Translation initiation factor eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E (eIF4E) plays a key role in regulation of cellular proliferation. Its effects on the m7GpppN mRNA cap are critical because overexpression of eIF4E transforms cells, and eIF4E function is rate-limiting for G1 passage. Although we identified eIF4E as a c-Myc target, little else is known about its transcriptional regulation. Previously, we described an element at position −25 (TTACCCCCCCTT) that was critical for eIF4E promoter function. Here we report that this sequence (named 4EBE, for eIF4E basal element) functions as a basal promoter element that binds hnRNP K. The 4EBE is sufficient to replace TATA sequences in a heterologous reporter construct. Interactions between 4EBE and upstream activator sites are position, distance, and sequence dependent. Using DNA affinity chromatography, we identified hnRNP K as a 4EBE-binding protein. Chromatin immunoprecipitation, siRNA interference, and hnRNP K overexpression demonstrate that hnRNP K can regulate eIF4E mRNA. Moreover, hnRNP K increased translation initiation, increased cell division, and promoted neoplastic transformation in an eIF4E-dependent manner. hnRNP K binds the TATA-binding protein, explaining how the 4EBE might replace TATA in the eIF4E promoter. hnRNP K is an unusually diverse regulator of multiple steps in growth regulation because it also directly regulates c-myc transcription, mRNA export, splicing, and translation initiation.
We investigated gene regulation at the IL-3/GM-CSF gene cluster. We found BRG1, a SWI/SNF remodeling ATPase, bound a distal element, CNSa. BRG1 binding was strongest in differentiated, stimulated T helper cells, paralleling IL-3 and GM-CSF expression. Depletion of BRG1 reduced IL-3 and GM-CSF transcription. BAF-specific SWI/SNF subunits bound to this locus and regulated IL-3 expression. CNSa was in closed chromatin in fibroblasts, open chromatin in differentiated T helper cells, and moderately open chromatin in naïve (undifferentiated) T helper cells; BRG1 was required for the most open state. CNSa increased transcription of a reporter in an episomal expression system, in a BRG1-dependent manner. The NF-κB subunit RelA/p65 bound CNSa in activated T helper cells. Inhibition of NF-κB blocked BRG1 binding to CNSa, chromatin opening at CNSa, and activation of IL-3 and GM-CSF. Together, these findings suggest CNSa is a distal enhancer that binds BRG1 and NF-κB.
Gene Regulation; T cell regulation; Chromatin Remodeling; BRG1; SWI/SNF; Cytokine Transcription; Distal Regulatory Elements
One of the best studied systems for mammalian chromatin remodeling is transcriptional regulation during T cell development. The variety of these studies have led to important findings in T cell gene regulation and cell fate determination. Importantly, these findings have also advanced our knowledge of the function of remodeling enzymes in mammalian gene regulation. In this review, first we briefly present biochemical/cell-free analysis of 3 types of ATP dependent remodeling enzymes (SWI/SNF, Mi2, and ISWI), to construct an intellectual framework to understand how these enzymes might be working. Second, we compare and contrast the function of these enzymes, during early (thymic) and late (peripheral) T cell development. Finally, we examine some of the gaps in our present understanding.
Activity-dependent modulation of neuronal gene expression promotes neuronal survival and plasticity, and neuronal network activity is perturbed in aging and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Here we show that cerebral cortical neurons respond to chronic suppression of excitability by downregulating the expression of genes and their encoded proteins involved in inhibitory transmission (GABAergic and somatostatin) and Ca2+ signaling; alterations in pathways involved in lipid metabolism and energy management are also features of silenced neuronal networks. A molecular fingerprint strikingly similar to that of diminished network activity occurs in the human brain during aging and in AD, and opposite changes occur in response to activation of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) receptors in cultured cortical neurons and in mice in response to an enriched environment or electroconvulsive shock. Our findings suggest that reduced inhibitory neurotransmission during aging and in AD may be the result of compensatory responses that, paradoxically, render the neurons vulnerable to Ca2+-mediated degeneration.
