Richard C M Pearson

University of New South Wales, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia

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Publications (19)95.83 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Transcription factors (TFs) are often regarded as being composed of a DNA-binding domain (DBD) and a functional domain. The two domains are considered separable and autonomous, with the DBD directing the factor to its target genes and the functional domain imparting transcriptional regulation. We examined an archetypal zinc finger (ZF) TF, Krüppel-like factor 3 with an N-terminal domain that binds the corepressor CtBP and a DBD composed of three ZFs at its C-terminus. We established a system to compare the genomic occupancy profile of wild-type Krüppel-like factor 3 with two mutants affecting the N-terminal functional domain: a mutant unable to contact the cofactor CtBP and a mutant lacking the entire N-terminal domain, but retaining the ZFs intact. Chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing was used to assess binding across the genome in murine embryonic fibroblasts. Unexpectedly, we observe that mutations in the N-terminal domain generally reduced binding, but there were also instances where binding was retained or even increased. These results provide a clear demonstration that the correct localization of TFs to their target genes is not solely dependent on their DNA-contact domains. This informs our understanding of how TFs operate and is of relevance to the design of artificial ZF proteins.
    Nucleic Acids Research 10/2013; · 8.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: KLF3 is a Krüppel family zinc finger transcription factor with widespread tissue expression and no previously known role in heart development. In a screen for dominant mutations affecting cardiovascular function in N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU) mutagenized mice, we identified a missense mutation in the Klf3 gene that caused aortic valvular stenosis and partially penetrant perinatal lethality in heterozygotes. All homozygotes died as embryos. In the first of three zinc fingers, a point mutation changed a highly conserved histidine at amino acid 275 to arginine (Klf3(H275R) ). This change impaired binding of the mutant protein to KLF3's canonical DNA binding sequence. Heterozygous Klf3(H275R) mutants that died as neonates had marked biventricular cardiac hypertrophy with diminished cardiac chambers. Adult survivors exhibited hypotension, cardiac hypertrophy with enlarged cardiac chambers, and aortic valvular stenosis. A dominant negative effect on protein function was inferred by the similarity in phenotype between heterozygous Klf3(H275R) mutants and homozygous Klf3 null mice. However, the existence of divergent traits suggested the involvement of additional interactions. We conclude that KLF3 plays diverse and important roles in cardiovascular development and function in mice, and that amino acid 275 is critical for normal KLF3 protein function. Future exploration of the KLF3 pathway provides a new avenue for investigating causative factors contributing to cardiovascular disorders in humans.
    PLoS Genetics 07/2013; 9(7):e1003612. · 8.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Krüppel-like factors 3 and 8 (KLF3 and KLF8) are highly related transcriptional regulators that bind to similar sequences of DNA. We have previously shown that in erythroid cells there is a regulatory hierarchy within the KLF family, whereby KLF1 drives the expression of both the Klf3 and Klf8 genes and KLF3 in turn represses Klf8 expression. While the erythroid roles of KLF1 and KLF3 have been explored, the contribution of KLF8 to this regulatory network has been unknown. To investigate this, we have generated a mouse model with disrupted KLF8 expression. Whilst these mice are viable, albeit with a reduced lifespan, mice lacking both KLF3 and KLF8 die at around E14.5, indicative of a genetic interaction between these two factors. In the fetal liver, Klf3 Klf8 double mutant embryos exhibit greater dysregulation of gene expression than either of the two single mutants. In particular, we observe derepression of embryonic, but not adult, globin expression. Taken together, these results suggest that KLF3 and KLF8 have overlapping roles in vivo and participate in the silencing of embryonic globin expression during development.
