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1.  The leukemia associated ETO nuclear repressor gene is regulated by the GATA-1 transcription factor in erythroid/megakaryocytic cells 
BMC Molecular Biology  2010;11:38.
The Eight-Twenty-One (ETO) nuclear co-repressor gene belongs to the ETO homologue family also containing Myeloid Translocation Gene on chromosome 16 (MTG16) and myeloid translocation Gene-Related protein 1 (MTGR1). By chromosomal translocations ETO and MTG16 become parts of fusion proteins characteristic of morphological variants of acute myeloid leukemia. Normal functions of ETO homologues have as yet not been examined. The goal of this work was to identify structural and functional promoter elements upstream of the coding sequence of the ETO gene in order to explore lineage-specific hematopoietic expression and get hints to function.
A putative proximal ETO promoter was identified within 411 bp upstream of the transcription start site. Strong ETO promoter activity was specifically observed upon transfection of a promoter reporter construct into erythroid/megakaryocytic cells, which have endogeneous ETO gene activity. An evolutionary conserved region of 228 bp revealed potential cis-elements involved in transcription of ETO. Disruption of the evolutionary conserved GATA -636 consensus binding site repressed transactivation and disruption of the ETS1 -705 consensus binding site enhanced activity of the ETO promoter. The promoter was stimulated by overexpression of GATA-1 into erythroid/megakaryocytic cells. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay with erythroid/megakaryocytic cells showed specific binding of GATA-1 to the GATA -636 site. Furthermore, results from chromatin immunoprecipitation showed GATA-1 binding in vivo to the conserved region of the ETO promoter containing the -636 site. The results suggest that the GATA -636 site may have a role in activation of the ETO gene activity in cells with erythroid/megakaryocytic potential. Leukemia associated AML1-ETO strongly suppressed an ETO promoter reporter in erythroid/megakaryocytic cells.
We demonstrate that the GATA-1 transcription factor binds and transactivates the ETO proximal promoter in an erythroid/megakaryocytic-specific manner. Thus, trans-acting factors that are essential in erythroid/megakaryocytic differentiation govern ETO expression.
PMCID: PMC2882371  PMID: 20487545
2.  ETO2/MTG16 and MTGR1 Are Heteromeric Corepressors of the TAL1/SCL Transcription Factor in Murine Erythroid Progenitors 
The TAL1 (or SCL) gene, originally discovered through its involvement by a chromosomal translocation in T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, encodes a basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factor essential for hematopoietic and vascular development. To identify its interaction partners, we expressed a tandem epitope-tagged protein in murine erythroleukemia (MEL) cells and characterized affinity-purified Tal1-containing complexes by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry analysis. In addition to known interacting proteins, two proteins related to the Eight-Twenty-One (ETO) corepressor, Eto2/Mtg16 and Mtgr1, were identified from the peptide fragments analyzed. Tal1 interaction with Eto2 and Mtgr1 was verified by coimmunoprecipitation analysis in Tal1, Eto2-, and Mtgr1-transfected COS-7 cells, MEL cells expressing V5 epitope-tagged Tal1 protein, and non-transfected MEL cells. Mapping analysis with Gal4 fusion proteins demonstrated a requirement for the bHLH domain of Tal1 and TAF110 domain of Eto2 for their interaction, and transient transfection and glutathione S-transferase pull-down analysis showed that Mtgr1 and Eto2 enhanced the other’s association with Tal1. Enforced expression of Eto2 in differentiating MEL cells inhibited the promoter of the Protein 4.2 (P4.2) gene, a direct target of TAL1 in erythroid progenitors, and transduction of Eto2 and Mtgr1 augmented Tal1-mediated gene repression. Finally, chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis revealed that Eto2 occupancy of the P4.2 promoter in MEL cells decreased with differentiation, in parallel with a decline in Eto2 protein abundance. These results identify Eto2 and Mtgr1 as authentic interaction partners of Tal1 and suggest they act as heteromeric corepressors of this bHLH transcription factor during erythroid differentiation.
PMCID: PMC2774815  PMID: 19799863
ETO2; MTGR1; TAL1; transcription; erythroid progenitors
3.  The human SIN3B corepressor forms a nucleolar complex with leukemia-associated ETO homologues 
SIN3 (SWI-Independent) is part of a transcriptional deacetylase complex, which generally mediates the formation of repressive chromatin. The purpose of this work was to study possible interactions between corepressors human SIN3B (hSIN3B) and the ETO homologues – ETO (eight twenty-one), MTG16 (myeloid-transforming gene 16) and MTGR1 (MTG-related protein 1). In addition, the subnuclear localization of the hSIN3B and the ETO homologues was also examined.
A ubiquitous expression of hSIN3B was observed in adult and fetal tissues. Results with both ectopically expressed proteins in COS-7 cells and endogeneous proteins in the K562 human erytholeukemia cell line demonstrated interactions between hSIN3B and ETO or MTG16 but not MTGR1. Furthermore, nuclear extract of primary placental cells showed complexes between hSIN3B and ETO. The interaction between hSIN3B and ETO required an intact amino-terminus of ETO and the NHR2 domain. A nucleolar localization of hSIN3B and all the ETO homologues was demonstrated upon overexpression in COS-7 cells, and confirmed for the endogeneously expressed proteins in K562 cells. However, hSIN3B did not colocalize or interact with the leukemia-associated AML1 -ETO.
Our data from protein-protein interactions and immunolocalization experiments support that hSIN3B is a potential member of a corepressor complex involving selective ETO homologues.
PMCID: PMC2266940  PMID: 18205948
4.  The AML1-MTG8 Leukemic Fusion Protein Forms a Complex with a Novel Member of the MTG8(ETO/CDR) Family, MTGR1 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1998;18(2):846-858.
