DNA methylation contributes to tissue- and allele-specific expression of the T-cell differentiation marker RT6

Stefan Rothenburg, F. Koch-Nolte, H. G. Thiele, F. Haag

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


We investigated the role of DNA methylation in gene regulation of the rat T-cell differentiation marker RT6. Analysis of the methylation status of various tissues revealed that the RT6 promoter was hypomethylated in RT6-expressing tissues, and methylated in nonexpressing ones. Remarkably, among RT6-nonexpressing tissues, the extent of methylated regions varied greatly between lymphatic tissues, where regions larger than 23 kb were methylated, and nonlymphatic tissues, where methylation was restricted to a 3- to 4-kb region surrounding the promoter. We have previously shown that cis-regulatory elements determine differential expression of the two RT6 alleles in a subpopulation of T cells. We now show that the RT6 alleles in these cells differed in their methylation status. The promoter region of the silent allele was methylated, while that of the transcribed allele was not. Upon treatment of RT6-nonexpressing thymoma cells with the methyltransferase inhibitor 5-azacytidine, RT6 expression was induced. In RT6 heterozygous hybridoma cells, expressing only one RT6 allele, induction of the silent, methylated RT6 allele was observed. Sensitivity of the RT6 promoter to DNA methylation was demonstrated by promoterspecific in vitro methylation, which inhibited RT6 promoter activity, while that of the SV40 promoter was not influenced. Our findings indicate that DNA methylation plays an important role in the control of monoallelic and tissue-specific RT6 expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)231-241
Number of pages11
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA methylation
  • Monoallelic expression
  • RT6
  • T-cell development
  • Tissue specificity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'DNA methylation contributes to tissue- and allele-specific expression of the T-cell differentiation marker RT6'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this