    Molecular and cellular biology 05/2013; · 6.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Krüppel-like Factor 3 (KLF3) is a transcriptional regulator that we have shown to be involved in the regulation of adipogenesis in vitro. Here we report that KLF3 null mice are lean and protected from diet-induced obesity and glucose intolerance. On a chow diet, plasma levels of leptin are decreased, and adiponectin is increased. Despite significant reductions in body weight and adiposity, wildtype and knockout animals show equivalent energy intake, expenditure and excretion. To investigate the molecular events underlying these observations, we used microarray analysis to compare gene expression in Klf3(+/+) and Klf3(-/-) tissues. We found that mRNA expression of Fam132a, which encodes a newly identified insulin-sensitizing adipokine, adipolin, is significantly upregulated in the absence of KLF3. We confirmed that KLF3 binds the Fam132a promoter in vitro and in vivo and that this leads to repression of promoter activity. Further, plasma adipolin levels were significantly increased in Klf3(-/-) mice compared to wild-type littermates. Boosting levels of adipolin via targeting of KLF3 offers a novel potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of insulin resistance.
    Diabetes 04/2013; · 7.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hemophilia B, or the "royal disease," arises from mutations in coagulation factor IX (F9). Mutations within the F9 promoter are associated with a remarkable hemophilia B subtype, termed hemophilia B Leyden, in which symptoms ameliorate after puberty. Mutations at the -5/-6 site (nucleotides -5 and -6 relative to the transcription start site, designated +1) account for the majority of Leyden cases and have been postulated to disrupt the binding of a transcriptional activator, the identity of which has remained elusive for more than 20 years. Here, we show that ONECUT transcription factors (ONECUT1 and ONECUT2) bind to the -5/-6 site. The various hemophilia B Leyden mutations that have been reported in this site inhibit ONECUT binding to varying degrees, which correlate well with their associated clinical severities. In addition, expression of F9 is crucially dependent on ONECUT factors in vivo, and as such, mice deficient in ONECUT1, ONECUT2, or both exhibit depleted levels of F9. Taken together, our findings establish ONECUT transcription factors as the missing hemophilia B Leyden regulators that operate through the -5/-6 site.
    The American Journal of Human Genetics 03/2013; 92(3):460-7. · 11.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The CACCC-box binding protein erythroid Krüppel-like factor (EKLF/KLF1) is a master regulator that directs the expression of many important erythroid genes. We have previously shown that EKLF drives transcription of the gene for a second KLF, basic Krüppel-like factor, or KLF3. We have now tested the in vivo role of KLF3 in erythroid cells by examining Klf3 knockout mice. KLF3-deficient adults exhibit a mild compensated anemia, including enlarged spleens, increased red pulp, and a higher percentage of erythroid progenitors, together with elevated reticulocytes and abnormal erythrocytes in the peripheral blood. Impaired erythroid maturation is also observed in the fetal liver. We have found that KLF3 levels rise as erythroid cells mature to become TER119(+). Consistent with this, microarray analysis of both TER119(-) and TER119(+) erythroid populations revealed that KLF3 is most critical at the later stages of erythroid maturation and is indeed primarily a transcriptional repressor. Notably, many of the genes repressed by KLF3 are also known to be activated by EKLF. However, the majority of these are not currently recognized as erythroid-cell-specific genes. These results reveal the molecular and physiological function of KLF3, defining it as a feedback repressor that counters the activity of EKLF at selected target genes to achieve normal erythropoiesis.
    Molecular and cellular biology 06/2012; 32(16):3281-92. · 6.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cell junctions are sites of intercellular adhesion that maintain the integrity of epithelial tissue and regulate signalling between cells. These adhesive junctions are comprised of protein complexes that serve to establish an intercellular cytoskeletal network for anchoring cells, in addition to regulating cell polarity, molecular transport and communication. The expression of cell adhesion molecules is tightly controlled and their downregulation is essential for epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), a process that facilitates the generation of morphologically and functionally diverse cell types during embryogenesis. The characteristics of EMT are a loss of cell adhesion and increased cellular mobility. Hence, in addition to its normal role in development, dysregulated EMT has been linked to cancer progression and metastasis, the process whereby primary tumors migrate to invasive secondary sites in the body. This paper will review the current understanding of cell junctions and their role in cancer, with reference to the abnormal regulation of junction protein genes. The potential use of cell junction molecules as diagnostic and prognostic markers will also be discussed, as well as possible therapies for adhesive dysregulation.
