MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are small non-coding RNAs, which regulate gene expression by inhibiting translation or promoting degradation of specific target messenger RNAs (mRNAs). Alteration of the levels of a number of miRNAs is common in solid and hematological tumors. We have shown previously that miR-214 regulates Ezh2 in skeletal muscle and embryonic stem cells. The current study was aimed at examining the role of miR-214 in breast cancer where miR-214 levels are reduced but whether this phenomenon bears a functional relevance is unknown. MiR-214 expression was inversely correlated with Ezh2 mRNA and protein levels in breast cancer cell lines and at least one copy of the miR-214 alleles was found to be deleted in 24% (6/25) of primary breast tumors. Experimental increase of miR-214 in breast cancer cell lines correlated with reduction of Ezh2 protein levels, a known marker of invasion and aggressive breast cancer behavior. Supporting a direct targeting mechanism, miR-214 decreased luciferase activity from a construct containing the Ezh2 3′ untranslated region. Expression of miR-214 specifically reduced cell proliferation of breast cancer cells and inhibited the invasive potential of a highly metastatic breast cancer cell line. These findings indicate that reduced miR-214 levels may contribute to breast tumorigenesis by allowing abnormally elevated Ezh2 accumulation and subsequent unchecked cell proliferation and invasion.
Satellite cells (SCs) are the main source of adult skeletal muscle stem cells responsible for muscle growth and regeneration. By interpreting extracellular cues, developmental regulators control quiescence, proliferation, and differentiation of SCs by influencing coordinate gene expression. The scope of this review is limited to the description and discussion of protein complexes that introduce and decode heritable histone and chromatin modifications and how these modifications are relevant for SC biology.
A wave of structural reorganization involving centrosomes, microtubules, Golgi complex and ER exit sites takes place early during skeletal muscle differentiation and completely remodels the secretory pathway. The mechanism of these changes and their functional implications are still poorly understood, in large part because all changes occur seemingly simultaneously. In an effort to uncouple the reorganizations, we have used taxol, nocodazole, and the specific GSK3-β inhibitor DW12, to disrupt the dynamic microtubule network of differentiating cultures of the mouse skeletal muscle cell line C2. Despite strong effects on microtubules, cell shape and cell fusion, none of the treatments prevented early differentiation. Redistribution of centrosomal proteins, conditional on differentiation, was in fact increased by taxol and nocodazole and normal in DW12. Redistributions of Golgi complex and ER exit sites were incomplete but remained tightly linked under all circumstances, and conditional on centrosomal reorganization. We were therefore able to uncouple microtubule reorganization from the other events and to determine that centrosomal proteins lead the reorganization hierarchy. In addition, we have gained new insight into structural and functional aspects of the reorganization of microtubule nucleation during myogenesis.
In the field of molecular oncology, the Myc basic helix-loop-helix family of transcription factors has been extensively studied. The Myc proto-oncogene c-Myc binds DNA, activates or represses gene transcription, and consequently affects cellular proliferation. However, emerging evidence presents the existence of c-Myc variants that lack transcriptional activity. A cytoplasmic variant of c-Myc called “Myc-nick,” which arises from calpain-mediated cleavage of c-Myc, assists in stable microtubule assembly. Furthermore, Myc-nick promotes MyoD-mediated myogenic differentiation, thus antagonizing its precursor. These results provide exciting new opportunities in formulating molecular approaches for treatment of cancer and in our understanding of cell differentiation.
How regeneration cues are converted into the epigenetic information that controls gene expression in adult stem cells is currently unknown. We identified a novel inflammation-activated signalling in muscle stem (satellite) cells, by which the Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) represses Pax7 expression during muscle regeneration. TNF-activated p38alpha kinase promotes the interaction between YY1 and PRC2, via threonine 372 phosphorylation of EzH2, the enzymatic sub-unit of the complex, leading to the formation of repressive chromatin on Pax7 promoter. Anti-TNF antibodies stimulate satellite cell proliferation in regenerating muscles of dystrophic or normal mice. Genetic knockdown or pharmacological inhibition of the enzymatic components of the p38/PRC2 signalling – p38alpha and EzH2 - invariably promote Pax7 expression and expansion of satellite cells that retain their differentiation potential upon signalling resumption. Genetic knockdown of Pax7 impaired satellite cell proliferation in response to p38 inhibition, thereby establishing the biological link between p38/PRC2 signalling to Pax7 and satellite cell decision to proliferate or differentiate.
