Anderson DA, Grajales-Reyes GE, Satpathy AT, Hueichucura CEV, Murphy TL, Murphy KM.
European Journal of Immunology, 2 August 2017

Ciita was discovered for its role in regulating transcription of major histocompatibility complex class II (MHCII) genes. Subsequently, CIITA was predicted to control many other genes based on reporter and ChIP-seq analysis but few such predictions have been verified in vivo using Ciita-/- mice. Testing these predictions for classical dendritic cells (cDCs) has been particularly difficult, since Ciita-/- mice lack MHCII expression required to identify cDCs. However, recent identification of the cDC-specific transcription factor Zbtb46 allows the identification of cDCs independently of MHCII expression. We crossed Zbtb46gfp mice onto the Ciita-/- background and found that all cDC lineages developed in vivo in the absence of Ciita. We then compared the complete transcriptional profile of wild-type and Ciita-/-cDCs to define the physiological footprint of CIITA for both immature and activated cDCs. We find that CIITA exerts a highly restricted control over only the MHCII, H2-DO and H2-DM genes, in DC1 and DC2 cDC subsets, but not over other proposed targets, including Ii. These findings emphasize the caveats needed in interpreting transcription factor binding sites identified by in-vitro reporter analysis, or by ChIP-seq, which may not necessarily indicate their functional activity in vivo.