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1.  The SWI/SNF Subunit/Tumor Suppressor BAF47/INI1 Is Essential in Cell Cycle Arrest upon Skeletal Muscle Terminal Differentiation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e108858.
Myogenic terminal differentiation is a well-orchestrated process starting with permanent cell cycle exit followed by muscle-specific genetic program activation. Individual SWI/SNF components have been involved in muscle differentiation. Here, we show that the master myogenic differentiation factor MyoD interacts with more than one SWI/SNF subunit, including the catalytic subunit BRG1, BAF53a and the tumor suppressor BAF47/INI1. Downregulation of each of these SWI/SNF subunits inhibits skeletal muscle terminal differentiation but, interestingly, at different differentiation steps and extents. BAF53a downregulation inhibits myotube formation but not the expression of early muscle-specific genes. BRG1 or BAF47 downregulation disrupt both proliferation and differentiation genetic programs expression. Interestingly, BRG1 and BAF47 are part of the SWI/SNF remodeling complex as well as the N-CoR-1 repressor complex in proliferating myoblasts. However, our data show that, upon myogenic differentiation, BAF47 shifts in favor of N-CoR-1 complex. Finally, BRG1 and BAF47 are well-known tumor suppressors but, strikingly, only BAF47 seems essential in the myoblasts irreversible cell cycle exit. Together, our data unravel differential roles for SWI/SNF subunits in muscle differentiation, with BAF47 playing a dual role both in the permanent cell cycle exit and in the regulation of muscle-specific genes.
PMCID: PMC4182762  PMID: 25271443
2.  Epigenetic reprogramming of human ES cells into skeletal muscle cells and generation of contractile myospheres 
Cell reports  2013;3(3):661-670.
Direct generation of a homogeneous population of skeletal myoblasts from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and formation of tri-dimensional contractile structures for in dish disease modeling is a current challenge in regenerative medicine. Previous studies reported on the generation of myoblasts from ESC-derived embryoid bodies (EB), but not from undifferentiated ESCs, indicating the requirement for mesodermal transition to promote skeletal myogenesis. Here we show that selective absence of the SWI/SNF component BAF60C (encoded by SMARCD3) confers on hESCs resistance to MyoD-mediated activation of skeletal myogenesis. Forced expression of BAF60C enables MyoD to directly activate skeletal myogenesis in hESCs, by instructing MyoD nuclear positioning and allowing chromatin remodelling at target genes. BAF60C/MyoD-expressing hESCs are epigenetically committed myogenic progenitors, which bypass the mesodermal requirement and, when cultured as floating clusters, give rise to contractile tri-dimensional myospheres composed of skeletal myotubes. These results identify BAF60C as key epigenetic determinant of hESC commitment to the myogenic lineage, and establish the molecular basis for the unprecedented generation of hESC-derived myospheres exploitable for “in dish models” of muscular diseases.
PMCID: PMC3625045  PMID: 23478022
3.  Repressive LTR Nucleosome Positioning by the BAF Complex Is Required for HIV Latency 
PLoS Biology  2011;9(11):e1001206.
The SWI/SNF BAF chromatin remodeling complex generates a repressive nucleosome structure at the HIV LTR conducive to establishment and maintenance of HIV latency, while PBAF augments HIV transcription.
Persistence of a reservoir of latently infected memory T cells provides a barrier to HIV eradication in treated patients. Several reports have implicated the involvement of SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes in restricting early steps in HIV infection, in coupling the processes of integration and remodeling, and in promoter/LTR transcription activation and repression. However, the mechanism behind the seemingly contradictory involvement of SWI/SNF in the HIV life cycle remains unclear. Here we addressed the role of SWI/SNF in regulation of the latent HIV LTR before and after transcriptional activation. We determined the predicted nucleosome affinity of the LTR sequence and found a striking reverse correlation when compared to the strictly positioned in vivo LTR nucleosomal structure; sequences encompassing the DNase hypersensitive regions displayed the highest nucleosome affinity, while the strictly positioned nucleosomes displayed lower affinity for nucleosome formation. To examine the mechanism behind this reverse correlation, we used a combinatorial approach to determine DNA accessibility, histone occupancy, and the unique recruitment and requirement of BAF and PBAF, two functionally distinct subclasses of SWI/SNF at the LTR of HIV-infected cells before and after activation. We find that establishment and maintenance of HIV latency requires BAF, which removes a preferred nucleosome from DHS1 to position the repressive nucleosome-1 over energetically sub-optimal sequences. Depletion of BAF resulted in de-repression of HIV latency concomitant with a dramatic alteration in the LTR nucleosome profile as determined by high resolution MNase nucleosomal mapping. Upon activation, BAF was lost from the HIV promoter, while PBAF was selectively recruited by acetylated Tat to facilitate LTR transcription. Thus BAF and PBAF, recruited during different stages of the HIV life cycle, display opposing function on the HIV promoter. Our data point to the ATP-dependent BRG1 component of BAF as a putative therapeutic target to deplete the latent reservoir in patients.
