Rhizobia are soil bacteria able to establish a nitrogen-fixing symbiosis with legume plants. Both in soil and in planta, rhizobia spend non-growing periods resembling the stationary phase of in vitro-cultured bacteria. The primary objective of this work was to better characterize gene regulation in this biologically relevant growth stage in Sinorhizobium meliloti. By a tap-tag/mass spectrometry approach, we identified five sigma factors co-purifying with the RNA polymerase in stationary phase: the general stress response regulator RpoE2, the heat shock sigma factor RpoH2, and three extra-cytoplasmic function sigma factors (RpoE1, RpoE3 and RpoE4) belonging to the poorly characterized ECF26 subgroup. We then showed that RpoE1 and RpoE4 i) are activated upon metabolism of sulfite-generating compounds (thiosulfate and taurine), ii) display overlapping regulatory activities, iii) govern a dedicated sulfite response by controlling expression of the sulfite dehydrogenase SorT, iv) are activated in stationary phase, likely as a result of endogenous sulfite generation during bacterial growth. We showed that SorT is required for optimal growth of S. meliloti in the presence of sulfite, suggesting that the response governed by RpoE1 and RpoE4 may be advantageous for bacteria in stationary phase either by providing a sulfite detoxification function or by contributing to energy production through sulfite respiration. This paper therefore reports the first characterization of ECF26 sigma factors, the first description of sigma factors involved in control of sulphur metabolism, and the first indication that endogenous sulfite may act as a signal for regulation of gene expression upon entry of bacteria in stationary phase.
The expansion of a polyglutamine (polyQ) tract in the N-terminal region of ataxin-7 (atxn7) is the causative event in spinocerebellar ataxia type 7 (SCA7), an autosomal dominant neurodegenerative disorder mainly characterized by progressive, selective loss of rod-cone photoreceptors and cerebellar Purkinje and granule cells. The molecular and cellular processes underlying this restricted neuronal vulnerability, which contrasts with the broad expression pattern of atxn7, remains one of the most enigmatic features of SCA7, and more generally of all polyQ disorders. To gain insight into this specific neuronal vulnerability and achieve a better understanding of atxn7 function, we carried out a functional analysis of this protein in the teleost fish Danio rerio. We characterized the zebrafish atxn7 gene and its transcription pattern, and by making use of morpholino-oligonucleotide-mediated gene inactivation, we analysed the phenotypes induced following mild or severe zebrafish atxn7 depletion. Severe or nearly complete zebrafish atxn7 loss-of-function markedly impaired embryonic development, leading to both early embryonic lethality and severely deformed embryos. More importantly, in relation to SCA7, moderate depletion of the protein specifically, albeit partially, prevented the differentiation of both retina photoreceptors and cerebellar Purkinje and granule cells. In addition, [1–232] human atxn7 fragment rescued these phenotypes showing strong function conservation of this protein through evolution. The specific requirement for zebrafish atxn7 in the proper differentiation of cerebellar neurons provides, to our knowledge, the first in vivo evidence of a direct functional relationship between atxn7 and the differentiation of Purkinje and granule cells, the most crucial neurons affected in SCA7 and most other polyQ-mediated SCAs. These findings further suggest that altered protein function may play a role in the pathophysiology of the disease, an important step toward the development of future therapeutic strategies.
Chromatin structure is an important factor in the functional coupling between transcription and mRNA processing, not only by regulating alternative splicing events, but also by contributing to exon recognition during constitutive splicing. We observed that depolarization of neuroblastoma cell membrane potential, which triggers general histone acetylation and regulates alternative splicing, causes a concentration of SR proteins in nuclear speckles. This prompted us to analyze the effect of chromatin structure on splicing factor distribution and dynamics. Here, we show that induction of histone hyper-acetylation results in the accumulation in speckles of multiple splicing factors in different cell types. In addition, a similar effect is observed after depletion of the heterochromatic protein HP1α, associated with repressive chromatin. We used advanced imaging approaches to analyze in detail both the structural organization of the speckle compartment and nuclear distribution of splicing factors, as well as studying direct interactions between splicing factors and their association with chromatin in vivo. The results support a model where perturbation of normal chromatin structure decreases the recruitment efficiency of splicing factors to nascent RNAs, thus causing their accumulation in speckles, which buffer the amount of free molecules in the nucleoplasm. To test this, we analyzed the recruitment of the general splicing factor U2AF65 to nascent RNAs by iCLIP technique, as a way to monitor early spliceosome assembly. We demonstrate that indeed histone hyper-acetylation decreases recruitment of U2AF65 to bulk 3′ splice sites, coincident with the change in its localization. In addition, prior to the maximum accumulation in speckles, ∼20% of genes already show a tendency to decreased binding, while U2AF65 seems to increase its binding to the speckle-located ncRNA MALAT1. All together, the combined imaging and biochemical approaches support a model where chromatin structure is essential for efficient co-transcriptional recruitment of general and regulatory splicing factors to pre-mRNA.