Pax7; p38; muscle stem (satellite) cells; regeneration; chromatin; Polycomb complex
Polycomb group (PcG) proteins regulate gene expression in embryonic and adult stem cells, but the mechanisms responsible for PcG gene targeting and regulation remain largely unknown. Recent evidence shows that EZH2, the enzymatic subunit of Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2), is a nuclear phosphoprotein linking cell-cycle-intrinsic or extracellular signals to specific epigenetic signatures.
microRNA; miR-214; Ezh2; polycomb group; skeletal muscle; embryonic stem cells; regulatory circuits
Polycomb group (PcG) proteins exert essential functions in the most disparate biological processes. The contribution of PcG proteins to cell commitment and differentiation relates to their ability to repress transcription of developmental regulators in embryonic stem (ES) cells and in committed cell lineages, including skeletal muscle cells (SMC). PcG proteins are preferentially removed from transcribed regions but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Here, PcG proteins are found to occupy and repress transcription from an intronic region containing the microRNA miR-214 in undifferentiated SMC. Cell differentiation coincides with PcG disengagement, recruitment of the developmental regulators MyoD and myogenin, and activation of miR-214 transcription. Once transcribed, miR-214 negatively feeds back on PcG by targeting the Ezh2 3′UTR, the catalytic subunit of the PRC2 complex. miR-214-mediated Ezh2 protein reduction accelerates SMC differentiation and promotes unscheduled transcription of developmental regulators in ES cells. Thus, miR-214 and Ezh2 establish a regulatory loop controlling PcG-dependent gene expression during cell differentiation.
The ability to adapt and respond to nutrients is an ancient cellular function, conserved from unicellular to the most complex multicellular organisms, including mammals. Mammals adapt to changes in nutritional status through the modulation of tissue-specific metabolic pathways so as to maintain energy homeostasis. At least two proteins are activated in response to reduced nutrient availability: AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and NAD+-dependent deacetylase SIRT1. AMPK functions as a sensor of cellular energy status and as a master regulator of metabolism. When ATP levels decrease, AMPK is activated to boost ATP production and to inhibit ATP usage, thus restoring energy balance. Similarly, SIRT1 is activated in response to changes in the energy status to promote transcription of genes that mediate the metabolic response to stress, starvation, or calorie restriction. Several observations support a model where, in response to stress and reduced nutrients, a metabolic pathway is activated within which AMPK and SIRT1 concordantly function to ensure an appropriate cellular response and adaptation to environmental modifications. In this perspective, we compare and contrast the roles of SIRT1 and AMPK in several metabolic tissues and propose a working model of how the AMPK-SIRT1 axis may be regulated to control functions relevant to organismal physiology and pathophysiology.
SIRT1; AMPK; Nampt; PGC1-α; Calorie Restriction; Starvation; Gluconeogenesis; Insulin
It is intuitive to speculate that nutrient availability may influence differentiation of mammalian cells. Nonetheless, a comprehensive complement of the molecular determinants involved in this process has not been elucidated yet. Here, we have investigated how nutrients (glucose) affect skeletal myogenesis. Glucose restriction (GR) impaired differentiation of skeletal myoblasts and was associated with activation of the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Activated AMPK was required to promote GR-induced transcription of the NAD+ biosynthetic enzyme Nampt. Indeed, GR augmented the Nampt activity, which consequently modified the intracellular [NAD+]/[NADH] ratio and nicotinamide levels, and mediated inhibition of skeletal myogenesis. Skeletal myoblasts derived from SIRT1+/− heterozygous mice were resistant to the effects of either GR or AMPK activation. These experiments reveal that AMPK, Nampt, and SIRT1 are the molecular components of a functional signaling pathway that allows skeletal muscle cells to sense and react to nutrient availability.
During skeletal myogenesis, chromatin-modifying enzymes are engaged at discrete genomic regions by transcription factors that recognize sequence-specific DNA motifs located at muscle gene regulatory regions. The composition of the chromatin-bound protein complexes and their temporally and spatially regulated recruitment influence gene expression. Recent findings are consistent with the concept that chromatin modifiers play an important role in regulating skeletal muscle gene expression and cellular differentiation.