Author Summary
Despite the effectiveness of antiretroviral medication, the HIV virus persists in resting memory T cells of infected patients in a latent state, providing the main impediment to eradication of the virus. In this article, we examined the molecular mechanism responsible for the establishment and maintenance of HIV latency and its re-activation, and uncovered the role played in this process by the SWI/SNF class of chromatin remodeling complexes, which use energy from ATP to alter the structure of chromatin. We show that two distinct sub-classes of SWI/SNF, BAF and PBAF, play functionally opposing roles in distinct steps of the HIV promoter (or long terminal repeat, LTR) transcription cycle. The PBAF complex augments transcription of the LTR by the viral transactivator Tat. In contrast, the distinct BAF complex generates a chromatin structure at the LTR that is energetically unfavorable with respect to the intrinsic histone-DNA sequence preferences. Specifically, we find that BAF positions a repressive nucleosome immediately downstream of the HIV transcription start site, abrogating transcription, and in this way contributes to the establishment and maintenance of HIV latency. Our data describe a novel molecular mechanism for the establishment and maintenance of HIV latency, and we identify the catalytic subunit of BAF, the enzyme BRG1, as a putative molecular target to deplete the latent reservoir in infected patients.
PMCID: PMC3226458  PMID: 22140357
4.  A Specificity and Targeting Subunit of a Human SWI/SNF Family-Related Chromatin-Remodeling Complex 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2000;20(23):8879-8888.
The SWI/SNF family of chromatin-remodeling complexes facilitates gene activation by assisting transcription machinery to gain access to targets in chromatin. This family includes BAF (also called hSWI/SNF-A) and PBAF (hSWI/SNF-B) from humans and SWI/SNF and Rsc from Saccharomyces cerevisiae. However, the relationship between the human and yeast complexes is unclear because all human subunits published to date are similar to those of both yeast SWI/SNF and Rsc. Also, the two human complexes have many identical subunits, making it difficult to distinguish their structures or functions. Here we describe the cloning and characterization of BAF250, a subunit present in human BAF but not PBAF. BAF250 contains structural motifs conserved in yeast SWI1 but not in any Rsc components, suggesting that BAF is related to SWI/SNF. BAF250 is also a homolog of the Drosophila melanogaster Osa protein, which has been shown to interact with a SWI/SNF-like complex in flies. BAF250 possesses at least two conserved domains that could be important for its function. First, it has an AT-rich DNA interaction-type DNA-binding domain, which can specifically bind a DNA sequence known to be recognized by a SWI/SNF family-related complex at the β-globin locus. Second, BAF250 stimulates glucocorticoid receptor-dependent transcriptional activation, and the stimulation is sharply reduced when the C-terminal region of BAF250 is deleted. This region of BAF250 is capable of interacting directly with the glucocorticoid receptor in vitro. Our data suggest that BAF250 confers specificity to the human BAF complex and may recruit the complex to its targets through either protein-DNA or protein-protein interactions.
PMCID: PMC86543  PMID: 11073988
5.  SWI/SNF complexes, chromatin remodeling and skeletal myogenesis: It's time to exchange! 
Experimental cell research  2010;316(18):3073-3080.
Skeletal muscle differentiation relies on the coordinated activation and repression of specific subsets of genes. This reflects extensive changes in chromatin architecture, composition of chromatin-associated complexes and histone modifications at the promoter/enhancer elements of skeletal muscle genes. An early, key event in the activation of muscle-specific gene transcription is the disruption of the repressive conformation imposed by nucleosomes, which impede the access of pioneer transcription factors, such as the muscle-specific basic helix–loop–helix (bHLH) factors MyoD and Myf5, to their DNA-binding sites. This review focuses on our current understanding of the role of the SWI/SNF ATP-dependent chromatin-remodeling complex in the activation of the myogenic program, by inducing conformational changes permissive for muscle-gene expression. Recent findings suggest that specific combinations of individual SWI/SNF components can generate sub-complexes with specialized functions that are engaged at sequential stages of muscle-gene activation — e.g. initial displacement of the nucleosome followed by the loading of the complete myogenic transcriptosome that promotes gene transcription. SWI/SNF composition and function is regulated by the exchange of specific variants of structural sub-units. In turn, an exchange of histone variants and related epigenetic modifications might reflect the impact of distinct SWI/SNF complexes on the architecture and activity of target promoter/enhancer elements. Thus, the SWI/SNF complexes should be regarded not just as simple executors of the program imposed by transcription factors, but as multifaceted “readers” and “shapers” of the chromatin/DNA landscape within target muscle genes along the transition from myoblasts to myotubes.
PMCID: PMC2952693  PMID: 20553711
Skeletal myogenesis; Transcription; Chromatin; Epigenetics; SWI/SNF
6.  DNA damage-activated ABL-MyoD signaling contributes to DNA repair in skeletal myoblasts 
Cell Death and Differentiation  2013;20(12):1664-1674.