Transcription regulation in pluripotent embryonic stem (ES) cells is a complex process that involves multitude of regulatory layers, one of which is post-translational modification of histones. Acetylation of specific lysine residues of histones plays a key role in regulating gene expression.
Here we have investigated the genome-wide occurrence of two histone marks, acetylation of histone H3K9 and K14 (H3K9ac and H3K14ac), in mouse embryonic stem (mES) cells. Genome-wide H3K9ac and H3K14ac show very high correlation between each other as well as with other histone marks (such as H3K4me3) suggesting a coordinated regulation of active histone marks. Moreover, the levels of H3K9ac and H3K14ac directly correlate with the CpG content of the promoters attesting the importance of sequences underlying the specifically modified nucleosomes. Our data provide evidence that H3K9ac and H3K14ac are also present over the previously described bivalent promoters, along with H3K4me3 and H3K27me3. Furthermore, like H3K27ac, H3K9ac and H3K14ac can also differentiate active enhancers from inactive ones. Although, H3K9ac and H3K14ac, a hallmark of gene activation exhibit remarkable correlation over active and bivalent promoters as well as distal regulatory elements, a subset of inactive promoters is selectively enriched for H3K14ac.
Our study suggests that chromatin modifications, such as H3K9ac and H3K14ac, are part of the active promoter state, are present over bivalent promoters and active enhancers and that the extent of H3K9 and H3K14 acetylation could be driven by cis regulatory elements such as CpG content at promoters. Our study also suggests that a subset of inactive promoters is selectively and specifically enriched for H3K14ac. This observation suggests that histone acetyl transferases (HATs) prime inactive genes by H3K14ac for stimuli dependent activation. In conclusion our study demonstrates a wider role for H3K9ac and H3K14ac in gene regulation than originally thought.
ChIP-seq; Histone acetylation; CpG islands; Embryonic stem cells; Gene regulation; Genome-wide mapping; Bivalent promoters, Epigenetics
The human tumour antigen PRAME (preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma) is frequently overexpressed during oncogenesis, and high PRAME levels are associated with poor clinical outcome in a variety of cancers. However, the molecular pathways in which PRAME is implicated are not well understood. We recently characterized PRAME as a BC-box subunit of a Cullin2-based E3 ubiquitin ligase. In this study, we mined the PRAME interactome to a deeper level and identified specific interactions with OSGEP and LAGE3, which are human orthologues of the ancient EKC/KEOPS complex. By characterizing biochemically the human EKC complex and its interactions with PRAME, we show that PRAME recruits a Cul2 ubiquitin ligase to EKC. Moreover, EKC subunits associate with PRAME target sites on chromatin. Our data reveal a novel link between the oncoprotein PRAME and the conserved EKC complex and support a role for both complexes in the same pathways.
Spermatogenesis is a complex differentiation process that involves genetic and epigenetic regulation, sophisticated hormonal control, and extensive structural changes in male germ cells. RNA nuclear and cytoplasmic bodies appear to be critical for the progress of spermatogenesis. The chromatoid body (CB) is a cytoplasmic organelle playing an important role in RNA post-transcriptional and translation regulation during the late steps of germ cell differentiation. The CB is also important for fertility determination since mutations of genes encoding its components cause infertility by spermatogenesis arrest. Targeted ablation of the Bmal1 and Clock genes, which encode central regulators of the circadian clock also result in fertility defects caused by problems other than spermatogenesis alterations. We show that the circadian proteins CLOCK and BMAL1 are localized in the CB in a stage-specific manner of germ cells. Both BMAL1 and CLOCK proteins physically interact with the ATP-dependent DEAD-box RNA helicase MVH (mouse VASA homolog), a hallmark component of the CB. BMAL1 is differentially expressed during the spermatogenic cycle of seminiferous tubules, and Bmal1 and Clock deficient mice display significant CB morphological alterations due to BMAL1 ablation or low expression. These findings suggest that both BMAL1 and CLOCK contribute to CB assembly and physiology, raising questions on the role of the circadian clock in reproduction and on the molecular function that CLOCK and BMAL1 could potentially have in the CB assembly and physiology.