The AML1-CBFβ transcription factor complex is essential for the definitive hematopoiesis of all lineages and is the most frequent target of chromosomal rearrangements in human leukemia. In the t(8;21) translocation associated with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), the AML1(CBFA2/PEBP2αB) gene is juxtaposed to the MTG8(ETO/CDR) gene. We show here that the resultant AML1-MTG8 gene product specifically and strongly interacts with an 85-kDa phosphoprotein. Molecular cloning of cDNA indicated that the AML1-MTG8-binding protein (MTGR1) is highly related to MTG8 and similar to Drosophila Nervy. Comparison of amino acid sequences among MTGR1, MTG8, and Nervy revealed four evolutionarily conserved regions (NHR1 to NHR4). Ectopic expression of AML1-MTG8 in L-G murine myeloid progenitor cells inhibits differentiation to mature neutrophils and induces cell proliferation in response to granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). Analysis with C-terminal deletion mutants of AML1-MTG8 indicated that the region of 51 residues (488 to 538), which contains NHR2, is essential for the induction of G-CSF-dependent cell proliferation. Immunoprecipitation analysis indicates that this region is required for AML1-MTG8 to form a stable complex with MTGR1. Overexpression of MTGR1 stimulates AML1-MTG8 to induce G-CSF-dependent proliferation of L-G cells and to interfere with AML1-dependent transcription. These results suggest that AML1-MTG8 could function as a complex with MTGR1 and that the complex might be important in promoting leukemogenesis.
PMCID: PMC108796  PMID: 9447981
5.  Myeloid Translocation Gene Family Members Associate with T-Cell Factors (TCFs) and Influence TCF-Dependent Transcription▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2007;28(3):977-987.
Canonical Wnt signaling is mediated by a molecular “switch” that regulates the transcriptional properties of the T-cell factor (TCF) family of DNA-binding proteins. Members of the myeloid translocation gene (MTG) family of transcriptional corepressors are frequently disrupted by chromosomal translocations in acute myeloid leukemia, whereas MTG16 may be inactivated in up to 40% of breast cancer and MTG8 is a candidate cancer gene in colorectal carcinoma. Genetic studies imply that this corepressor family may function in stem cells. Given that mice lacking Myeloid Translocation Gene Related-1 (Mtgr1) fail to maintain the secretory lineage in the small intestine, we surveyed transcription factors that might recruit Mtgr1 in intestinal stem cells or progenitor cells and found that MTG family members associate specifically with TCF4. Coexpression of β-catenin disrupted the association between these corepressors and TCF4. Furthermore, when expressed in Xenopus embryos, MTG family members inhibited axis formation and impaired the ability of β-catenin and XLef-1 to induce axis duplication, indicating that MTG family members act downstream of β-catenin. Moreover, we found that c-Myc, a transcriptional target of the Wnt pathway, was overexpressed in the small intestines of mice lacking Mtgr1, thus linking inactivation of Mtgr1 to the activation of a potent oncogene.
PMCID: PMC2223385  PMID: 18039847
6.  Mtgr1 Is a Transcriptional Corepressor That Is Required for Maintenance of the Secretory Cell Lineage in the Small Intestine 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(21):9576-9585.
Two members of the MTG/ETO family of transcriptional corepressors, MTG8 and MTG16, are disrupted by chromosomal translocations in up to 15% of acute myeloid leukemia cases. The third family member, MTGR1, was identified as a factor that associates with the t(8;21) fusion protein RUNX1-MTG8. We demonstrate that Mtgr1 associates with mSin3A, N-CoR, and histone deacetylase 3 and that when tethered to DNA, Mtgr1 represses transcription, suggesting that Mtgr1 also acts as a transcriptional corepressor. To define the biological function of Mtgr1, we created Mtgr1-null mice. These mice are proportionally smaller than their littermates during embryogenesis and throughout their life span but otherwise develop normally. However, these mice display a progressive reduction in the secretory epithelial cell lineage in the small intestine. This is not due to the loss of small intestinal progenitor cells expressing Gfi1, which is required for the formation of goblet and Paneth cells, implying that loss of Mtgr1 impairs the maturation of secretory cells in the small intestine.
PMCID: PMC1265807  PMID: 16227606
7.  Interaction of MTG family proteins with NEUROG2 and ASCL1 in the developing nervous system 
Neuroscience letters  2010;474(1):46-51.
During neural development, members of MTG family of transcriptional repressors are induced by proneural basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) transcription factors and in turn inhibit the activity of the bHLH proteins, forming a negative feedback loop that regulates the normal progression of neurogenesis. Three MTG genes, MTG8, MTG16 and MTGR1, are expressed in distinct patterns in the developing nervous system. Various bHLH proteins are also expressed in distinct patterns. We asked whether there is a functional relationship between specific MTG and bHLH proteins in developing chick spinal cord. First, we examined if each MTG gene is induced by specific bHLH proteins. Although expression of NEUROG2, ASCL1 and MTG genes overlapped, the boundaries of gene expression did not match. Ectopic expression analysis showed that MTGR1 and NEUROD4, which show similar expression patterns, are regulated differently by NEUROG2 and ASCL1. Thus, our results show that expression of MTG genes is not regulated by a single upstream bHLH protein, but represents an integration of the activity of multiple regulators. Next, we asked if each MTG protein inhibits specific bHLH proteins. Transcription assay showed that NEUROG2 and ASCL1 are inhibited by MTGR1 and MTG16, and less efficiently by MTG8. Deletion mapping of MTGR1 showed that MTGR1 binds NEUROG2 and ASCL1 using multiple interaction surfaces, and all conserved domains are required for its repressor activity. These results support the model that MTG proteins form a higher-order repressor complex and modulate transcriptional activity of bHLH proteins during neurogenesis.