Alzheimer’s disease; Aging; GABA; Activity; Homeostatic disinhibition; Interneuron; Calcium; Synaptic scaling
Cytokine gene expression is a key control point in the function of the immune system. Cytokine gene regulation is linked to changes in chromatin structure; however, little is known about the remodeling enzymes mediating these changes. Here we investigated the role of the ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling enzyme SNF2H in mouse T cells; to date, SNF2H has not been investigated in T cells. We found that SNF2H repressed expression of IL-2 and other cytokines in activated cells. By contrast, SNF2H activated expression of IL-3. The ISWI components SNF2H and ACF1 bound to the tested loci, suggesting the regulation was direct. SNF2H decreased accessibility at some binding sites within the IL2 locus, and increased accessibility within some IL3 binding sites. The changes in gene expression positively correlated with accessibility changes, suggesting a simple model that accessibility enables transcription. We also found that loss of the ISWI ATPase SNF2H reduced binding to target genes and protein expression of ACF1, a binding partner for SNF2H, suggesting complex formation stabilized ACF1. Together, these findings reveal a direct role for SNF2H in both repression and activation of cytokine genes.
Gene Regulation; T cell regulation; Chromatin Remodeling; SNF2H; ISWI; BRG1; Cytokine Transcription
Adaptive responses to physical and inflammatory stressors are mediated by transcription factors and molecular chaperones. The transcription factor heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) has been implicated in extending lifespan in part by increasing expression of heat shock response genes. Pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (PDTC) is a small thiol compound that exerts in vivo and in vitro anti-inflammatory properties through mechanisms that remain unclear. Here we report that PDTC induced the release of monomeric HSF1 from the molecular chaperone heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90), with concomitant increase in HSF1 trimer formation, translocation to the nucleus, and binding to promoter of target genes in human HepG2 cells. siRNA-mediated silencing of HSF1 blocked BAG3 gene expression by PDTC. The protein levels of the co-chaperone BAG3 and its interaction partner Hsp72 were stimulated by PDTC in a dose-dependent fashion, peaking at 6 hours. Inhibition of Hsp90 function by geldanamycin derivatives and novobiocin elicited a pattern of HSF1 activation and BAG3 expression that was similar to PDTC. Chromatin immunoprecipitation studies showed that PDTC and the inhibitor 17-dimethylaminoethylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin enhanced the binding of HSF1 to the promoter of several target genes, including BAG3, HSPA1A, HSPA1B, FKBP4, STIP1 and UBB. Cell treatment with PDTC increased significantly the level of Hsp90α thiol oxidation, a posttranslational modification known to inhibit its chaperone function. These results unravel a previously unrecognized mechanism by which PDTC and related compounds could confer cellular protection against inflammation through HSF1-induced expression of heat shock response genes.
Hsp90; pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate; transcriptional regulation; protein thiols; chromatin immunoprecipitation
T helper cell differentiation and activation require specific transcriptional programs accompanied by changes in chromatin structure. However, little is known about the chromatin remodeling enzymes responsible. We performed genome-wide analysis to determine the general principles of BRG1 binding, followed by analysis of specific genes to determine whether these general rules were typical of key T cell genes. We found that binding of the remodeling protein BRG1 was programmed by both lineage and activation signals. BRG1 binding positively correlated with gene activity at protein-coding and microRNA (miRNA) genes. BRG1 binding was found at promoters and distal regions, including both novel and previously validated distal regulatory elements. Distal BRG1 binding correlated with expression, and novel distal sites in the Gata3 locus possessed enhancer-like activity, suggesting a general role for BRG1 in long-distance gene regulation. BRG1 recruitment to distal sites in Gata3 was impaired in cells lacking STAT6, a transcription factor that regulates lineage-specific genes. Together, these findings suggest that BRG1 interprets both differentiation and activation signals and plays a causal role in gene regulation, chromatin structure, and cell fate. Our findings suggest that BRG1 binding is a useful marker for identifying active cis-regulatory regions in protein-coding and miRNA genes.