The histone acetylation of post-translational modification can be highly dynamic and play a crucial role in regulating cellular proliferation, survival, differentiation and motility. Of the enzymes that mediate post-translation modifications, the GCN5 of the histone acetyltransferase (HAT) proteins family that add acetyl groups to target lysine residues within histones, has been most extensively studied. According to the mechanism studies of GCN5 related proteins, two key processes, deprotonation and acetylation, must be involved. However, as a fundamental issue, the structure of hGCN5/AcCoA/pH3 remains elusive. Although biological experiments have proved that GCN5 mediates the acetylation process through the sequential mechanism pathway, a dynamic view of the catalytic process and the molecular basis for hGCN5/AcCoA/pH3 are still not available and none of theoretical studies has been reported to other related enzymes in HAT family. To explore the molecular basis for the catalytic mechanism, computational approaches including molecular modeling, molecular dynamic (MD) simulation and quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) simulation were carried out. The initial hGCN5/AcCoA/pH3 complex structure was modeled and a reasonable snapshot was extracted from the trajectory of a 20 ns MD simulation, with considering post-MD analysis and reported experimental results. Those residues playing crucial roles in binding affinity and acetylation reaction were comprehensively investigated. It demonstrated Glu80 acted as the general base for deprotonation of Lys171 from H3. Furthermore, the two-dimensional QM/MM potential energy surface was employed to study the sequential pathway acetylation mechanism. Energy barriers of addition-elimination reaction in acetylation obtained from QM/MM calculation indicated the point of the intermediate ternary complex. Our study may provide insights into the detailed mechanism for acetylation reaction of GCN5, and has important implications for the discovery of regulators against GCN5 enzymes and related HAT family enzymes.
Skeletal muscle constitutes the major site of glucose uptake leading to increased removal of glucose from the circulation in response to insulin. Type 2 diabetes and obesity are often associated with insulin resistance that can be counteracted by exercise or the use of drugs increasing the relative proportion of oxidative fibers. RIP140 is a transcriptional coregulator with a central role in metabolic tissues and we tested the effect of modulating its level of expression on muscle glucose and lipid metabolism in two mice models. Here, we show that although RIP140 protein is expressed at the same level in both oxidative and glycolytic muscles, it inhibits both fatty acid and glucose utilization in a fiber-type dependent manner. In RIP140-null mice, fatty acid utilization increases in the extensor digitorum longus and this is associated with elevated expression of genes implicated in fatty acid binding and transport. In the RIP140-null soleus, depletion of RIP140 leads to increased GLUT4 trafficking and glucose uptake with no change in Akt activity. AMPK phosphorylation/activity is inhibited in the soleus of RIP140 transgenic mice and increased in RIP140-null soleus. This is associated with increased UCP1 expression and mitochondrial uncoupling revealing the existence of a signaling pathway controlling insulin-independent glucose uptake in the soleus of RIP140-null mice. In conclusion, our findings reinforce the participation of RIP140 in the maintenance of energy homeostasis by acting as an inhibitor of energy production and particularly point to RIP140 as a promising therapeutic target in the treatment of insulin resistance.
The essential role of the Crem gene in normal sperm development is widely accepted and is confirmed by azoospermia in male mice lacking the Crem gene. The exact number of genes affected by Crem absence is not known, however a large difference has been observed recently between the estimated number of differentially expressed genes found in Crem knock-out (KO) mice compared to the number of gene loci bound by CREM. We therefore re-examined global gene expression in male mice lacking the Crem gene using whole genome transcriptome analysis with Affymetrix microarrays and compared the lists of differentially expressed genes from Crem−/− mice to a dataset of genes where binding of CREM was determined by Chip-seq. We determined the global effect of CREM on spermatogenesis as well as distinguished between primary and secondary effects of the CREM absence. We demonstrated that the absence of Crem deregulates over 4700 genes in KO testis. Among them are 101 genes associated with spermatogenesis 41 of which are bound by CREM and are deregulated in Crem KO testis. Absence of several of these genes in mouse models has proven their importance for normal spermatogenesis and male fertility. Our study showed that the absence of Crem plays a more important role on different aspects of spermatogenesis as estimated previously, with its impact ranging from apoptosis induction to deregulation of major circadian clock genes, steroidogenesis and the cell-cell junction dynamics. Several new genes important for normal spermatogenesis and fertility are down-regulated in KO testis and are therefore possible novel targets of CREM.
