Early hematopoietic zinc finger protein—zinc finger protein 521: A candidate regulator of diverse immature cells
ABSTRACT The early hematopoietic zinc finger protein/zinc finger protein 521 (EHZF/ZNF521) is a recently identified, 1131 amino-acid-long nuclear factor that contains 30 zinc fingers distributed in clusters throughout its sequence. A 13-AA motif, that binds to components of the nuclear remodelling and histone deacetylation (NuRD) complex and is conserved in several trascriptional co-repressors, is located at the amino-terminal end of the molecule. EHZF/ZNF521 expression is high in the most immature cells of the haematopoietic system and declines with differentiation. Its transcript is also abundant in brain, particularly in the cerebellum. Its murine counterpart, Evi3/Zfp521, is enriched in haematopoietic and neural stem cells, in cerebellar granule neuron precursors and in the developing striatum. Enforced expression of EHZF/ZNF521 in haematopoietic progenitors results in their expansion and in inhibition of differentiation. EHZF/ZNF521 is a member of the BMP signalling pathway and an inhibitor of the transcription factor OLF1/EBF1, implicated in the differentiation of neural progenitors and in the specification of the B-cell lineage. EHZF expression is observed in most acute myelogenous leukaemias and is particularly high in those with rearrangements of the MLL gene, where EHZF may contribute to the leukaemic phenotype. EHZF/ZNF521 is also abundant in medulloblastomas and other brain tumours. Taken together, the data available suggest a possible role for this factor in development, stem cell regulation and oncogenesis.
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ABSTRACT: Articular chondrocytes are responsible for the maintenance of healthy articulations; indeed, dysregulation of their functions, including the production of matrix proteins and matrix-remodeling proteases, may result in fraying of the tissue and development of osteoarthritis (OA). To explore transcriptional mechanisms that contribute to the regulation of chondrocyte homeostasis and may be implicated in OA development, we compared the gene expression profile of a set of zinc finger proteins potentially linked to the control of chondrocyte differentiation and/or functions (ZNF423, ZNF470, ZNF521, and ZNF780B) in chondrocytes from patients affected by OA and from subjects not affected by OA. This analysis highlighted a significantly lower expression of the transcript encoding ZNF423 in chondrocytes from OA, particularly in elderly patients. Interestingly, this decrease was mirrored by the similarly reduced expression of PPARγ, a known target of ZNF423 with anti-inflammatory and chondroprotective properties. The ZNF521 mRNA instead was abundant in all primary chondrocytes studied; the RNAi-mediated silencing of this gene significantly altered the COL2A/COL1 expression ratio, associated with the maintenance of the differentiated phenotype, in chondrocytes cultivated in alginate beads. These results suggest a role for ZNF423 and ZNF521 in the regulation of chondrocyte homeostasis and warrant further investigations to elucidate their mechanism of action.Mediators of Inflammation 05/2014; 2014:318793. DOI:10.1155/2014/318793 · 2.42 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Lentiviral vectors are widely used to investigate the biological properties of regulatory proteins and/or of leukaemia-associated oncogenes by stably enforcing their expression in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. In these studies it is critical to be able to monitor and/or sort the infected cells, typically via fluorescent proteins encoded by the modified viral genome. The most popular strategy to ensure co-expression of transgene and reporter gene is to insert between these cDNAs an IRES element, thus generating bi-cistronic mRNAs whose transcription is driven by a single promoter. However, while the product of the gene located upstream of the IRES is generally abundantly expressed, the translation of the downstream cDNA (typically encoding the reporter protein) is often inconsistent, which hinders the detection and the isolation of transduced cells. To overcome these limitations, we developed novel lentiviral dual-promoter vectors (named UMG-LV5 and -LV6) where transgene expression is driven by the potent UBC promoter and that of the reporter protein, EGFP, by the minimal regulatory element of the WASP gene. These vectors, harboring two distinct transgenes, were tested in a variety of human haematopoietic cell lines as well as in primary human CD34+ cells in comparison with the FUIGW vector that contains the expression cassette UBC-transgene-IRES-EGFP. In these experiments both UMG-LV5 and UMG-LV6 yielded moderately lower transgene expression than FUIGW, but dramatically higher levels of EGFP, thereby allowing the easy distinction between transduced and non-transduced cells. An additional construct was produced, in which the cDNA encoding the reporter protein is upstream, and the transgene downstream of the IRES sequence. This vector, named UMG-LV11, proved able to promote abundant expression of both transgene product and EGFP in all cells tested. The UMG-LVs represent therefore useful vectors for gene transfer-based studies in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, as well as in non-hematopoietic cells.PLoS ONE 12/2014; 9(12). DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0114795. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Neural fate commitment is an early embryonic event that a group of cells in ectoderm, which do not ingress through primitive streak, acquire a neural fate but not epidermal or mesodermal lineages. Several extracellular signaling pathways initiated by the secreted proteins bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs), fibroblast growth factors (FGFs), wingless/int class proteins (WNTs) and Nodal play essential roles in the specification of the neural plate. Accumulating evidence from the studies on mouse and pluripotent embryonic stem cells reveals that except for the extracellular signals, the intracellular molecules, including both transcriptional and epigenetic factors, participate in the modulation of neural fate commitment as well. In the review, we mainly focus on recent findings that the initiation of the nervous system is elaborately regulated by the intrinsic programs, which are mediated by transcriptional factors such as Sox2, Zfp521, Sip1 and Pou3f1, as well as epigenetic modifications, including histone methylation/demethylation, histone acetylation/deacetylation, and DNA methylation/demethylation. The discovery of the intrinsic regulatory machineries provides better understanding of the mechanisms by which the neural fate commitment is ensured by the cooperation between extracellular factors and intracellular molecules. © 2015 Japanese Society of Developmental Biologists.Embryologia 02/2015; 57(2):109-20. DOI:10.1111/dgd.12204 · 2.18 Impact Factor