Previous works have established a unique function of MyoD in the control of muscle gene expression during DNA damage response in myoblasts. Phosphorylation by DNA damage-activated ABL tyrosine kinase transiently inhibits MyoD-dependent activation of transcription in response to genotoxic stress. We show here that ABL-MyoD signaling is also an essential component of the DNA repair machinery in myoblasts exposed to genotoxic stress. DNA damage promoted the recruitment of MyoD to phosphorylated Nbs1 (pNbs1)-containing repair foci, and this effect was abrogated by either ABL knockdown or the ABL kinase inhibitor imatinib. Upon DNA damage, MyoD and pNbs1 were detected on the chromatin to MyoD target genes without activating transcription. DNA damage-mediated tyrosine phosphorylation was required for MyoD recruitment to target genes, as the ABL phosphorylation-resistant MyoD mutant (MyoD Y30F) failed to bind the chromatin following DNA damage, while retaining the ability to activate transcription in response to differentiation signals. Moreover, MyoD Y30F exhibited an impaired ability to promote repair in a heterologous system, as compared with MyoD wild type (WT). Consistently, MyoD-null satellite cells (SCs) displayed impaired DNA repair that was rescued by reintroduction of MyoD WT but not by MyoD Y30F. In addition, inhibition of ABL kinase prevented MyoD WT-mediated rescue of DNA repair in MyoD-null SCs. These results identify an unprecedented contribution of MyoD to DNA repair and suggest that ABL-MyoD signaling coordinates DNA repair and transcription in myoblasts.
PMCID: PMC3824587  PMID: 24056763
MyoD; ABL; DNA damage; chromatin; DNA repair
7.  Functional interdependence at the chromatin level between the MKK6/p38 and IGF1/Pi3K/AKT pathways during muscle differentiation 
Molecular cell  2007;28(2):200-213.
During muscle regeneration, the mechanism integrating environmental cues at the chromatin of muscle progenitors is unknown. We show that inflammation-activated MKK6-p38 and IGF1-induced Pi3K/AKT pathways converge on the chromatin of muscle genes to target distinct components of the muscle transcriptosome. p38 α/β kinases recruit the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex; AKT 1 and 2 promote the association of MyoD with p300 and PCAF acetyltransferases, via direct phosphorylation of p300. Pharmacological or genetic interference with either pathway led to partial assembly of discrete chromatin-bound complexes, which reflected two reversible and distinct cellular phenotypes. Remarkably, Pi3K/AKT blockade was permissive for chromatin recruitment of MEF2-SWI/SNF complex, whose remodeling activity was compromised in the absence of MyoD and acetyltransferases. The functional interdependence between p38 and IGF1/Pi3K/AKT pathways was further established by the evidence that blockade of AKT chromatin targets was sufficient to prevent the activation of the myogenic program triggered by deliberate activation of p38 signaling
PMCID: PMC2693200  PMID: 17964260
8.  BRG1 promotes melanoma survival in UV-irradiated melanoma cells by cooperating with MITF to activate the melanoma inhibitor of apoptosis gene 
Pigment cell & melanoma research  2013;26(3):377-391.
Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) is a survival factor in melanocytes and melanoma cells. MITF regulates expression of anti-apoptotic genes and promotes lineage specific survival in response to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and to chemotherapeutics. SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling enzymes interact with MITF to regulate MITF target gene expression. We determined that the catalytic subunit, BRG1, of the SWI/SNF complex protects melanoma cells against UV-induced death. BRG1 prevents apoptosis in UV- irradiated melanoma cells by activating expression of the melanoma inhibitor of apoptosis (ML-IAP). Down-regulation of ML-IAP compromises BRG1 mediated survival of melanoma cells in response to UV-radiation. BRG1 regulates ML-IAP expression by cooperating with MITF to promote transcriptionally permissive chromatin structure on the ML-IAP promoter. The alternative catalytic subunit, BRM and the BRG1 associated factor, BAF180 were found to be dispensable for elevated expression of ML-IAP in melanoma cells. Thus, we illuminate a lineage-specific mechanism by which a specific SWI/SNF subunit, BRG1, modulates the cellular response to DNA damage by regulating an anti-apoptotic gene and implicate this subunit of the SWI/SNF complex in mediating the pro-survival function of MITF.
SWI/SNF enzymes interact with the Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) a lineage addiction oncogene, to promote MITF target gene expression in melanoma cells. In this study we determined that the SWI/SNF component, BRG1, promotes melanoma survival in response to UV-radiation, by activating expression of the melanoma inhibitor of apoptosis, ML-IAP gene. Our data show that BRG1 and MITF co-operate to establish permissive chromatin structure on the ML-IAP promoter and alter the association of other epigenetic regulators. Thus, we have elucidated a mechanism by which a component of the SWI/SNF complex promotes the pro-survival function of MITF. We further demonstrate that the BRG1 associated factor, BAF180, is not required for the activation of ML-IAP, suggesting that a specific configuration of the SWI/SNF complex mediates distinct activities. These results provide insight into how SWI/SNF function is deregulated in melanoma.
PMCID: PMC3633630  PMID: 23480510
melanoma; MITF; SWI/SNF enzymes; chromatin remodeling; ultraviolet-radiation; apoptosis; ML-IAP
9.  A Role for BAF57 in Cell Cycle-Dependent Transcriptional Regulation by the SWI/SNF Chromatin Remodeling Complex 
Cancer research  2010;70(11):4402-4411.