Hydra is a unique model for studying the mechanisms underlying stem cell biology. The activity of the three stem cell lineages structuring its body constantly replenishes mature cells lost due to normal tissue turnover. By a poorly understood mechanism, stem cells are maintained through self-renewal while concomitantly producing differentiated progeny. In vertebrates, one of many genes that participate in regulating stem cell homeostasis is the protooncogene c-myc, which has been recently identified also in Hydra, and found expressed in the interstitial stem cell lineage. In the present paper, by developing a novel strategy of RNA interference-mediated gene silencing (RNAi) based on an enhanced uptake of small interfering RNAi (siRNA), we provide molecular and biological evidence for an unexpected function of the Hydra myc gene (Hymyc1) in the homeostasis of the interstitial stem cell lineage. We found that Hymyc1 inhibition impairs the balance between stem cell self renewal/differentiation, as shown by the accumulation of stem cell intermediate and terminal differentiation products in genetically interfered animals. The identical phenotype induced by the 10058-F4 inhibitor, a disruptor of c-Myc/Max dimerization, demonstrates the specificity of the RNAi approach. We show the kinetic and the reversible feature of Hymyc1 RNAi, together with the effects displayed on regenerating animals. Our results show the involvement of Hymyc1 in the control of interstitial stem cell dynamics, provide new clues to decipher the molecular control of the cell and tissue plasticity in Hydra, and also provide further insights into the complex myc network in higher organisms. The ability of Hydra cells to uptake double stranded RNA and to trigger a RNAi response lays the foundations of a comprehensive analysis of the RNAi response in Hydra allowing us to track back in the evolution and the origin of this process.
Thyroid hormone receptor (TR) belongs to the nuclear hormone receptor (NHR) superfamily and regulates the transcription of its target genes in a thyroid hormone (T3)-dependent manner. While the detail of transcriptional activation by T3 (positive regulation) has been clarified, the mechanism of T3-dependent repression (negative regulation) remains to be determined. In addition to naturally occurring negative regulations typically found for the thyrotropin β gene, T3-bound TR (T3/TR) is known to cause artificial negative regulation in reporter assays with cultured cells. For example, T3/TR inhibits the transcriptional activity of the reporter plasmids harboring AP-1 site derived from pUC/pBR322-related plasmid (pUC/AP-1). Artificial negative regulation has also been suggested in the reporter assay with firefly luciferase (FFL) gene. However, identification of the DNA sequence of the FFL gene using deletion analysis was not performed because negative regulation was evaluated by measuring the enzymatic activity of FFL protein. Thus, there remains the possibility that the inhibition by T3 is mediated via a DNA sequence other than FFL cDNA, for instance, pUC/AP-1 site in plasmid backbone. To investigate the function of FFL cDNA as a transcriptional regulatory sequence, we generated pBL-FFL-CAT5 by ligating FFL cDNA in the 5' upstream region to heterologous thymidine kinase promoter in pBL-CAT5, a chloramphenicol acetyl transferase (CAT)-based reporter gene, which lacks pUC/AP-1 site. In kidney-derived CV1 and choriocarcinoma-derived JEG3 cells, pBL-FFL-CAT5, but not pBL-CAT5, was strongly activated by a protein kinase C activator, phorbol 12-O-tetradecanoate-13-acetate (TPA). TPA-induced activity of pBL-FFL-CAT5 was negatively regulated by T3/TR. Mutation of nt. 626/640 in FFL cDNA attenuated the TPA-induced activation and concomitantly abolished the T3-dependent repression. Our data demonstrate that FFL cDNA sequence mediates the TPA-induced transcriptional activity, which is inhibited by T3/TR.
Patterning of the animal embryo's antero-posterior (AP) axis is dependent on spatially and temporally regulated Hox gene expression. The murine Hoxd4 gene has been proposed to harbour two promoters, an upstream promoter P2, and a downstream promoter P1, that lie 5.2 and 1.1 kilobase pairs (kb) upstream of the coding region respectively. The evolutionarily conserved microRNA-10b (miR-10b) gene lies in the Hoxd4 genomic locus in the intron separating the non-coding exons 4 and 5 of the P2 transcript and directly adjacent to the proposed P1 promoter. Hoxd4 transcription is regulated by a 3′ neural enhancer that harbours a retinoic acid response element (RARE). Here, we show that the expression profiles of Hoxd4 and miR-10b transcripts during neural differentiation of mouse embryonal carcinoma (EC) P19 cells are co-ordinately regulated, suggesting that both Hoxd4 and miR-10b expression is governed by the neural enhancer. Our observation that P1 transcripts are uncapped, together with the mapping of their 5′ ends, strongly suggests that they are generated by Drosha cleavage of P2 transcripts rather than by transcriptional initiation. This is supported by the colocalization of P1 and P2 transcripts to the same posterior expression domain in the mouse embryo. These uncapped P1 transcripts do not appear to possess an Internal Ribosomal Entry Site (IRES), but accumulate within multiple punctate bodies within the nucleus suggesting that they play a functional role. Finally, similar uncapped Drosha-cleaved P1-like transcripts originating from the paralogous Hoxb4/miR-10a locus were also identified. We propose that these transcripts may belong to a novel class of regulatory RNAs.
