[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Several small molecule antagonists for Smoothened (Smo) have been developed, and achieved promising preclinical efficacy in cancers that are dependent on Hedgehog (Hh) signaling. However, in a recent clinical study, a drug-resistant D473H SMO mutant was identified that is thought to be responsible for cancer relapse in a patient with medulloblastoma. Here, we report two Smo antagonists that bind to distinct sites, as compared to known antagonists and agonists, and inhibit both wild-type and mutant Smo. These findings provide an insight of the ligand-binding sites of Smo and a basis for the development of potential therapeutics for tumors with drug-resistant Smo mutations.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA methylation is an important epigenetic modification involved in transcriptional regulation, nuclear organization, development, aging, and disease. Although DNA methyltransferases have been characterized, the mechanisms for DNA demethylation remain poorly understood. Using a cell-based reporter assay, we performed a functional genomics screen to identify genes involved in DNA demethylation. Here we show that RNF4 (RING finger protein 4), a SUMO-dependent ubiquitin E3-ligase previously implicated in maintaining genome stability, plays a key role in active DNA demethylation. RNF4 reactivates methylation-silenced reporters and promotes global DNA demethylation. Rnf4 deficiency is embryonic lethal with higher levels of methylation in genomic DNA. Mechanistic studies show that RNF4 interacts with and requires the base excision repair enzymes TDG and APE1 for active demethylation. This activity appears to occur by enhancing the enzymatic activities that repair DNA G:T mismatches generated from methylcytosine deamination. Collectively, our study reveals a unique function for RNF4, which may serve as a direct link between epigenetic DNA demethylation and DNA repair in mammalian cells.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2010; 107(34):15087-92. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1009025107 · 9.67 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malignant melanoma is the most aggressive form of cutaneous carcinoma, accounting for 75% of all deaths caused by skin cancers. Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) is a master gene regulating melanocyte development and functions as a "lineage addiction" oncogene in malignant melanoma. We have identified the receptor protein tyrosine kinase TYRO3 as an upstream regulator of MITF expression by a genome-wide gain-of-function cDNA screen and show that TYRO3 induces MITF-M expression in a SOX10-dependent manner in melanoma cells. Expression of TYRO3 is significantly elevated in human primary melanoma tissue samples and melanoma cell lines and correlates with MITF-M mRNA levels. TYRO3 overexpression bypasses BRAF(V600E)-induced senescence in primary melanocytes, inducing transformation of non-tumorigenic cell lines. Furthermore, TYRO3 knockdown represses cellular proliferation and colony formation in melanoma cells, and sensitizes them to chemotherapeutic agent-induced apoptosis; TYRO3 knockdown in melanoma cells also inhibits tumorigenesis in vivo. Taken together, these data indicate that TYRO3 may serve as a target for the development of therapeutic agents for melanoma.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2009; 106(40):17025-30. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0909292106 · 9.67 Impact Factor