The SWI/SNF complex is an ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complex that plays pivotal roles in gene regulation and cell cycle control. In the present study, we explored the molecular functions of the BAF57 subunit of SWI/SNF in cell cycle control via transcription regulation of cell cycle-related genes. We affinity purified SWI/SNF from HeLa cells stably expressing FLAG-tagged BAF47/Ini1 with or without stable shRNA-mediated knockdown of BAF57. The subunit composition of the holo- and BAF57-depleted SWI/SNF complexes from these cells were determined using a quantitative SILAC (Stable Isotope Labeling by Amino Acids in Cell Culture)-based proteomic approach. Depletion of BAF57 resulted in a significant co-depletion of BAF180 from the SWI/SNF complex without decreasing total cellular BAF180 levels. In biochemical assays of SWI/SNF activity, the holo- and BAF57/BAF180-depleted SWI/SNF complexes exhibited similar activities. However, in cell proliferation assays using HeLa cells, knockdown of BAF57 resulted in an accumulation of cells in the G2/M phase, inhibition of colony formation, and impaired growth in soft agar. Knockdown of BAF57 also caused transcriptional misregulation of various cell cycle-related genes, especially genes involved in late G2. Collectively, our results have a identified a new role for BAF57 within the SWI/SNF complex that is required for (1) maintaining the proper subunit composition of the complex and (2) cell cycle progression through the transcriptional regulation of a subset of cell cycle-related genes.
PMCID: PMC2880201  PMID: 20460533
SWI/SNF; BAF57; BAF180; Transcription; Cell Cycle; SILAC
10.  IL-10 transcription is negatively regulated by BAF180, a component of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling enzyme 
BMC Immunology  2012;13:9.
SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling enzymes play a critical role in the development of T helper lymphocytes, including Th2 cells, and directly program chromatin structure at Th2 cytokine genes. Different versions of SWI/SNF complexes, including BAF and PBAF, have been described based on unique subunit composition. However, the relative role of BAF and PBAF in Th cell function and cytokine expression has not been reported.
Here we examine the role of the PBAF SWI/SNF complex in Th cell development and gene expression using mice deficient for a PBAF-specific component, BAF180. We find that T cell development in the thymus and lymphoid periphery is largely normal when the BAF180 gene is deleted late in thymic development. However, BAF180-deficient Th2 cells express high levels of the immunoregulatory cytokine IL-10. BAF180 binds directly to regulatory elements in the Il-10 locus but is replaced by BAF250 BAF complexes in the absence of BAF180, resulting in increased histone acetylation and CBP recruitment to the IL-10 locus.
These results demonstrate that BAF180 is a repressor of IL-10 transcription in Th2 cells and suggest that the differential recruitment of different SWI/SNF subtypes can have direct consequences on chromatin structure and gene transcription.
PMCID: PMC3313858  PMID: 22336179
11.  The BRG1- and hBRM-Associated Factor BAF57 Induces Apoptosis by Stimulating Expression of the Cylindromatosis Tumor Suppressor Gene†  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(18):7953-7965.
Mutation of BRG1, hBRM, and their associated factors, INI1 and BAF57, in primary human tumors has suggested that inactivation of human SWI/SNF (hSWI/SNF) complexes may be involved in neoplastic transformation. BT549 is an invasive human breast carcinoma cell line that lacks expression of BAF57, a key hSWI/SNF subunit that mediates interaction with transcriptional activators and corepressors. In this study we investigated the role of BAF57 in suppressing tumorigenesis by establishing BT549 stable cell lines that expresses full-length BAF57 protein. BT549 clones expressing BAF57 demonstrated marked phenotypic changes, slow growth kinetics, and restoration of contact inhibition. Altered growth was found to be due in part to cell cycle arrest and induction of apoptosis. Furthermore, microarray analysis revealed that BAF57-mediated cell death was associated with up-regulation of proapoptotic genes including the tumor suppressor familial cylindromatosis (CYLD), which was found to be a direct target of BAF57 as determined by chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis. Increased expression of CYLD in BT549 cells induced apoptosis, while its suppression by small interfering RNA inhibited cell death in BAF57 expressing BT549 cells. These findings demonstrate the importance of BAF57 in cell growth regulation and provide a novel link between hSWI/SNF chromatin remodelers and apoptosis.
PMCID: PMC1234311  PMID: 16135788
12.  Targeting the BAF57 SWI/SNF Subunit in Prostate Cancer: A Novel Platform to Control Androgen Receptor Activity 
Cancer research  2008;68(12):4551-4558.
