[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Retinoid X receptors (RXRs) act as homodimers or heterodimerisation partners of class II nuclear receptors. RXR homo- and heterodimers bind direct repeats of the half-site (A/G)G(G/T)TCA separated by 1 nucleotide (DR1). We present a structural characterization of RXR-DNA binding domain (DBD) homodimers on several natural DR1s and an idealized symmetric DR1. Homodimers displayed asymmetric binding, with critical high-affinity interactions accounting for the 3' positioning of RXR in heterodimers on DR1s. Differing half-site and spacer DNA sequence induce changes in RXR-DBD homodimer conformation notably in the dimerization interface such that natural DR1s are bound with higher affinity than an idealized symmetric DR1. Subtle changes in the consensus DR1 DNA sequence therefore specify binding affinity through altered RXR-DBD-DNA contacts and changes in DBD conformation suggesting a general model whereby preferential half-site recognition determines polarity of heterodimer binding to response elements.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The functions of the TAF subunits of mammalian TFIID in physiological processes remain poorly characterised. Here we describe a novel function of TAFs in directing genomic occupancy of a transcriptional activator. Using liver-specific inactivation in mice, we show that the TAF4 subunit of TFIID is required for post-natal hepatocyte maturation. TAF4 promotes pre-initiation complex (PIC) formation at post-natal expressed liver function genes and down-regulates a subset of embryonic expressed genes by increased RNA polymerase II pausing. The TAF4-TAF12 heterodimer interacts directly with HNF4A and in vivo TAF4 is necessary to maintain HNF4A-directed embryonic gene expression at post-natal stages and promotes HNF4A occupancy of functional cis-regulatory elements adjacent to the transcription start sites of post-natal expressed genes. Stable HNF4A occupancy of these regulatory elements requires TAF4-dependent PIC formation highlighting that these are mutually dependent events. Local promoter-proximal HNF4A-TFIID interactions therefore act as instructive signals for post-natal hepatocyte differentiation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: It is well established that tumours are not homogenous, but comprise cells with differing invasive, proliferative and tumour-initiating potential. A major challenge in cancer research is therefore to develop methods to characterize cell heterogeneity. In melanoma, proliferative and invasive cells are characterized by distinct gene expression profiles and accumulating evidence suggests that cells can alternate between these states through a process called phenotype switching. We have used microfluidic technology to isolate single melanoma cells grown in vitro as monolayers or melanospheres or in vivo as xenografted tumours and analyse the expression profiles of 114 genes that discriminate the proliferative and invasive states by quantitative PCR. Single-cell analysis accurately recapitulates the specific gene expression programmes of melanoma cell lines and defines subpopulations with distinct expression profiles. Cell heterogeneity is augmented when cells are grown as spheres and as xenografted tumours. Correlative analysis identifies gene-regulatory networks and changes in gene expression under different growth conditions. In tumours, subpopulations of cells that express specific invasion and drug resistance markers can be identified amongst which is the pluripotency factor POUF51 (OCT4) whose expression correlates with the tumorigenic potential. We therefore show that single-cell analysis can be used to define and quantify tumour heterogeneity based on detection of cells with specific gene expression profiles.Oncogene advance online publication, 18 August 2014; doi:10.1038/onc.2014.262.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pigment epithelium-derived factor (PEDF), a member of the serine protease inhibitor superfamily, has potent anti-metastatic effects in cutaneous melanoma through its direct actions on endothelial and melanoma cells. Here we show that PEDF expression positively correlates with microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) in melanoma cell lines and human samples. High PEDF and MITF expression is characteristic of low aggressive melanomas classified according to molecular and pathological criteria, whereas both factors are decreased in senescent melanocytes and naevi. Importantly, MITF silencing down-regulates PEDF expression in melanoma cell lines and primary melanocytes, suggesting that the correlation in the expression reflects a causal relationship. In agreement, analysis of Chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled to high throughput sequencing (ChIP-seq) data sets revealed three MITF binding regions within the first intron of SERPINF1, and reporter assays demonstrated that the binding of MITF to these regions is sufficient to drive transcription. Finally, we demonstrate that exogenous PEDF expression efficiently halts in vitro migration and invasion, as well as in vivo dissemination of melanoma cells induced by MITF silencing. In summary, these results identify PEDF as a novel transcriptional target of MITF and support a relevant functional role for the MITF-PEDF axis in the biology of melanoma.