The unique properties of embryonic stem cells (ESC) rely on long-lasting self-renewal and their ability to switch in all adult cell type programs. Recent advances have shown that regulations at the chromatin level sustain both ESC properties along with transcription factors. We have focused our interest on the epigenetic modulator HP1γ (Heterochromatin Protein 1, isoform γ) that binds histones H3 methylated at lysine 9 (meH3K9) and is highly plastic in its distribution and association with the transcriptional regulation of specific genes during cell fate transitions. These characteristics of HP1γ make it a good candidate to sustain the ESC flexibility required for rapid program changes during differentiation. Using RNA interference, we describe the functional role of HP1γ in mouse ESC. The analysis of HP1γ deprived cells in proliferative and in various differentiating conditions was performed combining functional assays with molecular approaches (RT-qPCR, microarray). We show that HP1γ deprivation slows down the cell cycle of ESC and decreases their resistance to differentiating conditions, rendering the cells poised to differentiate. In addition, HP1γ depletion hampers the differentiation to the endoderm as compared with the differentiation to the neurectoderm or the mesoderm. Altogether, our results reveal the role of HP1γ in ESC self-renewal and in the balance between the pluripotent and the differentiation programs.
Removal of TRF2, a telomere shelterin protein, recapitulates key aspects of telomere attrition including the DNA-damage response and cell-cycle arrest . Distinct from the response of proliferating cells to loss of TRF2 [2, 3], in rodent non-cycling cells, TRF2 inhibition promotes differentiation and growth [4, 5]. However, the mechanism that couples telomere gene-silencing features [6-8] to differentiation programs has yet to be elucidated. Here we describe an extra-telomeric function of TRF2 in epigenetic regulation of neuronal genes mediated by the interaction of TRF2 with repressor element 1 silencing transcription factor (REST), a master repressor of gene networks devoted to neuronal functions [9-12]. TRF2-REST complexes are readily detected by co-immunoprecipitation assays and are localized to aggregated PML-nuclear bodies in undifferentiated pluripotent human NTera2 stem cells. Inhibition of TRF2, either by a dominant-negative mutant or by RNA interference, dissociates TRF2-REST complexes resulting in ubiquitin-proteasomal degradation of REST. Consequentially, REST targeted neural genes (L1CAM, β3-tubulin, synaptophysin and others) are derepressed resulting in acquisition of neuronal phenotypes. Notably, selective damage to telomeres without affecting TRF2 levels causes neither REST degradation nor cell differentiation. Thus, in addition to protecting telomeres, TRF2 possesses a novel role in stabilization of REST that is required for controlling neural tumor and stem cell fate.
REST/NRSF; TRF2; ubiquitin-proteasome; PML-nuclear bodies; neuronal genes
During T helper cell differentiation, distinct programs of gene expression play a key role in defining the immune response to an environmental challenge. How chromatin remodeling events at the associated cytokine loci control differentiation is not known. We found that the ATP-dependent remodeling enzyme subunit BRG1 was required for T helper 2 (Th2) differentiation and Th2 cytokine transcription. BRG1 binding to cytokine genes was regulated by the extent of differentiation, the extent of activation, and cell fate. BRG1 was required for some features of the chromatin structure in target genes (DNase I hypersensitivity and histone acetylation), suggesting that BRG1 remodeling activity was directly responsible for changes in gene expression. NFAT and STAT6 activity were required for BRG1 recruitment to the Th2 locus control region, and STAT6 associated with BRG1 in a differentiation-inducible manner, suggesting direct recruitment of BRG1 to the bound loci. Together, these findings suggest BRG1 interprets differentiation signals and plays a causal role in gene regulation, chromatin structure, and cell fate.
The recurrence and non-random distribution of translocation breakpoints in human tumors are usually attributed to local sequence features present in the vicinity of the breakpoints. However, it has also been suggested that functional constraints might contribute to delimit the position of translocation breakpoints within the genes involved, but a quantitative analysis of such contribution has been lacking.
We have analyzed two well-known signatures of functional selection, such as reading-frame compatibility and non-random combinations of protein domains, on an extensive dataset of fusion proteins resulting from chromosomal translocations in cancer.
Our data provide strong experimental support for the concept that the position of translocation breakpoints in the genome of cancer cells is determined, to a large extent, by the need to combine certain protein domains and to keep an intact reading frame in fusion transcripts. Additionally, the information that we have assembled affords a global view of the oncogenic mechanisms and domain architectures that are used by fusion proteins. This can be used to assess the functional impact of novel chromosomal translocations and to predict the position of breakpoints in the genes involved.