The androgen receptor (AR) is critical for disseminated prostate cancer proliferation and survival. AR activity is targeted either through prevention of ligand synthesis or through the use of antagonists that bind the COOH-terminal ligand-binding domain. Although initially effective, treatment fails due to restored AR activity in the presence of therapeutics. Thus, new means must be developed to target AR activity. The SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex is critical for AR transcriptional activity, and the BAF57 SWI/SNF subunit facilitates direct interaction with the receptor. Although selected SWI/SNF subunit expression is reduced in prostate cancer, we show that BAF57 is retained in human disease and is elevated in a subset of tumors. Functional analyses showed that BAF57 contributes uniquely to androgen-mediated stimulation of transcription without compromising the effectiveness of AR antagonists. Subsequent studies revealed that BAF57 is recruited to the AR DNA-binding domain/hinge region, which occurs concomitant with receptor activation. These data provided the basis for a novel inhibitor derived from BAF57 [BAF57 inhibitory peptide (BIPep)], which blocked AR residence on chromatin and resultant AR-dependent gene activation. Importantly, BIPep expression was sufficient to inhibit androgen-dependent prostate cancer cell proliferation in AR-positive cells. In summary, these data identify blockade of AR-BAF57 interaction as a novel means to target agonist-induced AR function in prostate cancer, and provide the first evidence that abrogation of SWI/SNF function can be developed as a point of therapeutic intervention in prostate cancer.
PMCID: PMC2862487  PMID: 18559499
13.  MyoD Targets Chromatin Remodeling Complexes to the Myogenin Locus Prior to Forming a Stable DNA-Bound Complex†  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2005;25(10):3997-4009.
The activation of muscle-specific gene expression requires the coordinated action of muscle regulatory proteins and chromatin-remodeling enzymes. Microarray analysis performed in the presence or absence of a dominant-negative BRG1 ATPase demonstrated that approximately one-third of MyoD-induced genes were highly dependent on SWI/SNF enzymes. To understand the mechanism of activation, we performed chromatin immunoprecipitations analyzing the myogenin promoter. We found that H4 hyperacetylation preceded Brg1 binding in a MyoD-dependent manner but that MyoD binding occurred subsequent to H4 modification and Brg1 interaction. In the absence of functional SWI/SNF enzymes, muscle regulatory proteins did not bind to the myogenin promoter, thereby providing evidence for SWI/SNF-dependent activator binding. We observed that the homeodomain factor Pbx1, which cooperates with MyoD to stimulate myogenin expression, is constitutively bound to the myogenin promoter in a SWI/SNF-independent manner, suggesting a two-step mechanism in which MyoD initially interacts indirectly with the myogenin promoter and attracts chromatin-remodeling enzymes, which then facilitate direct binding by MyoD and other regulatory proteins.
PMCID: PMC1087700  PMID: 15870273
14.  The Scaffold attachment factor b1 (Safb1) regulates myogenic differentiation by facilitating the transition of myogenic gene chromatin from a repressed to an activated state 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;41(11):5704-5716.
The regulation of skeletal muscle gene expression during myogenesis is mediated by lineage-specific transcription factors in combination with numerous cofactors, many of which modify chromatin structure. However, the involvement of scaffolding proteins that organize chromatin and chromatin-associated regulatory proteins has not extensively been explored in myogenic differentiation. Here, we report that Scaffold attachment factor b1 (Safb1), primarily associated with transcriptional repression, functions as a positive regulator of myogenic differentiation. Knockdown of Safb1 inhibited skeletal muscle marker gene expression and differentiation in cultured C2C12 myoblasts. In contrast, over-expression resulted in the premature expression of critical muscle structural proteins and formation of enlarged thickened myotubes. Safb1 co-immunoprecipitated with MyoD and was co-localized on myogenic promoters. Upon Safb1 knockdown, the repressive H3K27me3 histone mark and binding of the Polycomb histone methyltransferase Ezh2 persisted at differentiation-dependent gene promoters. In contrast, the appearance of histone marks and regulators associated with myogenic gene activation, such as myogenin and the SWI/SNF chromatin remodelling enzyme ATPase, Brg1, was blocked. These results indicate that the scaffold protein Safb1 contributes to the activation of skeletal muscle gene expression during myogenic differentiation by facilitating the transition of promoter sequences from a repressive chromatin structure to one that is transcriptionally permissive.
PMCID: PMC3675494  PMID: 23609547
15.  Analysis of the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex during early heart development and BAF250a repression cardiac gene transcription during P19 cell differentiation 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;42(5):2958-2975.
The regulatory networks of differentiation programs and the molecular mechanisms of lineage-specific gene regulation in mammalian embryos remain only partially defined. We document differential expression and temporal switching of BRG1-associated factor (BAF) subunits, core pluripotency factors and cardiac-specific genes during post-implantation development and subsequent early organogenesis. Using affinity purification of BRG1 ATPase coupled to mass spectrometry, we characterized the cardiac-enriched remodeling complexes present in E8.5 mouse embryos. The relative abundance and combinatorial assembly of the BAF subunits provides functional specificity to Switch/Sucrose NonFermentable (SWI/SNF) complexes resulting in a unique gene expression profile in the developing heart. Remarkably, the specific depletion of the BAF250a subunit demonstrated differential effects on cardiac-specific gene expression and resulted in arrhythmic contracting cardiomyocytes in vitro. Indeed, the BAF250a physically interacts and functionally cooperates with Nucleosome Remodeling and Histone Deacetylase (NURD) complex subunits to repressively regulate chromatin structure of the cardiac genes by switching open and poised chromatin marks associated with active and repressed gene expression. Finally, BAF250a expression modulates BRG1 occupancy at the loci of cardiac genes regulatory regions in P19 cell differentiation. These findings reveal specialized and novel cardiac-enriched SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complexes, which are required for heart formation and critical for cardiac gene expression regulation at the early stages of heart development.