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.) 06/2014; · 5.40 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Deregulation of signaling pathways that control differentiation, expansion and migration of neural crest-derived melanoblasts during normal development contributes also to melanoma progression and metastasis. Although several epithelial-to-mesenchymal (EMT) transcription factors, such as zinc finger E-box binding protein 1 (ZEB1) and ZEB2, have been implicated in neural crest cell biology, little is known about their role in melanocyte homeostasis and melanoma. Here we show that mice lacking Zeb2 in the melanocyte lineage exhibit a melanoblast migration defect and, unexpectedly, a severe melanocyte differentiation defect. Loss of Zeb2 in the melanocyte lineage results in a downregulation of the Microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (Mitf) and melanocyte differentiation markers concomitant with an upregulation of Zeb1. We identify a transcriptional signaling network in which the EMT transcription factor ZEB2 regulates MITF levels to control melanocyte differentiation. Moreover, our data are also relevant for human melanomagenesis as loss of ZEB2 expression is associated with reduced patient survival.Cell Death and Differentiation advance online publication, 25 April 2014; doi:10.1038/cdd.2014.44.
Cell death and differentiation 04/2014; · 8.24 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Retinoic acid (RA) plays key roles in cell differentiation and growth arrest by activating nuclear receptors, RARs (α, β and γ), which are ligand dependent transcriptional factors. RARs are also phosphorylated in response to RA. Here we investigated the in vivo relevance of RARs phosphorylation during RA-induced neuronal differentiation of mouse embryonic stem (mES) cells. Using ES cells where the genes encoding each RAR subtype have been inactivated and stable rescue lines expressing RARs mutated in phosphor-acceptor sites, we show that RA-induced neuronal differentiation involves RARγ2 and requires RARγ2 phosphorylation. By gene expression profiling, we found that the phosphorylated form of RARγ2 regulates a small subset of genes through binding an unusual RA response element consisting of two direct repeats with a 7 base pair spacer. These new findings suggest an important role for RARγ phosphorylation during cell differentiation, and pave the way for further investigations during embryonic development.
Journal of Cell Science 02/2014; · 5.33 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: SIRT1 operates as both a tumor suppressor and oncogenic factor depending on the cell context. Whether SIRT1 plays a role in melanoma biology remained poorly elucidated. Here, we demonstrate that SIRT1 is a critical regulator of melanoma cell proliferation. SIRT1 suppression by genetic or pharmacological approaches induces cell cycle arrest and a senescence-like phenotype. Gain and loss of function experiments show that M-MITF regulates SIRT1 expression, thereby revealing a melanocyte-specific control of SIRT1. SIRT1 over-expression relieves the senescence-like phenotype and the proliferation arrest caused by MITF suppression, demonstrating that SIRT1 is an effector of MITF-induced proliferation in melanoma cells. Interestingly, SIRT1 level and activity are enhanced in the PLX4032-resistant BRAFV600E-mutated melanoma cells compared with their sensitive counterpart. SIRT1 inhibition decreases melanoma cell growth and rescues the sensibility to PLX4032 of PLX4032-resistant BRAFV600E-mutated melanoma cells. In conclusion, we provide the first evidence that inhibition of SIRT1 warrants consideration as an anti-melanoma therapeutic option.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Collagen 6A3 (Col6a3), a component of extracellular matrix, is often up-regulated in tumours and is believed to play a pro-oncogenic role. However the mechanisms of its tumorigenic activity are poorly understood. We show here that Col6a3 is highly expressed in densely growing mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). In MEFs where the TAF4 subunit of general transcription factor IID (TFIID) has been inactivated, elevated Col6a3 expression prevents contact inhibition promoting their 3 dimensional growth as foci and fibrospheres. Analyses of gene expression in densely growing Taf4(-/-) MEFs revealed repression of the Hippo pathway and activation of Wnt signalling. The Hippo activator Kibra/Wwc1 is repressed under dense conditions in Taf4(-/-) MEFs, leading to nuclear accumulation of the proliferation factor YAP1 in the cells forming 3D foci. At the same time, Wnt9a is activated and the Sfrp2 antagonist of Wnt signalling is repressed. Surprisingly, treatment of Taf4(-/-) MEFs with all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) restores contact inhibition suppressing 3D growth. ATRA represses Col6a3 expression independently of TAF4 expression and Col6a3 silencing is sufficient to restore contact inhibition in Taf4(-/-) MEFs and to suppress 3D growth by reactivating Kibra expression to induce Hippo signalling and by inducing Sfrp2 expression to antagonize Wnt signalling. All together, these results reveal a critical role for Col6a3 in regulating both Hippo and Wnt signalling to promote 3D growth, and show that the TFIID subunit TAF4 is essential to restrain the growth promoting properties of Col6a3. Our data provide new insight into the role of extra cellular matrix components in regulating cell growth.
