Kevin F Kelly

McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

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Publications (13)76.94 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Neural stem cells (NSCs) can be obtained from a variety of sources, but not all NSCs exhibit the same characteristics. We have examined how the level of glycogen synthase kinase-3 activity regulates NSCs obtained from different sources: the mouse embryonic striatum, embryonic hippocampus, and mouse ES cells. Growth of striatal NSCs is enhanced by mild inhibition of GSK-3 but not by strong inhibition that is accompanied by Wnt/TCF transcriptional activation. In contrast, the growth of hippocampal NSCs is enhanced by both mild inhibition of GSK-3 as well as stronger inhibition. Active Wnt/TCF signaling, which occurs normally in the embryonic hippocampus, is required for growth of neural stem and progenitor cells. In the embryonic striatal germinal zone, however, TCF signaling is normally absent and its activation inhibits growth of NSCs from this region. Using a genetic model for progressive loss of GSK-3, we find that primitive ES cell-derived NSCs resemble striatal NSCs. That is, partial loss of GSK-3 alleles leads to an increase in NSCs while complete ablation of GSK-3, and activation of TCF-signaling, leads to their decline. Furthermore, expression of dominant negative TCF-4 in the GSK-3-null background was effective in blocking expression of Wnt-response genes and was also able to rescue neuronal gene expression. These results reveal that GSK-3 regulates NSCs by divergent pathways depending on the tissue of origin. The responses of these neural precursor cells may be contingent on baseline Wnt/TCF signaling occurring in a particular tissue.
    Biology open. 08/2013; 2(8):812-21.
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    ABSTRACT: β-catenin, an adherens junction component and key Wnt pathway effector, regulates numerous developmental processes and supports embryonic stem cell (ESC) pluripotency in specific contexts. The β-catenin homologue γ-catenin (also known as Plakoglobin) is a constituent of desmosomes and adherens junctions and may participate in Wnt signaling in certain situations. Here, we use β-catenin((+/+)) and β-catenin((-/-)) mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) to investigate the role of γ-catenin in Wnt signaling and mESC differentiation. Although γ-catenin protein is markedly stabilized upon inhibition or ablation of GSK-3 in wild-type (WT) mESCs, efficient silencing of its expression in these cells does not affect β-catenin/TCF target gene activation after Wnt pathway stimulation. Nonetheless, knocking down γ-catenin expression in WT mESCs appears to promote their exit from pluripotency in short-term differentiation assays. In β-catenin((-/-)) mESCs, GSK-3 inhibition does not detectably alter cytosolic γ-catenin levels and does not activate TCF target genes. Intriguingly, β-catenin/TCF target genes are induced in β-catenin((-/-)) mESCs overexpressing stabilized γ-catenin and the ability of these genes to be activated upon GSK-3 inhibition is partially restored when wild-type γ-catenin is overexpressed in these cells. This suggests that a critical threshold level of total catenin expression must be attained before there is sufficient signaling-competent γ-catenin available to respond to GSK-3 inhibition and to regulate target genes as a consequence. WT mESCs stably overexpressing γ-catenin exhibit robust Wnt pathway activation and display a block in tri-lineage differentiation that largely mimics that observed upon overexpression of β-catenin. However, β-catenin overexpression appears to be more effective than γ-catenin overexpression in sustaining the retention of markers of naïve pluripotency in cells that have been subjected to differentiation-inducing conditions. Collectively, our study reveals a function for γ-catenin in the regulation of mESC differentiation and has implications for human cancers in which γ-catenin is mutated and/or aberrantly expressed.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(5):e65320. · 3.73 Impact Factor
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    09/2011; , ISBN: 978-953-307-278-4
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    ABSTRACT: Understanding the mechanisms regulating pluripotency in embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells is required to ensure their safe use in clinical applications. Glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3) has emerged as an important regulator of pluripotency, based primarily on studies with small-molecule GSK-3 inhibitors. Here, we use mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) lacking GSK-3 to demonstrate that a single GSK-3 substrate, β-catenin, controls the ability of ESCs to exit the pluripotent state and to differentiate into neurectoderm. Unexpectedly, the effects of β-catenin on pluripotency do not appear to be dependent on TCF-mediated signaling, based on experiments utilizing a β-catenin C-terminal truncation mutant or highly efficient dominant-negative TCF strategies. Alternatively, we find that stabilized β-catenin forms a complex with and enhances the activity of Oct-4, a core component of the transcriptional network regulating pluripotency. Collectively, our data suggest previously underappreciated, divergent TCF-dependent and TCF-independent roles for β-catenin in ESCs.
