Kambiz Mousavi

National Institutes of Health, Maryland, United States

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Publications (8)98.24 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Following reports by ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements (ENCODE; GENCODE) Consortium and others, it is now fairly evident that the majority (70-80%) of the mammalian genome has the potential to be transcribed into non-protein-coding RNAs (ncRNAs). Critical to our understanding of genetic processes is the mechanism by which ncRNAs exert their roles. Accordingly, ncRNAs are shown to regulate the expression of protein-coding loci (i.e., genes) at the transcriptional as well as post-transcriptional stages. We recently reported on a widespread transcription at the DNA enhancer elements in myogenic cells. In our study, we found certain enhancer RNAs (eRNAs) regulate chromatin accessibility of the transcriptional machinery at loci encoding master regulators of myogenesis (i.e., MyoD/MyoG), thus suggesting their significance and site-specific impact in cellular programming. Here, we examine recent discoveries pertinent to the proposed role(s) of eRNAs in regulating gene expression. We will highlight consistencies, discuss confounding observations, and consider a lack of critical information in a way to prioritize future objectives.
    RNA biology 02/2014; 11(2). · 5.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transcription factors and DNA regulatory binding motifs are fundamental components of the gene regulatory network. Here, by using genome-wide binding profiling, we show extensive occupancy of transcription factors of myogenesis (MyoD and Myogenin) at extragenic enhancer regions coinciding with RNA synthesis (i.e., eRNA). In particular, multiple regions were transcribed to eRNA within the regulatory region of MYOD1, including previously characterized distal regulatory regions (DRR) and core enhancer (CE). While (CE)RNA enhanced RNA polymerase II (Pol II) occupancy and transcription at MYOD1, (DRR)RNA acted to activate the downstream myogenic genes. The deployment of transcriptional machinery to appropriate loci is contingent on chromatin accessibility, a rate-limiting step preceding Pol II assembly. By nuclease sensitivity assay, we found that eRNAs regulate genomic access of the transcriptional complex to defined regulatory regions. In conclusion, our data suggest that eRNAs contribute to establishing a cell-type-specific transcriptional circuitry by directing chromatin-remodeling events.
    Molecular cell 08/2013; · 14.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Through their functional diversification, distinct lineages of CD4(+) T cells can act to either drive or constrain immune-mediated pathology. Transcription factors are critical in the generation of cellular diversity, and negative regulators antagonistic to alternate fates often act in conjunction with positive regulators to stabilize lineage commitment. Genetic polymorphisms within a single locus encoding the transcription factor BACH2 are associated with numerous autoimmune and allergic diseases including asthma, Crohn's disease, coeliac disease, vitiligo, multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes. Although these associations point to a shared mechanism underlying susceptibility to diverse immune-mediated diseases, a function for BACH2 in the maintenance of immune homeostasis has not been established. Here, by studying mice in which the Bach2 gene is disrupted, we define BACH2 as a broad regulator of immune activation that stabilizes immunoregulatory capacity while repressing the differentiation programs of multiple effector lineages in CD4(+) T cells. BACH2 was required for efficient formation of regulatory (Treg) cells and consequently for suppression of lethal inflammation in a manner that was Treg-cell-dependent. Assessment of the genome-wide function of BACH2, however, revealed that it represses genes associated with effector cell differentiation. Consequently, its absence during Treg polarization resulted in inappropriate diversion to effector lineages. In addition, BACH2 constrained full effector differentiation within TH1, TH2 and TH17 cell lineages. These findings identify BACH2 as a key regulator of CD4(+) T-cell differentiation that prevents inflammatory disease by controlling the balance between tolerance and immunity.
