[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cohesin is a ring-shaped complex, conserved from yeast to human, that was named for its ability to mediate sister chromatid cohesion. This function is essential for chromosome segregation in both mitosis and meiosis, and also for DNA repair. In addition, more recent studies have shown that cohesin influences gene expression during development through mechanisms that likely involve DNA looping and interactions with several transcriptional regulators. Here, we provide an overview of how cohesin functions, highlighting its role both in development and in disease.
Development 09/2013; 140(18):3715-8. DOI:10.1242/dev.090605 · 6.46 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS) is a genetic disorder linked to mutations in cohesin and its regulators. To date, it is unclear which function of cohesin is more relevant to the pathology of the syndrome. A mouse heterozygous for the gene encoding the cohesin loader Nipbl recapitulates many features of CdLS. We have carefully examined Nipbl deficient cells and here report that they have robust cohesion all along the chromosome. DNA replication, DNA repair and chromosome segregation are carried out efficiently in these cells. While bulk cohesin loading is unperturbed, binding to certain promoters such as the Protocadherin genes in brain is notably affected and alters gene expression. These results provide further support for the idea that developmental defects in CdLS are caused by deregulated transcription and not by malfunction of cohesion-related processes.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Besides its well-established role in sister chromatid cohesion, cohesin has recently emerged as major player in the organization of interphase chromatin. Such important function is related to its ability to entrap two DNA segments also in cis, thereby facilitating long-range DNA looping which is crucial for transcriptional regulation, organization of replication factories and V(D)J recombination. Vertebrate somatic cells have two different versions of cohesin, containing Smc1, Smc3, Rad21/Scc1 and either SA1 or SA2, but their functional specificity has been largely ignored. We recently generated a knockout mouse model for the gene encoding SA1, and found that this protein is essential to complete embryonic development. Cohesin-SA1 mediates cohesion at telomeres, which is required for their replication. Telomere defects in SA1- deficient cells provoke chromosome segregation errors resulting in aneuploidy despite robust centromere cohesion. This aneuploidy could explain why heterozygous animals have an earlier onset of tumorigenesis. In addition, the genome-wide distribution of cohesin changes dramatically in the absence of SA1, and the complex shows reduced accumulation at promoters and CTCF sites. As a consequence, gene expression is altered, leading to downregulation of biological processes related to a developmental disorder linked to cohesin function, the Cornelia de Lange Syndrome (CdLS). These results point out a prominent role of cohesin-SA1 in transcriptional regulation, with clear implications in the etiology of CdLS.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vertebrates have two cohesin complexes that consist of Smc1, Smc3, Rad21/Scc1 and either SA1 or SA2, but their functional specificity is unclear. Mouse embryos lacking SA1 show developmental delay and die before birth. Comparison of the genome-wide distribution of cohesin in wild-type and SA1-null cells reveals that SA1 is largely responsible for cohesin accumulation at promoters and at sites bound by the insulator protein CTCF. As a conse-quence, ablation of SA1 alters transcription of genes involved in biological processes related to Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS), a genetic disorder linked to dysfunction of cohesin. We show that the presence of cohesin-SA1 at the promoter of myc and of protocadherin genes positively regulates their expression, a task that cannot be assumed by cohesin-SA2. Lack of SA1 also alters cohesin-binding pattern along some gene clusters and leads to dysregulation of genes within. We hypothesize that impaired cohesin-SA1 function in gene expression underlies the molecular aetiology of CdLS. The EMBO Journal advance online publication, 13 March 2012; doi:10.1038/emboj.2012.60
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cohesin is a protein complex originally identified for its role in sister chromatid cohesion, although increasing evidence portrays it also as a major organizer of interphase chromatin. Vertebrate cohesin consists of Smc1, Smc3, Rad21/Scc1 and either stromal antigen 1 (SA1) or SA2. To explore the functional specificity of these two versions of cohesin and their relevance for embryonic development and cancer, we generated a mouse model deficient for SA1. Complete ablation of SA1 results in embryonic lethality, while heterozygous animals have shorter lifespan and earlier onset of tumourigenesis. SA1-null mouse embryonic fibroblasts show decreased proliferation and increased aneuploidy as a result of chromosome segregation defects. These defects are not caused by impaired centromeric cohesion, which depends on cohesin-SA2. Instead, they arise from defective telomere replication, which requires cohesion mediated specifically by cohesin-SA1. We propose a novel mechanism for aneuploidy generation that involves impaired telomere replication upon loss of cohesin-SA1, with clear implications in tumourigenesis.