PLoS ONE 02/2014; 9(2):e87365. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite numerous studies on specific sumoylated transcriptional regulators, the global role of SUMO on chromatin in relation to transcription regulation remains largely unknown. Here, we determined the genome-wide localisation of SUMO1 and SUMO2/3, as well as of UBC9 (encoded by UBE2I) and PIASY (encoded by PIAS4), two markers for active sumoylation, along with Pol II and histone marks in proliferating versus senescent human fibroblasts together with gene expression profiling. We found that, whereas SUMO alone is widely distributed over the genome with strong association at active promoters, active sumoylation occurs most prominently at promoters of histone and protein biogenesis genes, as well as Pol I rRNAs and Pol III tRNAs. Remarkably, these four classes of genes are up-regulated by inhibition of sumoylation, indicating that SUMO normally acts to restrain their expression. In line with this finding, sumoylation-deficient cells show increase in both cell size and global protein levels. Strikingly, we found that, in senescent cells, the SUMO machinery is selectively retained at histone and tRNA gene clusters, whereas it is massively released from all other unique chromatin regions. These data, which reveal the highly dynamic nature of the SUMO landscape, suggest that maintenance of a repressive environment at histone and tRNA loci is a hallmark of the senescent state. The approach taken in our study thus permitted the identification of a common biological output and uncovered hitherto unknown functions for active sumoylation at chromatin as a key mechanism that, in dynamically marking chromatin by a simple modifier, orchestrates concerted transcriptional regulation of a network of genes essential for cell growth and proliferation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Trim24 (Tif1α) and Trim33 (Tif1γ) interact to form a co-repressor complex that suppresses murine hepatocellular carcinoma. Here we show that Trim24 and Trim33 cooperatively repress retinoic acid receptor-dependent activity of VL30-class endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) in liver. In Trim24-knockout hepatocytes, VL30 derepression leads to accumulation of reverse-transcribed VL30 cDNA in the cytoplasm that correlates with activation of the viral-defense interferon responses mimicking the preneoplastic inflammatory state seen in human liver following exogenous viral infection. Furthermore, upon derepression, VL30 long terminal repeats (LTRs) act as promoter and enhancer elements deregulating expression of neighboring genes and generating enhancer RNAs that are required for LTR enhancer activity in hepatocytes in vivo. These data reinforce the role of the TRIM family of proteins in retroviral restriction and antiviral defense and provide an example of an ERV-derived oncogenic regulatory network.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Current models of melanoma propose that transition from the proliferative to the invasive stages of tumor development involves a dynamic and reversible switch in cell phenotype. The almost mutually exclusive proliferative and invasive phenotypes are defined by distinct gene expression signatures, which are themselves controlled by the level of functional MITF protein present in the cell. Recently, new signaling pathways and transcription factors that regulate MITF expression have been defined, and high throughput genomics have identified novel MITF target genes. MITF acts both as a transcription activator to promote expression of genes involved in cell cycle, but also as a transcriptional repressor of genes involved in invasion. A novel human germline mutation in MITF has been identified that blocks its sumoylation, thereby altering its transcriptional properties and conferring an increased risk of melanoma. These new studies depict an ever more complex function for MITF in melanoma.