The PLZF/RARA fusion protein generated by the t(11;17)(q23;q21) translocation in acute promyelocytic leukaemia (APL) is believed to act as an oncogenic transcriptional regulator recruiting epigenetic factors to genes important for its transforming potential. However, molecular mechanisms associated with PLZF/RARA-dependent leukaemogenesis still remain unclear.
We searched for specific PLZF/RARA target genes by ChIP-on-chip in the haematopoietic cell line U937 conditionally expressing PLZF/RARA. By comparing bound regions found in U937 cells expressing endogenous PLZF with PLZF/RARA-induced U937 cells, we isolated specific PLZF/RARA target gene promoters. We next analysed gene expression profiles of our identified target genes in PLZF/RARA APL patients and analysed DNA sequences and epigenetic modification at PLZF/RARA binding sites. We identify 413 specific PLZF/RARA target genes including a number encoding transcription factors involved in the regulation of haematopoiesis. Among these genes, 22 were significantly down regulated in primary PLZF/RARA APL cells. In addition, repressed PLZF/RARA target genes were associated with increased levels of H3K27me3 and decreased levels of H3K9K14ac. Finally, sequence analysis of PLZF/RARA bound sequences reveals the presence of both consensus and degenerated RAREs as well as enrichment for tissue-specific transcription factor motifs, highlighting the complexity of targeting fusion protein to chromatin. Our study suggests that PLZF/RARA directly targets genes important for haematopoietic development and supports the notion that PLZF/RARA acts mainly as an epigenetic regulator of its direct target genes.
The RNase III endonuclease Dicer is an important regulator of gene expression that processes microRNAs (miRNAs) and small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). The best-characterized function of miRNAs is gene repression at the post-transcriptional level through the pairing with mRNAs of protein-encoding genes. Small RNAs can also act at the transcriptional level by controlling the epigenetic status of chromatin. Dicer and other mediators of small RNA pathways are present in mouse male germ cells, and several miRNAs and endogenous siRNAs are expressed in the testis, suggesting that Dicer-dependent small RNAs are involved in the control of the precisely timed and highly organised process of spermatogenesis.
Being interested in the Dicer-mediated functions during spermatogenesis, we have analysed here a male germ cell-specific Dicer1 knockout mouse model, in which the deletion of Dicer1 takes place during early postnatal development in spermatogonia. We found that Dicer1 knockout testes were reduced in size and spermatogenesis within the seminiferous tubules was disrupted. Dicer1 knockout epididymides contained very low number of mature sperm with pronounced morphological abnormalities. Spermatogonial differentiation appeared unaffected. However, the number of haploid cells was decreased in knockout testes, and an increased number of apoptotic spermatocytes was observed. The most prominent defects were found during late haploid differentiation, and Dicer was demonstrated to be critical for the normal organization of chromatin and nuclear shaping of elongating spermatids.
We demonstrate that Dicer and Dicer-dependent small RNAs are imperative regulators of haploid spermatid differentiation and essential for male fertility.
The cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) plays key roles in differentiation of embryonic skeletal muscle progenitors and survival of adult skeletal muscle. However, little is known about the physiologic signals that activate CREB in normal muscle. Here we show that CREB phosphorylation and target genes are induced after acute muscle injury and during regeneration due to genetic mutation. Activated CREB localizes to both myogenic precursor cells and newly regenerating myofibers within regenerating areas. Moreover, we found that signals from damaged skeletal muscle tissue induce CREB phosphorylation and target gene expression in primary mouse myoblasts. An activated CREB mutant (CREBY134F) potentiates myoblast proliferation as well as expression of early myogenic transcription factors in cultured primary myocytes. Consistently, activated CREB-YF promotes myoblast proliferation after acute muscle injury in vivo and enhances muscle regeneration in dystrophic mdx mice. Our findings reveal a new physiologic function for CREB in contributing to skeletal muscle regeneration.
Global histone H1 phosphorylation correlates with cell cycle progression. However, the function of site-specific H1 variant phosphorylation remains unclear. Our mass spectrometry analysis revealed a novel N-terminal phosphorylation of the major H1 variant H1.4 at serine 35 (H1.4S35ph), which accumulates at mitosis immediately after H3 phosphorylation at serine 10. Protein kinase A (PKA) was found to be a kinase for H1.4S35. Importantly, Ser-35-phosphorylated H1.4 dissociates from mitotic chromatin. Moreover, H1.4S35A substitution mutant cannot efficiently rescue the mitotic defect following H1.4 depletion, and inhibition of PKA activity increases the mitotic chromatin compaction depending on H1.4. Our results not only indicate that PKA-mediated H1.4S35 phosphorylation dissociates H1.4 from mitotic chromatin but also suggest that this phosphorylation is necessary for specific mitotic functions.
