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1.  Vgll2a is required for neural crest cell survival during zebrafish craniofacial development 
Developmental biology  2011;357(1):269-281.
Invertebrate and vertebrate vestigial (vg) and vestigial-like (vgl) genes are involved in embryonic patterning and cell fate determination. These genes encode cofactors that interact with members of the TEAD/Scalloped family of transcription factors and modulate their activity. We have previously shown that, in mice, Vgll2 is differentially expressed in the developing facial prominences. In this study, we show that the zebrafish ortholog vgll2a is expressed in the pharyngeal endoderm and ectoderm surrounding the neural crest derived mesenchyme of the pharyngeal arches. Moreover, both the FGF and retinoic acid (RA) signaling pathways, which are critical components of the hierarchy controlling craniofacial patterning, regulate this domain of vgll2a expression. Consistent with these observations, vgll2a is required within the pharyngeal endoderm for NCC survival and pharyngeal cartilage development. Specifically, knockdown of Vgll2a in zebrafish embryos using Morpholino injection results in increased cell death within the pharyngeal arches, aberrant endodermal pouch morphogenesis, and hypoplastic cranial cartilages. Overall, our data reveal a novel non-cell autonomous role for Vgll2a in development of the NCC-derived vertebrate craniofacial skeleton.
PMCID: PMC3519931  PMID: 21741961
Vestigial-like; Vgl-2; VITO-1; craniofacial; zebrafish; FGF; Retinoic Acid; Cell Death
2.  Redundant Roles of Tead1 and Tead2 in Notochord Development and the Regulation of Cell Proliferation and Survival▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2008;28(10):3177-3189.
Four members of the TEAD/TEF family of transcription factors are expressed widely in mouse embryos and adult tissues. Although in vitro studies have suggested various roles for TEAD proteins, their in vivo functions remain poorly understood. Here we examined the role of Tead genes by generating mouse mutants for Tead1 and Tead2. Tead2−/− mice appeared normal, but Tead1−/−; Tead2−/− embryos died at embryonic day 9.5 (E9.5) with severe growth defects and morphological abnormalities. At E8.5, Tead1−/−; Tead2−/− embryos were already small and lacked characteristic structures such as a closed neural tube, a notochord, and somites. Despite these overt abnormalities, differentiation and patterning of the neural plate and endoderm were relatively normal. In contrast, the paraxial mesoderm and lateral plate mesoderm were displaced laterally, and a differentiated notochord was not maintained. These abnormalities and defects in yolk sac vasculature organization resemble those of mutants for Yap, which encodes a coactivator of TEAD proteins. Moreover, we demonstrated genetic interactions between Tead1 and Tead2 and Yap. Finally, Tead1−/−; Tead2−/− embryos showed reduced cell proliferation and increased apoptosis. These results suggest that Tead1 and Tead2 are functionally redundant, use YAP as a major coactivator, and support notochord maintenance as well as cell proliferation and survival in mouse development.
PMCID: PMC2423158  PMID: 18332127
3.  Transcription factor TEAD4 regulates expression of Myogenin and the unfolded protein response genes during C2C12 cell differentiation 
Cell Death and Differentiation  2011;19(2):220-231.
The TEAD (1–4) transcription factors comprise the conserved TEA/ATTS DNA-binding domain recognising the MCAT element in the promoters of muscle-specific genes. Despite extensive genetic analysis, the function of TEAD factors in muscle differentiation has proved elusive due to redundancy among the family members. Expression of the TEA/ATTS DNA-binding domain that acts as a dominant negative repressor of TEAD factors in C2C12 myoblasts inhibits their differentiation, whereas selective shRNA knockdown of TEAD4 results in abnormal differentiation characterised by the formation of shortened myotubes. Chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled to array hybridisation shows that TEAD4 occupies 867 promoters including those of myogenic miRNAs. We show that TEAD factors directly induce Myogenin, CDKN1A and Caveolin 3 expression to promote myoblast differentiation. RNA-seq identifies a set of genes whose expression is strongly reduced upon TEAD4 knockdown among which are structural and regulatory proteins and those required for the unfolded protein response. In contrast, TEAD4 represses expression of the growth factor CTGF (connective tissue growth factor) to promote differentiation. Together these results show that TEAD factor activity is essential for normal C2C12 cell differentiation and suggest a role for TEAD4 in regulating expression of the unfolded protein response genes.
PMCID: PMC3263497  PMID: 21701496
MYOD1; ER-stress; myoblast fusion; Chromatin immunoprecipitation; RNA-seq
4.  TEAD1-dependent expression of the FoxO3a gene in mouse skeletal muscle 
TEAD1 (TEA domain family member 1) is constitutively expressed in cardiac and skeletal muscles. It acts as a key molecule of muscle development, and trans-activates multiple target genes involved in cell proliferation and differentiation pathways. However, its target genes in skeletal muscles, regulatory mechanisms and networks are unknown.
In this paper, we have identified 136 target genes regulated directly by TEAD1 in skeletal muscle using integrated analyses of ChIP-on-chip. Most of the targets take part in the cell process, physiology process, biological regulation metabolism and development process. The targets also play an important role in MAPK, mTOR, T cell receptor, JAK-STAT, calcineurin and insulin signaling pathways. TEAD1 regulates foxo3a transcription through binding to the M-CAT element in foxo3a promoter, demonstrated with independent ChIP-PCR, EMSA and luciferase reporter system assay. In addition, results of over-expression and inhibition experiments suggest that foxo3a is positively regulated by TEAD1.