    Nature 06/2013; · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Histone chaperones affect chromatin structure and gene expression through interaction with histones and RNA polymerase II (PolII). Here, we report that the histone chaperone Spt6 counteracts H3K27me3, an epigenetic mark deposited by the Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) and associated with transcriptional repression. By regulating proper engagement and function of the H3K27 demethylase KDM6A (UTX), Spt6 effectively promotes H3K27 demethylation, muscle gene expression, and cell differentiation. ChIP-Seq experiments reveal an extensive genome-wide overlap of Spt6, PolII, and KDM6A at transcribed regions that are devoid of H3K27me3. Mammalian cells and zebrafish embryos with reduced Spt6 display increased H3K27me3 and diminished expression of the master regulator MyoD, resulting in myogenic differentiation defects. As a confirmation for an antagonistic relationship between Spt6 and H3K27me3, inhibition of PRC2 permits MyoD re-expression in myogenic cells with reduced Spt6. Our data indicate that, through cooperation with PolII and KDM6A, Spt6 orchestrates removal of H3K27me3, thus controlling developmental gene expression and cell differentiation.
    The EMBO Journal 01/2013; · 9.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Polycomb group (PcG) proteins initiate the formation of repressed chromatin domains and regulate developmental gene expression. A mammalian PcG protein, enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (Ezh2), triggers transcriptional repression by catalyzing the addition of methyl groups onto lysine 27 of histone H3 (H3K27me2/3). This action facilitates the binding of other PcG proteins to chromatin for purposes of transcriptional silencing. Interestingly, there exists a paralog of Ezh2, termed Ezh1, whose primary function remains unclear. Here, we provide evidence for genome-wide association of Ezh1 complex with active epigenetic mark (H3K4me3), RNA polymerase II (Pol II), and mRNA production. Ezh1 depletion reduced global Pol II occupancy within gene bodies and resulted in delayed transcriptional activation during differentiation of skeletal muscle cells. Conversely, overexpression of wild-type Ezh1 led to premature gene activation and rescued Pol II occupancy defects in Ezh1-depleted cells. Collectively, these findings reveal a role for a PcG complex in promoting mRNA transcription.
    Molecular cell 12/2011; 45(2):255-62. · 14.61 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A wave of structural reorganization involving centrosomes, microtubules, Golgi complex and ER exit sites takes place early during skeletal muscle differentiation and completely remodels the secretory pathway. The mechanism of these changes and their functional implications are still poorly understood, in large part because all changes occur seemingly simultaneously. In an effort to uncouple the reorganizations, we have used taxol, nocodazole, and the specific GSK3-β inhibitor DW12, to disrupt the dynamic microtubule network of differentiating cultures of the mouse skeletal muscle cell line C2. Despite strong effects on microtubules, cell shape and cell fusion, none of the treatments prevented early differentiation. Redistribution of centrosomal proteins, conditional on differentiation, was in fact increased by taxol and nocodazole and normal in DW12. Redistributions of Golgi complex and ER exit sites were incomplete but remained tightly linked under all circumstances, and conditional on centrosomal reorganization. We were therefore able to uncouple microtubule reorganization from the other events and to determine that centrosomal proteins lead the reorganization hierarchy. In addition, we have gained new insight into structural and functional aspects of the reorganization of microtubule nucleation during myogenesis.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(12):e29057. · 3.73 Impact Factor
  • Biophysical Journal 01/2011; 100(3). · 3.67 Impact Factor
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    Kambiz Mousavi, Vittorio Sartorelli
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    ABSTRACT: In the field of molecular oncology, the Myc basic helix-loop-helix family of transcription factors has been extensively studied. The Myc proto-oncogene c-Myc binds DNA, activates or represses gene transcription, and consequently affects cellular proliferation. However, emerging evidence presents the existence of c-Myc variants that lack transcriptional activity. A cytoplasmic variant of c-Myc called "Myc-nick," which arises from calpain-mediated cleavage of c-Myc, assists in stable microtubule assembly. Furthermore, Myc-nick promotes MyoD-mediated myogenic differentiation, thus antagonizing its precursor. These results provide exciting new opportunities in formulating molecular approaches for treatment of cancer and in our understanding of cell differentiation.
    Science Signaling 01/2010; 3(152):pe49. · 7.65 Impact Factor