    Trends in cancer research. 01/2012; 8:61-69.
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    ABSTRACT: Krüppel-like factor 3 (Klf3) is a member of the Klf family of transcription factors. Klfs are widely expressed and have diverse roles in development and differentiation. In this study, we examine the function of Klf3 in B cell development by studying B lymphopoiesis in a Klf3 knockout mouse model. We show that B cell differentiation is significantly impaired in the bone marrow, spleen, and peritoneal cavity of Klf3 null mice and confirm that the defects are cell autonomous. In the bone marrow, there is a reduction in immature B cells, whereas recirculating mature cells are noticeably increased. Immunohistology of the spleen reveals a poorly structured marginal zone (MZ) that may in part be caused by deregulation of adhesion molecules on MZ B cells. In the peritoneal cavity, there are significant defects in B1 B cell development. We also report that the loss of Klf3 in MZ B cells is associated with reduced BCR signaling strength and an impaired ability to respond to LPS stimulation. Finally, we show increased expression of a number of Klf genes in Klf3 null B cells, suggesting that a Klf regulatory network may exist in B cells.
    The Journal of Immunology 11/2011; 187(10):5032-42. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Classical C2H2 zinc finger proteins are among the most abundant transcription factors found in eukaryotes, and the mechanisms through which they recognize their target genes have been extensively investigated. In general, a tandem array of three fingers separated by characteristic TGERP links is required for sequence-specific DNA recognition. Nevertheless, a significant number of zinc finger proteins do not contain a hallmark three-finger array of this type, raising the question of whether and how they contact DNA. We have examined the multi-finger protein ZNF217, which contains eight classical zinc fingers. ZNF217 is implicated as an oncogene and in repressing the E-cadherin gene. We show that two of its zinc fingers, 6 and 7, can mediate contacts with DNA. We examine its putative recognition site in the E-cadherin promoter and demonstrate that this is a suboptimal site. NMR analysis and mutagenesis is used to define the DNA binding surface of ZNF217, and we examine the specificity of the DNA binding activity using fluorescence anisotropy titrations. Finally, sequence analysis reveals that a variety of multi-finger proteins also contain two-finger units, and our data support the idea that these may constitute a distinct subclass of DNA recognition motif.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2011; 286(44):38190-201. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Splenic marginal zone (MZ) B cells are a lineage distinct from follicular and peritoneal B1 B cells. They are located next to the marginal sinus where blood is released. Here they pick up antigens and shuttle the load onto follicular dendritic cells inside the follicle. On activation, MZ B cells rapidly differentiate into plasmablasts secreting antibodies, thereby mediating humoral immune responses against blood-borne type 2 T-independent antigens. As Krüppel-like factors are implicated in cell differentiation/function in various tissues, we studied the function of basic Krüppel-like factor (BKLF/KLF3) in B cells. Whereas B-cell development in the bone marrow of KLF3-transgenic mice was unaffected, MZ B-cell numbers in spleen were increased considerably. As revealed in chimeric mice, this occurred cell autonomously, increasing both MZ and peritoneal B1 B-cell subsets. Comparing KLF3-transgenic and nontransgenic follicular B cells by RNA-microarray revealed that KLF3 regulates a subset of genes that was similarly up-regulated/down-regulated on normal MZ B-cell differentiation. Indeed, KLF3 expression overcame the lack of MZ B cells caused by different genetic alterations, such as CD19-deficiency or blockade of B-cell activating factor-receptor signaling, indicating that KLF3 may complement alternative nuclear factor-κB signaling. Thus, KLF3 is a driving force toward MZ B-cell maturation.