Ets-1 is important for transcriptional regulation in several hematopoietic lineages, including megakaryocytes. Some transcription factors bind to naked DNA and chromatin with different affinities, while others do not. In the present study we used the megakaryocyte-specific promoters platelet factor 4 (PF4), and glycoprotein IIb (GPIIb) as model systems to explore the properties of Ets-1 binding to chromatin. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays indicated that Ets-1 binds to proximal regions in the PF4 and GPIIb promoters in vivo. In vitro and in vivo experiments showed that Ets-1 binding to chromatin on lineage-specific promoters does not require lineage-specific factors. Moreover, this binding shows the same order of affinity as the binding to naked DNA and does not require ATP-dependent or Sarkosyl-sensitive factors. The effect of Ets-1 binding on promoter activity was examined using the PF4 promoter as a model. We identified a novel Ets-1 site (at −50), and a novel Sarkosyl-sensitive DNase I-hypersensitive site generated by Ets-1 binding to chromatin, which significantly affect PF4 promoter activity. Taken together, our results suggest a model by which Ets-1 binds to chromatin without the need for lineage-specific accessory factors, and Ets-1 binding induces changes in chromatin and affects transactivation, which are essential for PF4 promoter activation.
SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling enzymes play a critical role in the development of T helper lymphocytes, including Th2 cells, and directly program chromatin structure at Th2 cytokine genes. Different versions of SWI/SNF complexes, including BAF and PBAF, have been described based on unique subunit composition. However, the relative role of BAF and PBAF in Th cell function and cytokine expression has not been reported.
Here we examine the role of the PBAF SWI/SNF complex in Th cell development and gene expression using mice deficient for a PBAF-specific component, BAF180. We find that T cell development in the thymus and lymphoid periphery is largely normal when the BAF180 gene is deleted late in thymic development. However, BAF180-deficient Th2 cells express high levels of the immunoregulatory cytokine IL-10. BAF180 binds directly to regulatory elements in the Il-10 locus but is replaced by BAF250 BAF complexes in the absence of BAF180, resulting in increased histone acetylation and CBP recruitment to the IL-10 locus.
These results demonstrate that BAF180 is a repressor of IL-10 transcription in Th2 cells and suggest that the differential recruitment of different SWI/SNF subtypes can have direct consequences on chromatin structure and gene transcription.
CHD5 is frequently deleted in neuroblastoma and is a tumor suppressor gene. However, little is known about the role of CHD5 other than it is homologous to chromatin remodeling ATPases. We found CHD5 mRNA was restricted to the brain; by contrast, most remodeling ATPases were broadly expressed. CHD5 protein isolated from mouse brain was associated with HDAC2, p66ß, MTA3 and RbAp46 in a megadalton complex. CHD5 protein was detected in several rat brain regions and appeared to be enriched in neurons. CHD5 protein was predominantly nuclear in primary rat neurons and brain sections. Microarray analysis revealed genes that were upregulated and downregulated when CHD5 was depleted from primary neurons. CHD5 depletion altered expression of neuronal genes, transcription factors, and brain-specific subunits of the SWI/SNF remodeling enzyme. Expression of gene sets linked to aging and Alzheimer's disease were strongly altered by CHD5 depletion from primary neurons. Chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed CHD5 bound to these genes, suggesting the regulation was direct. Together, these results indicate that CHD5 protein is found in a NuRD-like multi-protein complex. CHD5 expression is restricted to the brain, unlike the closely related family members CHD3 and CHD4. CHD5 regulates expression of neuronal genes, cell cycle genes and remodeling genes. CHD5 is linked to regulation of genes implicated in aging and Alzheimer's disease.