    Cell stem cell 02/2011; 8(2):214-27. · 23.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Kaiso is a dual-specificity POZ-ZF transcription factor that regulates gene expression by binding to sequence-specific Kaiso binding sites (KBS) or methyl-CpG dinucleotide pairs. Kaiso was first identified as a binding partner for the epithelial cell adhesion regulator p120(ctn). The p120(ctn)/Kaiso interaction is reminiscent of the beta-catenin/TCF interaction and several studies have suggested that Kaiso is a negative regulator of the Wnt/beta-catenin TCF signaling pathway. To gain further insight into Kaiso's function, we performed a yeast two-hybrid screen using the Kaiso POZ domain as bait. This screen identified the POZ-ZF protein, Znf131, as a Kaiso-specific binding partner. GST pull-down assays confirmed that the interaction is mediated via the POZ domain of each protein, and co-immunoprecipitation experiments further supported an in vivo Kaiso-Znf131 interaction. Using a Cyclic Amplification and Selection of Targets (CAST) approach, we identified the 12-base pair DNA palindrome sequence GTCGCR-(X)(n)-YGCGAC as a potential Znf131 binding element (ZBE). In vitro studies using electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) demonstrated that Znf131 binds the ZBE via its zinc finger domain. Znf131 DNA-binding specificity was confirmed using competition assays and ZBE mutational analyses. An artificial promoter-reporter construct containing four tandem copies of the ZBE was constructed and used to assess Znf131 transcriptional properties. We observed dose-dependent transcriptional activation of this artificial promoter-reporter by Znf131 in both epithelial and fibroblast cells, suggesting that Znf131 is a transcriptional activator. Kaiso overexpression significantly decreased the Znf131-mediated transcriptional activation, and interestingly, co-expression of the Kaiso-specific interaction partner p120(ctn) relieved Kaiso's inhibition of Znf131-mediated transcriptional activation. These findings indicate that Znf131 is a transcriptional activator, a less common function of POZ-ZF proteins, that is negatively regulated by its heterodimerization partner Kaiso.
    Experimental Cell Research 03/2010; 316(10):1692-705. · 3.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor, hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-2alpha has been implicated in the development of the catecholaminergic phenotype in cells of the sympathoadrenal (SA) lineage; however, the underlying mechanisms and HIF-2alpha targets remain unclear. Using an immortalized rat adrenomedullary chromaffin cell line (MAH cells) derived from a fetal SA progenitor, we examined the role of HIF-2alpha in catecholamine biosynthesis. Chronic hypoxia (2% O(2), 24 h) induced HIF-2alpha in MAH cells but expression of the rate-limiting enzyme, tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) and catecholamine levels were unaltered. Interestingly, HIF-2alpha depleted MAH cells showed dramatically lower (5-12 times) levels of dopamine and noradrenaline compared with wild-type and scrambled controls, even in normoxia (21% O(2)). This was correlated with a marked reduction in the expression of DOPA decarboxylase (DDC) and dopamine beta hydroxylase (DbetaH) but not TH. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays revealed that HIF-2alpha was bound to the DDC gene promoter which contains two putative hypoxia response elements. These data suggest that a basal level of HIF-2alpha function is required for the normal developmental expression of DDC and DbetaH in SA progenitor cells, and that loss of this function leads to impaired catecholamine biosynthesis.