    Blood 02/2011; 117(14):3780-92. · 9.06 Impact Factor
  • Richard C M Pearson, Alister P W Funnell, Merlin Crossley
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    ABSTRACT: KLF3 is a member of the Krüppel-like factor (KLF) family of transcription factors. These proteins are classified by the presence of three C-terminal C2H2 zinc fingers that allow sequence-specific binding to CACCC boxes and GC-rich motifs found in the promoters, enhancers, and other control regions of target genes. KLFs have diverse biological roles, regulating proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis in many tissues throughout development. KLF3 is a transcriptional repressor that binds the cofactor C-terminal binding protein, which in turn recruits a large repressor complex to mediate transcriptional silencing. In addition to an understanding of the molecular mechanisms that allow KLF3 to regulate the expression of its target genes, the biological roles of this transcription factor are now being defined. In agreement with the widespread expression pattern of this transcription factor, it is becoming clear that KLF3 is an important regulator of several biological processes, including adipogenesis, erythropoiesis, and B cell development.
    International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Life 02/2011; 63(2):86-93. · 2.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The ETS family transcription factor PU.1 is a key regulator of haematopoietic differentiation. Its expression is dynamically controlled throughout haematopoiesis in order to direct appropriate lineage specification. Elucidating the biological role of PU.1 has proved challenging. This paper will discuss how a range of experiments in cell lines and mutant and transgenic mouse models have enhanced our knowledge of the mechanisms by which PU.1 drives lineage-specific differentiation during haematopoiesis.
    International Journal of Cell Biology 01/2011; 2011:808524.
  • Briony H A Jack, Richard C Pearson, Merlin Crossley
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    ABSTRACT: The development of mature adipocytes from preadipocyte precursor cells requires coordinated changes in gene expression. Management of these expression changes relies on the actions of both DNA-binding transcription factors and their coregulators. Recent studies have identified the corepressor C-terminal binding protein (CtBP) as a key transcriptional coregulator in adipose tissue. CtBP proteins work with several different partner proteins to regulate the development of both white and brown adipocytes. CtBP is of particular interest as it binds to NAD(+)/NADH and may respond to the metabolic state of the cell, thereby linking changes in nutrient levels to transcriptional outcomes.
    The international journal of biochemistry & cell biology 01/2011; 43(5):693-6. · 4.89 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Haemoglobinopathies such as thalassaemia and sickle cell disease present a major health burden. Currently, the main forms of treatment for these diseases are packed red blood cell transfusions and the administration of drugs which act to nonspecifically reactivate the production of foetal haemoglobin. These treatments are ongoing throughout the life of the patient and are associated with a number of risks, such as limitations in available blood for transfusion, infections, iron overload, immune rejection, and side effects associated with the drug treatments. The field of cellular reprogramming has advanced significantly in the last few years and has recently culminated in the successful production of erythrocytes in culture. This paper will discuss cellular reprogramming and its potential relevance to the treatment of haemoglobinopathies.
    International Journal of Cell Biology 01/2011; 2011:501464.
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    ABSTRACT: This study identifies KLF3 as a transcriptional regulator of muscle genes and reveals a novel synergistic interaction between KLF3 and serum response factor (SRF). Using quantitative proteomics, KLF3 was identified as one of several candidate factors that recognize the MPEX control element in the Muscle creatine kinase (MCK) promoter. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis indicated that KLF3 is enriched at many muscle gene promoters (MCK, Myosin heavy chain IIa, Six4, Calcium channel receptor alpha-1, and Skeletal alpha-actin), and two KLF3 isoforms are upregulated during muscle differentiation. KLF3 and SRF physically associate and synergize in transactivating the MCK promoter independently of SRF binding to CArG motifs. The zinc finger and repression domains of KLF3 plus the MADS box and transcription activation domain of SRF are implicated in this synergy. Our results provide the first evidence of a role for KLF3 in muscle gene regulation and reveal an alternate mechanism for transcriptional regulation by SRF via its recruitment to KLF binding sites. Since both factors are expressed in all muscle lineages, SRF may regulate many striated- and smooth-muscle genes that lack known SRF control elements, thus further expanding the breadth of the emerging CArGome.