Fgfr4 has been shown to be important for appropriate muscle development in chick limb buds, however, Fgfr4 null mice show no phenotype. Here, we show that staged induction of muscle regeneration in Fgfr4 null mice becomes highly abnormal at the time point when Fgfr4 is normally expressed. By 7 days of regeneration, differentiation of myotubes became poorly coordinated and delayed by both histology and embryonic myosin heavy chain staining. By 14 days, much of the muscle was replaced by fat and calcifications. To begin to dissect the molecular pathways involving Fgfr4, we queried the promoter sequences for transcriptional factor binding sites, and tested candidate regulators in a 27 time point regeneration series. The Fgfr4 promoter region contained a Tead protein binding site (M-CAT 5′-CATTCCT-3′), and Tead2 showed induction during regeneration commensurate with Fgfr4 regulation. Co-transfection of Tead2 and Fgfr4 promoter reporter constructs into C2C12 myotubes showed Tead2 to activate Fgfr4, and mutation of the M-CAT motif in the Fgfr4 promoter abolished these effects. Immunostaining for Tead2 showed timed expression in myotube nuclei consistent with the mRNA data. Query of the expression timing and genomic sequences of Tead2 suggested direct regulation by MyoD, and, consistent with this, MyoD directly bound to two strong E-boxes in the first intron of Tead2 by chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. Moreover, co-transfection of MyoD and Tead2 intron reporter constructs into 10T1/2 cells activated reporter activity in a dose dependent manner. This activation was greatly reduced when the two E-boxes were mutated. Our data suggest a novel MyoD-Tead2-Fgfr4 pathway important for effective muscle regeneration.
Muscle regeneration; Tead; TEF; Fgfr; MyoD; Microarray
The mechanism of skeletal myoblast fusion is not well understood. We show that endogenous nitric oxide (NO) generation is required for myoblast fusion both in embryonic myoblasts and in satellite cells. The effect of NO is concentration and time dependent, being evident only at the onset of differentiation, and direct on the fusion process itself. The action of NO is mediated through a tightly regulated activation of guanylate cyclase and generation of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP), so much so that deregulation of cGMP signaling leads to a fusion-induced hypertrophy of satellite-derived myotubes and embryonic muscles, and to the acquisition of fusion competence by myogenic precursors in the presomitic mesoderm. NO and cGMP induce expression of follistatin, and this secreted protein mediates their action in myogenesis. These results establish a hitherto unappreciated role of NO and cGMP in regulating myoblast fusion and elucidate their mechanism of action, providing a direct link with follistatin, which is a key player in myogenesis.
Expression of human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) is regulated by the viral transcriptional activator Tax. Tax activates viral transcription through interaction with the cellular transcription factor CREB and the coactivators CBP/p300. In this study, we have analyzed the role of histone deacetylase 1 (HDAC1) on HTLV-1 gene expression from an integrated template. First we show that trichostatin A, an HDAC inhibitor, enhances Tax expression in HTLV-1-transformed cells. Second, using a cell line containing a single-copy HTLV-1 long terminal repeat, we demonstrate that overexpression of HDAC1 represses Tax transactivation. Furthermore, a chromatin immunoprecipitation assay allowed us to analyze the interaction of transcription factors, coactivators, and HDACs with the basal and activated HTLV-1 promoter. We demonstrate that HDAC1 is associated with the inactive, but not the Tax-transactivated, HTLV-1 promoter. In vitro and in vivo glutathione S-transferase-Tax pull-down and coimmunoprecipitation experiments demonstrated that there is a direct physical association between Tax and HDAC1. Importantly, biotinylated chromatin pull-down assays demonstrated that Tax inhibits and/or dissociates the binding of HDAC1 to the HTLV-1 promoter. Our results provide evidence that Tax interacts directly with HDAC1 and regulates binding of the repressor to the HTLV-1 promoter.