H3 lysine 9 trimethylation (H3K9me3) is a histone posttranslational modification (PTM) that has emerged as hallmark of pericentromeric heterochromatin. This constitutive chromatin domain is composed of repetitive DNA elements, whose transcription is differentially regulated. Mammalian cells contain three HP1 proteins, HP1α, HP1β and HP1γ These have been shown to bind to H3K9me3 and are thought to mediate the effects of this histone PTM. However, the mechanisms of HP1 chromatin regulation and the exact functional role at pericentromeric heterochromatin are still unclear. Here, we identify activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP) as an H3K9me3 associated factor. We show that ADNP does not bind H3K9me3 directly, but that interaction is mediated by all three HP1 isoforms in vitro. However, in cells ADNP localization to areas of pericentromeric heterochromatin is only dependent on HP1α and HP1β. Besides a PGVLL sequence patch we uncovered an ARKS motif within the ADNP homeodomain involved in HP1 dependent H3K9me3 association and localization to pericentromeric heterochromatin. While knockdown of ADNP had no effect on HP1 distribution and heterochromatic histone and DNA modifications, we found ADNP silencing major satellite repeats. Our results identify a novel factor in the translation of H3K9me3 at pericentromeric heterochromatin that regulates transcription.
Eukaryotic genomes are packed into chromatin, whose basic repeating unit is the nucleosome. Nucleosome positioning is a widely researched area. A common experimental procedure to determine nucleosome positions involves the use of micrococcal nuclease (MNase). Here, we show that the cutting preference of MNase in combination with size selection generates a sequence-dependent bias in the resulting fragments. This strongly affects nucleosome positioning data and especially sequence-dependent models for nucleosome positioning. As a consequence we see a need to re-evaluate whether the DNA sequence is a major determinant of nucleosome positioning in vivo. More generally, our results show that data generated after MNase digestion of chromatin requires a matched control experiment in order to determine nucleosome positions.
Glucocorticoids play important roles in the regulation of distinct aspects of adipocyte biology. Excess glucocorticoids in adipocytes are associated with metabolic disorders, including central obesity, insulin resistance and dyslipidemia. To understand the mechanisms underlying the glucocorticoid action in adipocytes, we used chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing to isolate genome-wide glucocorticoid receptor (GR) binding regions (GBRs) in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Furthermore, gene expression analyses were used to identify genes that were regulated by glucocorticoids. Overall, 274 glucocorticoid-regulated genes contain or locate nearby GBR. We found that many GBRs were located in or nearby genes involved in triglyceride (TG) synthesis (Scd-1, 2, 3, GPAT3, GPAT4, Agpat2, Lpin1), lipolysis (Lipe, Mgll), lipid transport (Cd36, Lrp-1, Vldlr, Slc27a2) and storage (S3-12). Gene expression analysis showed that except for Scd-3, the other 13 genes were induced in mouse inguinal fat upon 4-day glucocorticoid treatment. Reporter gene assays showed that except Agpat2, the other 12 glucocorticoid-regulated genes contain at least one GBR that can mediate hormone response. In agreement with the fact that glucocorticoids activated genes in both TG biosynthetic and lipolytic pathways, we confirmed that 4-day glucocorticoid treatment increased TG synthesis and lipolysis concomitantly in inguinal fat. Notably, we found that 9 of these 12 genes were induced in transgenic mice that have constant elevated plasma glucocorticoid levels. These results suggested that a similar mechanism was used to regulate TG homeostasis during chronic glucocorticoid treatment. In summary, our studies have identified molecular components in a glucocorticoid-controlled gene network involved in the regulation of TG homeostasis in adipocytes. Understanding the regulation of this gene network should provide important insight for future therapeutic developments for metabolic diseases.
A strand-specific transcriptome sequencing strategy, directional ligation sequencing or DeLi-seq, was employed to profile antisense transcriptome of Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Under both normal and heat shock conditions, we found that polyadenylated antisense transcripts are broadly expressed while distinct expression patterns were observed for protein-coding and non-coding loci. Dominant antisense expression is enriched in protein-coding genes involved in meiosis or stress response pathways. Detailed analyses further suggest that antisense transcripts are independently regulated with respect to their sense transcripts, and diverse mechanisms might be potentially involved in the biogenesis and degradation of antisense RNAs. Taken together, antisense transcription may have profound impacts on global gene regulation in S. pombe.