Cell Cycle; Chromatin; Mitosis; Protein Kinase A (PKA); Protein Phosphorylation; Histone H1
Prostate epithelial cells depend on androgens for survival and function. In (early) prostate cancer (PCa) androgens also regulate tumor growth, which is exploited by hormonal therapies in metastatic disease. The aim of the present study was to characterize the androgen receptor (AR) response in hormonal therapy-resistant PC346 cells and identify potential disease markers.
Human 19K oligoarrays were used to establish the androgen-regulated expression profile of androgen-responsive PC346C cells and its derivative therapy-resistant sublines: PC346DCC (vestigial AR levels), PC346Flu1 (AR overexpression) and PC346Flu2 (T877A AR mutation). In total, 107 transcripts were differentially-expressed in PC346C and derivatives after R1881 or hydroxyflutamide stimulations. The AR-regulated expression profiles reflected the AR modifications of respective therapy-resistant sublines: AR overexpression resulted in stronger and broader transcriptional response to R1881 stimulation, AR down-regulation correlated with deficient response of AR-target genes and the T877A mutation resulted in transcriptional response to both R1881 and hydroxyflutamide. This AR-target signature was linked to multiple publicly available cell line and tumor derived PCa databases, revealing that distinct functional clusters were differentially modulated during PCa progression. Differentiation and secretory functions were up-regulated in primary PCa but repressed in metastasis, whereas proliferation, cytoskeletal remodeling and adhesion were overexpressed in metastasis. Finally, the androgen-regulated genes ENDOD1, MCCC2 and ACSL3 were selected as potential disease markers for RT-PCR quantification in a distinct set of human prostate specimens. ENDOD1 and ACSL3 showed down-regulation in high-grade and metastatic PCa, while MCCC2 was overexpressed in low-grade PCa.
AR modifications altered the transcriptional response to (anti)androgens in therapy-resistant cells. Furthermore, selective down-regulation of genes involved in differentiation and up-regulation of genes promoting proliferation and invasion suggest a disturbed balance between the growth and differentiation functions of the AR pathway during PCa progression. These findings may have implications in the current treatment and development of novel therapeutical approaches for metastatic PCa.
Nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) is a family of transcription factors composed of five proteins. Among them, NFAT1 is a predominant NFAT protein in CD4+ T cells. NFAT1 positively regulates transcription of a large number of inducible cytokine genes including IL-2, IL-4, IL-5 and other cytokines. However, disruption of NFAT1 results in an unexpected increase of IL-4. In this study, we have investigated the role of NFAT1 in regulation of IL-4 gene expression in T helper 2 cells (Th2) from an epigenetic viewpoint. NFAT1 deficient Th2 cells showed a sustained IL-4 expression while wild type (WT) cells reduced its expression. We tested whether epigenetic maintenance and changes in the chromatin architecture of IL-4 promoter locus play a role in differential IL-4 transcription between in WT and NFAT1 deficient Th2 cells. Compared with WT, NFAT1 deficient CD4+ Th2 cells exhibited enhanced chromatin accessibility with permissive histone modification and DNA demethylation in the IL-4 promoter region. Transcription factors bound to IL-4 promoter region in the absence of NFAT1 were identified by Micro-LC/LC-MS/MS analysis. Among the candidates, preferential recruitment of JUNB to the IL-4 promoter was confirmed by chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis. Overexpression of JUNB together with SATB1 synergistically upregulated IL-4 promoter activity, while knockdown JUNB significantly reduced IL-4 expression. Our results suggest that the prolonged IL-4 expression in NFAT1 deficient Th2 cells is mediated by preferential binding of JUNB/SATB1 to the IL-4 promoter with permissive chromatin architecture.
Recent evidence points to Myc – a multifaceted bHLHZip transcription factor deregulated in the majority of human cancers – as a priority target for therapy. How to target Myc is less clear, given its involvement in a variety of key functions in healthy cells. Here we report on the action mechanism of the Myc interfering molecule termed Omomyc, which demonstrated astounding therapeutic efficacy in transgenic mouse cancer models in vivo. Omomyc action is different from the one that can be obtained by gene knockout or RNA interference, approaches designed to block all functions of a gene product. This molecule – instead – appears to cause an edge-specific perturbation that destroys some protein interactions of the Myc node and keeps others intact, with the result of reshaping the Myc transcriptome. Omomyc selectively targets Myc protein interactions: it binds c- and N-Myc, Max and Miz-1, but does not bind Mad or select HLH proteins. Specifically, it prevents Myc binding to promoter E-boxes and transactivation of target genes while retaining Miz-1 dependent binding to promoters and transrepression. This is accompanied by broad epigenetic changes such as decreased acetylation and increased methylation at H3 lysine 9. In the presence of Omomyc, the Myc interactome is channeled to repression and its activity appears to switch from a pro-oncogenic to a tumor suppressive one. Given the extraordinary therapeutic impact of Omomyc in animal models, these data suggest that successfully targeting Myc for cancer therapy might require a similar twofold action, in order to prevent Myc/Max binding to E-boxes and, at the same time, keep repressing genes that would be repressed by Myc.