PMCID: PMC2862279  PMID: 20214951
NEUROG2; ASCL1; MTG/ETO proteins; neurogenesis; transcriptional repressor
8.  ETO, a Target of t(8;21) in Acute Leukemia, Makes Distinct Contacts with Multiple Histone Deacetylases and Binds mSin3A through Its Oligomerization Domain 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2001;21(19):6470-6483.
t(8;21) and t(16;21) create two fusion proteins, AML-1–ETO and AML-1–MTG16, respectively, which fuse the AML-1 DNA binding domain to putative transcriptional corepressors, ETO and MTG16. Here, we show that distinct domains of ETO contact the mSin3A and N-CoR corepressors and define two binding sites within ETO for each of these corepressors. In addition, of eight histone deacetylases (HDACs) tested, only the class I HDACs HDAC-1, HDAC-2, and HDAC-3 bind ETO. However, these HDACs bind ETO through different domains. We also show that the murine homologue of MTG16, ETO-2, is also a transcriptional corepressor that works through a similar but distinct mechanism. Like ETO, ETO-2 interacts with N-CoR, but ETO-2 fails to bind mSin3A. Furthermore, ETO-2 binds HDAC-1, HDAC-2, and HDAC-3 but also interacts with HDAC-6 and HDAC-8. In addition, we show that expression of AML-1–ETO causes disruption of the cell cycle in the G1 phase. Disruption of the cell cycle required the ability of AML-1–ETO to repress transcription because a mutant of AML-1–ETO, Δ469, which removes the majority of the corepressor binding sites, had no phenotype. Moreover, treatment of AML-1–ETO-expressing cells with trichostatin A, an HDAC inhibitor, restored cell cycle control. Thus, AML-1–ETO makes distinct contacts with multiple HDACs and an HDAC inhibitor biologically inactivates this fusion protein.
PMCID: PMC99794  PMID: 11533236
9.  MTGR1 Is Required for Tumorigenesis in the Murine AOM/DSS Colitis-Associated Carcinoma Model 
Cancer research  2011;71(4):1302-1312.
Myeloid Translocation Gene, Related-1 (MTGR1) CBFA2T2 is a member of the Myeloid Translocation Gene (MTG) family of transcriptional corepressors. The remaining two family members, MTG8 (RUNX1T1) and MTG16 (CBFA2T3) are identified as targets of chromosomal translocations in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Mtgr1−/− mice have defects in intestinal lineage allocation and wound healing. Moreover, these mice show signs of impaired intestinal stem cell function. Based on these phenotypes, we hypothesized that MTGR1 may influence tumorigenesis arising in an inflammatory background. We report that Mtgr1−/− mice were protected from tumorigenesis when injected with azoxymethane (AOM) and then subjected to repeated cycles of dextran sodium sulfate (DSS). Tumor cell proliferation was comparable, but Mtgr1−/− tumors had significantly higher apoptosis rates. These phenotypes were dependent on epithelial injury, the resultant inflammation, or a combination of both as there was no difference in aberrant crypt foci (ACF) or tumor burden when animals were treated with AOM as the sole agent. Gene expression analysis indicated that Mtgr1−/− tumors had significant upregulation of inflammatory networks, and immunohistochemistry (IHC) for immune cell subsets revealed a marked multilineage increase in infiltrates, consisting predominately of CD3+ and natural killer T (NKT) cells as well as macrophages. Transplantation of wild type (WT) bone marrow into Mtgr1−/− mice, and the reciprocal transplant, did not alter the phenotype, ruling out an MTGR1 hematopoietic cell-autonomous mechanism. Our findings indicate that MTGR1 is required for efficient inflammatory carcinogenesis in this model, and implicate its dysfunction in colitis-associated carcinoma. This represents the first report functionally linking MTGR1 to intestinal tumorigenesis.
PMCID: PMC3150168  PMID: 21303973
10.  Kaiso Directs the Transcriptional Corepressor MTG16 to the Kaiso Binding Site in Target Promoters 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(12):e51205.
Myeloid translocation genes (MTGs) are transcriptional corepressors originally identified in acute myelogenous leukemia that have recently been linked to epithelial malignancy with non-synonymous mutations identified in both MTG8 and MTG16 in colon, breast, and lung carcinoma in addition to functioning as negative regulators of WNT and Notch signaling. A yeast two-hybrid approach was used to discover novel MTG binding partners. This screen identified the Zinc fingers, C2H2 and BTB domain containing (ZBTB) family members ZBTB4 and ZBTB38 as MTG16 interacting proteins. ZBTB4 is downregulated in breast cancer and modulates p53 responses. Because ZBTB33 (Kaiso), like MTG16, modulates Wnt signaling at the level of TCF4, and its deletion suppresses intestinal tumorigenesis in the ApcMin mouse, we determined that Kaiso also interacted with MTG16 to modulate transcription. The zinc finger domains of Kaiso as well as ZBTB4 and ZBTB38 bound MTG16 and the association with Kaiso was confirmed using co-immunoprecipitation. MTG family members were required to efficiently repress both a heterologous reporter construct containing Kaiso binding sites (4×KBS) and the known Kaiso target, Matrix metalloproteinase-7 (MMP-7/Matrilysin). Moreover, chromatin immunoprecipitation studies placed MTG16 in a complex occupying the Kaiso binding site on the MMP-7 promoter. The presence of MTG16 in this complex, and its contributions to transcriptional repression both required Kaiso binding to its binding site on DNA, establishing MTG16-Kaiso binding as functionally relevant in Kaiso-dependent transcriptional repression. Examination of a large multi-stage CRC expression array dataset revealed patterns of Kaiso, MTG16, and MMP-7 expression supporting the hypothesis that loss of either Kaiso or MTG16 can de-regulate a target promoter such as that of MMP-7. These findings provide new insights into the mechanisms of transcriptional control by ZBTB family members and broaden the scope of co-repressor functions for the MTG family, suggesting coordinate regulation of transcription by Kaiso/MTG complexes in cancer.
PMCID: PMC3521008  PMID: 23251453
11.  Cooperation between RUNX1-ETO9a and Novel Transcriptional Partner KLF6 in Upregulation of Alox5 in Acute Myeloid Leukemia 
PLoS Genetics  2013;9(10):e1003765.