The annual regeneration cycle of deer (Cervidae, Artiodactyla) antlers represents a unique model of epimorphic regeneration and rapid growth in adult mammals. Regenerating antlers are innervated by trigeminal sensory axons growing through the velvet, the modified form of skin that envelopes the antler, at elongation velocities that reach one centimetre per day in the common deer (Cervus elaphus). Several axon growth promoters like NT-3, NGF or IGF-1 have been described in the antler. To increase the knowledge on the axon growth environment, we have combined different gene-expression techniques to identify and characterize the expression of promoting molecules not previously described in the antler velvet. Cross-species microarray analyses of deer samples on human arrays allowed us to build up a list of 90 extracellular or membrane molecules involved in axon growth that were potentially being expressed in the antler. Fifteen of these genes were analysed using PCR and sequencing techniques to confirm their expression in the velvet and to compare it with the expression in other antler and skin samples. Expression of 8 axon growth promoters was confirmed in the velvet, 5 of them not previously described in the antler. In conclusion, our work shows that antler velvet provides growing axons with a variety of promoters of axon growth, sharing many of them with deer's normal and pedicle skin.
RdCVF and RdCVF2, encoded by the nucleoredoxin-like genes NXNL1 and NXNL2, are trophic factors with therapeutic potential that are involved in cone photoreceptor survival. Studying how their expression is regulated in the retina has implications for understanding both their activity and the mechanisms determining cell-type specificity within the retina.
In order to define and characterize their promoters, a series of luciferase/GFP reporter constructs that contain various fragments of the 5′-upstream region of each gene, both murine and human, were tested in photoreceptor-like and non-photoreceptor cell lines and also in a biologically more relevant mouse retinal explant system. For NXNL1, 5′-deletion analysis identified the human −205/+57 bp and murine −351/+51 bp regions as having promoter activity. Moreover, in the retinal explants these constructs drove expression specifically to photoreceptor cells. For NXNL2, the human −393/+27 bp and murine −195/+70 bp regions were found to be sufficient for promoter activity. However, despite the fact that endogenous NXNL2 expression is photoreceptor-specific within the retina, neither of these DNA sequences nor larger upstream regions demonstrated photoreceptor-specific expression. Further analysis showed that a 79 bp NXNL2 positive regulatory sequence (−393 to 315 bp) combined with a 134 bp inactive minimal NXNL1 promoter fragment (−77 to +57 bp) was able to drive photoreceptor-specific expression, suggesting that the minimal NXNL1 fragment contains latent elements that encode cell-type specificity. Finally, based on bioinformatic analysis that suggested the importance of a CRX binding site within the minimal NXNL1 fragment, we found by mutation analysis that, depending on the context, the CRX site can play a dual role.
The regulation of the Nucleoredoxin-like genes involves a CRX responsive element that can act as both as a positive regulator of promoter activity and as a modulator of cell-type specificity.
Much is known about how genes regulated by nuclear receptors (NRs) are switched on in the presence of a ligand. However, the molecular mechanism for gene down-regulation by liganded NRs remains a conundrum. The interaction between two zinc-finger transcription factors, Nuclear Receptor and GATA, was described almost a decade ago as a strategy adopted by the cell to up- or down-regulate gene expression. More recently, cell-based assays have shown that the Zn-finger region of GATA2 (GATA2-Zf) has an important role in down-regulation of the thyrotropin gene (TSHβ) by liganded thyroid hormone receptor (TR).
In an effort to better understand the mechanism that drives TSHβ down-regulation by a liganded TR and GATA2, we have carried out equilibrium binding assays using fluorescence anisotropy to study the interaction of recombinant TR and GATA2-Zf with regulatory elements present in the TSHβ promoter. Surprisingly, we observed that ligand (T3) weakens TR binding to a negative regulatory element (NRE) present in the TSHβ promoter. We also show that TR may interact with GATA2-Zf in the absence of ligand, but T3 is crucial for increasing the affinity of this complex for different GATA response elements (GATA-REs). Importantly, these results indicate that TR complex formation enhances DNA binding of the TR-GATA2 in a ligand-dependent manner.
Our findings extend previous results obtained in vivo, further improving our understanding of how liganded nuclear receptors down-regulate gene transcription, with the cooperative binding of transcription factors to DNA forming the core of this process.
Definitive erythropoiesis is a vital process throughout life. Both its basal activity under physiological conditions and its increased activity under anemia-induced stress conditions are highly stimulated by the hormone erythropoietin. The transcription factor Sox6 was previously shown to enhance fetal erythropoiesis together and beyond erythropoietin signaling, but its importance in adulthood and mechanisms of action remain unknown. We used here Sox6 conditional null mice and molecular assays to address these questions.
