Date: 07 Jul 2011

B Lymphocyte Lineage Specification, Commitment and Epigenetic Control of Transcription by Early B Cell Factor 1

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Early B cell factor 1 (EBF1) is a transcription factor that is critical for both B lymphopoiesis and B cell function. EBF1 is a requisite component of the B lymphocyte transcriptional network and is essential for B lineage specification. Recent studies revealed roles for EBF1 in B cell commitment. EBF1 binds its target genes via a DNA-binding domain including a unique ‘zinc knuckle’, which mediates a novel mode of DNA recognition. Chromatin immunoprecipitation of EBF1 in pro-B cells defined hundreds of new, as well as previously identified, target genes. Notably, expression of the pre-B cell receptor (pre-BCR), BCR and PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathways is controlled by EBF1. In this review, we highlight these current developments and explore how EBF1 functions as a tissue-specific regulator of chromatin structure at B cell-specific genes.