PMCID: PMC3950667  PMID: 24335282
16.  myomiR-dependent switching of BAF60 variant incorporation into Brg1 chromatin remodeling complexes during embryo myogenesis 
Development (Cambridge, England)  2014;141(17):3378-3387.
Myogenesis involves the stable commitment of progenitor cells followed by the execution of myogenic differentiation, processes that are coordinated by myogenic regulatory factors, microRNAs and BAF chromatin remodeling complexes. BAF60a, BAF60b and BAF60c are structural subunits of the BAF complex that bind to the core ATPase Brg1 to provide functional specificity. BAF60c is essential for myogenesis; however, the mechanisms regulating the subunit composition of BAF/Brg1 complexes, in particular the incorporation of different BAF60 variants, are not understood. Here we reveal their dynamic expression during embryo myogenesis and uncover the concerted negative regulation of BAF60a and BAF60b by the muscle-specific microRNAs (myomiRs) miR-133 and miR-1/206 during somite differentiation. MicroRNA inhibition in chick embryos leads to increased BAF60a or BAF60b levels, a concomitant switch in BAF/Brg1 subunit composition and delayed myogenesis. The phenotypes are mimicked by sustained BAF60a or BAF60b expression and are rescued by morpholino knockdown of BAF60a or BAF60b. This suggests that myomiRs contribute to select BAF60c for incorporation into the Brg1 complex by specifically targeting the alternative variants BAF60a and BAF60b during embryo myogenesis, and reveals that interactions between tissue-specific non-coding RNAs and chromatin remodeling factors confer robustness to mesodermal lineage determination.
PMCID: PMC4199139  PMID: 25078649
BAF chromatin remodeling complex; Brg1; miR-1; miR-206; miR-133; Smarcd; Chick embryo; Somite myogenesis
17.  The expression of myogenic microRNAs indirectly requires protein arginine methyltransferase (Prmt)5 but directly requires Prmt4 
Nucleic Acids Research  2010;39(4):1243-1255.
Myogenic microRNAs are important regulators of muscle development and differentiation. To better understand the roles of chromatin-modifying and remodeling enzymes in the activation of myogenic microRNA expression, we have functionally analyzed two different protein arginine methyltransferases, Prmt5 and Prmt4, both of which have previously been implicated in the regulation of myogenic mRNA expression. Both Prmts are required for myogenic microRNA induction during differentiation. Prmt5 is indirectly required due to the necessity of Prmt5 for expression of the transcriptional regulator, myogenin, as ectopic expression of myogenin eliminates Prmt5 dependency. By contrast, Prmt4 binds to the upstream regulatory regions of myogenic microRNAs and is required for dimethylation of the Prmt4 substrate, H3R17, at microRNA regulatory sequences. Deletion of Prmt4 does not alter MyoD binding at myogenic microRNA regulatory sequences but prevents the binding of both myogenin and the Brg1 ATPase that catalyzes SWI/SNF-dependent chromatin remodeling, resulting in an inhibition of microRNA expression.
PMCID: PMC3045594  PMID: 20947566
18.  Target genes of the largest human SWI/SNF complex subunit control cell growth 
The Biochemical journal  2011;434(1):83-92.
The largest subunit of the mammalian SWI/SNF-A or BAF (BRG1-associated factor) chromatin-remodelling complex is encoded by two related cDNAs hOsa1/BAF250a and hOsa2/BAF250b that are unique to the BAF complex and absent in the related PBAF (Polybromo BAF). hOsa/BAF250 has been shown to interact with transcriptional activators and bind to DNA suggesting that it acts to target the remodelling complex to chromatin. To better understand the functions of hOsa2, we established inducible stable HeLa cell lines over-expressing FLAG-hOsa2 or a derivative lacking the ARID (AT-rich interactive domain) DNA-binding domain. Immunopurification of complexes containing hOsa2 that was followed by mass spectrometry and immunoblotting demonstrated the presence of BRG1 and known BAFs, but not hOsa1 or hBRM. Deletion of the ARID did not compromise the integrity of the complex. Induction of hOsa2 expression caused impaired cell growth and accumulation of cells in the G0/G1 cell cycle phase. Elevated levels of the p53 and p21 proteins were detected in these cells while c-Myc mRNA and protein levels were found to decrease. Chromatin immunoprecipitation and reporter assays suggested that hOsa2 had a direct effect on c-myc and p21 promoter activity. Thus hOsa2 plays an important role in controlling genes regulating the cell cycle.
PMCID: PMC4090146  PMID: 21118156
AT-rich interactive domain 1 (ARID1); chromatin; SWI/SNF remodelling complex; transcription
19.  The Protein Arginine Methyltransferase Prmt5 Is Required for Myogenesis because It Facilitates ATP-Dependent Chromatin Remodeling▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2006;27(1):384-394.
