Nuclear mobility and mitotic chromosome binding: similarities between pioneer transcription factor FoxA and linker histone H1.
ABSTRACT There exists a hierarchy by which transcription factors can engage their target sites in chromatin, in that a subset of factors can bind transcriptionally silent, nucleosomal DNA, whereas most factors cannot, and this hierarchy is reflected, at least in part, in the developmental function of the factors. For example, transcription factors possessing the Forkhead box (Fox) DNA-binding domain contain an overall fold resembling that of linker histone and thus are structured to bind DNA, site specifically, in a nucleosomal context. Where tested, Fox factors bind early in the developmental or physiological activation of target genes, thereby enabling the binding of other factors that cannot engage chromatin on their own. To investigate the basis for early chromatin binding, we have used fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) to analyze the mobility, in the live cell nucleus, of FoxA factors in comparison to linker histone and other transcription factors. We have further analyzed the factors for their ability to bind to chromatin in mitosis and thereby serve as epigenetic marks. The results indicate that the "pioneer" features of FoxA factors involve various chromatin-binding parameters seen in linker histones and that distinguish the factors with respect to their regulatory and mechanistic functions.
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ABSTRACT: Transcription factors are adaptor molecules that detect regulatory sequences in the DNA and target the assembly of protein complexes that control gene expression. Yet much of the DNA in the eukaryotic cell is in nucleosomes and thereby occluded by histones, and can be further occluded by higher-order chromatin structures and repressor complexes. Indeed, genome-wide location analyses have revealed that, for all transcription factors tested, the vast majority of potential DNA-binding sites are unoccupied, demonstrating the inaccessibility of most of the nuclear DNA. This raises the question of how target sites at silent genes become bound de novo by transcription factors, thereby initiating regulatory events in chromatin. Binding cooperativity can be sufficient for many kinds of factors to simultaneously engage a target site in chromatin and activate gene expression. However, in cases in which the binding of a series of factors is sequential in time and thus not initially cooperative, special "pioneer transcription factors" can be the first to engage target sites in chromatin. Such initial binding can passively enhance transcription by reducing the number of additional factors that are needed to bind the DNA, culminating in activation. In addition, pioneer factor binding can actively open up the local chromatin and directly make it competent for other factors to bind. Passive and active roles for the pioneer factor FoxA occur in embryonic development, steroid hormone induction, and human cancers. Herein we review the field and describe how pioneer factors may enable cellular reprogramming.Genes & development 11/2011; 25(21):2227-41. DOI:10.1101/gad.176826.111 · 12.64 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Forkhead box (FOX) proteins represent a large family of transcriptional regulators unified by their DNA binding domain (DBD) known as a 'forkhead' or 'winged helix' domain. Over 40 FOX genes have been identified in the mammalian genome. FOX proteins share significant sequence similarities in the DBD which allow them to bind to a consensus DNA response element. However, their modes of action are quite diverse as they regulate gene expression by acting as pioneer factors, transcription factors, or both. This review focuses on the mechanisms of chromatin remodeling with an emphasis on three sub-classes-FOXA, FOXO, and FOXP members. FOXA proteins serve as pioneer factors to open up local chromatin structure and thereby increase accessibility of chromatin to factors regulating transcription. FOXP proteins, in contrast, function as classic transcription factors to recruit a variety of chromatin modifying enzymes to regulate gene expression. FOXO proteins represent a hybrid subclass having dual roles as pioneering factors and transcription factors. A subset of FOX proteins interacts with condensed mitotic chromatin and may function as 'bookmarking' agents to maintain transcriptional competence at specific genomic sites. The overall diversity in chromatin remodeling function by FOX proteins is related to unique structural motifs present within the DBD flanking regions that govern selective interactions with core histones and/or chromatin coregulatory proteins. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Chromatin in time and space.Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 03/2012; 1819(7):707-15. DOI:10.1016/j.bbagrm.2012.02.018 · 4.66 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: EBNA1, a nuclear protein expressed in all EBV-associated neoplasms is indispensable for the maintenance of the viral episomes in latently infected cells. EBNA1 may induce genetic alterations by upregulating cellular recombinases, production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and affecting p53 levels and function. All these changes may contribute to tumorigenesis. In this overview we focus, however, on the epigenetic alterations elicited by EBNA1 by drawing a parallel between EBNA1 and the FoxA family of pioneer transcription factors. Both EBNA1 and FoxA induce local DNA demethylation, nucleosome destabilization and bind to mitotic chromosomes. Local DNA demethylation and nucleosome rearrangement mark active promoters and enhancers. In addition, EBNA1 and FoxA, when associated with mitotic chromatin may "bookmark" active genes and ensure their reactivation in postmitotic cells (epigenetic memory). We speculate that DNA looping induced by EBNA1-EBNA1 interactions may reorganize the cellular genome. Such chromatin loops, sustained in mitotic chromatin similarly to the long-distance interactions mediated by the insulator protein CTCF, may also mediate the epigenetic inheritance of gene expression patterns. We suggest that EBNA1 has the potential to induce patho-epigenetic alterations contributing to tumorigenesis.12/2012; 1(1):37-51. DOI:10.3390/pathogens1010037