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1.  Targeting endogenous nuclear antigens by electrotransfer of monoclonal antibodies in living cells 
mAbs  2013;5(4):518-522.
Antibodies are valuable tools for functional studies in vitro, but their use in living cells remains challenging because they do not naturally cross the cell membrane. Here, we present a simple and highly efficient method for the intracytoplasmic delivery of any antibody into cultured cells. By following the fate of monoclonal antibodies that bind to nuclear antigens, it was possible to image endogenous targets and to show that inhibitory antibodies are able to induce cell growth suppression or cell death. Our electrotransfer system allowed the cancer cells we studied to be transduced without loss of viability and may have applications for a variety of intracellular immuno-interventions.
PMCID: PMC3906305  PMID: 23765067
monoclonal antibodies; intracellular delivery; electroporation; protein interference; intracellular imaging; living cells
2.  A Cytoplasmic Negative Regulator Isoform of ATF7 Impairs ATF7 and ATF2 Phosphorylation and Transcriptional Activity 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(8):e23351.
Alternative splicing and post-translational modifications are processes that give rise to the complexity of the proteome. The nuclear ATF7 and ATF2 (activating transcription factor) are structurally homologous leucine zipper transcription factors encoded by distinct genes. Stress and growth factors activate ATF2 and ATF7 mainly via sequential phosphorylation of two conserved threonine residues in their activation domain. Distinct protein kinases, among which mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK), phosphorylate ATF2 and ATF7 first on Thr71/Thr53 and next on Thr69/Thr51 residues respectively, resulting in transcriptional activation. Here, we identify and characterize a cytoplasmic alternatively spliced isoform of ATF7. This variant, named ATF7-4, inhibits both ATF2 and ATF7 transcriptional activities by impairing the first phosphorylation event on Thr71/Thr53 residues. ATF7-4 indeed sequesters the Thr53-phosphorylating kinase in the cytoplasm. Upon stimulus-induced phosphorylation, ATF7-4 is poly-ubiquitinated and degraded, enabling the release of the kinase and ATF7/ATF2 activation. Our data therefore conclusively establish that ATF7-4 is an important cytoplasmic negative regulator of ATF7 and ATF2 transcription factors.
PMCID: PMC3156760  PMID: 21858082
3.  CTCF Interacts with and Recruits the Largest Subunit of RNA Polymerase II to CTCF Target Sites Genome-Wide▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2007;27(5):1631-1648.
CTCF is a transcription factor with highly versatile functions ranging from gene activation and repression to the regulation of insulator function and imprinting. Although many of these functions rely on CTCF-DNA interactions, it is an emerging realization that CTCF-dependent molecular processes involve CTCF interactions with other proteins. In this study, we report the association of a subpopulation of CTCF with the RNA polymerase II (Pol II) protein complex. We identified the largest subunit of Pol II (LS Pol II) as a protein significantly colocalizing with CTCF in the nucleus and specifically interacting with CTCF in vivo and in vitro. The role of CTCF as a link between DNA and LS Pol II has been reinforced by the observation that the association of LS Pol II with CTCF target sites in vivo depends on intact CTCF binding sequences. “Serial” chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) analysis revealed that both CTCF and LS Pol II were present at the β-globin insulator in proliferating HD3 cells but not in differentiated globin synthesizing HD3 cells. Further, a single wild-type CTCF target site (N-Myc-CTCF), but not the mutant site deficient for CTCF binding, was sufficient to activate the transcription from the promoterless reporter gene in stably transfected cells. Finally, a ChIP-on-ChIP hybridization assay using microarrays of a library of CTCF target sites revealed that many intergenic CTCF target sequences interacted with both CTCF and LS Pol II. We discuss the possible implications of our observations with respect to plausible mechanisms of transcriptional regulation via a CTCF-mediated direct link of LS Pol II to the DNA.
PMCID: PMC1820452  PMID: 17210645
4.  Sumoylation delays the ATF7 transcription factor subcellular localization and inhibits its transcriptional activity 
Nucleic Acids Research  2007;35(4):1134-1144.
Over the past few years, small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) modification has emerged as an important regulator of diverse pathways and activities including protein localization and transcriptional regulation. We identified a consensus sumoylation motif (IKEE), located within the N-terminal activation domain of the ATF7 transcription factor and thus investigated the role of this modification. ATF7 is a ubiquitously expressed transcription factor, homologous to ATF2, that binds to CRE elements within specific promoters. This protein is able to heterodimerize with Jun or Fos proteins and its transcriptional activity is mediated by interaction with TAF12, a subunit of the general transcription factor TFIID. In the present article, we demonstrate that ATF7 is sumoylated in vitro (using RanBP2 as a E3-specific ligase) and in vivo. Moreover, we show that ATF7 sumoylation affects its intranuclear localization by delaying its entry into the nucleus. Furthermore, SUMO conjugation inhibits ATF7 transactivation activity by (i) impairing its association with TAF12 and (ii) blocking its binding-to-specific sequences within target promoters.
