Phosphorylation of the Brn-3a transcription factor is modulated during differentiation and regulates its functional activity.
ABSTRACT Brn-3a is a transcription factor expressed in a subset of neurons of the peripheral nervous system. Its role encompasses the activation of genes involved in neuronal differentiation and survival. While a lot of data have been produced on Brn-3a target promoters, very little is known about the upstream regulatory signals that mediate its activation in response to differentiation. In this work, we describe for the first time that Brn-3a is phosphorylated in IMR-32 neuroblastoma cells in response to differentiation induced by retinoic acid treatment and that its post-translational modification is potentially mediated by the activation of the MAPK/ERK pathway. Furthermore, we show that the mutation of a putative phosphorylated amino acid strongly reduces the ability of Brn-3a to mediate the differentiation of IMR-32 cells.
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ABSTRACT: The POU family transcription factor Brn-3a is required for the differentiation and survival of sensory neurones, and is phosphorylated in neuroblastoma cells following treatment with all-trans retinoic acid (RA). Mutation of serines-121 and -122 of Brn-3a to alanine blocks its phosphorylation and impairs RA-mediated neurite outgrowth. Here we show that this deficit in differentiation is mimicked by a single mutation at serine-122, and demonstrate a similar requirement for a second residue, threonine-39. Like Brn-3a, the neuropeptide Galanin has been implicated in the development of sensory neurones. We show that Brn-3a over-expression acts synergistically with RA treatment to up-regulate Galanin promoter activity; that the activity of the N-terminal transcriptional activation domain of Brn-3a is increased following RA treatment; and that both these effects require threonine-39 and serine-122. In addition, we demonstrate that the RA-mediated activation of Galanin promoter activity and Brn-3a N-terminal transcriptional activity are both blocked by pan-MEK inhibitors, and show that the expression of a constitutively-active mutant of MEK1, but not MEK5, is sufficient to increase Brn-3a activity. These results reveal an important role for the ERK1/2 pathway in Brn-3a regulation during RA-mediated neuronal differentiation and define the neuropeptide Galanin as a novel target of this transcription factor.Brain research 02/2009; 1256:8-18. · 2.46 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: N Oct-3, a transcription factor member of the POU protein family, is implicated in normal central nervous system development but also in melanoma growth. Its DNA-binding domain (DBD) comprises two subdomains, POUs and POUh, joined by a linker peptide. We have previously shown that N Oct-3 can interact with the already described PORE and MORE DNA motifs, but also with a new structural element we have termed NORE. Having observed that both the PORE and NORE DNA-association modes depend on a strong anchoring of the POUh subdomain rigid arm into the DNA-target minor groove, in contrast to the MORE mode, we have formulated the hypothesis that phosphorylation of the conserved Ser101 residue located in the N Oct-3 POUh arm could lead to differential results in DNA binding according to the type of target. Here we demonstrate that, in vitro, Ser101 is phosphorylated by protein kinase A (PKA), either purified or contained in melanoma (624 mel) nuclear extract, and that this phosphorylation indeed significantly reduced N Oct-3 DBD binding to PORE and NORE motifs, most likely by hampering the POUh rigid arm insertion in the DNA minor groove. Conversely, no effect was observed on the binding of N Oct-3 DBD to MORE sequences. Finally, once bound to its DNA targets, N Oct-3 DBD is less susceptible to PKA activity. We conclude that transcription of genes exhibiting a MORE motif in their promoter should be less affected by N Oct-3 phosphorylation than that of genes switched on by PORE or NORE sequences.Journal of Molecular Biology 08/2007; 370(4):687-700. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The formation of multiprotein complexes constitutes a key step in determining the function of any translated gene product. Thus, the elucidation of interacting partners for a protein of interest is of fundamental importance to cell biology. Here we describe a simple methodology for the prediction of novel interactors. We have applied this to the developmental transcription factor Brn-3a to predict and verify a novel interaction between Brn-3a and the androgen receptor (AR). We demonstrate that these transcription factors form complexes within the nucleus of ND7 neuroblastoma cells, while in vitro pull-down assays show direct association. As a functional consequence of the Brn-3a-AR interaction, the factors bind cooperatively to multiple elements within the promoter of the voltage-gated sodium channel, Nav1.7, leading to a synergistic increase in its expression. Thus, these data define AR as a direct Brn-3a interactor and verify a simple interacting protein prediction methodology that is likely to be useful for many other proteins.Journal of Biological Chemistry 03/2010; 285(20):15286-95. · 4.65 Impact Factor