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1.  Snail1 controls TGF-β responsiveness and differentiation of Mesenchymal Stem Cells 
Oncogene  2012;32(28):3381-3389.
The Snail1 transcriptional repressor plays a key role in triggering epithelial to mesenchymal transition. Although Snail1 is widely expressed in early development, in adult animals it is limited to a subset of mesenchymal cells where it has a largely unknown function. Using a mouse model with inducible depletion of Snail1, here we demonstrate that Snail1 is required to maintain mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). This effect is associated to the responsiveness to TGF-β1 which shows a strong Snail1 dependence. Snail1-depletion in conditional knock-out adult animals causes a significant decrease in the number of bone marrow-derived MSCs. In culture, Snail1-deficient MSCs prematurely differentiate to osteoblasts or adipocytes and, in contrast to controls, are resistant to the TGF-β1-induced differentiation block. These results demonstrate a new role for Snail1 in TGF-β response and MSC maintenance.
doi:10.1038/onc.2012.342
PMCID: PMC3494751  PMID: 22869142
Snail1; mesenchymal stem cells; TGF-β; Akt
2.  Gamma-Secretase-Dependent and -Independent Effects of Presenilin1 on β-Catenin·Tcf-4 Transcriptional Activity 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(12):e4080.
Presenilin1 (PS1) is a component of the γ-secretase complex mutated in cases of Familial Alzheimer's disease (FAD). PS1 is synthesized as a 50 kDa peptide subsequently processed to two 29 and 20 kDa subunits that remain associated. Processing of PS1 is inhibited by several mutations detected in FAD patients. PS1 acts as negative modulator of β-catenin·Tcf-4 transcriptional activity. In this article we show that in murine embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) the mechanisms of action of the processed and non-processed forms of PS1 on β-catenin·Tcf-4 transcription are different. Whereas non-processed PS1 inhibits β-catenin·Tcf-4 activity through a mechanism independent of γ-secretase and associated with the interaction of this protein with plakoglobin and Tcf-4, the effect of processed PS1 is prevented by γ-secretase inhibitors, and requires its interaction with E- or N-cadherin and the generation of cytosolic terminal fragments of these two cadherins, which in turn destabilize the β-catenin transcriptional cofactor CBP. Accordingly, the two forms of PS1 interact differently with E-cadherin or β-catenin and plakoglobin: whereas processed PS1 binds E-cadherin with high affinity and β-catenin or plakoglobin weakly, the non-processed form behaves inversely. Moreover, contrarily to processed PS1, that decreases the levels of c-fos RNA, non-processed PS1 inhibits the expression c-myc, a known target of β-catenin·Tcf-4, and does not block the activity of other transcriptional factors requiring CBP. These results indicate that prevention of PS1 processing in FAD affects the mechanism of repression of the transcriptional activity dependent on β-catenin.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004080
PMCID: PMC2603589  PMID: 19114997
3.  Snail1 transcriptional repressor binds to its own promoter and controls its expression 
Nucleic Acids Research  2006;34(7):2077-2084.
The product of Snail1 gene is a transcriptional repressor of E-cadherin expression and an inductor of the epithelial–mesenchymal transition in several epithelial tumour cell lines. Transcription of Snail1 is induced when epithelial cells are forced to acquire a mesenchymal phenotype. In this work we demonstrate that Snail1 protein limits its own expression: Snail1 binds to an E-box present in its promoter (at −146 with respect to the transcription start) and represses its activity. Therefore, mutation of the E-box increases Snail1 transcription in epithelial and mesenchymal cells. Evidence of binding of ectopic or endogenous Snail1 to its own promoter was obtained by chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) experiments. Studies performed expressing different forms of Snail1 under the control of its own promoter demonstrate that disruption of the regulatory loop increases the cellular levels of Snail protein. These results indicate that expression of Snail1 gene can be regulated by its product and evidence the existence of a fine-tuning feed-back mechanism of regulation of Snail1 transcription.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkl141
PMCID: PMC1440880  PMID: 16617148
4.  Phosphorylation Regulates the Subcellular Location and Activity of the Snail Transcriptional Repressor 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2003;23(14):5078-5089.
