The RHOX5 homeodomain protein mediates transcriptional repression of the netrin-1 receptor gene Unc5c.
ABSTRACT The X-linked mouse Rhox gene cluster contains more than 30 homeobox genes that are candidates to regulate multiple steps in male and female gametogenesis. The founding member of the Rhox gene cluster, Rhox5, is an androgen-dependent gene expressed in Sertoli cells that promotes the survival and differentiation of the adjacent male germ cells. Here, we report the first identification and characterization of a Rhox5-regulated gene. This gene, Unc5c, encodes a pro-apoptotic receptor with tumor suppressor activity that we found is negatively regulated by Rhox5 in the testis in vivo. Transfection analyses in cell lines of different origin indicated that Rhox5-dependent down-regulation of Unc5c requires another Sertoli cell-specific cofactor. Examination of other mouse Rhox family members revealed that mouse RHOX2 and RHOX3 also have the ability to down-regulate Unc5c expression. The human RHOX protein PEPP2 (RHOXF2) also had this ability, indicating that Unc5c repression is a conserved RHOX-dependent response. Deletion analysis identified a Rhox5-responsive element in the Unc5c 5'-untranslated region. Although 5'-untranslated regions typically house post-transcriptional elements, several lines of evidence indicated that Rhox5 down-regulates Unc5c at the transcriptional level. The repression of Unc5c expression by Rhox5 may, in part, mediate the pro-survival function of Rhox5 in the testis, as we found that Unc5c mutant mice have decreased germ cell apoptosis in the testis. Along with our other data, these findings led us to propose a model in which Rhox5 is a negative regulator upstream of Unc5c in a Sertoli-cell pathway that promotes germ-cell survival.
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ABSTRACT: Here, we describe a female patient with autism spectrum disorder and dysmorphic features that harbors a complex genetic alteration, involving a de novo balanced translocation t(2;X)(q11;q24), a 5q11 segmental trisomy and a maternally inherited isodisomy on chromosome 5. All the possibly damaging genetic effects of such alterations are discussed. In light of recent findings on ASD genetic causes, the hypothesis that all these alterations might be acting in orchestration and contributing to the phenotype is also considered.American Journal of Medical Genetics Part B Neuropsychiatric Genetics 05/2012; 159B(5):529-36. · 3.23 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Homeobox genes murine Rhox5 and human RHOXF1 are expressed in early embryonic stages and then mostly restricted to germline tissues in normal adult, yet they are aberrantly expressed in cancer cells in vitro and in vivo . Here we study the epigenetic regulation and potential functions of Rhox5 gene. In Rhox5-silenced or extremely low expresser cells, we observed low levels of active histone epigenetic marks (H3ac, H4ac and H3K4me2) and high levels of repressive mark H3K9me2 along with DNA hypermethylation in the promoter. In Rhox5 low expresser cells, we typically observed modest levels of both active and repressive histone marks along with moderate DNA methylation. In Rhox5 highly expressed CT26 cancer cells, we observed DNA hypomethylation along with high levels of both active and repressive histone marks. Epigenetic drugs (retinoic acid and MS-275) induced F9 cell differentiation with enhanced Rhox5 expression and dynamic changes of epigenetic marks. Finally, Rhox5 knockdown by small hairpin RNA (shRNA) in CT26 colon cancer decreased cell proliferation and migration in vitro and tumor growth in vivo . Both DNA methylation and histone methylation/acetylation play key roles in modulating Rhox5 expression in various cell types. The stem cell-like "bivalent domain", an epigenetic feature originally identified in key differentiation genes within stem cells, exists in the Rhox5 gene promoter in not only embryonic stem cells but also cancer cells, cancer stem cells, and differentiated Sertoli cells. As Ras signaling-dependent Rhox5 expression promotes tumor growth, Rhox5 may be an ideal target for therapeutic intervention in cancer.Molecular Cancer 05/2011; 10:63. · 5.13 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The mechanisms by which the region-specific expression patterns of clustered genes evolve are poorly understood. The epididymis is an ideal organ to examine this, as it is a highly segmented tissue that differs significantly in structure between closely related species. Here we examined this issue through analysis of the rapidly evolving X-linked reproductive homeobox (Rhox) gene cluster, the largest known homeobox gene cluster in metazoans. In the mouse, we found that most Rhox genes are expressed primarily in the caput region of the epididymis, a site where sperm mature and begin acquiring forward motility. This region-specific expression pattern depends, in part, on the founding member of the Rhox cluster--Rhox5--as targeted mutation of Rhox5 greatly diminishes the expression of several other family members in the caput region. In the rat, Rhox5 expression switches from the caput to the site of sperm storage: the cauda. All Rhox genes under the control of Rhox5 in the mouse epididymis display a concomitant change in their regional expression in the rat epididymis. Our results lead us to propose that widespread changes in the region-specific expression pattern of genes over evolutionary time can be the result of alterations of one or only a few master regulatory genes.Biology of Reproduction 03/2012; 86(6):189. · 4.03 Impact Factor