T-bet (TBX21) is a transcription factor that regulates T-cell differentiation, and has recently been implicated in the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease (CD). The regulatory networks through which T-bet affects immune function are unknown. An NCBI gene expression profile from patients with CD and controls was analyzed. T-bet transcription factor binding sites and promoter modules were identified using promoter analysis software. Functional correlations between T-bet-containing promoters were determined using data mining and ontological analysis. T-bet expression in CD peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) (n=59) was significantly reduced compared to control (n=42) (p<0.0001) and ulcerative colitis PBMCs (n=26), (p=0.005). The promoter regions of all genes differentially-expressed in CD were probed for T-bet Transcription Factor Binding Sites (TFBSs). Twenty-three genes contained transcription-factor binding sites for T-bet; 8 were down-regulated, and 15 were up-regulated in CD-PBMCs. Three genes (S100A16, ABHD3 and EZH1) that were down-regulated in CD-PBMCs contained a complex promoter module consisting of T-bet and EGRF transcription-factor binding sites. Ontological analysis revealed that a significant number of differentially-expressed genes that contain T-bet binding sites are involved in innate immunity (8 genes, Z-score 4.11) and signal transduction (5 genes, Z-score 2.65). This combination of gene expression datasets and promoter analysis has identified a network of genes that contain simple T-bet binding sites, and complex T-bet promoter modules, in their promoter regions. These results implicate a mechanism through which T-bet may influence innate immunity in CD.
View details for DOI 10.3233/ISB-2009-0410
View details for PubMedID 22430437