The EMBO Journal 03/2012; 31(9):2076-89. DOI:10.1038/emboj.2012.11 · 10.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vertebrates have two cohesin complexes that consist of Smc1, Smc3, Rad21/Scc1 and either SA1 or SA2, but their functional specificity is unclear. Mouse embryos lacking SA1 show developmental delay and die before birth. Comparison of the genome-wide distribution of cohesin in wild-type and SA1-null cells reveals that SA1 is largely responsible for cohesin accumulation at promoters and at sites bound by the insulator protein CTCF. As a consequence, ablation of SA1 alters transcription of genes involved in biological processes related to Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CdLS), a genetic disorder linked to dysfunction of cohesin. We show that the presence of cohesin-SA1 at the promoter of myc and of protocadherin genes positively regulates their expression, a task that cannot be assumed by cohesin-SA2. Lack of SA1 also alters cohesin-binding pattern along some gene clusters and leads to dysregulation of genes within. We hypothesize that impaired cohesin-SA1 function in gene expression underlies the molecular aetiology of CdLS.
The EMBO Journal 03/2012; 31(9):2090-102. DOI:10.1038/emboj.2012.60 · 10.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: p38α MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) plays an important tumour suppressor role, which is mediated by both its negative effect on cell proliferation and its pro-apoptotic activity. Surprisingly, most tumour suppressor mechanisms co-ordinated by p38α have been reported to occur at the post-translational level. This contrasts with the important role of p38α in the regulation of transcription and the profound changes in gene expression that normally occur during tumorigenesis. We have analysed whole-genome expression profiles of Ras-transformed wild-type and p38α-deficient cells and have identified 202 genes that are potentially regulated by p38α in transformed cells. Expression analysis has confirmed the regulation of these genes by p38α in tumours, and functional validation has identified several of them as probable mediators of the tumour suppressor effect of p38α on Ras-induced transformation. Interestingly, approx. 10% of the genes that are negatively regulated by p38α in transformed cells contribute to EGF (epidermal growth factor) receptor signalling. Our results suggest that inhibition of EGF receptor signalling by transcriptional targets of p38α is an important function of this signalling pathway in the context of tumour suppression.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The p38 MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) signalling pathway allows cells to interpret a wide range of external signals and respond appropriately by generating a plethora of different biological effects. The diversity and specificity in cellular outcomes is achieved with an apparently simple linear architecture of the pathway, consisting of a core of three protein kinases acting sequentially. In the present review, we dissect the molecular mechanisms underlying p38 MAPK functions, with special emphasis on the activation and regulation of the core kinases, the interplay with other signalling pathways and the nature of p38 MAPK substrates as a source of functional diversity. Finally, we discuss how genetic mouse models are facilitating the identification of physiological functions for p38 MAPKs, which may impinge on their eventual use as therapeutic targets.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The chromatin-remodelling complex SNF2-related CBP activator protein (SRCAP) regulates chromatin structure in yeast by modulating the exchange of histone H2A for the H2A.Z variant. Here, we have investigated the contribution of H2A.Z-mediated chromatin remodelling to mammalian cell differentiation reprogramming. We show that the SRCAP subunit named ZNHIT1 or p18(Hamlet), which is a substrate of p38 MAPK, is recruited to the myogenin promoter at the onset of muscle differentiation, in a p38 MAPK-dependent manner. We also show that p18(Hamlet) is required for H2A.Z accumulation into this genomic region and for subsequent muscle gene transcriptional activation. Accordingly, downregulation of several subunits or the SRCAP complex impairs muscle gene expression. These results identify SRCAP/H2A.Z-mediated chromatin remodelling as a key early event in muscle differentiation-specific gene expression. We also propose a mechanism by which p38 MAPK-mediated signals are converted into chromatin structural changes, thereby facilitating transcriptional activation during mammalian cell differentiation.
