• interleukin 13;
  • protein kinase C;
  • T lymphocyte;
  • transcriptional regulation


Although interleukin 13 (IL-13) is an important mediator of asthma and allergic diseases, the molecular mechanisms regulating IL-13 gene expression are not well understood. This study was designed to define the molecular mechanisms governing IL-13 gene expression in T cells. IL-13 expression was examined in human peripheral blood T cells and in the EL-4 T-cell line by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. An IL-13 promoter deletion analysis was performed using luciferase-based reporter plasmids transiently transfected into EL-4 cells by electroporation. DNA binding factors were investigated using electrophoretic mobility shift assays. In contrast to IL-4 expression, which required concomitant activation of calcium- and protein kinase C- (PKC-) dependent signalling pathways, PKC activation alone was sufficient for IL-13 protein secretion in mitogen-primed (but not resting) peripheral blood T cells, and for IL-13 mRNA expression and promoter activity in EL-4 T cells. Promoter deletion analysis localized a phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA) -sensitive element to a proximal promoter region between − 109 and − 79 base pairs upstream from the IL-13 transcription start site. This promoter region supported the binding of both constitutive and PMA-inducible nuclear factors in gel shift assays.