Fusion protein RUNX1-ETO (AML1-ETO, RUNX1-RUNX1T1) is expressed as the result of the 8q22;21q22 translocation [t(8;21)], which is one of the most common chromosomal abnormalities found in acute myeloid leukemia. RUNX1-ETO is thought to promote leukemia development through the aberrant regulation of RUNX1 (AML1) target genes. Repression of these genes occurs via the recruitment of the corepressors N-COR and SMRT due to their interaction with ETO. Mechanisms of RUNX1-ETO target gene upregulation remain less well understood. Here we show that RUNX1-ETO9a, the leukemogenic alternatively spliced transcript expressed from t(8;21), upregulates target gene Alox5, which is a gene critically required for the promotion of chronic myeloid leukemia development by BCR-ABL. Loss of Alox5 expression reduces activity of RUNX1-ETO9a, MLL-AF9 and PML-RARα in vitro. However, Alox5 is not essential for the induction of leukemia by RUNX1-ETO9a in vivo. Finally, we demonstrate that the upregulation of Alox5 by RUNX1-ETO9a occurs via the C2H2 zinc finger transcription factor KLF6, a protein required for early hematopoiesis and yolk sac development. Furthermore, KLF6 is specifically upregulated by RUNX1-ETO in human leukemia cells. This identifies KLF6 as a novel mediator of t(8;21) target gene regulation, providing a new mechanism for RUNX1-ETO transcriptional control.
Author Summary
The 8;21 translocation is one of the most common genetic abnormalities present in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). This translocation causes expression of the fusion gene RUNX1-ETO and its splicing isoforms. RUNX1-ETO proteins then reprogram the transcriptional landscape of the cell and cooperate with further mutations to induce leukemia development. In this study, we examine the transcriptional control of the RUNX1-ETO target gene Alox5. Although Alox5 appears to be dispensable for AML development in a mouse model, it is required for some RUNX1-ETO functions. In studying the regulation of Alox5 expression, we have discovered a novel RUNX1-ETO partner protein, KLF6, which is both upregulated by RUNX1-ETO and participates in RUNX1-ETO gene regulation. This provides new insight into the under-studied mechanisms of RUNX1-ETO target gene upregulation and identifies KLF6 as a potentially important protein for further study in t(8;21) AML development.
PMCID: PMC3794898  PMID: 24130502
12.  Atrophin-1, the Dentato-Rubral and Pallido-Luysian Atrophy Gene Product, Interacts with Eto/Mtg8 in the Nuclear Matrix and Represses Transcription 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2000;150(5):939-948.
Dentato-rubral and pallido-luysian atrophy (DRPLA) is one of the family of neurodegenerative diseases caused by expansion of a polyglutamine tract. The drpla gene product, atrophin-1, is widely expressed, has no known function or activity, and is found in both the nuclear and cytoplasmic compartments of neurons. Truncated fragments of atrophin-1 accumulate in neuronal nuclei in a transgenic mouse model of DRPLA, and may underlie the disease phenotype.
Using the yeast two-hybrid system, we identified ETO/MTG8, a component of nuclear receptor corepressor complexes, as an atrophin-1–interacting protein. When cotransfected into Neuro-2a cells, atrophin-1 and ETO/MTG8 colocalize in discrete nuclear structures that contain endogenous mSin3A and histone deacetylases. These structures are sodium dodecyl sulfate–soluble and associated with the nuclear matrix. Cotransfection of ETO/MTG8 with atrophin-1 recruits atrophin-1 to the nuclear matrix, while atrophin-1 and ETO/MTG8 cofractionate in nuclear matrix preparations from brains of DRPLA transgenic mice. Furthermore, in a cell transfection–based assay, atrophin-1 represses transcription. Together, these results suggest that atrophin-1 associates with nuclear receptor corepressor complexes and is involved in transcriptional regulation.
Emerging links between disease-associated polyglutamine proteins, nuclear receptors, translocation-leukemia proteins, and the nuclear matrix may have important repercussions for the pathobiology of this family of neurodegenerative disorders.
PMCID: PMC2175251  PMID: 10973986
trinucleotide repeats; neurodegenerative diseases; cerebellar nuclei; nuclear matrix; myeloid leukemia
13.  MTG16 contributes to colonic epithelial integrity in experimental colitis 
Gut  2012;62(10):1446-1455.
The myeloid translocation genes (MTGs) are transcriptional corepressors with both Mtg8−/− and Mtgr1−/− mice showing developmental and/or differentiation defects in the intestine. We sought to determine the role of MTG16 in intestinal integrity.
Baseline and stress induced colonic phenotypes were examined in Mtg16−/− mice. To unmask phenotypes, we treated Mtg16−/− mice with dextran sodium sulphate (DSS) or infected them with Citrobacter rodentium and the colons were examined for ulceration and for changes in proliferation, apoptosis and inflammation.
Mtg16−/− mice have altered immune subsets, suggesting priming towards Th1 responses. Mtg16−/− mice developed increased weight loss, diarrhoea, mortality and histological colitis and there were increased innate (Gr1+, F4/80+, CD11c+ and MHCII+; CD11c+) and Th1 adaptive (CD4) immune cells in Mtg16−/− colons after DSS treatment. Additionally, there was increased apoptosis and a compensatory increased proliferation in Mtg16−/− colons. Compared with wild-type mice, Mtg16−/− mice exhibited increased colonic CD4;IFN-γ cells in vehicle-treated and DSS-treated mice. Adoptive transfer of wildtype marrow into Mtg16−/− recipients did not rescue the Mtg16−/− injury phenotype. Isolated colonic epithelial cells from DSS-treated Mtg16−/− mice exhibited increased KC (Cxcl1) mRNA expression when compared with wild-type mice. Mtg16−/− mice infected with C rodentium had more severe colitis and greater bacterial colonisation. Last, MTG16 mRNA levels were reduced in human ulcerative colitis versus normal colon tissues.
