Regulation of human COL9A1 gene expression. Activation of the proximal promoter region by SOX9.
ABSTRACT The COL9A1 gene contains two promoter regions, one driving expression of a long alpha1(IX) chain in cartilage (upstream) and one driving expression of a shorter chain in the cornea and vitreous (downstream). To determine how the chondrocyte-specific expression of the COL9A1 gene is regulated, we have begun to characterize the upstream chondrocyte-specific promoter region of the human COL9A1 gene. Transient-transfection analyses performed in rat chondrosarcoma (RCS) cells, human chondrosarcoma (HTB) cells, and NIH/3T3 cells showed that the COL9A1 promoter was active in RCS cells but not HTB or NIH/3T3 cells. Inclusion of the first intron had no effect on promoter activity. In transient-transfection analyses with promoter deletion constructs, it was found that full promoter activity in RCS cells depended on the region from -560 bp to +130 bp relative to the transcriptional start site (+1). Sequence analysis of the region from -890 bp to the transcriptional start predicted five putative SOX/Sry-binding sites. Mutation analysis revealed that two of three putative SOX/Sry binding sites within the -560 to +130 bp region are responsible for most of the COL9A1 promoter activity in RCS cells. Co-transfection experiments with a SOX9 expression plasmid revealed that a construct containing the five putative SOX/Sry-binding sites was transactivated 20- to 30-fold in both HTB and NIH/3T3 cells. Further co-transfection experiments showed that two of the SOX/Sry-binding sites located within the -560 to +130 bp region were required for full transactivation. However, mutation and deletion analyses indicated that a region from -560 to -357 bp, which does not contain any other conspicuous SOX9 sites, is also important for full promoter activity. DNA-protein binding assays and super-shift analysis revealed that SOX9 can form a specific complex with one of the SOX/Sry-binding sites with in the -560 to +130 region.
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ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVES: To investigate whether the changes in collagen gene expression in osteoarthritic (OA) human chondrocytes are associated with changes in the DNA methylation status in the COL2A1 enhancer and COL9A1 promoter. METHODS: Expression levels were determined using quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, and the percentage of DNA methylation was quantified by pyrosequencing. The effect of CpG methylation on COL9A1 promoter activity was determined using a CpG-free vector; cotransfections with expression vectors encoding SOX9, hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α), and HIF-2α were carried out to analyze COL9A1 promoter activities in response to changes in the methylation status. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays were carried out to validate SOX9 binding to the COL9A1 promoter and the influence of DNA methylation. RESULTS: Although COL2A1 messenger RNA (mRNA) levels in OA chondrocytes were 19-fold higher than those in the controls, all of the CpG sites in the COL2A1 enhancer were totally demethylated in both samples. The levels of COL9A1 mRNA in OA chondrocytes were 6,000-fold lower than those in controls; 6 CpG sites of the COL9A1 promoter were significantly hypermethylated in OA patients as compared with controls. Treatment with 5-azadeoxycitidine enhanced COL9A1 gene expression and prevented culture-induced hypermethylation. In vitro methylation decreased COL9A1 promoter activity. Mutations in the 5 CpG sites proximal to the transcription start site decreased COL9A1 promoter activity. Cotransfection with SOX9 enhanced COL9A1 promoter activity; CpG methylation attenuated SOX9 binding to the COL9A1 promoter. CONCLUSION: This first demonstration that hypermethylation is associated with down-regulation of COL9A1 expression in OA cartilage highlights the pivotal role of epigenetics in OA, involving not only hypomethylation, but also hypermethylation, with important therapeutic implications for OA treatment.Arthritis & Rheumatology 10/2014; 66(11):3040-51. · 7.48 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Cartilage is an avascular and aneural tissue. Chondrocytes thrive in this restricted environment of low oxygen tension and poor nutrient availability which has led to suggestions that hypoxia may be a protective mechanism against the development of osteoarthritis (OA). There is also a growing body of evidence to support the role of epigenetic factors in the pathogenesis of OA. However, few studies have investigated the epigenetic-OA process within a hypoxic environment. The current study has investigated the effects of hypoxia on gene expression and DNA methylation of anabolic and catabolic genes involved in the pathogenesis of OA. Chondrocytes extracted from OA femoral heads were incubated in normoxia and hypoxia (20% and 2% oxygen concentrations respectively). Interleukin 1-beta (IL-1beta) plus oncostatin M (OSM), 5-azadeoxycytidine (5-aza-dC) or media alone (control) were added twice weekly to the incubated samples. After 5 weeks, levels of Collagen type IX (COL9A1), IL1B, and matrix metalloproteinase-13 (MMP13) gene expression were measured using SYBR Green-based qRT-PCR and were correlated with methylation status analysed by pyrosequencing methodology. Hypoxia resulted in a >50-fold and >10-fold increase in relative expression of COL9A1 and IL1B respectively. This was inversely correlated to the DNA methylation status of these genes. Expression of MMP13 was reduced at 2% oxygen tension in control cells. Relative expression of MMP13 increased in cells stimulated with IL-1beta and 5-aza-dC in normoxic conditions, and this effect was eliminated at low oxygen tension although no correlation with methylation status was observed. These findings demonstrate a role for hypoxia in the regulation of anabolic and catabolic gene expression and the influence of changes in DNA methylation. These results further support the role of epigenetics in OA and, critically, highlight the complex relationship between the physiological environment of cartilaginous cells and the osteoarthritic process with implications for therapeutic intervention and our understanding of OA pathophysiology.BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 12/2014; 15(1):431. · 1.90 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Type XI collagen, a heterotrimer composed of α1(XI), α2(XI), and α3(XI), plays a critical role in cartilage formation and in skeletal morphogenesis. However, the transcriptional regulation of α1(XI) collagen gene (Col11a1) in chondrocyte is poorly characterized. In this study, we investigated the proximal promoter of mouse Col11a1 gene in chondrocytes. Major transcription start site was located at -299 bp upstream of the translation start site, and the proximal promoter lacks a TATA sequence but has a high guanine-cytosine (GC) content. Cell transfection experiments demonstrated that the segment from -116 to -256 is necessary for activation of the proximal Col11a1 promoter, and an electrophoretic mobility shift assay showed that a nuclear protein is bound to the segment from -116 to -176 in this promoter. Additional comparative and in silico analyses demonstrated that an ATTGG sequence, which is critical for binding to nuclear factor Y (NF-Y), is within the highly conserved region from -135 to -145. Interference assays using wild-type and mutant oligonucleotide or with specific antibody revealed that NF-Y protein is bound to this region. Cell transfection experiments with reporter constructs in the absence of NF-Y binding sequence exhibited the suppression of the promoter activity. Furthermore, chromatin immunoprecipitation assay demonstrated that NF-Y protein is directly bound to this region in vivo, and overexpression of dominant-negative NF-Y A mutant also inhibited the proximal promoter activity. Taken together, these results indicate that the transcription factor NF-Y regulates the proximal promoter activity of mouse Col11a1 gene in chondrocytes.In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology - Animal 10/2013; · 1.29 Impact Factor