    Molecular and cellular biology 07/2010; 30(14):3430-43. · 6.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Transcription factors of the Sp/Klf (Krüppel-like factor) family regulate biological processes such as hematopoiesis, adipogenesis, and stem cell maintenance. Here we show that Bklf or Klf3 (Basic Krüppel-like factor) represses the Klf8 (Krüppel-like Factor 8) gene in vivo. Conversely, Eklf or Klf1 (Erythroid Krüppel-like factor) activates the Klf8 gene. Klf8 is driven by two promoters, both of which contain multiple CACCC sites. Klf3 can repress Klf1-mediated activation of both promoters. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments confirm that Klf3 occupies both Klf8 promoters in vivo. Interestingly, in Klf3 knock-out tissue Klf1 gains access, binds, and activates both Klf8 promoters. These results demonstrate direct competition between activating and repressing Klfs in vivo. Together with previous evidence that Klf1 directly activates the Klf3 gene, the results reveal an elaborate network of cross-talk within the Klf family. The recognition of cross-regulation and potential redundancy between Klf family members is critical to the interpretation of various Klf knock-out mice and the understanding of individual Klfs in particular contexts.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2008; 283(40):26937-47. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Krüppel-like factors (KLFs) recognize CACCC and GC-rich sequences in gene regulatory elements. Here, we describe the disruption of the murine basic Krüppel-like factor gene (Bklf or Klf3). Klf3 knockout mice have less white adipose tissue, and their fat pads contain smaller and fewer cells. Adipocyte differentiation is altered in murine embryonic fibroblasts from Klf3 knockouts. Klf3 expression was studied in the 3T3-L1 cellular system. Adipocyte differentiation is accompanied by a decline in Klf3 expression, and forced overexpression of Klf3 blocks 3T3-L1 differentiation. Klf3 represses transcription by recruiting C-terminal binding protein (CtBP) corepressors. CtBPs bind NADH and may function as metabolic sensors. A Klf3 mutant that does not bind CtBP cannot block adipogenesis. Other KLFs, Klf2, Klf5, and Klf15, also regulate adipogenesis, and functional CACCC elements occur in key adipogenic genes, including in the C/ebpalpha promoter. We find that C/ebpalpha is derepressed in Klf3 and Ctbp knockout fibroblasts and adipocytes from Klf3 knockout mice. Chromatin immunoprecipitations confirm that Klf3 binds the C/ebpalpha promoter in vivo. These results implicate Klf3 and CtBP in controlling adipogenesis.
    Molecular and cellular biology 07/2008; 28(12):3967-78. · 6.06 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Krüppel-like factor (Klfs) family of gene regulatory proteins are transcription factors implicated in many biological processes, including proliferation, apoptosis, differentiation and development. The characteristic feature of this family is the presence of three Krüppel-like zinc fingers, which bind to CACCC elements and GC-rich regions of DNA, to mediate activation and/or repression of transcription. In recent years several Klf knockout mice have been generated. The aim of this review is to outline the biological roles of those Klfs as deduced from the gene ablation studies.
    The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology 09/2007; 40(10):1996-2001. · 4.15 Impact Factor
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Publication Stats

200 Citations
95.83 Total Impact Points


  • 2011–2013
    • University of New South Wales
      • School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences (BABS)
      Kensington, New South Wales, Australia
    • Garvan Institute of Medical Research
      Darlinghurst, New South Wales, Australia
  • 2007–2013
    • University of Sydney
      • • School of Molecular Bioscience
      • • School of Medical Sciences
      Sydney, New South Wales, Australia