Sox6fl/flErGFPCre adult mice, which lacked Sox6 in erythroid cells, exhibited compensated anemia, erythroid cell developmental defects, and anisocytotic, short-lived red cells under physiological conditions, proving that Sox6 promotes basal erythropoiesis. Tamoxifen treatment of Sox6fl/flCaggCreER mice induced widespread inactivation of Sox6 in a timely controlled manner and resulted in erythroblast defects before reticulocytosis, demonstrating that impaired erythropoiesis is a primary cause rather than consequence of anemia in the absence of Sox6. Twenty five percent of Sox6fl/flErGFPCre mice died 4 or 5 days after induction of acute anemia with phenylhydrazine. The others recovered slowly. They promptly increased their erythropoietin level and amplified their erythroid progenitor pool, but then exhibited severe erythroblast and reticulocyte defects. Sox6 is thus essential in the maturation phase of stress erythropoiesis that follows the erythropoietin-dependent amplification phase. Sox6 inactivation resulted in upregulation of embryonic globin genes, but embryonic globin chains remained scarce and apparently inconsequential. Sox6 inactivation also resulted in downregulation of erythroid terminal markers, including the Bcl2l1 gene for the anti-apoptotic factor Bcl-xL, and in vitro assays indicated that Sox6 directly upregulates Bcl2l1 downstream of and beyond erythropoietin signaling.
This study demonstrates that Sox6 is necessary for efficient erythropoiesis in adult mice under both basal and stress conditions. It is primarily involved in enhancing the survival rate and maturation process of erythroid cells and acts at least in part by upregulating Bcl2l1.
A hallmark of genes that are subject to developmental regulation of transcriptional elongation is association of the negative elongation factor NELF with the paused RNA polymerase complex. Here we use a combination of biochemical and genetic experiments to investigate the in vivo function of NELF in the Drosophila embryo. NELF associates with different gene promoter regions in correlation with the association of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) and the initial activation of gene expression during the early stages of embryogenesis. Genetic experiments reveal that maternally provided NELF is required for the activation, rather than the repression of reporter genes that emulate the expression of key developmental control genes. Furthermore, the relative requirement for NELF is dictated by attributes of the flanking cis-regulatory information. We propose that NELF-associated paused Pol II complexes provide a platform for high fidelity integration of the combinatorial spatial and temporal information that is central to the regulation of gene expression during animal development.
Parkinson's disease (PD), the second most frequent neurodegenerative disorder at old age, can be caused by elevated expression or the A53T missense mutation of the presynaptic protein alpha-synuclein (SNCA). PD is characterized pathologically by the preferential vulnerability of the dopaminergic nigrostriatal projection neurons.
Here, we used two mouse lines overexpressing human A53T-SNCA and studied striatal dysfunction in the absence of neurodegeneration to understand early disease mechanisms. To characterize the progression, we employed young adult as well as old mice. Analysis of striatal neurotransmitter content demonstrated that dopamine (DA) levels correlated directly with the level of expression of SNCA, an observation also made in SNCA-deficient (knockout, KO) mice. However, the elevated DA levels in the striatum of old A53T-SNCA overexpressing mice may not be transmitted appropriately, in view of three observations. First, a transcriptional downregulation of the extraneural DA degradation enzyme catechol-ortho-methytransferase (COMT) was found. Second, an upregulation of DA receptors was detected by immunoblots and autoradiography. Third, extensive transcriptome studies via microarrays and quantitative real-time RT-PCR (qPCR) of altered transcript levels of the DA-inducible genes Atf2, Cb1, Freq, Homer1 and Pde7b indicated a progressive and genotype-dependent reduction in the postsynaptic DA response. As a functional consequence, long term depression (LTD) was absent in corticostriatal slices from old transgenic mice.
Taken together, the dysfunctional neurotransmission and impaired synaptic plasticity seen in the A53T-SNCA overexpressing mice reflect early changes within the basal ganglia prior to frank neurodegeneration. As a model of preclinical stages of PD, such insights may help to develop neuroprotective therapeutic approaches.