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1.  IL-6-STAT3 signaling and premature senescence 
JAK-STAT  2013;2(4):e25763.
Cytokines play several roles in developing and/or reinforcing premature cellular senescence of young cells. One such cytokine, interleukin-6 (IL-6), regulates senescence in some systems in addition to its known functions of immune regulation and promotion of tumorigenesis. In this review, we describe recent advances in studies on the roles of IL-6 and its downstream signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) in regulating premature cellular senescence. IL-6/sIL-6Rα stimulation forms a senescence-inducing circuit involving the STAT3-insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 5 (IGFBP5) as a key axis triggering and reinforcing component in human fibroblasts. We describe how cytokines regulate the process of senescence by activating STAT3 in one system and anti-senescence or tumorigenesis in other systems. The roles of other STAT members in premature senescence also will be discussed to show the multiple mechanisms leading to cytokine-induced senescence.
PMCID: PMC3876432  PMID: 24416650
cellular senescence; cytokine; interleukin-6; STAT3; IGFBP5; tumorigenesis
2.  Identification of PITX1 as a TERT Suppressor Gene Located on Human Chromosome 5 ▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2011;31(8):1624-1636.
Telomerase, a ribonucleoprotein enzyme that maintains telomere length, is crucial for cellular immortalization and cancer progression. Telomerase activity is attributed primarily to the expression of telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT). Using microcell-mediated chromosome transfer (MMCT) into the mouse melanoma cell line B16F10, we previously found that human chromosome 5 carries a gene, or genes, that can negatively regulate TERT expression (H. Kugoh, K. Shigenami, K. Funaki, J. Barrett, and M. Oshimura, Genes Chromosome Cancer 36:37–47, 2003). To identify the gene responsible for the regulation of TERT transcription, we performed cDNA microarray analysis using parental B16F10 cells, telomerase-negative B16F10 microcell hybrids with a human chromosome 5 (B16F10MH5), and its revertant clones (MH5R) with reactivated telomerase. Here, we report the identification of PITX1, whose expression leads to the downregulation of mouse tert (mtert) transcription, as a TERT suppressor gene. Additionally, both human TERT (hTERT) and mouse TERT (mtert) promoter activity can be suppressed by PITX1. We show that three and one binding site within the hTERT and mtert promoters, respectively, that express a unique conserved region are responsible for the transcriptional activation of TERT. Furthermore, we showed that PITX1 binds to the TERT promoter both in vitro and in vivo. Thus, PITX1 suppresses TERT transcription through direct binding to the TERT promoter, which ultimately regulates telomerase activity.
PMCID: PMC3126332  PMID: 21300782
3.  ZAC, LIT1 (KCNQ1OT1) and p57KIP2 (CDKN1C) are in an imprinted gene network that may play a role in Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome 
Nucleic Acids Research  2005;33(8):2650-2660.
Loss of genomic imprinting is involved in a number of developmental abnormalities and cancers. ZAC is an imprinted gene expressed from the paternal allele of chromosome 6q24 within a region known to harbor a tumor suppressor gene for several types of neoplasia. p57KIP2 (CDKN1C) is a maternally expressed gene located on chromosome 11p15.5 which encodes a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor that may also act as a tumor suppressor gene. Mutations in ZAC and p57KIP2 have been implicated in transient neonatal diabetes mellitus (TNDB) and Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome, respectively. Patients with these diseases share many characteristics. Here we show that mouse Zac1 and p57Kip2 have a strikingly similar expression pattern. ZAC, a sequence-specific DNA-binding protein, binds within the CpG island of LIT1 (KCNQ1OT1), a paternally expressed, anti-sense RNA thought to negatively regulate p57KIP2 in cis. ZAC induces LIT1 transcription in a methylation-dependent manner. Our data suggest that ZAC may regulate p57KIP2 through LIT1, forming part of a novel signaling pathway regulating cell growth. Mutations in ZAC may, therefore, contribute to Beckwith–Wiedemann syndrome. Furthermore, we find changes in DNA methylation at the LIT1 putative imprinting control region in two patients with TNDB.
PMCID: PMC1097765  PMID: 15888726
4.  Regulation of TCF ETS-domain transcription factors by helix–loop–helix motifs 
Nucleic Acids Research  2003;31(16):4717-4728.
DNA binding by the ternary complex factor (TCF) subfamily of ETS-domain transcription factors is tightly regulated by intramolecular and intermolecular interactions. The helix–loop–helix (HLH)-containing Id proteins are trans-acting negative regulators of DNA binding by the TCFs. In the TCF, SAP-2/Net/ERP, intramolecular inhibition of DNA binding is promoted by the cis-acting NID region that also contains an HLH-like motif. The NID also acts as a transcriptional repression domain. Here, we have studied the role of HLH motifs in regulating DNA binding and transcription by the TCF protein SAP-1 and how Cdk-mediated phosphorylation affects the inhibitory activity of the Id proteins towards the TCFs. We demonstrate that the NID region of SAP-1 is an autoinhibitory motif that acts to inhibit DNA binding and also functions as a transcription repression domain. This region can be functionally replaced by fusion of Id proteins to SAP-1, whereby the Id moiety then acts to repress DNA binding in cis. Phosphorylation of the Ids by cyclin–Cdk complexes results in reduction in protein–protein interactions between the Ids and TCFs and relief of their DNA-binding inhibitory activity. In revealing distinct mechanisms through which HLH motifs modulate the activity of TCFs, our results therefore provide further insight into the role of HLH motifs in regulating TCF function and how the inhibitory properties of the trans-acting Id HLH proteins are themselves regulated by phosphorylation.
PMCID: PMC169972  PMID: 12907712
5.  Id Helix-Loop-Helix Proteins Antagonize Pax Transcription Factor Activity by Inhibiting DNA Binding 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2001;21(2):524-533.
The Id subfamily of helix-loop-helix (HLH) proteins plays a fundamental role in the regulation of cellular proliferation and differentiation. The major mechanism by which Id proteins are thought to inhibit differentiation is through interaction with other HLH proteins and inhibition of their DNA-binding activity. However, Id proteins have also been shown to interact with other proteins involved in regulating cellular proliferation and differentiation, suggesting a more widespread regulatory function. In this study we demonstrate functional interactions between Id proteins and members of the Pax-2/-5/-8 subfamily of paired-domain transcription factors. Members of the Pax transcription factor family have key functions in regulating several developmental processes exemplified by B lymphopoiesis, in which Pax-5 plays an essential role. Id proteins bind to Pax proteins in vitro and in vivo. Binding occurs through the paired DNA-binding domain of the Pax proteins and results in the disruption of DNA-bound complexes containing Pax-2, Pax-5, and Pax-8. In vivo, Id proteins modulate the transcriptional activity mediated by Pax-5 complexes on the B-cell-specific mb-1 promoter. Our results therefore demonstrate a novel facet of Id function in regulating cellular differentiation by functionally antagonizing the action of members of the Pax transcription factor family.
PMCID: PMC86614  PMID: 11134340

Results 1-5 (5)