Our present data suggests that TEAD1 plays an important role in the regulation of gene expression and different signaling pathways may co-operate with each other mediated by TEAD1. We have preliminarily concluded that TEAD1 may regulate FoxO3a expression through calcineurin/MEF2/NFAT and IGF-1/PI3K/AKT signaling pathways in skeletal muscles. These findings provide important clues for further analysis of the role of FoxO3a gene in the formation and transformation of skeletal muscle fiber types.
PMCID: PMC3025863  PMID: 21211055
5.  Essential Role of TEA Domain Transcription Factors in the Negative Regulation of the MYH 7 Gene by Thyroid Hormone and Its Receptors 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e88610.
MYH7 (also referred to as cardiac myosin heavy chain β) gene expression is known to be repressed by thyroid hormone (T3). However, the molecular mechanism by which T3 inhibits the transcription of its target genes (negative regulation) remains to be clarified, whereas those of transcriptional activation by T3 (positive regulation) have been elucidated in detail. Two MCAT (muscle C, A, and T) sites and an A/T-rich region in the MYH7 gene have been shown to play a critical role in the expression of this gene and are known to be recognized by the TEAD/TEF family of transcription factors (TEADs). Using a reconstitution system with CV-1 cells, which has been utilized in the analysis of positive as well as negative regulation, we demonstrate that both T3 receptor (TR) β1 and α1 inhibit TEAD-dependent activation of the MYH7 promoter in a T3 dose-dependent manner. TRβ1 bound with GC-1, a TRβ-selective T3 analog, also repressed TEAD-induced activity. Although T3-dependent inhibition required the DNA-binding domain (DBD) of TRβ1, it remained after the putative negative T3-responsive elements were mutated. A co-immunoprecipitation study demonstrated the in vivo association of TRβ1 with TEAD-1, and the interaction surfaces were mapped to the DBD of the TRβ1 and TEA domains of TEAD-1, both of which are highly conserved among TRs and TEADs, respectively. The importance of TEADs in MYH7 expression was also validated with RNA interference using rat embryonic cardiomyocyte H9c2 cells. These results indicate that T3-bound TRs interfere with transactivation by TEADs via protein-protein interactions, resulting in the negative regulation of MYH7 promoter activity.
PMCID: PMC4004540  PMID: 24781449
6.  Alteration of TEAD1 Expression Levels Confers Apoptotic Resistance through the Transcriptional Up-Regulation of Livin 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e45498.
TEA domain (TEAD) proteins are highly conserved transcription factors involved in embryonic development and differentiation of various tissues. More recently, emerging evidences for a contribution of these proteins towards apoptosis and cell proliferation regulation have also been proposed. These effects appear to be mediated by the interaction between TEAD and its co-activator Yes-Associated Protein (YAP), the downstream effector of the Hippo tumour suppressor pathway.
Methodology/Principal Findings
We further investigated the mechanisms underlying TEAD-mediated apoptosis regulation and showed that overexpression or RNAi-mediated silencing of the TEAD1 protein is sufficient to protect mammalian cell lines from induced apoptosis, suggesting a proapoptotic function for TEAD1 and a non physiological cytoprotective effect for overexpressed TEAD1. Moreover we show that the apoptotic resistance conferred by altered TEAD1 expression is mediated by the transcriptional up-regulation of Livin, a member of the Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein (IAP) family. In addition, we show that overexpression of a repressive form of TEAD1 can induce Livin up-regulation, indicating that the effect of TEAD1 on Livin expression is indirect and favoring a model in which TEAD1 activates a repressor of Livin by interacting with a limiting cofactor that gets titrated upon TEAD1 up-regulation. Interestingly, we show that overexpression of a mutated form of TEAD1 (Y421H) implicated in Sveinsson's chorioretinal atrophy that strongly reduces its interaction with YAP as well as its activation, can induce Livin expression and protect cells from induced apoptosis, suggesting that YAP is not the cofactor involved in this process.
Taken together our data reveal a new, Livin-dependent, apoptotic role for TEAD1 in mammals and provide mechanistic insight downstream of TEAD1 deregulation in cancers.
PMCID: PMC3454436  PMID: 23029054
7.  VITO-1 is an essential cofactor of TEF1-dependent muscle-specific gene regulation 
Nucleic Acids Research  2004;32(2):791-802.
The expression of several muscle-specific genes is partially or completely regulated by MCAT elements, which bind members of the TEF family of transcription factors. TEF1 itself is unable to activate reporter plasmids bearing TEF1-binding sites, suggesting that additional bridging or co-activating factors are necessary to allow interaction of TEF1 with the transcriptional machinery. In addition, none of the known TEF genes are exclusively expressed in the cardiac or skeletal muscle lineage to account for the muscle-specific expression of MCAT-dependent genes. Here we describe that VITO-1, a new SID (scalloped interaction domain)-containing protein, binds to TEF1 in vitro and strongly stimulates transcription of a MCAT reporter plasmid together with TEF-1. Since VITO-1 is predominantly expressed in the skeletal muscle lineage, it might serve as an essential transcriptional intermediary factor to promote muscle-specific expression via MCAT cis-regulatory elements. Although VITO-1 alone is not sufficient to initiate myogenic conversion of 10T1/2 fibroblastic cells, it enhanced MyoD-mediated myogenic conversion. In addition, interference with VITO-1 expression by siRNA attenuated differentiation of C2C12 muscle cells and MyoD-dependent myogenesis in 10T1/2 cells. We conclude that VITO-1 is a crucial new cofactor of the muscle regulatory programme.