The Snail gene product is a transcriptional repressor of E-cadherin expression and an inducer of the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in several epithelial tumor cell lines. This report presents data indicating that Snail function is controlled by its intracellular location. The cytosolic distribution of Snail depended on export from the nucleus by a CRM1-dependent mechanism, and a nuclear export sequence (NES) was located in the regulatory domain of this protein. Export of Snail was controlled by phosphorylation of a Ser-rich sequence adjacent to this NES. Modification of this sequence released the restriction created by the zinc finger domain and allowed nuclear export of the protein. The phosphorylation and subcellular distribution of Snail are controlled by cell attachment to the extracellular matrix. Suspended cells presented higher levels of phosphorylated Snail and an augmented extranuclear localization with respect to cells attached to the plate. These findings show the existence in tumor cells of an effective and fine-tuning nontranscriptional mechanism of regulation of Snail activity dependent on the extracellular environment.
doi:10.1128/MCB.23.14.5078-5089.2003
PMCID: PMC162233  PMID: 12832491
5.  Vitamin D3 promotes the differentiation of colon carcinoma cells by the induction of E-cadherin and the inhibition of β-catenin signaling 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2001;154(2):369-388.
The β-catenin signaling pathway is deregulated in nearly all colon cancers. Nonhypercalcemic vitamin D3 (1α,25-dehydroxyvitamin D3) analogues are candidate drugs to treat this neoplasia. We show that these compounds promote the differentiation of human colon carcinoma SW480 cells expressing vitamin D receptors (VDRs) (SW480-ADH) but not that of a malignant subline (SW480-R) or metastasic derivative (SW620) cells lacking VDR. 1α,25(OH)2D3 induced the expression of E-cadherin and other adhesion proteins (occludin, Zonula occludens [ZO]-1, ZO-2, vinculin) and promoted the translocation of β-catenin, plakoglobin, and ZO-1 from the nucleus to the plasma membrane. Ligand-activated VDR competed with T cell transcription factor (TCF)-4 for β-catenin binding. Accordingly, 1α,25(OH)2D3 repressed β-catenin–TCF-4 transcriptional activity. Moreover, VDR activity was enhanced by ectopic β-catenin and reduced by TCF-4. Also, 1α,25(OH)2D3 inhibited expression of β-catenin–TCF-4-responsive genes, c-myc, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor δ, Tcf-1, and CD44, whereas it induced expression of ZO-1. Our results show that 1α,25(OH)2D3 induces E-cadherin and modulates β-catenin–TCF-4 target genes in a manner opposite to that of β-catenin, promoting the differentiation of colon carcinoma cells.
doi:10.1083/jcb.200102028
PMCID: PMC2150773  PMID: 11470825
vitamin D; vitamin D receptor; β-catenin; E-cadherin; colon cancer
6.  Epidermal Growth Factor Signaling and Mitogenesis in Plcg1 Null Mouse Embryonic Fibroblasts 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  1998;9(4):749-757.
Gene targeting techniques and early mouse embryos have been used to produce immortalized fibroblasts genetically deficient in phospholipase C (PLC)-γ1, a ubiquitous tyrosine kinase substrate. Plcg1−/− embryos die at embryonic day 9; however, cells derived from these embryos proliferate as well as cells from Plcg1+/+ embryos. The null cells do grow to a higher saturation density in serum-containing media, as their capacity to spread out is decreased compared with that of wild-type cells. In terms of epidermal growth factor receptor activation and internalization, or growth factor induction of mitogen-activated protein kinase, c-fos, or DNA synthesis in quiescent cells, PLcg1−/− cells respond equivalently to PLcg1+/+ cells. Also, null cells are able to migrate effectively in a wounded monolayer. Therefore, immortalized fibroblasts do not require PLC-γ1 for many responses to growth factors.
PMCID: PMC25303  PMID: 9529375

Results 1-6 (6)