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Direct evidence for a role of endogenous retinoic acid (RA), the active metabolite of vitamin A in the initial differentiation and meiotic entry of spermatogonia, and thus in the initiation of spermatogenesis is still lacking. RA is synthesized by dedicated enzymes, the retinaldehyde dehydrogenases (RALDH), and binds to and activates nuclear RA receptors (RARA, RARB, and RARG) either within the RA-synthesizing cells or in the neighboring cells. In the present study, we have used a combination of somatic genetic ablations and pharmacological approaches in vivo to show that during the first, prepubertal, spermatogenic cycle (i) RALDH-dependent synthesis of RA by Sertoli cells (SC), the supporting cells of the germ cell (GC) lineage, is indispensable to initiate differentiation of A aligned into A1 spermatogonia; (ii) RARA in SC mediates the effects of RA, possibly through activating Mafb expression, a gene whose Drosophila homolog is mandatory to GC differentiation; (iii) RA synthesized by premeiotic spermatocytes cell autonomously induces meiotic initiation through controlling the RAR-dependent expression of Stra8. Furthermore, we show that RA of SC origin is no longer necessary for the subsequent spermatogenic cycles but essential to spermiation. Altogether, our data establish that the effects of RA in vivo on spermatogonia differentiation are indirect, via SC, but direct on meiotic initiation in spermatocytes, supporting thereby the notion that, contrary to the situation in the female, RA is necessary to induce meiosis in the male.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2012; 109(41):16582-7. · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Retinoic acid receptors (RARs) heterodimerize with retinoid X receptors (RXRs) and bind to RA response elements (RAREs) in the regulatory regions of their target genes. Although previous studies on limited sets of RA-regulated genes have defined canonical RAREs as direct repeats of the consensus RGKTCA separated by 1, 2, or 5 nucleotides (DR1, DR2, DR5), we show that in mouse embryoid bodies or F9 embryonal carcinoma cells, RARs occupy a large repertoire of sites with DR0, DR8, and IR0 (inverted repeat 0) elements. Recombinant RAR-RXR binds these non-canonical spacings in vitro with comparable affinities to DR2 and DR5. Most DR8 elements comprise three half-sites with DR2 and DR0 spacings. This specific half-site organization constitutes a previously unrecognized but frequent signature of RAR binding elements. In functional assays, DR8 and IR0 elements act as independent RAREs, whereas DR0 does not. Our results reveal an unexpected diversity in the spacing and topology of binding elements for the RAR-RXR heterodimer. The differential ability of RAR-RXR bound to DR0 compared to DR2, DR5, and DR8 to mediate RA-dependent transcriptional activation indicates that half-site spacing allosterically regulates RAR function.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2012; 287(31):26328-41. · 4.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: MITF-M and PAX3 are proteins central to the establishment and transformation of the melanocyte lineage. They control various cellular mechanisms, including migration and proliferation. BRN2 is a POU domain transcription factor expressed in melanoma cell lines and is involved in proliferation and invasion, at least in part by regulating the expression of MITF-M and PAX3. The T361 and S362 residues of BRN2, both in the POU domain, are conserved throughout the POU protein family and are targets for phosphorylation, but their roles in vivo remain unknown. To examine the role of this phosphorylation, we generated mutant BRN2 in which these two residues were replaced with alanines (BRN2TS→BRN2AA). When expressed in melanocytes in vitro or in the melanocyte lineage in transgenic mice, BRN2TS induced proliferation and repressed migration, whereas BRN2AA repressed both proliferation and migration. BRN2TS and BRN2AA bound and repressed the MITF-M promoter, whereas PAX3 transcription was induced by BRN2TS but repressed by BRN2AA. Expression of the BRN2AA transgene in a Mitf heterozygous background and in a Pax3 mutant background enhanced the coat color phenotype. Our findings show that melanocyte migration and proliferation are controlled both through the regulation of PAX3 by nonphosphorylated BRN2 and through the regulation of MITF-M by the overall BRN2 level.