The EMBO Journal 06/2010; 29(12):2014-25. DOI:10.1038/emboj.2010.85 · 10.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitogen- and stress-activated kinase 2 (MSK2) inhibits the transcription factor p53, and we investigate here the mechanisms underlying this inhibition. In the absence of stress stimuli, MSK2 selectively suppressed the expression of a subset of p53 target genes. This basal inhibition of p53 by MSK2 occurred independently of its kinase activity and of upstream mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling to MSK2. Furthermore, MSK2 interacted with and inhibited the p53 coactivator p300 and associated with the Noxa promoter. Apoptotic stimuli promoted the degradation of MSK2, thus relieving its inhibition of p53 and enabling efficient p53-dependent transactivation of Noxa, which contributed to apoptosis. Together, these findings constitute a new mechanism for the regulation of p53 transcriptional activity in response to stress.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) plays an important role in the G(2)/M cell cycle arrest induced by DNA damage, but little is known about the role of this signaling pathway in the G(1)/S transition. Upregulation of the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p21(Cip1) is thought to make a major contribution to the G(1)/S cell cycle arrest induced by gamma radiation. We show here that inhibition of p38 MAPK impairs p21(Cip1) accumulation and, as a result, the ability of cells to arrest in G(1) in response to gamma radiation. We found that p38 MAPK induces p21(Cip1) mRNA stabilization, without affecting its transcription or the stability of the protein. In particular, p38 MAPK phosphorylates the mRNA binding protein HuR on Thr118, which results in cytoplasmic accumulation of HuR and its enhanced binding to the p21(Cip1) mRNA. Our findings help to understand the emerging role of p38 MAPK in the cellular responses to DNA damage and reveal the existence of p53-independent networks that cooperate in modulating p21(Cip1) levels at the G(1)/S checkpoint.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The tyrosine kinase receptor FGFR3 is thought to play a role in hematopoietic malignancies. A new study in this issue of Cancer Cell identifies the serine/threonine kinase RSK2 as a key substrate of FGFR3 in human t(4;14)-positive multiple myeloma (MM) cells. Constitutively active FGFR3 directly phosphorylates RSK2 on Tyr529, which primes RSK2 for activation by the kinases ERK1 and ERK2 (ERK1/2). In turn, RSK2 activity plays an important role in the survival of FGFR3-expressing MM cells.
Cancer Cell 10/2007; 12(3):187-9. DOI:10.1016/j.ccr.2007.08.017 · 23.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cells organize appropriate responses to environmental cues by activating specific signaling networks. Two proteins that play key roles in coordinating stress responses are the kinase p38alpha (MAPK14) and the transcription factor p53 (TP53). Depending on the nature and the extent of the stress-induced damage, cells may respond by arresting the cell cycle or by undergoing cell death, and these responses are usually associated with the phosphorylation of particular substrates by p38alpha as well as the activation of specific target genes by p53. We recently characterized a new p38alpha substrate, named p18(Hamlet) (ZNHIT1), which mediates p53-dependent responses to different genotoxic stresses. Thus, cisplatin or UV light induce stabilization of the p18(Hamlet) protein, which then enhances the ability of p53 to bind to and activate the promoters of pro-apoptotic genes such as NOXA and PUMA leading to apoptosis induction. In a similar way, we report here that p18(Hamlet) can also mediate the cell cycle arrest induced in response to gamma-irradiation, by participating in the p53-dependent upregulation of the cell cycle inhibitor p21(Cip1) (CDKN1A).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway plays an important role in stress-induced cell-fate decisions by orchestrating responses that go from cell-cycle arrest to apoptosis. We have identified a new p38 MAPK-regulated protein that we named p18(Hamlet), which becomes stabilized and accumulates in response to certain genotoxic stresses such as UV or cisplatin treatment. Overexpression of p18(Hamlet) is sufficient to induce apoptosis, whereas its downregulation reduces the apoptotic response to these DNA damage-inducing agents. We show that p18(Hamlet) interacts with p53 and stimulates the transcription of several proapoptotic p53 target genes such as PUMA and NOXA. This correlates with enhanced p18(Hamlet)-induced recruitment of p53 to the promoters. In proliferating cells, low steady-state levels of p18(Hamlet) are probably maintained by a p53-dependent negative feedback loop. Therefore, p18(Hamlet) is a new cell-fate regulator that links the p38 MAPK and p53 pathways and contributes to the establishment of p53-regulated stress responses.
