the c-myc promoter, and this deacetylation depends on the Blimp-1 binding site in the c-myc promoter.
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