Skeletal muscle differentiation requires the coordinated activity of transcription factors, histone modifying enzymes, and ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling enzymes. The type II protein arginine methyltransferase Prmt5 symmetrically dimethylates histones H3 and H4 and numerous nonchromatin proteins, and prior work has implicated Prmt5 in transcriptional repression. Here we demonstrate that MyoD-induced muscle differentiation requires Prmt5. One of the first genes activated during differentiation encodes the myogenic regulator myogenin. Prmt5 and dimethylated H3R8 (histone 3 arginine 8) are localized at the myogenin promoter in differentiating cells. Modification of H3R8 required Prmt5, and reduction of Prmt5 resulted in the abrogation of promoter binding by the Brg1 ATPase-associated with the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling enzymes and all subsequent events associated with gene activation, including increases in chromatin accessibility and stable binding by MyoD. Prmt5 and dimethylated H3R8 were also associated with the myogenin promoter in activated satellite cells isolated from muscle tissue, further demonstrating the physiological relevance of these observations. The data indicate that Prmt5 facilitates myogenesis because it is required for Brg1-dependent chromatin remodeling and gene activation at a locus essential for differentiation. We therefore conclude that a histone modifying enzyme is necessary to permit an ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling enzyme to function.
PMCID: PMC1800640  PMID: 17043109
20.  Maximal Induction of a Subset of Interferon Target Genes Requires the Chromatin-Remodeling Activity of the BAF Complex 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2002;22(18):6471-6479.
The mammalian SWI/SNF-like chromatin-remodeling BAF complex plays several important roles in controlling cell proliferation and differentiation. Interferons (IFNs) are key mediators of cellular antiviral and antiproliferative activities. In this report, we demonstrate that the BAF complex is required for the maximal induction of a subset of IFN target genes by alpha IFN (IFN-α). The BAF complex is constitutively associated with the IFITM3 promoter in vivo and facilitates the chromatin remodeling of the promoter upon IFN-α induction. Furthermore, we show that the ubiquitous transcription activator Sp1 interacts with the BAF complex in vivo and augments the BAF-mediated activation of the IFITM3 promoter. Sp1 binds constitutively to the IFITM3 promoter in the absence of the BAF complex, suggesting that it may recruit and/or stabilize the BAF complex binding to the IFITM3 promoter. Our results bring new mechanistic insights into the antiproliferative effects of the chromatin-remodeling BAF complex.
PMCID: PMC135632  PMID: 12192045
21.  Genome-wide Impact of the BRG1 SWI/SNF Chromatin Remodeler on the Transforming Growth Factor β Transcriptional ProgramS⃞ 
The Journal of biological chemistry  2007;283(2):1146-1155.
The transcription factors Smad2 and Smad3 mediate a large set of gene responses induced by the cytokine transforming growth factor β (TGFβ), but the extent to which their function depends on chromatin remodeling remains to be defined. We observed interactions between these two Smads and BRG1, BAF250b, BAF170, and BAF155, which are core components of the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex. Smad2 and Smad3 have similar affinity for these components in vitro, and their interactions are primarily mediated by BRG1. In vivo, however, BRG1 predominantly interacts with Smad3, and this interaction is enhanced by TGFβ stimulation. Our results suggest that BRG1 is incorporated into transcriptional complexes that are formed by activated Smads in the nucleus, on target promoters. Using BRG1-deficient cell systems, we defined the BRG1 dependence of the TGFβ transcriptional program genome-wide. Most TGFβ gene responses in human epithelial cells are dependent on BRG1 function. Remarkably, BRG1 is not required for the TGFβ-mediated induction of SMAD7 and SNON, which encode key mediators of negative feedback in this pathway. Our results provide a genome-wide scope of the participation of BRG1 in TGFβ action and suggest a widespread yet differential involvement of BRG1 SWI/SNF remodeler in the transcriptional response of many genes to this cytokine.
PMCID: PMC2692279  PMID: 18003620
22.  MicroRNA-mediated switching of chromatin-remodelling complexes in neural development 
Nature  2009;460(7255):642-646.
One of the most distinctive steps in the development of the vertebrate nervous system occurs at mitotic exit when cells lose multi-potency and begin to develop stable connections that will persist for a lifetime1,2. This transition is accompanied by a switch in ATP-dependent chromatin-remodelling mechanisms that appears to coincide with the final mitotic division of neurons. This switch involves the exchange of the BAF53a (also known as ACTL6a) and BAF45a (PHF10) subunits within Swi/Snf-like neural-progenitor-specific BAF (npBAF) complexes for the homologous BAF53b (ACTL6b) and BAF45b (DPF1) subunits within neuron-specific BAF (nBAF) complexes in post-mitotic neurons. The subunits of the npBAF complex are essential for neural-progenitor proliferation, and mice with reduced dosage for the genes encoding its subunits have defects in neural-tube closure similar to those in human spina bifida3, one of the most serious congenital birth defects. In contrast, BAF53b and the nBAF complex are essential for an evolutionarily conserved program of post-mitotic neural development and dendritic morphogenesis4,5. Here we show that this essential transition is mediated by repression of BAF53a by miR-9* and miR-124. We find that BAF53a repression is mediated by sequences in the 3′ untranslated region corresponding to the recognition sites for miR-9* and miR-124, which are selectively expressed in post-mitotic neurons. Mutation of these sites led to persistent expression of BAF53a and defective activity-dependent dendritic outgrowth in neurons. In addition, overexpression of miR-9* and miR-124 in neural progenitors caused reduced proliferation. Previous studies have indicated that miR-9* and miR-124 are repressed by the repressor-element-1-silencing transcription factor (REST, also known as NRSF)6. Indeed, expression of REST in post-mitotic neurons led to derepression of BAF53a, indicating that REST-mediated repression of microRNAs directs the essential switch of chromatin regulatory complexes.
