Intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM) 1/CD54 plays an important role in T cell dependent B cell activation and for function of B lymphocytes as antigen-presenting cells. ICAM-1 expression is upregulated as a consequence of B lymphocyte antigen receptor (BCR) signaling, thereby serving to render antigen-stimulated B cells more receptive to T cell-mediated costimulatory signals. We have investigated BCR-induced expression of the Icam-1 gene in primary B cells and B cell lines and have found it to be dependent on BCR-induced expression of the transcription factor EGR1. Icam-1 transcription, induced by BCR cross-linking or bypassing the BCR with phorbol ester, is absent in a B cell line in which the EGR1-encoding gene (egr-1) is methylated and not expressed. A potential EGR1-binding site was located at -701 bp upstream of the murine Icam-1 gene transcription start site and shown by electrophoretic mobility shift assay to bind to murine EGR1. Mutation of this site in the context of 1.1 kb of the Icam-1 promoter significantly abrogated transcriptional induction by phorbol ester and anti-mu stimulation in primary B cells. A direct effect of EGR1 on the Icam-1 promoter is suggested by the ability of EGR1 expressed from an SV40-driven expression vector transactivate the wild-type Icam-1 promoter, whereas mutation of the EGR1 mutation of the EGR1 binding motif at -701 bp markedly compromises this induction. These data identify EGR1 as a signaling intermediate in BCR-stimulated B cell functional responses, specifically linking BCR signal transduction to induction of the Icam-1 gene. Furthermore, similar findings for BCR-induced CD44 gene induction (Maltzman, J.S., J.A. Carman, and J.G. Monroe. 1996. Role of EGR1 in regulation of stimulus-dependent CD44 transcription in B lymphocytes. Mol. Cell. Biol. In press) suggest that EGR1 may be an important signaling molecule for regulating levels of migration and adhesion molecules during humoral immune responses.

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