PMCID: PMC373362  PMID: 14762206
8.  Members of the TEAD family of transcription factors regulate the expression of Myf5 in ventral somitic compartments 
Developmental Biology  2011;355(2-2):372-380.
The transcriptional regulation of the Mrf4/Myf5 locus depends on a multitude of enhancers that, in equilibria with transcription balancing sequences and the promoters, regulate the expression of the two genes throughout embryonic development and in the adult. Transcription in a particular set of muscle progenitors can be driven by the combined outputs of several enhancers that are not able to recapitulate the entire expression pattern in isolation, or by the action of a single enhancer the activity of which in isolation is equivalent to that within the context of the locus. We identified a new enhancer element of this second class, ECR111, which is highly conserved in all vertebrate species and is necessary and sufficient to drive Myf5 expression in ventro-caudal and ventro-rostral somitic compartments in the mouse embryo. EMSA analyses and data obtained from binding-site mutations in transgenic embryos show that a binding site for a TEA Domain (TEAD) transcription factor is essential for the function of this new enhancer, while ChIP assays show that at least two members of the family of transcription factors bind to it in vivo.
► The ECR111 enhancer controls Myf5 expression in ventral somitic compartments in early development. ► A TEAD binding site is essential for the activity of the ECR111 enhancer. ► ChIP analyses show that TEAD factors bind in vivo to the ECR111 enhancer. ► TEAD proteins localise to the myotome and the dermomyotome during early development.
PMCID: PMC3123743  PMID: 21527258
Myf5; Mrf4; TEAD; Myogenic regulatory factor; Myogenesis; Somite; Dermomyotome; Transcription regulation
9.  Alternative Requirements for Vestigial, Scalloped, and Dmef2 during Muscle Differentiation in Drosophila melanogaster 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2009;20(1):256-269.
Vertebrate development requires the activity of the myocyte enhancer factor 2 (mef2) gene family for muscle cell specification and subsequent differentiation. Additionally, several muscle-specific functions of MEF2 family proteins require binding additional cofactors including members of the Transcription Enhancing Factor-1 (TEF-1) and Vestigial-like protein families. In Drosophila there is a single mef2 (Dmef2) gene as well single homologues of TEF-1 and vestigial-like, scalloped (sd), and vestigial (vg), respectively. To clarify the role(s) of these factors, we examined the requirements for Vg and Sd during Drosophila muscle specification. We found that both are required for muscle differentiation as loss of sd or vg leads to a reproducible loss of a subset of either cardiac or somatic muscle cells in developing embryos. This muscle requirement for Sd or Vg is cell specific, as ubiquitous overexpression of either or both of these proteins in muscle cells has a deleterious effect on muscle differentiation. Finally, using both in vitro and in vivo binding assays, we determined that Sd, Vg, and Dmef2 can interact directly. Thus, the muscle-specific phenotypes we have associated with Vg or Sd may be a consequence of alternative binding of Vg and/or Sd to Dmef2 forming alternative protein complexes that modify Dmef2 activity.
PMCID: PMC2613084  PMID: 18987343
10.  Fgfr4 is required for effective muscle regeneration in vivo: Delineation of a MyoD-Tead2-Fgfr4 transcriptional pathway 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2005;281(1):429-438.
Fgfr4 has been shown to be important for appropriate muscle development in chick limb buds, however, Fgfr4 null mice show no phenotype. Here, we show that staged induction of muscle regeneration in Fgfr4 null mice becomes highly abnormal at the time point when Fgfr4 is normally expressed. By 7 days of regeneration, differentiation of myotubes became poorly coordinated and delayed by both histology and embryonic myosin heavy chain staining. By 14 days, much of the muscle was replaced by fat and calcifications. To begin to dissect the molecular pathways involving Fgfr4, we queried the promoter sequences for transcriptional factor binding sites, and tested candidate regulators in a 27 time point regeneration series. The Fgfr4 promoter region contained a Tead protein binding site (M-CAT 5′-CATTCCT-3′), and Tead2 showed induction during regeneration commensurate with Fgfr4 regulation. Co-transfection of Tead2 and Fgfr4 promoter reporter constructs into C2C12 myotubes showed Tead2 to activate Fgfr4, and mutation of the M-CAT motif in the Fgfr4 promoter abolished these effects. Immunostaining for Tead2 showed timed expression in myotube nuclei consistent with the mRNA data. Query of the expression timing and genomic sequences of Tead2 suggested direct regulation by MyoD, and, consistent with this, MyoD directly bound to two strong E-boxes in the first intron of Tead2 by chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. Moreover, co-transfection of MyoD and Tead2 intron reporter constructs into 10T1/2 cells activated reporter activity in a dose dependent manner. This activation was greatly reduced when the two E-boxes were mutated. Our data suggest a novel MyoD-Tead2-Fgfr4 pathway important for effective muscle regeneration.
