Meis Cofactors Control HDAC and CBP Accessibility at Hox-Regulated Promoters during Zebrafish Embryogenesis

Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 364 Plantation Street, LRB822, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.
Developmental Cell (Impact Factor: 9.71). 10/2009; 17(4):561-7. DOI: 10.1016/j.devcel.2009.08.007
Source: PubMed


Hox proteins form complexes with Pbx and Meis cofactors to control gene expression, but the role of Meis is unclear. We demonstrate that Hoxb1-regulated promoters are highly acetylated on histone H4 (AcH4) and occupied by Hoxb1, Pbx, and Meis in zebrafish tissues where these promoters are active. Inhibition of Meis blocks gene expression and reduces AcH4 levels at these promoters, suggesting a role for Meis in maintaining AcH4. Within Hox transcription complexes, Meis binds directly to Pbx and we find that this binding displaces histone deacetylases (HDACs) from Hoxb1-regulated promoters in zebrafish embryos. Accordingly, Pbx mutants that cannot bind Meis act as repressors by recruiting HDACs and reducing AcH4 levels, while Pbx mutants that bind neither HDAC nor Meis are constitutively active and recruit CBP to increase AcH4 levels. We conclude that Meis acts, at least in part, by controlling access of HDAC and CBP to Hox-regulated promoters.

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    • "As discussed, Hoxb1b regulates hoxb1a transcription by forming a complex with Pbx and Prep/Meis factors at the r4 regulatory element upstream of the hoxb1a TSS [48,54]. We recently demonstrated that nucleosome positioning around the promoters of hox genes is influenced by DNA-binding factors during early embryogenesis, but that RA signaling does not appear to affect this process [46]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The developing vertebrate hindbrain is transiently segmented into rhombomeres by a process requiring Hox activity. Hox genes control specification of rhombomere fates, as well as the stereotypic differentiation of rhombomere-specific neuronal populations. Accordingly, germ line disruption of the paralog group 1 (PG1) Hox genes Hoxa1 and Hoxb1 causes defects in hindbrain segmentation and neuron formation in mice. However, antisense-mediated interference with zebrafish hoxb1a and hoxb1b (analogous to murine Hoxb1 and Hoxa1, respectively) produces phenotypes that are qualitatively and quantitatively distinct from those observed in the mouse. This suggests that PG1 Hox genes may have species-specific functions, or that anti-sense mediated interference may not completely inactivate Hox function in zebrafish. Results Using zinc finger and TALEN technologies, we disrupted hoxb1a and hoxb1b in the zebrafish germ line to establish mutant lines for each gene. We find that zebrafish hoxb1a germ line mutants have a more severe phenotype than reported for Hoxb1a antisense treatment. This phenotype is similar to that observed in Hoxb1 knock out mice, suggesting that Hoxb1/hoxb1a have the same function in both species. Zebrafish hoxb1b germ line mutants also have a more severe phenotype than reported for hoxb1b antisense treatment (e.g. in the effect on Mauthner neuron differentiation), but this phenotype differs from that observed in Hoxa1 knock out mice (e.g. in the specification of rhombomere 5 (r5) and r6), suggesting that Hoxa1/hoxb1b have species-specific activities. We also demonstrate that Hoxb1b regulates nucleosome organization at the hoxb1a promoter and that retinoic acid acts independently of hoxb1b to activate hoxb1a expression. Conclusions We generated several novel germ line mutants for zebrafish hoxb1a and hoxb1b. Our analyses indicate that Hoxb1 and hoxb1a have comparable functions in zebrafish and mouse, suggesting a conserved function for these genes. In contrast, while Hoxa1 and hoxb1b share functions in the formation of r3 and r4, they differ with regards to r5 and r6, where Hoxa1 appears to control formation of r5, but not r6, in the mouse, whereas hoxb1b regulates formation of r6, but not r5, in zebrafish. Lastly, our data reveal independent regulation of hoxb1a expression by retinoic acid and Hoxb1b in zebrafish.
    BMC Developmental Biology 06/2014; 14(1):25. DOI:10.1186/1471-213X-14-25 · 2.67 Impact Factor
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    • "In situ hybridization and immunostaining were performed as described previously (Choe et al., 2009). The dpb antisense probe was synthesized using a standard protocol. "
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    ABSTRACT: The peroxisome is an intracellular organelle that responds dynamically to environmental changes. Various model organisms have been used to study the roles of peroxisomal proteins in maintaining cellular homeostasis. By taking advantage of the zebrafish model whose early stage of embryogenesis is dependent on yolk components, we examined the developmental roles of the D-bifunctional protein (Dbp), an essential enzyme in the peroxisomal β-oxidation. The knockdown of dbp in zebrafish phenocopied clinical manifestations of its deficiency in human, including defective craniofacial morphogenesis, growth retardation, and abnormal neuronal development. Overexpression of murine Dbp rescued the morphological phenotypes induced by dbp knockdown, indicative of conserved roles of Dbp during zebrafish and mammalian development. Knockdown of dbp impaired normal development of blood, blood vessels, and most strikingly, endoderm-derived organs including the liver and pancreas - a phenotype not reported elsewhere in connection with peroxisome dysfunction. Taken together, our results demonstrate for the first time that zebrafish might be a useful model animal to study the role of peroxisomes during vertebrate development.
    Moleculer Cells 01/2014; 37(1):74-80. DOI:10.14348/molcells.2014.2300 · 2.09 Impact Factor
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    • "These findings also raise the question as to how changes in subunit composition can alter complex function . In the case of the Hox:PBC complexes discussed here, the functional switch is caused by Meis proteins competing with HDACs for binding to the Pbx N-terminus (Choe et al., 2009). In the absence of Meis cofactors , HDAC is bound to Pbx and the complex is repressive, but in the presence of Meis proteins, Meis associates with Pbx and HDAC is displaced. "
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    ABSTRACT: Hox genes encode transcription factors with important roles during embryogenesis and tissue differentiation. Genetic analyses initially demonstrated that interfering with Hox genes has profound effects on the specification of cell identity, suggesting that Hox proteins regulate very specific sets of target genes. However, subsequent biochemical analyses revealed that Hox proteins bind DNA with relatively low affinity and specificity. Furthermore, it became clear that a given Hox protein could activate or repress transcription depending on the context. A resolution to these paradoxes presented itself with the discovery that Hox proteins do not function in isolation, but interact with other factors in complexes. The first such "cofactors" were members of the Extradenticle/Pbx and Homothorax/Meis/Prep families. However, the list of Hox-interacting proteins has continued to grow, suggesting that Hox complexes contain many more components than initially thought. Additionally, the activities of the various components and the exact mechanisms whereby they modulate the activity of the complex remain puzzling. Here we review the various proteins known to participate in Hox complexes and discuss their likely functions. We also consider that Hox complexes of different compositions may have different activities and discuss mechanisms whereby Hox complexes may be switched between active and inactive states. Developmental Dynamics, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Developmental Dynamics 01/2014; 243(1). DOI:10.1002/dvdy.23997 · 2.38 Impact Factor
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