These observations indicate that MTG16 is critical for colonocyte survival and regeneration in response to intestinal injury and provide evidence that this transcriptional corepressor regulates inflammatory recruitment in response to injury.
PMCID: PMC3663894  PMID: 22833394
14.  Feedback regulation of NEUROG2 activity by MTGR1 is required for progression of neurogenesis 
The sequential steps of neurogenesis are characterized by highly choreographed changes in transcription factor activity. In contrast to the well-studied mechanisms of transcription factor activation during neurogenesis, much less is understood regarding how such activity is terminated. We previously showed that MTGR1, a member of the MTG family of transcriptional repressors, is strongly induced by a proneural basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor, NEUROG2 in developing nervous system. In this study, we describe a novel feedback regulation of NEUROG2 activity by MTGR1. We show that MTGR1 physically interacts with NEUROG2 and represses transcriptional activity of NEUROG2. MTGR1 also prevents DNA binding of the NEUROG2/E47 complex. In addition, we provide evidence that proper termination of NEUROG2 activity by MTGR1 is necessary for normal progression of neurogenesis in the developing spinal cord. These results highlight the importance of feedback regulation of proneural gene activity in neurodevelopment.
PMCID: PMC2783839  PMID: 19646530
Development; Neurogenesis; Embryo; transcription; bHLH; spinal cord; MTGR1; NEUROG2; MTG/ETO proteins; nervy; transcriptional repressor
15.  ETO/MTG8 Is an Inhibitor of C/EBPβ Activity and a Regulator of Early Adipogenesis 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2004;24(22):9863-9872.
The putative transcriptional corepressor ETO/MTG8 has been extensively studied due to its involvement in a chromosomal translocation causing the t(8;21) form of acute myeloid leukemia. Despite this, the role of ETO in normal physiology has remained obscure. Here we show that ETO is highly expressed in preadipocytes and acts as an inhibitor of C/EBPβ during early adipogenesis, contributing to its characteristically delayed activation. ETO prevents both the transcriptional activation of the C/EBPα promoter by C/EBPβ and its concurrent accumulation in centromeric sites during early adipogenesis. ETO expression rapidly reduces after the initiation of adipogenesis, and this is essential to the normal induction of adipogenic gene expression. These findings define, for the first time, a molecular role for ETO in normal physiology as an inhibitor of C/EBPβ and a novel regulator of early adipogenesis.
PMCID: PMC525461  PMID: 15509789
16.  Mtg16/Eto2 Contributes to Murine T-Cell Development▿ † 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2011;31(13):2544-2551.
Mtg16/Eto2 is a transcriptional corepressor that is disrupted by t(16;21) in acute myeloid leukemia. Using mice lacking Mtg16, we found that Mtg16 is a critical regulator of T-cell development. Deletion of Mtg16 led to reduced thymocyte development in vivo, and after competitive bone marrow transplantation, there was a nearly complete failure of Mtg16−/− cells to contribute to thymocyte development. This defect was recapitulated in vitro as Mtg16−/− Lineage−/Sca1+/c-Kit+ (LSK) cells of the bone marrow or DN1 cells of the thymus failed to produce CD4+/CD8+ cells in response to a Notch signal. Complementation of these defects by reexpressing Mtg16 showed that 3 highly conserved domains were somewhat dispensable for T-cell development but required the capacity of Mtg16 to suppress E2A-dependent transcriptional activation and to bind to the Notch intracellular domain. Thus, Mtg16 integrates the activities of signaling pathways and nuclear factors in the establishment of T-cell fate specification.
PMCID: PMC3133377  PMID: 21536648
17.  Novel RNA-binding properties of the MTG chromatin regulatory proteins 
The myeloid translocation gene (MTG) proteins are non-DNA-binding transcriptional regulators capable of interacting with chromatin modifying proteins. As a consequence of leukemia-associated chromosomal translocations, two of the MTG proteins, MTG8 and MTG16, are fused to the DNA-binding domain of AML1, a transcriptional activator crucial for hematopoiesis. The AML1-MTG fusion proteins, as the wild type MTGs, display four conserved homology regions (NHR1-4) related to the Drosophila nervy protein. Structural protein analyses led us to test the hypothesis that specific MTG domains may mediate RNA binding.
By using an RNA-binding assay based on synthetic RNA homopolymers and a panel of MTG deletion mutants, here we show that all the MTG proteins can bind RNA. The RNA-binding properties can be traced to two regions: the Zinc finger domains in the NHR4, which mediate Zinc-dependent RNA binding, and a novel short basic region (SBR) upstream of the NHR2, which mediates Zinc-independent RNA binding. The two AML1-MTG fusion proteins, retaining both the Zinc fingers domains and the SBR, also display RNA-binding properties.
Evidence has been accumulating that RNA plays a role in transcriptional control. Both wild type MTGs and chimeric AML1-MTG proteins display in vitro RNA-binding properties, thus opening new perspectives on the possible involvement of an RNA component in MTG-mediated chromatin regulation.
PMCID: PMC2579434  PMID: 18950503
18.  Cell Type Dependent Regulation of Multidrug Resistance-1 Gene Expression by AML1-ETO 
Blood cells, molecules & diseases  2007;39(3):297-306.
The AML1-ETO fusion protein is generated from the 8;21 chromosome translocation that is commonly identified in acute myeloid leukemia. AML1-ETO is a DNA binding transcription factor and has been demonstrated to play a critical role in promoting leukemogenesis. Therefore, it is important to define the molecular mechanism of AML1-ETO in the regulation of gene expression. Here, we report that the effect of AML1-ETO on the promoter of multidrug resistance-1 (MDR1) gene, a known AML1-ETO target, is highly cell type specific. Besides observing repression of the MDR1 promoter in C33A and CV-1 cells as reported previously, AML1-ETO strongly activated the promoter in K562 and B210 cells. More importantly, this activation required both the AML1 and ETO portions of the fusion protein, but did not depend on the AML1 binding site in MDR1 promoter. Furthermore, results from promoter deletion analysis and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays suggested that this activation effect was likely through the influence of the general transcription machinery rather than promoter-specific factors. Based on these data, we propose that AML1-ETO may have opposing effects on gene expression depending on the various conditions of the cellular environment.