PMCID: PMC1892582  PMID: 16267055
Muscle regeneration; Tead; TEF; Fgfr; MyoD; Microarray
11.  Yes-Associated Protein 65 (YAP) Expands Neural Progenitors and Regulates Pax3 Expression in the Neural Plate Border Zone 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(6):e20309.
Yes-associated protein 65 (YAP) contains multiple protein-protein interaction domains and functions as both a transcriptional co-activator and as a scaffolding protein. Mouse embryos lacking YAP did not survive past embryonic day 8.5 and showed signs of defective yolk sac vasculogenesis, chorioallantoic fusion, and anterior-posterior (A-P) axis elongation. Given that the YAP knockout mouse defects might be due in part to nutritional deficiencies, we sought to better characterize a role for YAP during early development using embryos that develop externally. YAP morpholino (MO)-mediated loss-of-function in both frog and fish resulted in incomplete epiboly at gastrulation and impaired axis formation, similar to the mouse phenotype. In frog, germ layer specific genes were expressed, but they were temporally delayed. YAP MO-mediated partial knockdown in frog allowed a shortened axis to form. YAP gain-of-function in Xenopus expanded the progenitor populations in the neural plate (sox2+) and neural plate border zone (pax3+), while inhibiting the expression of later markers of tissues derived from the neural plate border zone (neural crest, pre-placodal ectoderm, hatching gland), as well as epidermis and somitic muscle. YAP directly regulates pax3 expression via association with TEAD1 (N-TEF) at a highly conserved, previously undescribed, TEAD-binding site within the 5′ regulatory region of pax3. Structure/function analyses revealed that the PDZ-binding motif of YAP contributes to the inhibition of epidermal and somitic muscle differentiation, but a complete, intact YAP protein is required for expansion of the neural plate and neural plate border zone progenitor pools. These results provide a thorough analysis of YAP mediated gene expression changes in loss- and gain-of-function experiments. Furthermore, this is the first report to use YAP structure-function analyzes to determine which portion of YAP is involved in specific gene expression changes and the first to show direct in vivo evidence of YAP's role in regulating pax3 neural crest expression.
PMCID: PMC3110623  PMID: 21687713
12.  Loss of Rassf1a synergises with deregulated Runx2 signaling in tumorigenesis 
Cancer research  2012;72(15):3817-3827.
The tumor suppressor gene RASSF1A is inactivated through point mutation or promoter hypermethylation in many human cancers. In this study, we performed a Sleeping Beauty transposon-mediated insertional mutagenesis screen in Rassf1a null mice to identify candidate genes that collaborate with loss of Rassf1a in tumorigenesis. We identified 10 genes, including the transcription factor Runx2, a transcriptional partner of Yes-associated protein (YAP1) that displays tumor suppressive activity through competing with the oncogenic TEA domain family of transcription factors (TEAD) for YAP1 association. While loss of RASSF1A promoted the formation of oncogenic YAP1-TEAD complexes, the combined loss of both RASSF1A and RUNX2 further increased YAP1-TEAD levels, demonstrating that loss of RASSF1A, together with RUNX2, is consistent with the multi-step model of tumorigenesis. Clinically, RUNX2 expression was frequently down-regulated in various cancers, and reduced RUNX2 expression was associated with poor survival in patients with diffuse large B-cell or atypical Burkitt’s/Burkitt’s-like lymphomas. Interestingly, decreased expression levels of RASSF1 and RUNX2 were observed in both precursor T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia and colorectal cancer, further supporting the hypothesis that dual regulation of YAP1-TEAD promotes oncogenic activity. Together, our findings provide evidence that loss of RASSF1A expression switches YAP1 from a tumor suppressor to an oncogene through regulating its association with transcription factors, thereby suggesting a novel mechanism for RASSF1A-mediated tumor suppression.
PMCID: PMC4067151  PMID: 22710434
RASSF1A; RUNX2; YAP; tumor suppressor; transposon; hippo
13.  Shaping Leg Muscles in Drosophila: Role of ladybird, a Conserved Regulator of Appendicular Myogenesis 
PLoS ONE  2006;1(1):e122.
Legs are locomotor appendages used by a variety of evolutionarily distant vertebrates and invertebrates. The primary biological leg function, locomotion, requires the formation of a specialised appendicular musculature. Here we report evidence that ladybird, an orthologue of the Lbx1 gene recognised as a hallmark of appendicular myogenesis in vertebrates, is expressed in leg myoblasts, and regulates the shape, ultrastructure and functional properties of leg muscles in Drosophila. ladybird expression is progressively activated in myoblasts associated with the imaginal leg disc and precedes that of the founder cell marker dumbfounded. The RNAi-mediated attenuation of ladybird expression alters properties of developing myotubes, impairing their ability to grow and interact with the internal tendons and epithelial attachment sites. It also affects sarcomeric ultrastructure, resulting in reduced leg muscle performance and impaired mobility in surviving flies. The over-expression of ladybird also results in an abnormal pattern of dorsally located leg muscles, indicating different requirements for ladybird in dorsal versus ventral muscles. This differential effect is consistent with the higher level of Ladybird in ventrally located myoblasts and with positive ladybird regulation by extrinsic Wingless signalling from the ventral epithelium. In addition, ladybird expression correlates with that of FGF receptor Heartless and the read-out of FGF signalling downstream of FGF. FGF signals regulate the number of leg disc associated myoblasts and are able to accelerate myogenic differentiation by activating ladybird, leading to ectopic muscle fibre formation. A key role for ladybird in leg myogenesis is further supported by its capacity to repress vestigial and to down-regulate the vestigial-governed flight muscle developmental programme. Thus in Drosophila like in vertebrates, appendicular muscles develop from a specialised pool of myoblasts expressing ladybird/Lbx1. The ladybird/Lbx1 gene family appears as a part of an ancient genetic circuitry determining leg-specific properties of myoblasts and making an appendage adapted for locomotion.
