Recent reports have evidenced a role for MEF2C (myocyte enhancer factor 2C) in myelopoiesis, although the precise functions of this transcription factor are still unclear. We show in the present study that MEF2A and MEF2D, two other MEF2 family members, are expressed in human primary monocytes and in higher amounts in monocyte-derived macrophages. High levels of MEF2A–MEF2D heterodimers are found in macrophage-differentiated HL60 cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitations demonstrate that MEF2A is present on the c-Jun promoter, both in undifferentiated and in macrophage-differentiated cells. Moreover, c-Jun expression is derepressed in undifferentiated cells in the presence of HDAC (histone deacetylase) inhibitor, indicating the importance of chromatin acetylation in this process. We show that MEF2A/D dimers strongly interact with HDAC1, and to a lesser extent with HDAC7 in macrophages, whereas low levels of MEF2A/D–HDAC1 complexes are found in undifferentiated cells or in monocytes. Since trichostatin A does not disrupt MEF2A/D–HDAC1 complexes, we analysed the potential interaction of MEF2A with p300 histone acetyltransferase, whose expression is up-regulated in macrophages. Interestingly, endogenous p300 only associates with MEF2A in differentiated macrophages, indicating that MEF2A/D could activate c-Jun expression in macrophages through a MEF2A/D–p300 activator complex. The targets of MEF2A/D–HDAC1–HDAC7 multimers remain to be identified. Nevertheless, these data highlight for the first time the possible dual roles of MEF2A and MEF2D in human macrophages, as activators or as repressors of gene transcription.

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