PMCID: PMC2921580  PMID: 19561591
23.  TFIID (TBP) stabilizes the binding of MyoD to its DNA site at the promoter and MyoD facilitates the association of TFIIB with the preinitiation complex. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1998;26(9):2112-2119.
The myogenic determination factor MyoD activates the transcription of muscle-specific genes by binding to consensus DNA sites found in the regulatory sequences of these genes. The interaction of MyoD with the basal transcription machinery is not known. Several activators induce transcription by recruiting TFIID and/or TFIIB to the promoter. We asked whether MyoD interacted functionally with TFIID and TFIIB in transcription. We reconstituted in vitro DNA binding and transcription systems of MyoD and basal transcription factors, and found that MyoD function in transcription occurred during the assembly of the preinitiation complex. Interestingly, MyoD activated transcription without affecting the binding of TFIID to the promoter. However, TFIID or TBP dramatically stabilized the binding of MyoD to its recognition site. MyoD and TBP interacted in solution. Deletion analysis of MyoD suggested that interaction of MyoD with TBP is needed for its activity in transcription. At a later stage of assembly, MyoD stabilized the binding of TFIIB to the preinitiation complex. These findings suggest that MyoD is involved in two steps of preinitiation; first, TFIID stabilizes MyoD binding to its DNA recognition site and at a later stage MyoD facilitates the association of TFIIB with the preinitiation complex.
PMCID: PMC147529  PMID: 9547268
24.  Transcriptional Repression by the BRG1-SWI/SNF Complex Affects the Pluripotency of Human Embryonic Stem Cells 
Stem Cell Reports  2014;3(3):460-474.
The SWI/SNF complex plays an important role in mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs), but it remains to be determined whether this complex is required for the pluripotency of human ESCs (hESCs). Using RNAi, we demonstrated that depletion of BRG1, the catalytic subunit of the SWI/SNF complex, led to impaired self-renewing ability and dysregulated lineage specification of hESCs. A unique composition of the BRG1-SWI/SNF complex in hESCs was further defined by the presence of BRG1, BAF250A, BAF170, BAF155, BAF53A, and BAF47. Genome-wide expression analyses revealed that BRG1 participated in a broad range of biological processes in hESCs through pathways different from those in mESCs. In addition, chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) demonstrated that BRG1 played a repressive role in transcriptional regulation by modulating the acetylation levels of H3K27 at the enhancers of lineage-specific genes. Our data thus provide valuable insights into molecular mechanisms by which transcriptional repression affects the self-renewal and differentiation of hESCs.
•We report a conserved but distinct role of SWI/SNF complex in hESC pluripotency•Depletion of BAF170 in SWI/SNF complex leads to impaired pluripotency of hESCs•BRG1 negatively regulates transcription of lineage-specific genes•BRG1 downregulates H3K27ac levels at enhancers of lineage-specific genes
In this article, Wang and colleagues show that a unique composition of the BRG1-SWI/SNF complex is required for maintaining self-renewal and proper differentiation of human embryonic stem cells. In addition, they demonstrate that BRG1 participates in a broad range of biological processes in human stem cells through transcriptional repression via downregulation of the acetylation levels of H3K27 at enhancers of lineage-specific genes.
PMCID: PMC4266000  PMID: 25241744
25.  ACTL6a Enforces the Epidermal Progenitor State by Suppressing SWI/SNF-Dependent Induction of KLF4 
Cell stem cell  2013;12(2):193-203.
Somatic progenitors suppress differentiation to maintain tissue self-renewal. The mammalian SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex regulates nucleosome packaging to control differentiation in embryonic and adult stem cells. Catalytic Brg1 and Brm subunits are required for these impacts, however, roles for SWI/SNF regulatory subunits are not fully understood. Here we show that ACTL6a/BAF53A modulates the SWI/SNF complex to suppress differentiation in epidermis. Conditional loss of ACTL6a resulted in terminal differentiation, cell cycle exit and hypoplasia while ectopic expression of ACTL6a promoted the progenitor state. A significant portion of genes regulated by ACTL6a were found to also be targets of KLF4, a known activator of epidermal differentiation. Mechanistically, we show that ACTL6a prevents SWI/SNF complex binding to promoters of KLF4 and other differentiation genes, and that SWI/SNF catalytic subunits are required for full induction of KLF4 targets. Thus, ACTL6a controls the epidermal progenitor state by sequestering SWI/SNF to prevent activation of differentiation programs.
PMCID: PMC3661004  PMID: 23395444
Stem Cell; ACTL6a; Differentiation; KLF4; SWI/SNF

Results 1-25 (1005551)