PMCID: PMC1762424  PMID: 17205126
FEBS letters  2008;582(2):391-397.
The interferon inducible transmembrane (IFITM) proteins mediate several cellular processes such as homotypic cell adhesion functions of interferons (IFNs) and cellular anti-proliferative activities. We show that the BAF complex mediated induction of IFITM3 is dependent on binding of the transcriptional enhancer factor 1 (TEF-1/TEAD1) to the M-CAT like elements of its promoter. TEF-1 knock-down reduced the BAF complex mediated activation of IFITM3 promoter. In the absence of the BAF complex, TEF-1 is repressive to IFITM3 expression. The regulation of IFITM3 by TEF-1 demonstrates that TEF-1 dependent regulation is more widespread than its previously established role in the expression of muscle specific genes.
PMCID: PMC2278002  PMID: 18177740
15.  Developmental expression of lineage specific genes in porcine embryos of different origins 
This study compared the expression of genes involved in pluripotency, segregation of inner cell mass (ICM) and trophectoderm (TE), and primitive endoderm (PE) formation in porcine embryos produced by in vitro fertilization (IVF), parthenogenetic activation (PA), and nuclear transfer (NT) using either fetal fibroblasts (FF-NT) or mesenchymal stem cells (MSC-NT).
Blastocyst formation and total cell number were analyzed. The expression patterns of transcripts, including SRY-related HMG-box gene 2 (SOX2), reduced expression gene 1 (REX1/ZFP42), LIN28, caudal type homeobox 2 (CDX2), TEA domain family member 4 (TEAD4), integrin beta 1 (ITGB1) and GATA6 were assessed at the 4–8 cell and blastocyst stage embryos by real-time PCR.
Developmental rates to blastocyst stage and total cell number were higher in IVF and PA embryos than in NT embryos. But MSC-NT embryos had increased blastocyst formation and higher total cell number compared to FF-NT embryos. The relative expressions of transcripts were higher in blastocysts than in 4–8 cell stage embryos. The mRNA expression levels of SOX2 and REX1 were largely similar in embryos of different origins. However, the genes such as LIN28, CDX2, TEAD4, ITGB1 and GATA6 showed the differential expression pattern in PA and NT embryos compared to IVF embryos. Importantly, the transcript levels in MSC-NT embryos were relatively less variable to IVF than those in FF-NT embryos.
MSCs seem to be better donors for porcine NT as they improved the developmental competency, and influenced the expression pattern of genes quite similar with IVF embryos than that of FFs.
PMCID: PMC3430790  PMID: 22639061
Gene expression; Preimplantation embryos; Nuclear transfer; Porcine
16.  Soggy, a spermatocyte-specific gene, lies 3.8 kb upstream of and antipodal to TEAD-2, a transcription factor expressed at the beginning of mouse development 
Nucleic Acids Research  2000;28(20):3982-3990.
Investigation of the regulatory region of mTEAD-2, a gene expressed at the beginning of mouse pre-implantation development, led to the surprising discovery of another gene only 3.8 kb upstream of mTEAD-2. Here we show that this new gene is a single copy, testis-specific gene called Soggy (mSgy) that produces a single, dominant mRNA ∼1.3 kb in length. It is transcribed in the direction opposite to mTEAD-2, thus placing the regulatory elements of these two genes in close proximity. mSgy contains three methionine codons that could potentially act as translation start sites, but most mSGY protein synthesis in vitro was initiated from the first Met codon to produce a full-length protein, suggesting that mSGY normally consists of 230 amino acids (26.7 kDa). Transcription began at a cluster of nucleotides ∼150 bp upstream of the first Met codon using a TATA-less promoter contained within the first 0.9 kb upstream. The activity of this promoter was repressed by upstream sequences between –0.9 and –2.5 kb in cells that did not express mSgy, but this repression was relieved in cells that did express mSgy. mSgy mRNA was detected in embryos only after day 15 and in adult tissues only in the developing spermatocytes of seminiferous tubules, suggesting that mSgy is a spermatocyte-specific gene. Since mTEAD-2 and mSgy were not expressed in the same cells, the mSgy/mTEAD-2 locus provides a unique paradigm for differential regulation of gene expression during mammalian development.
PMCID: PMC110775  PMID: 11024178
17.  Tethering of the Conserved piggyBac Transposase Fusion Protein CSB-PGBD3 to Chromosomal AP-1 Proteins Regulates Expression of Nearby Genes in Humans 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(9):e1002972.
