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2.  CTCF binding site sequence differences are associated with unique regulatory and functional trends during embryonic stem cell differentiation 
Nucleic Acids Research  2013;42(2):774-789.
CTCF (CCCTC-binding factor) is a highly conserved multifunctional DNA-binding protein with thousands of binding sites genome-wide. Our previous work suggested that differences in CTCF’s binding site sequence may affect the regulation of CTCF recruitment and its function. To investigate this possibility, we characterized changes in genome-wide CTCF binding and gene expression during differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells. After separating CTCF sites into three classes (LowOc, MedOc and HighOc) based on similarity to the consensus motif, we found that developmentally regulated CTCF binding occurs preferentially at LowOc sites, which have lower similarity to the consensus. By measuring the affinity of CTCF for selected sites, we show that sites lost during differentiation are enriched in motifs associated with weaker CTCF binding in vitro. Specifically, enrichment for T at the 18th position of the CTCF binding site is associated with regulated binding in the LowOc class and can predictably reduce CTCF affinity for binding sites. Finally, by comparing changes in CTCF binding with changes in gene expression during differentiation, we show that LowOc and HighOc sites are associated with distinct regulatory functions. Our results suggest that the regulatory control of CTCF is dependent in part on specific motifs within its binding site.
doi:10.1093/nar/gkt910
PMCID: PMC3902912  PMID: 24121688
3.  The H3K27me3 Demethylase dUTX Is a Suppressor of Notch- and Rb-Dependent Tumors in Drosophila▿  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2010;30(10):2485-2497.
Trimethylated lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27me3) is an epigenetic mark for gene silencing and can be demethylated by the JmjC domain of UTX. Excessive H3K27me3 levels can cause tumorigenesis, but little is known about the mechanisms leading to those cancers. Mutants of the Drosophila H3K27me3 demethylase dUTX display some characteristics of Trithorax group mutants and have increased H3K27me3 levels in vivo. Surprisingly, dUTX mutations also affect H3K4me1 levels in a JmjC-independent manner. We show that a disruption of the JmjC domain of dUTX results in a growth advantage for mutant cells over adjacent wild-type tissue due to increased proliferation. The growth advantage of dUTX mutant tissue is caused, at least in part, by increased Notch activity, demonstrating that dUTX is a Notch antagonist. Furthermore, the inactivation of Retinoblastoma (Rbf in Drosophila) contributes to the growth advantage of dUTX mutant tissue. The excessive activation of Notch in dUTX mutant cells leads to tumor-like growth in an Rbf-dependent manner. In summary, these data suggest that dUTX is a suppressor of Notch- and Rbf-dependent tumors in Drosophila melanogaster and may provide a model for UTX-dependent tumorigenesis in humans.
doi:10.1128/MCB.01633-09
PMCID: PMC2863695  PMID: 20212086

Results 1-3 (3)