Molecular and Cellular Biology 04/2012; 32(7):1237-47. · 5.04 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The TATA binding protein (TBP) plays a pivotal role in RNA polymerase II (Pol II) transcription through incorporation into the TFIID and B-TFIID complexes. The role of mammalian B-TFIID composed of TBP and B-TAF1 is poorly understood. Using a complementation system in genetically modified mouse cells where endogenous TBP can be conditionally inactivated and replaced by exogenous mutant TBP coupled to tandem affinity purification and mass spectrometry, we identify two TBP mutations, R188E and K243E, that disrupt the TBP-BTAF1 interaction and B-TFIID complex formation. Transcriptome and ChIP-seq analyses show that loss of B-TFIID does not generally alter gene expression or genomic distribution of TBP, but positively or negatively affects TBP and/or Pol II recruitment to a subset of promoters. We identify promoters where wild-type TBP assembles a partial inactive preinitiation complex comprising B-TFIID, TFIIB and Mediator complex, but lacking TFIID, TFIIE and Pol II. Exchange of B-TFIID in wild-type cells for TFIID in R188E and K243E mutant cells at these primed promoters completes preinitiation complex formation and recruits Pol II to activate their expression. We propose a novel regulatory mechanism involving formation of a partial preinitiation complex comprising B-TFIID that primes the promoter for productive preinitiation complex formation in mammalian cells.
Nucleic Acids Research 02/2012; 40(4):1446-59. · 8.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Knock out of intestinal Cdx2 produces different effects depending upon the developmental stage at which this occurs. Early in development it produces histologically ordered stomach mucosa in the midgut. Conditional inactivation of Cdx2 in adult intestinal epithelium, as well as specifically in the Lgr5-positive stem cells, of adult mice allows long-term survival of the animals but fails to produce this phenotype. Instead, the endodermal cells exhibit cell-autonomous expression of gastric genes in an intestinal setting that is not accompanied by mesodermal expression of Barx1, which is necessary for gastric morphogenesis. Cdx2-negative endodermal cells also fail to express Sox2, a marker of gastric morphogenesis. Maturation of the stem cell niche thus appears to be associated with loss of ability to express positional information cues that are required for normal stomach development. Cdx2-negative intestinal crypts produce subsurface cystic vesicles, whereas untargeted crypts hypertrophy to later replace the surface epithelium. These observations are supported by studies involving inactivation of Cdx2 in intestinal crypts cultured in vitro. This abolishes their ability to form long-term growing intestinal organoids that differentiate into intestinal phenotypes. We conclude that expression of Cdx2 is essential for differentiation of gut stem cells into any of the intestinal cell types, but they maintain a degree of cell-autonomous plasticity that allows them to switch on a variety of gastric genes.
Development 12/2011; 139(3):465-74. · 6.27 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: So far, no common environmental and/or phenotypic factor has been associated with melanoma and renal cell carcinoma (RCC). The known risk factors for melanoma include sun exposure, pigmentation and nevus phenotypes; risk factors associated with RCC include smoking, obesity and hypertension. A recent study of coexisting melanoma and RCC in the same patients supports a genetic predisposition underlying the association between these two cancers. The microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (MITF) has been proposed to act as a melanoma oncogene; it also stimulates the transcription of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF1A), the pathway of which is targeted by kidney cancer susceptibility genes. We therefore proposed that MITF might have a role in conferring a genetic predisposition to co-occurring melanoma and RCC. Here we identify a germline missense substitution in MITF (Mi-E318K) that occurred at a significantly higher frequency in genetically enriched patients affected with melanoma, RCC or both cancers, when compared with controls. Overall, Mi-E318K carriers had a higher than fivefold increased risk of developing melanoma, RCC or both cancers. Codon 318 is located in a small-ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) consensus site (ΨKXE) and Mi-E318K severely impaired SUMOylation of MITF. Mi-E318K enhanced MITF protein binding to the HIF1A promoter and increased its transcriptional activity compared to wild-type MITF. Further, we observed a global increase in Mi-E318K-occupied loci. In an RCC cell line, gene expression profiling identified a Mi-E318K signature related to cell growth, proliferation and inflammation. Lastly, the mutant protein enhanced melanocytic and renal cell clonogenicity, migration and invasion, consistent with a gain-of-function role in tumorigenesis. Our data provide insights into the link between SUMOylation, transcription and cancer.