The CSB-PGBD3 fusion protein arose more than 43 million years ago when a 2.5-kb piggyBac 3 (PGBD3) transposon inserted into intron 5 of the Cockayne syndrome Group B (CSB) gene in the common ancestor of all higher primates. As a result, full-length CSB is now coexpressed with an abundant CSB-PGBD3 fusion protein by alternative splicing of CSB exons 1–5 to the PGBD3 transposase. An internal deletion of the piggyBac transposase ORF also gave rise to 889 dispersed, 140-bp MER85 elements that were mobilized in trans by PGBD3 transposase. The CSB-PGBD3 fusion protein binds MER85s in vitro and induces a strong interferon-like innate antiviral immune response when expressed in CSB-null UVSS1KO cells. To explore the connection between DNA binding and gene expression changes induced by CSB-PGBD3, we investigated the genome-wide DNA binding profile of the fusion protein. CSB-PGBD3 binds to 363 MER85 elements in vivo, but these sites do not correlate with gene expression changes induced by the fusion protein. Instead, CSB-PGBD3 is enriched at AP-1, TEAD1, and CTCF motifs, presumably through protein–protein interactions with the cognate transcription factors; moreover, recruitment of CSB-PGBD3 to AP-1 and TEAD1 motifs correlates with nearby genes regulated by CSB-PGBD3 expression in UVSS1KO cells and downregulated by CSB rescue of mutant CS1AN cells. Consistent with these data, the N-terminal CSB domain of the CSB-PGBD3 fusion protein interacts with the AP-1 transcription factor c-Jun and with RNA polymerase II, and a chimeric CSB-LacI construct containing only the N-terminus of CSB upregulates many of the genes induced by CSB-PGBD3. We conclude that the CSB-PGBD3 fusion protein substantially reshapes the transcriptome in CS patient CS1AN and that continued expression of the CSB-PGBD3 fusion protein in the absence of functional CSB may affect the clinical presentation of CS patients by directly altering the transcriptional program.
Author Summary
Cockayne syndrome (CS) is a terrible and ultimately fatal childhood progeria often caused by mutations in the CSB chromatin remodeling and DNA repair protein. A piggyBac transposable element invaded the CSB gene about 43 million years ago, before humans diverged from marmosets. However, this last common ancestor “domesticated” the “selfish” invader, and our CSB locus now encodes both the original CSB protein and a novel CSB-piggyBac fusion protein joining the first third of the CSB protein to the piggyBac transposase. Although likely to be advantageous in health, expression of the conserved fusion protein in cells lacking any CSB-related protein induces a strong interferon response that may explain the brain calcifications seen in advanced CS. To determine whether continued expression of the fusion protein in CS patients affects the severity or heterogeneity of the disease, we identified all genomic binding sites for the fusion protein experimentally. We find that the fusion protein is tethered by protein–protein interactions to at least three transcription factor binding motifs on DNA (AP-1, TEAD1, and CTCF motifs). The tethered fusion protein regulates nearby genes, including some that may induce the interferon response. Our data suggest that drugs or biologicals targeting innate immunity and inflammation may benefit CS patients.
PMCID: PMC3459987  PMID: 23028371
18.  Unbiased Discovery of Interactions at a Control Locus Driving Expression of the Cancer-Specific Therapeutic and Diagnostic Target, Mesothelin 
Journal of proteome research  2012;11(11):5301-5310.
Although significant effort is expended on identifying transcripts/proteins that are up-regulated in cancer, there are few reports on systematic elucidation of transcriptional mechanisms underlying such druggable cancer-specific targets. The mesothelin (MSLN) gene offers a promising subject, being expressed in a restricted pattern normally, yet highly overexpressed in almost one-third of human malignancies and a target of cancer immunotherapeutic trials. CanScript, a cis promoter element, appears to control MSLN cancer-specific expression; its related genomic sequences may up-regulate other cancer markers. CanScript is a 20-nt bipartite element consisting of an SP1-like motif and a consensus MCAT sequence. The latter recruits TEAD (TEA domain) family members, which are universally expressed. Exploration of the active CanScript element, especially the proteins binding to the SP1-like motif, thus could reveal cancer-specific features having diagnostic or therapeutic interest. The effcient identification of sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins at a given locus, however, has lagged in biomarker explorations. We used two orthogonal proteomics approaches— unbiased SILAC (stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture)/DNA affnity-capture/mass spectrometry survey (SD-MS) and a large transcription factor protein microarray (TFM)—and functional validation to explore systematically the CanScript interactome. SD-MS produced nine candidates, and TFM, 18. The screens agreed in confirming binding by TEAD proteins and by newly identified NAB1 and NFATc. Among other identified candidates, we found functional roles for ZNF24, NAB1 and RFX1 in MSLN expression by cancer cells. Combined interactome screens yield an effcient, reproducible, sensitive, and unbiased approach to identify sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins and other participants in disease-specific DNA elements.
PMCID: PMC3761944  PMID: 23025254
mesothelin; SILAC; protein microarray; ZNF24; NAB1
19.  Emerging roles of TEAD transcription factors and its coactivators in cancers 
Cancer Biology & Therapy  2013;14(5):390-398.