In Anopheles gambiae, sex-regulated genes are responsible for controlling gender dimorphism and are therefore crucial in determining the ability of female mosquitoes to transmit human malaria. The identification and functional characterization of these genes will shed light on the sexual development and maturation of mosquitoes and provide useful targets for genetic control measures aimed at reducing mosquito fertility and/or distorting the sex ratio.
We conducted a genome wide transcriptional analysis of sex-regulated genes from early developmental stages through adulthood combined with functional screening of novel gonadal genes. Our results demonstrate that the male-biased genes undergo a major transcription turnover starting from larval stages to adulthood. The male biased genes at the adult stage include a significant high number of unique sequences compared to the rest of the genome. This is in contrast to female-biased genes that are much more conserved and are mainly activated during late developmental stages.
The high frequency of unique sequences would indicate that male-biased genes evolve more rapidly than the rest of the genome. This finding is particularly intriguing because A. gambiae is a strictly female monogamous species suggesting that driving forces in addition to sperm competition must account for the rapid evolution of male-biased genes. We have also identified and functionally characterized a number of previously unknown A. gambiae testis- and ovary-specific genes. Two of these genes, zero population growth and a suppressor of defective silencing 3 domain of the histone deacetylase co-repressor complex, were shown to play a key role in gonad development.
Gene expression is highly dynamic and many genes show a wide range in expression over several orders of magnitude. This regulation is often mediated by sequence specific transcription factors. In addition, the tight packaging of DNA into chromatin can provide an additional layer of control resulting in a dynamic range of gene expression covering several orders of magnitude. During transcriptional activation, chromatin barriers have to be eliminated to allow an efficient progression of the RNA polymerase. This repressive chromatin structure has to be re-established quickly after it has been activated in order to tightly regulate gene activity. We show that the DExD/H box containing RNA helicase Rm62 is targeted to a site of rapid induction of transcription where it is responsible for an increased degree of methylation at H3K9 at the heat shock locus after removal of the heat shock stimulus. The RNA helicase interacts with the well-characterized histone methyltransferase SU(VAR)3-9 via its N-terminus, which provides a potential mechanism for the targeting of H3K9 methylation to highly regulated genes. The recruitment of SU(VAR)3-9 through interaction with a RNA helicase to a site of active transcription might be a general mechanism that allows an efficient silencing of highly regulated genes thereby enabling a cell to fine tune its gene activity over a wide range.
Expression of Mash1 is dysregulated in human neuroblastoma. We have also reported that LMO3 (LIM-only protein 3) has an oncogenic potential in collaboration with neuronal transcription factor HEN2 in neuroblastoma. However, the precise molecular mechanisms of its transcriptional regulation remain elusive. Here we found that LMO3 forms a complex with HEN2 and acts as an upstream mediator for transcription of Mash1 in neuroblastoma. The high levels of LMO3 or Mash1 mRNA expression were significantly associated with poor prognosis in 100 primary neuroblastomas. The up-regulation of Mash1 remarkably accelerated the proliferation of SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells, while siRNA-mediated knockdown of LMO3 induced inhibition of growth of SH-SY5Y cells in association with a significant down-regulation of Mash1. Additionally, overexpression of both LMO3 and HEN2 induced expression of Mash1, suggesting that they might function as a transcriptional activator for Mash1. Luciferase reporter assay demonstrated that the co-expression of LMO3 and HEN2 attenuates HES1 (a negative regulator for Mash1)-dependent reduction of luciferase activity driven by the Mash1 promoter. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assay revealed that LMO3 and HEN2 reduce the amount of HES1 recruited onto putative HES1-binding sites and E-box within the Mash1 promoter. Furthermore, both LMO3 and HEN2 are physically associated with HES1 by immunoprecipitation assay. Thus, our present results suggest that a transcriptional complex of LMO3 and HEN2 may contribute to the genesis and malignant phenotype of neuroblastoma by inhibiting HES1 which suppresses the transactivation of Mash1.