The EMBO Journal 05/2007; 26(8):2115-26. DOI:10.1038/sj.emboj.7601657 · 10.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: p38alpha is a stress-activated protein kinase that negatively regulates malignant transformation induced by oncogenic H-Ras, although the mechanisms involved are not fully understood. Here, we show that p38alpha is not a general inhibitor of oncogenic signaling, but that it specifically modulates transformation induced by oncogenes that produce reactive oxygen species (ROS). This inhibitory effect is due to the ROS-induced activation of p38alpha early in the process of transformation, which induces apoptosis and prevents the accumulation of ROS and their carcinogenic effects. Accordingly, highly tumorigenic cancer cell lines have developed a mechanism to uncouple p38alpha activation from ROS production. Our results indicate that oxidative stress sensing plays a key role in the inhibition of tumor initiation by p38alpha.
Cancer Cell 03/2007; 11(2):191-205. DOI:10.1016/j.ccr.2006.12.013 · 23.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Oncogenic Ras signaling has been long known to play an important role in tumorigenesis and human cancer. In this report, we have used the sensitive 2-D-DIGE coupled to MS for the identification of proteins differentially expressed at the cell membrane level between oncogenic H-RasV12-transformed wild-type and p38alpha-deficient mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs). Following trifluoroethanol solubilization, 76 proteins were found to be differentially regulated. After PMF, 63 spots containing 42 different proteins were unequivocally identified by MALDI-TOF MS coupled with database interrogation. As expected, many of them were membrane proteins. Six proteins were selected for further validation studies based on their potential functional link with malignant transformation and signal transduction. These were prohibitin (PHB), protein disulfide isomerase 3 (PDIA3), focal adhesion kinase 2 (FAK2), c-GMP dependent protein kinase 2 (KGP2), NADH-ubiquinone oxidoreductase 30 kDa subunit (NUGM) and translationally controlled tumor protein (TCTP). All these proteins were up-regulated in the membranes of H-RasV12-transformed p38alpha-/-cells, except for prohibitin, which was down-regulated. An excellent correlation was found between DIGE results and Western blot studies, indicating the reliability of the 2-D-DIGE analysis. The available evidence about the putative function of the identified proteins supports the emerging role of p38alpha as a negative regulator of tumorigenesis. Further studies are in progress to elucidate the implications of these findings in the regulation of H-Ras-induced transformation by p38alpha signaling.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Proliferation of nontransformed cells is regulated by cell-cell contacts, which are referred to as contact-inhibition. Despite its generally accepted importance for cell cycle control, knowledge about the intracellular signalling pathways involved in contact inhibition is scarce. In the present work we show that p38alpha mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) is involved in the growth-inhibitory signalling cascade of contact inhibition in fibroblasts. p38alpha activity is increased in confluent cultures of human fibroblasts compared to proliferating cultures. Time course studies show a sustained activation of p38alpha in response to cell-cell contacts in contrast to a transient activation after serum stimulation. The induction of contact inhibition by addition of glutaraldehyde-fixed cells is impaired by pharmacological inhibition of p38 as well as in p38alpha-/- fibroblasts. Further evidence for a central role of p38alpha in contact inhibition comes from the observation that p38alpha-/- fibroblasts show a higher saturation density compared to wild-type (wt) fibroblasts, which is reversed by reconstituted expression of p38alpha. In agreement with a defect in contact inhibition, p27(Kip1) accumulation is impaired in p38alpha-/- fibroblasts compared to wt fibroblasts. Hence, our work shows a new role for p38alpha in contact inhibition and provides a mechanistic basis for the recently proposed tumour suppressive function of this MAPK pathway.