TEAD proteins are transcription factors that are crucial for development, but also play a role in cancers. Several developmentally and pathologically important genes are upregulated by TEADs. TEADs have a TEA domain that enables them to bind specific DNA elements and a transactivation domain that enables them to interact with coactivators. TEADs on their own are unable to activate transcription and they require the help of coactivators. Several TEAD-interacting coactivators are known and they can be classified into three groups: (1) YAP and its paralog TAZ; (2) Vgll proteins; and (3) p160s. Accordingly, these coactivators also play a role in development and cancers. Recent studies have shown that TEADs and their coactivators aid in the progression of various cancers, including the difficult to treat glioblastoma, liver and ovarian cancers. They facilitate cancer progression through expression of proliferation promoting genes such as c-myc, survivin, Axl, CTGF and Cyr61. There is also a good correlation between high TEAD or its coactivator expression and poor prognosis in various cancers. Given the fact that TEADs and their coactivators need to work together for a functional outcome, disrupting the interaction between them appears to be a viable option for cancer therapy. Structures of TEAD-coactivator complexes have been elucidated and will facilitate drug design and development.
PMCID: PMC3672182  PMID: 23380592
YAP; TAZ; Vgll proteins; TEAD; cancer
20.  YAP/TEAD Co-Activator Regulated Pluripotency and Chemoresistance in Ovarian Cancer Initiated Cells 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e109575.
Recent evidence suggests that some solid tumors, including ovarian cancer, contain distinct populations of stem cells that are responsible for tumor initiation, growth, chemo-resistance, and recurrence. The Hippo pathway has attracted considerable attention and some investigators have focused on YAP functions for maintaining stemness and cell differentiation. In this study, we successfully isolated the ovarian cancer initiating cells (OCICs) and demonstrated YAP promoted self-renewal of ovarian cancer initiated cell (OCIC) through its downstream co-activator TEAD. YAP and TEAD families were required for maintaining the expression of specific genes that may be involved in OCICs' stemness and chemoresistance. Taken together, our data first indicate that YAP/TEAD co-activator regulated ovarian cancer initiated cell pluripotency and chemo-resistance. It proposed a new mechanism on the drug resistance in cancer stem cell that Hippo-YAP signal pathway might serve as therapeutic targets for ovarian cancer treatment in clinical.
PMCID: PMC4219672  PMID: 25369529
21.  Vestigial Is Required during Late-Stage Muscle Differentiation in Drosophila melanogaster Embryos 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2010;21(19):3304-3316.
The Drosophila member of the vestigial-like gene family (vestigial) is known primarily as a transcriptional activator that defines cell identity during Drosophila wing differentiation. We show that during embryo development Vestigial also has a role during specification of muscle–muscle attachments in ventral longitudinal muscles.
The somatic muscles of Drosophila develop in a complex pattern that is repeated in each embryonic hemi-segment. During early development, progenitor cells fuse to form a syncytial muscle, which further differentiates via expression of muscle-specific factors that induce specific responses to external signals to regulate late-stage processes such as migration and attachment. Initial communication between somatic muscles and the epidermal tendon cells is critical for both of these processes. However, later establishment of attachments between longitudinal muscles at the segmental borders is largely independent of the muscle–epidermal attachment signals, and relatively little is known about how this event is regulated. Using a combination of null mutations and a truncated version of Sd that binds Vg but not DNA, we show that Vestigial (Vg) is required in ventral longitudinal muscles to induce formation of stable intermuscular attachments. In several muscles, this activity may be independent of Sd. Furthermore, the cell-specific differentiation events induced by Vg in two cells fated to form attachments are coordinated by Drosophila epidermal growth factor signaling. Thus, Vg is a key factor to induce specific changes in ventral longitudinal muscles 1–4 identity and is required for these cells to be competent to form stable intermuscular attachments with each other.
PMCID: PMC2947467  PMID: 20685961
22.  Loss of the Drosophila cell polarity regulator Scribbled promotes epithelial tissue overgrowth and cooperation with oncogenic Ras-Raf through impaired Hippo pathway signaling 
Epithelial neoplasias are associated with alterations in cell polarity and excessive cell proliferation, yet how these neoplastic properties are related to one another is still poorly understood. The study of Drosophila genes that function as neoplastic tumor suppressors by regulating both of these properties has significant potential to clarify this relationship.
Here we show in Drosophila that loss of Scribbled (Scrib), a cell polarity regulator and neoplastic tumor suppressor, results in impaired Hippo pathway signaling in the epithelial tissues of both the eye and wing imaginal disc. scrib mutant tissue overgrowth, but not the loss of cell polarity, is dependent upon defective Hippo signaling and can be rescued by knockdown of either the TEAD/TEF family transcription factor Scalloped or the transcriptional coactivator Yorkie in the eye disc, or reducing levels of Yorkie in the wing disc. Furthermore, loss of Scrib sensitizes tissue to transformation by oncogenic Ras-Raf signaling, and Yorkie-Scalloped activity is required to promote this cooperative tumor overgrowth. The inhibition of Hippo signaling in scrib mutant eye disc clones is not dependent upon JNK activity, but can be significantly rescued by reducing aPKC kinase activity, and ectopic aPKC activity is sufficient to impair Hippo signaling in the eye disc, even when JNK signaling is blocked. In contrast, warts mutant overgrowth does not require aPKC activity. Moreover, reducing endogenous levels of aPKC or increasing Scrib or Lethal giant larvae levels does not promote increased Hippo signaling, suggesting that aPKC activity is not normally rate limiting for Hippo pathway activity. Epistasis experiments suggest that Hippo pathway inhibition in scrib mutants occurs, at least in part, downstream or in parallel to both the Expanded and Fat arms of Hippo pathway regulation.