PMCID: PMC2048671  PMID: 17590361
19.  AML1/ETO Oncoprotein Is Directed to AML1 Binding Regions and Co-Localizes with AML1 and HEB on Its Targets 
PLoS Genetics  2008;4(11):e1000275.
A reciprocal translocation involving chromosomes 8 and 21 generates the AML1/ETO oncogenic transcription factor that initiates acute myeloid leukemia by recruiting co-repressor complexes to DNA. AML1/ETO interferes with the function of its wild-type counterpart, AML1, by directly targeting AML1 binding sites. However, transcriptional regulation determined by AML1/ETO probably relies on a more complex network, since the fusion protein has been shown to interact with a number of other transcription factors, in particular E-proteins, and may therefore target other sites on DNA. Genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation and expression profiling were exploited to identify AML1/ETO-dependent transcriptional regulation. AML1/ETO was found to co-localize with AML1, demonstrating that the fusion protein follows the binding pattern of the wild-type protein but does not function primarily by displacing it. The DNA binding profile of the E-protein HEB was grossly rearranged upon expression of AML1/ETO, and the fusion protein was found to co-localize with both AML1 and HEB on many of its regulated targets. Furthermore, the level of HEB protein was increased in both primary cells and cell lines expressing AML1/ETO. Our results suggest a major role for the functional interaction of AML1/ETO with AML1 and HEB in transcriptional regulation determined by the fusion protein.
Author Summary
Acute myeloid leukemias (AML) are a group of hematologic malignancies initiated by chromosomal abnormalities that often give origin to oncogenic proteins with transcriptional regulatory functions. These aberrant transcription factors bind to specific sequences on DNA and influence the activity of adjacent genes. The result is that leukemic blasts display abnormalities in their gene expression programs, which are ultimately responsible for the malignant phenotype. In this study, genome-wide approaches were exploited not only to identify target genes, but also to discover interactions among different transcription factors, with the aim of defining disease-linked regulatory networks. We performed a detailed analysis of the DNA binding pattern of an oncogenic transcription factor, AML1/ETO, which is responsible for approximately 10–15% of AML. We identified a specific signature, which is characterized by the presence of binding regions for AML1/ETO and for other transcription factors, AML1 and HEB, and found that the DNA binding pattern of AML1 and HEB is significantly affected in cells expressing AML1/ETO. Our results, therefore, describe genes regulated by AML1/ETO and demonstrate that this oncogenic protein can significantly interfere with the function of other transcriptional regulators.
PMCID: PMC2577924  PMID: 19043539
20.  Myeloid Translocation Gene 16 (MTG16) Interacts with Notch Transcription Complex Components To Integrate Notch Signaling in Hematopoietic Cell Fate Specification▿ †  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2010;30(7):1852-1863.
The Notch signaling pathway regulates gene expression programs to influence the specification of cell fate in diverse tissues. In response to ligand binding, the intracellular domain of the Notch receptor is cleaved by the γ-secretase complex and then translocates to the nucleus. There, it binds the transcriptional repressor CSL, triggering its conversion to an activator of Notch target gene expression. The events that control this conversion are poorly understood. We show that the transcriptional corepressor, MTG16, interacts with both CSL and the intracellular domains of Notch receptors, suggesting a pivotal role in regulation of the Notch transcription complex. The Notch1 intracellular domain disrupts the MTG16-CSL interaction. Ex vivo fate specification in response to Notch signal activation is impaired in Mtg16−/− hematopoietic progenitors, and restored by MTG16 expression. An MTG16 derivative lacking the binding site for the intracellular domain of Notch1 fails to restore Notch-dependent cell fate. These data suggest that MTG16 interfaces with critical components of the Notch transcription complex to affect Notch-dependent lineage allocation in hematopoiesis.
PMCID: PMC2838074  PMID: 20123979
21.  Translocation Products in Acute Myeloid Leukemia Activate the Wnt Signaling Pathway in Hematopoietic Cells 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2004;24(7):2890-2904.
The acute myeloid leukemia (AML)-associated translocation products AML1-ETO, PML-retinoic acid receptor alpha (RARα), and PLZF-RARα encode aberrant transcription factors. Several lines of evidence suggest similar pathogenetic mechanisms for these fusion proteins. We used high-density oligonucleotide arrays to identify shared target genes in inducibly transfected U937 cells expressing AML1-ETO, PML-RARα, or PLZF-RARα. All three fusion proteins significantly repressed the expression of 38 genes and induced the expression of 14 genes. Several of the regulated genes were associated with Wnt signaling. One of these, plakoglobin (γ-catenin), was induced on the mRNA and protein level by all three fusion proteins. In addition, primary AML blasts carrying one of the fusion proteins significantly overexpressed plakoglobin. The plakoglobin promoter was cloned and shown to be induced by AML1-ETO, with promoter activation depending on the corepressor and histone deacetylase binding domains. The induction of plakoglobin by AML fusion proteins led to downstream signaling and transactivation of TCF- and LEF-dependent promoters, including the c-myc promoter, which was found to be bound by plakoglobin in vivo after AML1-ETO expression. β-Catenin protein levels and TCF and LEF target genes such as c-myc and cyclin D1 were found to be induced by the fusion proteins. On the functional level, a dominant negative TCF inhibited colony growth of AML1-ETO-positive Kasumi cells, whereas plakoglobin transfection into myeloid 32D cells enhanced proliferation and clonal growth. Injection of plakoglobin-expressing 32D cells into syngeneic mice accelerated the development of leukemia. Transduction of plakoglobin into primitive murine hematopoietic progenitor cells preserved the immature phenotype during colony growth, suggesting enhanced self-renewal. These data provide evidence that activation of Wnt signaling is a common feature of several balanced translocations in AML.
