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1.  The L2a element is a mouse CD8 silencer that interacts with MAR-binding proteins SATB1 and CDP 
Molecular immunology  2010;48(1-3):153-163.
Previous transgenic-reporter and targeted-deletion studies indicate that the subset-specific expression of CD8αβ heterodimers is controlled by multiple enhancer activities, since no silencer elements had been found within the locus. We have identified such a silencer as L2a, a previously characterized ~220 bp nuclear matrix associating region (MAR) located ~4.5 kb upstream of CD8α. L2a transgenes driven by the E8I enhancer showed no reporter expression in thymic subsets or T cells in splenic, inguinal and mesenteric lymph node peripheral T cells. Deletion of L2a resulted in significant reporter de-repression, even in the CD4+CD8+ double positive (DP) thymocyte population. L2a contains binding sites for two MAR-interacting proteins, SATB1 and CDP. We found that that binding of these factors was markedly influenced by the content and spacing of L2a sub-motifs (L and S) and that SATB1 binds preferentially to the L motif both in vitro and in vivo. A small fraction of the transgenic CD8+ single positive (SP) thymocytes and peripheral CD8+ T cells bypassed L2a-silencing to give rise to variegated expression of the transgenic reporter. Crossing the L2a-containing transgene onto a SATB1 knockdown background enhanced variegated expression, suggesting that SATB1 is critical in overcoming L2a-silenced transcription.
PMCID: PMC2996921  PMID: 20884053
CD8; transcriptional silencing; transgenic mice; SATB1
2.  The ARID Family Transcription Factor Bright Is Required for both Hematopoietic Stem Cell and B Lineage Development▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2011;31(5):1041-1053.
Bright/Arid3a has been characterized both as an activator of immunoglobulin heavy-chain transcription and as a proto-oncogene. Although Bright expression is highly B lineage stage restricted in adult mice, its expression in the earliest identifiable hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) population suggests that Bright might have additional functions. We showed that >99% of Bright−/− embryos die at midgestation from failed hematopoiesis. Bright−/− embryonic day 12.5 (E12.5) fetal livers showed an increase in the expression of immature markers. Colony-forming assays indicated that the hematopoietic potential of Bright−/− mice is markedly reduced. Rare survivors of lethality, which were not compensated by the closely related paralogue Bright-derived protein (Bdp)/Arid3b, suffered HSC deficits in their bone marrow as well as B lineage-intrinsic developmental and functional deficiencies in their peripheries. These include a reduction in a natural antibody, B-1 responses to phosphocholine, and selective T-dependent impairment of IgG1 class switching. Our results place Bright/Arid3a on a select list of transcriptional regulators required to program both HSC and lineage-specific differentiation.
PMCID: PMC3067827  PMID: 21199920
3.  Structural and Functional Profiling of the Human Histone Methyltransferase SMYD3 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e22290.
The SET and MYND Domain (SMYD) proteins comprise a unique family of multi-domain SET histone methyltransferases that are implicated in human cancer progression. Here we report an analysis of the crystal structure of the full length human SMYD3 in a complex with an analog of the S-adenosyl methionine (SAM) methyl donor cofactor. The structure revealed an overall compact architecture in which the “split-SET” domain adopts a canonical SET domain fold and closely assembles with a Zn-binding MYND domain and a C-terminal superhelical 9 α-helical bundle similar to that observed for the mouse SMYD1 structure. Together, these structurally interlocked domains impose a highly confined binding pocket for histone substrates, suggesting a regulated mechanism for its enzymatic activity. Our mutational and biochemical analyses confirm regulatory roles of the unique structural elements both inside and outside the core SET domain and establish a previously undetected preference for trimethylation of H4K20.
PMCID: PMC3136521  PMID: 21779408
4.  Cardiac Deletion of Smyd2 Is Dispensable for Mouse Heart Development 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9748.
Chromatin modifying enzymes play a critical role in cardiac differentiation. Previously, it has been shown that the targeted deletion of the histone methyltransferase, Smyd1, the founding member of the SET and MYND domain containing (Smyd) family, interferes with cardiomyocyte maturation and proper formation of the right heart ventricle. The highly related paralogue, Smyd2 is a histone 3 lysine 4- and lysine 36-specific methyltransferase expressed in heart and brain. Here, we report that Smyd2 is differentially expressed during cardiac development with highest expression in the neonatal heart. To elucidate the functional role of Smyd2 in the heart, we generated conditional knockout (cKO) mice harboring a cardiomyocyte-specific deletion of Smyd2 and performed histological, functional and molecular analyses. Unexpectedly, cardiac deletion of Smyd2 was dispensable for proper morphological and functional development of the murine heart and had no effect on global histone 3 lysine 4 or 36 methylation. However, we provide evidence for a potential role of Smyd2 in the transcriptional regulation of genes associated with translation and reveal that Smyd2, similar to Smyd3, interacts with RNA Polymerase II as well as to the RNA helicase, HELZ.
PMCID: PMC2840034  PMID: 20305823

Results 1-4 (4)