PMCID: PMC1851647  PMID: 17264123
5.  Distinct regions of RPB11 are required for heterodimerization with RPB3 in human and yeast RNA polymerase II 
Nucleic Acids Research  2005;33(11):3582-3590.
In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, RNA polymerase II assembly is probably initiated by the formation of the RPB3–RPB11 heterodimer. RPB3 is encoded by a single copy gene in the yeast, mouse and human genomes. The RPB11 gene is also unique in yeast and mouse, but in humans a gene family has been identified that potentially encodes several RPB11 proteins differing mainly in their C-terminal regions. We compared the abilities of both yeast and human proteins to heterodimerize. We show that the yeast RPB3/RPB11 heterodimer critically depends on the presence of the C-terminal region of RPB11. In contrast, the human heterodimer tolerates significant changes in RPB11 C-terminus, allowing two human RPB11 variants to heterodimerize with the same efficiency with RPB3. In keeping with this observation, the interactions between the conserved N-terminal ‘α-motifs’ is much more important for heterodimerization of the human subunits than for those in yeast. These data indicate that the heterodimerization interfaces have been modified during the course of evolution to allow a recent diversification of the human RPB11 subunits that remains compatible with heterodimerization with RPB3.
PMCID: PMC1159119  PMID: 15987790
6.  Stress-induced transcription of satellite III repeats 
The Journal of Cell Biology  2004;164(1):25-33.
Exposure of mammalian cells to stress induces the activation of heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1) and the subsequent transcription of heat shock genes. Activation of the heat shock response also correlates with a rapid relocalization of HSF1 within a few nuclear structures termed nuclear stress granules. These stress-induced structures, which form primarily on the 9q12 region in humans through direct binding of HSF1 to satellite III repeats, do not colocalize with transcription sites of known hsp genes. In this paper, we show that nuclear stress granules correspond to RNA polymerase II transcription factories where satellite III repeats are transcribed into large and stable RNAs that remain associated with the 9q12 region, even throughout mitosis. This work not only reveals the existence of a new major heat-induced transcript in human cells that may play a role in chromatin structure, but also provides evidence for a transcriptional activity within a locus considered so far as heterochromatic and silent.
PMCID: PMC2171959  PMID: 14699086
HSF1; RNA polymerase II; satellite III; stress; transcription
7.  A human RNA polymerase II subunit is encoded by a recently generated multigene family 
The sequences encoding the yeast RNA polymerase II (RPB) subunits are single copy genes.
While those characterized so far for the human (h) RPB are also unique, we show that hRPB subunit 11 (hRPB11) is encoded by a multigene family, mapping on chromosome 7 at loci p12, q11.23 and q22. We focused on two members of this family, hRPB11a and hRPB11b: the first encodes subunit hRPB11a, which represents the major RPB11 component of the mammalian RPB complex ; the second generates polypeptides hRPB11bα and hRPB11bβ through differential splicing of its transcript and shares homologies with components of the hPMS2L multigene family related to genes involved in mismatch-repair functions (MMR). Both hRPB11a and b genes are transcribed in all human tissues tested. Using an inter-species complementation assay, we show that only hRPB11bα is functional in yeast. In marked contrast, we found that the unique murine homolog of RPB11 gene maps on chromosome 5 (band G), and encodes a single polypeptide which is identical to subunit hRPB11a.
The type hRPB11b gene appears to result from recent genomic recombination events in the evolution of primates, involving sequence elements related to the MMR apparatus.
PMCID: PMC61041  PMID: 11747469
8.  EWS, but Not EWS-FLI-1, Is Associated with Both TFIID and RNA Polymerase II: Interactions between Two Members of the TET Family, EWS and hTAFII68, and Subunits of TFIID and RNA Polymerase II Complexes 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1998;18(3):1489-1497.
The t(11;22) chromosomal translocation specifically linked to Ewing sarcoma and primitive neuroectodermal tumor results in a chimeric molecule fusing the amino-terminus-encoding region of the EWS gene to the carboxyl-terminal DNA-binding domain encoded by the FLI-1 gene. As the function of the protein encoded by the EWS gene remains unknown, we investigated the putative role of EWS in RNA polymerase II (Pol II) transcription by comparing its activity with that of its structural homolog, hTAFII68. We demonstrate that a portion of EWS is able to associate with the basal transcription factor TFIID, which is composed of the TATA-binding protein (TBP) and TBP-associated factors (TAFIIs). In vitro binding studies revealed that both EWS and hTAFII68 interact with the same TFIID subunits, suggesting that the presence of EWS and that of hTAFII68 in the same TFIID complex may be mutually exclusive. Moreover, EWS is not exclusively associated with TFIID but, similarly to hTAFII68, is also associated with the Pol II complex. The subunits of Pol II that interact with EWS and hTAFII68 have been identified, confirming the association with the polymerase. In contrast to EWS, the tumorigenic EWS–FLI-1 fusion protein is not associated with either TFIID or Pol II in Ewing cell nuclear extracts. These observations suggest that EWS and EWS–FLI-1 may play different roles in Pol II transcription.
PMCID: PMC108863  PMID: 9488465

Results 1-8 (8)