The class II major histocompatibility complex genes all contain in their proximal promoters three cis-elements called S, X, and Y that are conserved in both sequence and position, and a fourth element, J, conserved in sequence but not in position. J, X, and Y and, to some extent, S, have been shown to be functionally important in regulation of expression of these genes. In the present study, a protein factor that binds cooperatively to the S plus J elements of the promoter of the class II major histocompatibility complex gene DPA has been detected. Moreover, functional cooperativity between S and J in activation of the enhancerless -40 interferon-beta (-40 IFN-beta) promoter has been demonstrated. Finally, the latter assay appears to subdivide complementation group A of class II negative human B cell lines that includes both mutants generated in vitro and cells from patients with the bare lymphocyte syndrome (type II). In three of these cell lines, the enhancerless -40 IFN-beta promoter containing the S plus J elements was functionally active, while in the others it was inactive.

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