PMCID: PMC371102  PMID: 15024077
22.  Genome-wide co-occupancy of AML1-ETO and N-CoR defines the t(8;21) AML signature in leukemic cells 
BMC Genomics  2015;16(1):309.
Many leukemias result from chromosomal rearrangements. The t(8;21) chromosomal translocation produces AML1-ETO, an oncogenic fusion protein that compromises the function of AML1, a transcription factor critical for myeloid cell differentiation. Because of the pressing need for new therapies in the treatment of acute myleoid leukemia, we investigated the genome-wide occupancy of AML1-ETO in leukemic cells to discover novel regulatory mechanisms involving AML-ETO bound genes.
We report the co-localization of AML1-ETO with the N-CoR co-repressor to be primarily on genomic regions distal to transcriptional start sites (TSSs). These regions exhibit over-representation of the motif for PU.1, a key hematopoietic regulator and member of the ETS family of transcription factors. A significant discovery of our study is that genes co-occupied by AML1-ETO and N-CoR (e.g., TYROBP and LAPTM5) are associated with the leukemic phenotype, as determined by analyses of gene ontology and by the observation that these genes are predominantly up-regulated upon AML1-ETO depletion. In contrast, the AML1-ETO/p300 gene network is less responsive to AML1-ETO depletion and less associated with the differentiation block characteristic of leukemic cells. Furthermore, a substantial fraction of AML1-ETO/p300 co-localization occurs near TSSs in promoter regions associated with transcriptionally active loci.
Our findings establish a novel and dominant t(8;21) AML leukemia signature characterized by occupancy of AML1-ETO/N-CoR at promoter-distal genomic regions enriched in motifs for myeloid differentiation factors, thus providing mechanistic insight into the leukemic phenotype.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1445-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4434520  PMID: 25928846
AML; Runx1; t(8;21); Chromosomal translocation; Myeloid cell differentiation; Epigenetic control
23.  Aberrant Recruitment of the Nuclear Receptor Corepressor-Histone Deacetylase Complex by the Acute Myeloid Leukemia Fusion Partner ETO 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1998;18(12):7185-7191.
Nuclear receptor corepressor (CoR)-histone deacetylase (HDAC) complex recruitment is indispensable for the biological activities of the retinoic acid receptor fusion proteins of acute promyelocytic leukemias. We report here that ETO (eight-twenty-one or MTG8), which is fused to the acute myelogenous leukemia 1 (AML1) transcription factor in t(8;21) AML, interacts via its zinc finger region with a conserved domain of the corepressors N-CoR and SMRT and recruits HDAC in vivo. The fusion protein AML1-ETO retains the ability of ETO to form stable complexes with N-CoR/SMRT and HDAC. Deletion of the ETO C terminus abolishes CoR binding and HDAC recruitment and severely impairs the ability of AML1-ETO to inhibit differentiation of hematopoietic precursors. These data indicate that formation of a stable complex with CoR–HDAC is crucial to the activation of the leukemogenic potential of AML1 by ETO and suggest that aberrant recruitment of corepressor complexes is a general mechanism of leukemogenesis.
PMCID: PMC109300  PMID: 9819405
24.  ETO, but Not Leukemogenic Fusion Protein AML1/ETO, Augments RBP-Jκ/SHARP-Mediated Repression of Notch Target Genes▿ †  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2008;28(10):3502-3512.
Notch is a transmembrane receptor that determines cell fates and pattern formation in all animal species. After specific ligand binding, the intracellular part of Notch is cleaved off and translocates to the nucleus, where it targets the DNA binding protein RBP-Jκ. In the absence of Notch, RBP-Jκ represses Notch target genes by recruiting a corepressor complex. We and others have previously identified SHARP as one component of this complex. Here, we show that the corepressor ETO as well as the leukemogenic fusion protein AML1/ETO directly interacts with SHARP, that ETO is part of the endogenous RBP-Jκ-containing corepressor complex, and that ETO is found at Notch target gene promoters. In functional assays, corepressor ETO, but not AML1/ETO, augments SHARP-mediated repression in an histone deacetylase-dependent manner. Furthermore, either the knockdown of ETO or the overexpression of AML1/ETO activates Notch target genes. Therefore, we propose that AML1/ETO can disturb the normal, repressive function of ETO at Notch target genes. This activating (or derepressing) effect of AML1/ETO may contribute to its oncogenic potential in myeloid leukemia.
PMCID: PMC2423149  PMID: 18332109
25.  Cellular reprogramming by the conjoint action of ERα, FOXA1, and GATA3 to a ligand-inducible growth state 
Estrogen receptor α (ERα), FOXA1, and GATA3 form a functional enhanceosome in MCF-7 breast carcinoma cell that is significantly associated with active transcriptional features such as enhanced p300 co-activator and RNA Pol II recruitment as well as chromatin opening.The enhanceosome exerts significant impact and optimal transcriptional control in the regulation of E2-responsive genes.The presence of FOXA1 and GATA3 is indispensable in restoring the ERα growth-response machinery in the ERα-negative cells and recapitulating the appropriate expression cassette.
Estrogen receptor α (ERα) is a ligand-inducible hormone nuclear receptor that has important physiology and pathology roles in reproduction, cancer, and cardiovascular biology. The regulation of ERα involves its binding to the DNA recognition sequence also known as estrogen-response elements (EREs) and recruits a variety of co-activators, corepressors, and chromatin remodeling enzymes to initiate transcription machinery. In our previous (Lin et al, 2007) and recent (Joseph et al, 2010) studies, we have identified high confidence ERα binding sites in MCF-7 human mammary carcinoma cells. With known motif scanning and de novo motif detection, we identified that FOXA1 and GATA3 motifs were commonly enriched around ERα binding sites. Moreover, numerous microarray studies have documented the co-expression of ERα, FOXA1, and GATA3 in primary breast tumors (Badve et al, 2007; Wilson and Giguere, 2008). This evidence suggests that these three transcription factors (TFs) may cluster on DNA binding sites and contribute to the breast cancer phenotype. However, there is little understanding as to the nature of their coordinated interaction at the genome level or the biological consequences of their detailed interaction.