Ewing sarcoma family tumors (ESFT) are aggressive bone and soft tissue tumors that express EWS-ETS fusion genes as driver mutations. Although the histogenesis of ESFT is controversial, mesenchymal (MSC) and/or neural crest (NCSC) stem cells have been implicated as cells of origin. For the current study we evaluated the consequences of EWS-FLI1 expression in human embryonic stem cell-derived NCSC (hNCSC). Ectopic expression of EWS-FLI1 in undifferentiated hNCSC and their neuro-mesenchymal stem cell (hNC-MSC) progeny was readily tolerated and led to altered expression of both well established as well as novel EWS-FLI1 target genes. Importantly, whole genome expression profiling studies revealed that the molecular signature of established ESFT is more similar to hNCSC than any other normal tissue, including MSC, indicating that maintenance or reactivation of the NCSC program is a feature of ESFT pathogenesis. Consistent with this hypothesis, EWS-FLI1 induced hNCSC genes as well as the polycomb proteins BMI-1 and EZH2 in hNC-MSC. In addition, up-regulation of BMI-1 was associated with avoidance of cellular senescence and reversible silencing of p16. Together these studies confirm that, unlike terminally differentiated cells but consistent with bone marrow-derived MSC, NCSC tolerate expression of EWS-FLI1 and ectopic expression of the oncogene initiates transition to an ESFT-like state. In addition, to our knowledge this is the first demonstration that EWS-FLI1-mediated induction of BMI-1 and epigenetic silencing of p16 might be critical early initiating events in ESFT tumorigenesis.
The control of gene expression is essential for growth and responses to environmental changes in various organisms. It is known that some meiosis-specific genes are silenced during mitosis and expressed upon nitrogen starvation in Schizosaccharomyces pombe. When the factors responsible for this regulation were studied, a hip3 mutant was isolated via discovery of a defect in the transcriptional repression of meiosis-specific genes. Hip3 is a subunit of the HIRA (histone regulatory complex A) complex, which consists of four subunits (Hip1, Hip3, Hip4 and Slm9) and acts as a histone chaperone that is independent of DNA replication.
In a search for mutants, the meiosis-specific gene SPCC663.14c+ was identified by screening for genes that are silenced during mitosis and induced upon nitrogen starvation. A reporter plasmid that expresses the ura4+ gene driven by the SPCC663.14c+ promoter was constructed. Screening for suppressor mutants was then carried out in nitrogen-rich medium without uracil. A mutant with a mutation in the hip3+ gene was isolated and named hip3-1. This mutation alleviated the transcriptional repression of the ura4+ gene on the reporter plasmid and of the endogenous SPCC663.14c+ gene in the presence of nitrogen. A ChIP assay revealed that RNA polymerase II (Pol II) and TFIIE were enriched at the SPCC663.14c+ locus, whereas the levels of histone H3 were decreased in hip3-1 cells. Intriguingly, histone H3 was heavily modified at the SPCC663.14c+ locus in hip3-1 cells; these modifications included tri-methylation and acetylation of H3 lysine 9 (H3K9), mono-methylation of H3 arginine 2 (H3R2), and tri-methylation of H3 lysine 4 (H3K4). In addition, the tri-methylation of H3K9 and H3K4 were strongly elevated in hip3-1 mutants.
Taken together, these results indicate that Hip3 plays important roles in the control of histone modifications at meiosis-specific gene loci and induces their transcriptional repression.
Nucleosomes are believed to inhibit DNA binding by transcription factors. Theoretical attempts to understand the significance of nucleosomes in gene expression and regulation are based upon this assumption. However, nucleosomal inhibition of transcription factor binding to DNA is not complete. Rather, access to nucleosomal DNA depends on a number of factors, including the stereochemistry of transcription factor-DNA interaction, the in vivo kinetics of thermal fluctuations in nucleosome structure, and the intracellular concentration of the transcription factor. In vitro binding studies must therefore be complemented with in vivo measurements. The inducible PHO5 promoter of yeast has played a prominent role in this discussion. It bears two binding sites for the transcriptional activator Pho4, which at the repressed promoter are positioned within a nucleosome and in the linker region between two nucleosomes, respectively. Earlier studies suggested that the nucleosomal binding site is inaccessible to Pho4 binding in the absence of chromatin remodeling. However, this notion has been challenged by several recent reports. We therefore have reanalyzed transcription factor binding to the PHO5 promoter in vivo, using ‘chromatin endogenous cleavage’ (ChEC). Our results unambiguously demonstrate that nucleosomes effectively interfere with the binding of Pho4 and other critical transcription factors to regulatory sequences of the PHO5 promoter. Our data furthermore suggest that Pho4 recruits the TATA box binding protein to the PHO5 promoter.