Notch signaling dictates cell fate and critically influences cell proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis in metazoans. Ligand binding initiates the signal through regulated intramembrane proteolysis of a transmembrane Notch receptor which releases the signal-transducing Notch intracellular domain (NICD). The HES/E(spl) gene family is a primary target of Notch and thus far the only known Notch effector. A newly isolated HERP family, a HES-related basic helix-loop-helix protein family, has been proposed as a potential target of Notch, based on its induction following NICD overexpression. However, NICD is physiologically maintained at an extremely low level that typically escapes detection, and therefore, nonregulated overexpression of NICD—as in transient transfection—has the potential of generating cellular responses of little physiological relevance. Indeed, a constitutively active NICD indiscriminately up-regulates expression of both HERP1 and HERP2 mRNAs. However, physiological Notch stimulation through ligand binding results in the selective induction of HERP2 but not HERP1 mRNA and causes only marginal up-regulation of HES1 mRNA. Importantly, HERP2 is an immediate target gene of Notch signaling since HERP2 mRNA expression is induced even in the absence of de novo protein synthesis. HERP2 mRNA induction is accompanied by specific expression of HERP2 protein in the nucleus. Furthermore, using RBP-Jk-deficient cells, we show that an RBP-Jk protein, a transcription factor that directly activates HES/E(spl) transcription, also is essential for HERP2 mRNA expression and that expression of exogenous RBP-Jk is sufficient to rescue HERP2 mRNA expression. These data establish that HERP2 is a novel primary target gene of Notch that, together with HES, may effect diverse biological activities of Notch.
HERP1 and -2 are members of a new basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) protein family closely related to HES/E(spl), the only previously known Notch effector. Like that of HES, HERP mRNA expression is directly up-regulated by Notch ligand binding without de novo protein synthesis. HES and HERP are individually expressed in certain cells, but they are also coexpressed within single cells after Notch stimulation. Here, we show that HERP has intrinsic transcriptional repression activity. Transcriptional repression by HES/E(spl) entails the recruitment of the corepressor TLE/Groucho via a conserved WRPW motif, whereas unexpectedly the corresponding—but modified—tetrapeptide motif in HERP confers marginal repression. Rather, HERP uses its bHLH domain to recruit the mSin3 complex containing histone deacetylase HDAC1 and an additional corepressor, N-CoR, to mediate repression. HES and HERP homodimers bind similar DNA sequences, but with distinct sequence preferences, and they repress transcription from specific DNA binding sites. Importantly, HES and HERP associate with each other in solution and form a stable HES-HERP heterodimer upon DNA binding. HES-HERP heterodimers have both a greater DNA binding activity and a stronger repression activity than do the respective homodimers. Thus, Notch signaling relies on cooperation between HES and HERP, two transcriptional repressors with distinctive repression mechanisms which, either as homo- or as heterodimers, regulate target gene expression.
The transcription of tissue-specific genes is controlled by regulatory factors and cofactors and is suppressed in cardiac cells by the antineoplastic agent doxorubicin. Here we show that exposure of cultured cardiomyocytes to doxorubicin resulted in the rapid depletion of transcripts for MEF2C, dHAND, and NKX2.5, three pivotal regulators of cardiac gene expression. Delivery of exogenous p300, a coactivator of MEF2C and NKX2.5 in cardiomyocytes, restored cardiac transcription despite the presence of doxorubicin. Furthermore, p300 also restored the accumulation of transcripts for MEF2C itself. Importantly, cardiocytes exposed to doxorubicin displayed reduced levels of p300 proteins. This was not due to alterations in the level of p300 transcripts; rather, and surprisingly, doxorubicin promoted selective degradation of p300 mediated by the 26S-proteasome machinery. Doxorubicin had no effect on the general level of ubiquitinated proteins or on the levels of β-catenin, a protein known to be degraded by proteasome-mediated degradation. These results provide evidence for a new mechanism of transcriptional repression caused by doxorubicin in which the selective degradation of p300 results in reduced p300-dependent transcription, including production of MEF2C mRNA.
Activation of the human cardiac α-actin (HCA) promoter in skeletal muscle cells requires the integrity of DNA binding sites for the serum response factor (SRF), Sp1, and the myogenic basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) family. In this study we report that activation of the HCA correlates with formation of a muscle-specific multiprotein complex on the promoter. We provide evidence that proteins eluted from the multiprotein complex specifically react with antibodies directed against myogenin, Sp1, and SRF and that the complex can be assembled in vitro by using the HCA promoter and purified MyoD, E12, SRF, and Sp1. In vitro and in vivo assays revealed a direct association of Sp1 and myogenin-MyoD mediated by the DNA-binding domain of Sp1 and the HLH motif of myogenin. The results obtained in this study indicate that protein-protein interactions and the cooperative DNA binding of transcriptional activators are critical steps in the formation of a transcriptionally productive multiprotein complex on the HCA promoter and suggest that the same mechanisms might be utilized to regulate the transcription of muscle-specific and other genes.