We mapped the genome-wide binding profiles of ERα, FOXA1, and GATA3 using the massive parallel chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing (ChIP-seq) approach. We observed that ERα, FOXA1, and GATA3 colocalized in a coordinated manner where ∼30% of all ERα binding sites were overlapped with FOXA1 and GATA3 bindings upon estrogen (E2) stimulation. Moreover, we found that the ERα+FOXA1+GATA3 conjoint sites were associated with highest p300 co-activator recruitment, RNA Pol II occupancy, and chromatin opening. Such results indicate that these three TFs form a functional enhanceosome and cooperatively modulate the transcriptional networks previously ascribed to ERα alone. And such enhanceosome binding sites appear to regulate the genes driving core ERα function.
To further validate that ERα+FOXA1+GATA3 co-binding represents an optimal configuration for E2-mediated transcriptional activation, we have performed luciferase reporter assays on GREB1 locus that actively engages ERα enhanceosome sites in gene regulation (Figure 5C). The presence of ERα induced the GREB1 luciferase activity to ∼246% (as compared with the control construct). The individual presence of FOXA1 and GATA3 or combination of both only produced subtle changes to the GREB1 luciferase activity. The combination of ERα+FOXA1 and ERα+GATA3 has increased the luciferase activity to ∼330%. Interestingly, the assemblage of ERα+FOXA1+GATA3 provided the optimal ER responsiveness to 370%. This suggests that ERα provides the fundamental gene regulatory module but that FOXA1 and GATA3 incrementally improve ERα-regulated transcriptional induction.
It is known that ERα is a ligand-activated TF that mediates the proliferative effects of E2 in breast cancer cells. Garcia et al (1992) showed inhibited growth in MDA-MB-231 cells with forced expression of ERα upon E2 treatment. The rationale for these different outcomes has remained elusive. We posited that these higher order regulatory mechanisms of ERα function such as the formation and composition of enhanceosomes may explain the establishment of transcriptional regulatory cassettes favoring either growth enhancement or growth repression.
To test this hypothesis, we stably transfected the MDA-MB-231 cells with individual ERα, FOXA1, GATA3, or in combinations (Figure 6A). We observed inhibited growth in cells with enforced expression of ERα or FOXA1. There was unaltered growth in cells with expression of GATA3. Co-expression of ERα+FOXA1 or ERα+GATA3 exhibited inhibition of cell proliferation as compared with control cells. However, the co-expression of ERα together with FOXA1 and GATA3 resulted in marked induction of cell proliferation under E2 stimulation. We have recapitulated this cellular reprogramming in another ERα-negative breast cancer cell line, BT-549 and observed similar E2-responsive growth induction in the ERα+FOXA1+GATA3-expressing BT-549 cells. This suggests that only with the full activation of conjoint binding sites by the three TFs will the proliferative phenotype associated with ligand induced ERα be manifest.
To assess the nature of this transcriptional reprogramming, we asked the question if the reprogrammed MDA-MB-231 cells display any similarity in the expression profile of the ERα-positive breast cancer cell line, MCF-7 (Figure 6C). We combined the E2-regulated genes from these differently transfected MDA-MB-231 cells, and compared their expressions in these MDA-MB-231-transfected cells and MCF-7 cells. Strikingly, we found that the expression profiles of ERα+FOXA1+GATA3-expressing MDA-MB-231 cells display a good correlation (R=0.42) with the E2-induced expression profile of MCF-7. We did not observe such correlation between the expression profiles of MDA-MB-231 transfected with ERα only (R=−0.21). Furthermore, we observed that there is marginal induced expression of luminal marker genes and reduced expression of basal genes in the ERα+FOXA1+GATA3-expressing MDA-MB-231 as compared with the vector control cells. This suggests that the enhanceosome component is competent to partially reprogramme the basal cells to resemble the luminal cells.
Taken together, we have uncovered the genomics impact as well as the functional importance of an enhanceosome comprising ERα, FOXA1, and GATA3 in the estrogen responsiveness of ERα-positive breast cancer cells. This enhanceosome exerts significant combinatorial control of the transcriptional network regulating growth and proliferation of ERα-positive breast cancer cells. Most importantly, we show that the transfection of the enhanceosome component was necessary to reprogramme the ERα-negative cells to restore the estrogen-responsive growth and to transcriptionally induce a basal to luminal transition.
Despite the role of the estrogen receptor α (ERα) pathway as a key growth driver for breast cells, the phenotypic consequence of exogenous introduction of ERα into ERα-negative cells paradoxically has been growth inhibition. We mapped the binding profiles of ERα and its interacting transcription factors (TFs), FOXA1 and GATA3 in MCF-7 breast carcinoma cells, and observed that these three TFs form a functional enhanceosome that regulates the genes driving core ERα function and cooperatively modulate the transcriptional networks previously ascribed to ERα alone. We demonstrate that these enhanceosome occupied sites are associated with optimal enhancer characteristics with highest p300 co-activator recruitment, RNA Pol II occupancy, and chromatin opening. Most importantly, we show that the transfection of all three TFs was necessary to reprogramme the ERα-negative MDA-MB-231 and BT-549 cells to restore the estrogen-responsive growth resembling estrogen-treated ERα-positive MCF-7 cells. Cumulatively, these results suggest that all the enhanceosome components comprising ERα, FOXA1, and GATA3 are necessary for the full repertoire of cancer-associated effects of the ERα.
PMCID: PMC3202798  PMID: 21878914
enhanceosome; estrogen receptor α; FOXA1; GATA3; synthetic phenotypes

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