Loss of Scrib promotes Yorkie/Scalloped-dependent epithelial tissue overgrowth, and this is also important for driving cooperative tumor overgrowth with oncogenic Ras-Raf signaling. Whether this is also the case in human cancers now warrants investigation since the cell polarity function of Scrib and its capacity to restrain oncogene-mediated transformation, as well as the tissue growth control function of the Hippo pathway, are conserved in mammals.
PMCID: PMC3206446  PMID: 21955824
23.  Dystrobrevin and dystrophin family gene expression in zebrafish 
Dystrophin/dystrobrevin superfamily proteins play structural and signalling roles at the plasma membrane of many cell types. Defects in them or the associated multiprotein complex cause a range of neuromuscular disorders. Members of the dystrophin branch of the family form heterodimers with members of the dystrobrevin branch, mediated by their coiled-coil domains. To determine which combinations of these proteins might interact during embryonic development, we set out to characterise the gene expression pattern of dystrophin and dystrobrevin family members in zebrafish. γ-dystrobrevin (dtng), a novel dystrobrevin recently identified in fish, is the predominant form of dystrobrevin in embryonic development. Dtng and dmd (dystrophin) have similar spatial and temporal expression patterns in muscle, where transcripts are localized to the ends of differentiated fibres at the somite borders. Dtng is expressed in the notochord while dmd is expressed in the chordo-neural hinge and then in floor plate and hypochord. In addition, dtng is dynamically expressed in rhombomeres 2 and 4-6 of the hindbrain and in the ventral midbrain. α-dystrobrevin (dtna) is expressed widely in the brain with particularly strong expression in the hypothalamus and the telencephalon; drp2 is also expressed widely in the brain. Utrophin expression is found in early pronephros and lateral line development and utrophin and dystrophin are both expressed later in the gut. β-dystrobrevin (dtnb) is expressed in the pronephric duct and widely at low levels. In summary, we find clear instances of co-expression of dystrophin and dystrobrevin family members in muscle, brain and pronephric duct development and many examples of strong and specific expression of members of one family but not the other, an intriguing finding given the presumed heterodimeric state of these molecules.
PMCID: PMC3360968  PMID: 18042440
muscle; zebrafish; notochord; midbrain; rhombomere; gene expression; utrophin; dystrophin; dystrobrevin; drp2; dystrotelin
24.  The TEAD/TEF family of transcription factor Scalloped mediates Hippo signaling in organ size control 
Developmental cell  2008;14(3):377-387.
The Hippo (Hpo) signaling pathway governs cell growth, proliferation, and apoptosis by controlling key regulatory genes that execute these processes; however, the transcription factor of the pathway has remained elusive. Here we provide evidence that the TEAD/TEF family transcription factor Scalloped (Sd) acts together with the coactivator Yorkie (Yki) to regulate Hpo pathway-responsive genes. Sd and Yki form a transcriptional complex whose activity is inhibited by Hpo signaling. Sd overexpression enhances whereas its inactivation suppresses tissue overgrowth caused by Yki overexpression or tumor suppressor mutations in the Hpo pathway. Inactivation of Sd diminishes Hpo target gene expression and reduces organ size whereas a constitutively active Sd promotes tissue overgrowth. Sd promotes Yki nuclear localization whereas Hpo signaling retains Yki in the cytoplasm by phosphorylating Yki at S168. Finally, Sd recruits Yki to the enhancer of a pathway-responsive gene diap1, suggesting that diap1 is a direct transcriptional target of the Hpo pathway.
PMCID: PMC2292673  PMID: 18258485
25.  Hippo signaling regulates Yorkie nuclear localization and activity through 14-3-3 dependent and independent mechanisms 
Developmental biology  2009;337(2):303-312.
The Hippo (Hpo) signaling pathway controls cell growth, proliferation and apoptosis in both Drosophila and vertebrates. In Drosophila, Hpo signaling regulates gene expression by inhibiting a transcription complex consisting of the transcriptional coactivator Yorkie (Yki) and the TEAD/TEF family of transcription factor Scalloped (Sd). Here we provide genetic evidence that both isoforms of 14-3-3, 14-3-3ε and 14-3-3ζ, regulate Yki activity through modulating its subcellular localization. Inactivation of 14-3-3 by RNAi or genetic mutations enhanced whereas overexpression of 14-3-3 suppressed tissue overgrowth induced by Yki overexpression. Loss of 14-3-3 resulted in the accumulation of Yki in the nucleus. We found that regulation of Yki by 14-3-3 was mediated by phosphorylation of Yki at S168. In addition, we found that Hpo signaling also inhibited Yki nuclear localization and activity by phosphorylating Yki at S111 and S250, and this inhibition appears to be independent of 14-3-3. Finally, we provided evidence that Hpo signaling restricted Yki nuclear localization depending on CRM1-mediated nuclear export.
PMCID: PMC2812623  PMID: 19900439

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