    Journal of Neurochemistry 06/2009; 110(2):622-30. · 3.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Znf131 is a member of the BTB/POZ family of transcription factors with roles in development and carcinogenesis. Like many members of this protein family, Znf131 displays robust nuclear localization in cultured cells, but the mechanism(s) of Znf131 nuclear trafficking is unknown. Here, we report the mechanism of Znf131 nuclear localization. Visual inspection of the Znf131 amino acid sequence revealed three basic regions (BR-1, -2 and -3) with the potential to serve as nuclear localization signals (NLS). Of the three basic regions, only BR-1 functioned independently to efficiently target heterologous beta-gal-GFP fusion proteins to HeLa cell nuclei. However, a Znf131 truncation mutant containing BR-2 and BR-3 efficiently targeted heterologous beta-gal-GFP fusion proteins to HeLa cell nuclei. Mutational analysis of full-length GFP-tagged Znf131 revealed that loss of any one BR alone did not prevent Znf131 nuclear localization. This apparent redundancy in NLS activity was due to the fact that intact BR-1 or BR-2 alone could target full-length Znf131 to nuclei. Consequently, simultaneous mutation of BR-1 and BR-2 abolished full-length Znf131 nuclear localization. Therefore, BR-1 and BR-2 are functional NLSs for Znf131 and as such are designated NLS-1 and NLS-2. Finally, wild type Znf131, and not a Znf131 NLS-defective mutant (NLS-1m/NLS-2m) interacted preferentially with the nuclear import receptor Importin-alpha3 in vitro.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 05/2007; 1773(4):546-55. · 4.66 Impact Factor
  • Kevin F Kelly, Juliet M Daniel
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    ABSTRACT: The BTB/POZ-ZF [Broad complex, Tramtrack, Bric à brac (BTB) or poxvirus and zinc finger (POZ)-zinc finger] protein family comprises a diverse group of transcription factors. POZ-ZF proteins have been implicated in many biological processes, including B cell fate determination, DNA damage responses, cell cycle progression and a multitude of developmental events, including gastrulation, limb formation and hematopoietic stem cell fate determination. Consequently, dysfunction of vertebrate POZ-ZF proteins, such as promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger (PLZF), B cell lymphoma 6 (Bcl-6), hypermethylated in cancer 1 (HIC-1), Kaiso, ZBTB7 and Fanconi anemia zinc finger (FAZF), has been linked directly or indirectly to tumorigenesis and developmental disorders. Here, we discuss recent advances in the POZ-ZF field and the implications for the design of future studies to elucidate the biological roles of these unique transcription factors.
    Trends in cell biology 12/2006; 16(11):578-87. · 12.12 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: CTC-binding factor (CTCF) is a DNA-binding protein of vertebrates that plays essential roles in regulating genome activity through its capacity to act as an enhancer blocker. We performed a yeast two-hybrid screen to identify protein partners of CTCF that could regulate its activity. Using full-length CTCF as bait we recovered Kaiso, a POZ-zinc finger transcription factor, as a specific binding partner. The interaction occurs through a C-terminal region of CTCF and the POZ domain of Kaiso. CTCF and Kaiso are co-expressed in many tissues, and CTCF was specifically co-immunoprecipitated by several Kaiso monoclonal antibodies from nuclear lysates. Kaiso is a bimodal transcription factor that recognizes methylated CpG dinucleotides or a conserved unmethylated sequence (TNGCAGGA, the Kaiso binding site). We identified one consensus unmethylated Kaiso binding site in close proximity to the CTCF binding site in the human 5' beta-globin insulator. We found, in an insulation assay, that the presence of this Kaiso binding site reduced the enhancer-blocking activity of CTCF. These data suggest that the Kaiso-CTCF interaction negatively regulates CTCF insulator activity.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 01/2006; 280(52):43017-23. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The POZ-zinc finger transcription factor Kaiso was first identified as a specific binding partner for the Armadillo catenin and cell adhesion cofactor, p120ctn. Kaiso is a unique POZ protein with bi-modal DNA-binding properties; it associates with a sequence-specific DNA consensus Kaiso binding site (KBS) or methylated CpG dinucleotides, and regulates transcription of artificial promoters containing either site. Interestingly, the promoter of the Wnt/beta-catenin/TCF target gene matrilysin possesses two conserved copies of the KBS, which suggested that Kaiso might regulate matrilysin expression. In this study, we demonstrate using chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis that Kaiso associates with the matrilysin promoter in vivo. Minimal promoter assays further confirmed that Kaiso specifically repressed transcription of the matrilysin promoter; mutation of the KBS element or RNAi-mediated depletion of Kaiso abrogated this effect. More importantly, Kaiso blocked beta-catenin-mediated activation of the matrilysin promoter. Consistent with our previous findings, both Kaiso-DNA binding and Kaiso-mediated transcriptional repression of the matrilysin promoter were inhibited by overexpression of wild-type p120ctn, but not by a p120ctn mutant exhibiting impaired nuclear import. Collectively, our data establish Kaiso as a sequence-specific transcriptional repressor of the matrilysin promoter, and suggest that p120ctn and beta-catenin act in a synergistic manner, via distinct mechanisms, to activate matrilysin expression.
    Experimental Cell Research 06/2005; 305(2):253-65. · 3.56 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Kaiso is a BTB/POZ transcription factor that functions in vitro as a transcriptional repressor of the matrix metalloproteinase gene matrilysin and the non-canonical Wnt signaling gene Wnt-11, and as an activator of the acetylcholine-receptor-clustering gene rapsyn. Similar to other BTB/POZ proteins (e.g. Bcl-6, PLZF, HIC-1), endogenous Kaiso localizes predominantly to the nuclei of mammalian cells. To date, however, the mechanism of nuclear import for most POZ transcription factors, including Kaiso, remain unknown. Here, we report the identification and characterization of a highly basic nuclear localization signal (NLS) in Kaiso. The functionality of this NLS was verified by its ability to target a heterologous beta-galactosidase/green-fluorescent-protein fusion protein to nuclei. The mutation of one positively charged lysine to alanine in the NLS of full-length Kaiso significantly inhibited its nuclear localization in various cell types. In addition, wild-type Kaiso, but not NLS-defective Kaiso, interacted directly with the nuclear import receptor Importin-alpha2 both in vitro and in vivo. Finally, minimal promoter assays using a sequence-specific Kaiso-binding-site fusion with luciferase as reporter demonstrated that the identified NLS was crucial for Kaiso-mediated transcriptional repression. The identification of a Kaiso NLS thus clarifies the mechanism by which Kaiso translocates to the nucleus to regulate transcription of genes with diverse roles in cell growth and development.
    Journal of Cell Science 01/2005; 117(Pt 25):6143-52. · 5.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rapsyn is a synapse-specific protein that is required for clustering acetylcholine receptors at the neuromuscular junction. Analysis of the rapsyn promoter revealed a consensus site for the transcription factor Kaiso within a region that is mutated in a subset of patients with congenital myasthenic syndrome. Kaiso is a POZ-zinc finger family transcription factor which recognizes the specific core consensus sequence CTGCNA (where N is any nucleotide). Previously, the only known binding partner for Kaiso was the cell adhesion cofactor, p120 catenin. Here we show that delta-catenin, a brain-specific member of the p120 catenin subfamily, forms a complex with Kaiso. Antibodies against Kaiso and delta-catenin recognize proteins in the nuclei of C2C12 myocytes and at the postsynaptic domain of the mouse neuromuscular junction. Endogenous Kaiso in C2C12 cells coprecipitates with the rapsyn promoter in vivo as shown by chromatin immunoprecipitation assay. Minimal promoter assays demonstrated that the rapsyn promoter can be activated by Kaiso and delta-catenin; this activation is apparently muscle specific. These results provide the first experimental evidence that rapsyn is a direct sequence-specific target of Kaiso and delta-catenin. We propose a new model of synapse-specific transcription that involves the interaction of Kaiso, delta-catenin, and myogenic transcription factors at the neuromuscular junction.
    Molecular and Cellular Biology 09/2004; 24(16):7188-96. · 5.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Armadillo catenin p120(ctn) regulates cadherin adhesive strength at the plasma membrane and interacts with the novel BTB/POZ transcriptional repressor Kaiso in the nucleus. The dual localization of p120(ctn) at cell-cell junctions and in the nucleus suggests that its nucleocytoplasmic trafficking is tightly regulated. Here we report on the identification of a specific and highly basic nuclear localization signal (NLS) in p120(ctn). The functionality of the NLS was validated by its ability to direct the nuclear localization of a heterologous beta-galactosidase-GFP fusion protein. Mutating two key positively charged lysines to neutral alanines in the NLS of full-length p120(ctn) inhibited both p120(ctn) nuclear localization as well as the characteristic p120(ctn)-induced branching phenotype that correlates with increased cell migration. However, while these findings and others suggested that nuclear localization of p120(ctn) was crucial for the p120(ctn)-induced branching phenotype, we found that forced nuclear localization of both wild-type and NLS-mutated p120(ctn) did not induce branching. Recently, we also found that one role of p120(ctn) was to regulate Kaiso-mediated transcriptional repression. However, it remained unclear whether p120(ctn) sequestered Kaiso in the cytosol or directly inhibited Kaiso transcriptional activity in the nucleus. Using minimal promoter assays, we show here that the regulatory effect of p120(ctn) on Kaiso transcriptional activity requires the nuclear translocation of p120(ctn). Therefore, an intact NLS in p120(ctn) is requisite for its first identified regulatory role of the transcriptional repressor Kaiso.
    Journal of Cell Science 07/2004; 117(Pt 13):2675-86. · 5.88 Impact Factor