Jonathan M Horowitz

North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, United States

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Publications (11)55.54 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Faithful progression through the cell cycle is crucial to the maintenance and developmental potential of stem cells. Here, we demonstrate that neural stem cells (NSCs) and intermediate neural progenitor cells (NPCs) employ a zinc-finger transcription factor specificity protein 2 (Sp2) as a cell cycle regulator in two temporally and spatially distinct progenitor domains. Differential conditional deletion of Sp2 in early embryonic cerebral cortical progenitors, and perinatal olfactory bulb progenitors disrupted transitions through G1, G2 and M phases, whereas DNA synthesis appeared intact. Cell-autonomous function of Sp2 was identified by deletion of Sp2 using mosaic analysis with double markers, which clearly established that conditional Sp2-null NSCs and NPCs are M phase arrested in vivo. Importantly, conditional deletion of Sp2 led to a decline in the generation of NPCs and neurons in the developing and postnatal brains. Our findings implicate Sp2-dependent mechanisms as novel regulators of cell cycle progression, the absence of which disrupts neurogenesis in the embryonic and postnatal brain.
    Development 02/2013; 140(3):552-61. · 6.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sp proteins are evolutionarily conserved transcription factors required for the expression of a wide variety of genes that are critical for development and cell cycle progression. Deregulated expression of certain Sp proteins is associated with the formation of a variety of human tumors; however, direct evidence that any given Sp protein is oncogenic has been lacking. Here, we report that Sp2 protein abundance in mice increases in concert with the progression of carcinogen-induced murine squamous cell carcinomas. Transgenic mice specifically overexpressing murine Sp2 in epidermal basal keratinocytes were highly susceptible to wound- and carcinogen-induced papillomagenesis. Transgenic animals that were homozygous rather than hemizygous for the Sp2 transgene exhibited a striking arrest in the epidermal differentiation program, perishing within 2 weeks of birth. Our results directly support the likelihood that Sp2 overexpression occurring in various human cancers has significant functional effect.
    Cancer Research 10/2010; 70(21):8507-16. · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The domestic chicken (Gallus domesticus) has emerged as a powerful experimental model for studying the onset and progression of spontaneous epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) with a disease prevalence that can exceed 35% between 2 and 7 years of age. An experimental strategy for biomarker discovery is reported herein that combines the chicken model of EOC, longitudinal plasma sample collection with matched tissues, advanced mass spectrometry-based proteomics, and concepts derived from the index of individuality (Harris, Clin Chem 20: 1535-1542, 1974). Blood was drawn from 148 age-matched chickens starting at 2.5 years of age every 3 months for 1 year. At the conclusion of the 1 year sample collection period, the 73 birds that remained alive were euthanized, necropsied, and tissues were collected. Pathological assessment of resected tissues from these 73 birds confirmed that five birds (6.8%) developed EOC. A proteomics workflow including in-gel digestion, nanoLC coupled to high-performance mass spectrometry, and label-free (spectral counting) quantification was used to measure the biological intra-individual variability (CV(W)) of the chicken plasma proteome. Longitudinal plasma sample sets from two birds within the 73-bird biorepository were selected for this study; one bird was considered "healthy" and the second bird developed late-stage EOC. A total of 116 proteins from un-depleted plasma were identified with 80 proteins shared among all sample sets. Analytical variability (CV(A)) of the label-free proteomics workflow was measured using a single plasma sample analyzed five times and was found to be ≥CV(W) in both birds for 16 proteins (20%) and in either bird for 25 proteins (31%). Ovomacroglobulin (ovostatin) was found to increase (p < 0.001) over a 6 month period in the late-stage EOC bird providing an initial candidate protein for further investigation.
    Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 09/2010; 398(2):737-49. · 3.66 Impact Factor
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    Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 08/2010; · 3.66 Impact Factor
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    Haifeng Yin, Teresa D Nichols, Jonathan M Horowitz
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    ABSTRACT: The Sp-family of transcription factors is comprised by nine members, Sp1-9, that share a highly conserved DNA-binding domain. Sp2 is a poorly characterized member of this transcription factor family that is widely expressed in murine and human cell lines yet exhibits little DNA-binding or trans-activation activity in these settings. As a prelude to the generation of a "knock-out" mouse strain, we isolated a mouse Sp2 cDNA and performed a detailed analysis of Sp2 transcription in embryonic and adult mouse tissues. We report that (1) the 5' untranslated region of Sp2 is subject to alternative splicing, (2) Sp2 transcription is regulated by at least two promoters that differ in their cell-type specificity, (3) one Sp2 promoter is highly active in nine mammalian cell lines and strains and is regulated by at least five discrete stimulatory and inhibitory elements, (4) a variety of sub-genomic messages are synthesized from the Sp2 locus in a tissue- and cell-type-specific fashion and these transcripts have the capacity to encode a novel partial-Sp2 protein, and (5) RNA in situ hybridization assays indicate that Sp2 is widely expressed during mouse embryogenesis, particularly in the embryonic brain, and robust Sp2 expression occurs in neurogenic regions of the post-natal and adult brain.
    Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 03/2010; 1799(7):520-31. · 4.66 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Sp family of transcription factors is required for the expression of cell cycle- and developmentally regulated genes, and the deregulated expression of a handful of family members is associated with human tumorigenesis. Sp2 is a relatively poorly characterized member of the Sp family that, although widely expressed, exhibits little or no DNA binding or transcriptional activity in human and mouse cell lines. To begin to address the role(s) played by Sp2 in early metazoan development we have cloned and characterized Sp2 from zebrafish (Danio rerio). We report that 1) the intron/exon organization and amino acid sequence of zebrafish Sp2 is closely conserved with its mammalian orthologues, 2) zebrafish Sp2 weakly stimulates an Sp-dependent promoter in vitro and associates with the nuclear matrix in a DNA-independent fashion, 3) zebrafish Sp2 is inherited as a maternal transcript, is transcribed in zebrafish embryos and adult tissues, and is required for completion of gastrulation, and 4) zebrafish lines carrying transgenes regulated by the Sp2 promoter recapitulate patterns of endogenous Sp2 expression.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2009; 285(6):4153-64. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have reported that extracts prepared from many human and mouse cell lines show little or no Sp2 DNA-binding activity and that Sp2 has little or no capacity to stimulate transcription of promoters that are activated by Sp1, Sp3, and Sp4. Using an array of chimeric Sp1/Sp2 proteins we showed further that Sp2 DNA-binding activity and trans-activation are each negatively regulated in mammalian cells. As part of an ongoing effort to study Sp2 function and regulation we characterized its subcellular localization in comparison with other Sp-family members in fixed and live cells. We report that 1) Sp2 localizes largely within subnuclear foci associated with the nuclear matrix, and 2) these foci are distinct from promyelocytic oncogenic domains and appear to be stable during an 18-h time course of observation. Deletion analyses identified a 37 amino acid sequence spanning the first zinc-"finger" that is sufficient to direct nuclear matrix association, and this region also encodes a bipartite nuclear localization sequence. A second nuclear matrix targeting sequence is encoded within the Sp2 trans-activation domain. We conclude that Sp2 preferentially associates with the nuclear matrix and speculate that this subcellular localization plays an important role in the regulation of Sp2 function.
    Molecular Biology of the Cell 04/2006; 17(4):1711-22. · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    Steven O Simmons, Jonathan M Horowitz
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    ABSTRACT: Nkx3.1 is a homeodomain-containing transcription factor that is expressed early in the development of the prostate gland and is believed to play an important role in the differentiation of prostatic epithelia. Loss of Nkx3.1 protein expression is often an early event in prostate tumorigenesis, and the abundance of Nkx3.1-negative epithelial cells increases with disease progression. In a number of systems, homeodomain proteins collaborate with zinc-finger-containing transcription factors to bind and regulate target genes. In the present paper, we report that Nkx3.1 collaborates with Sp-family members in the regulation of PSA (prostate-specific antigen) in prostate-derived cells. Nkx3.1 forms protein complexes with Sp proteins that are dependent on their respective DNA-binding domains and an N-terminal segment of Nkx3.1, and Nkx3.1 negatively regulates Sp-mediated transcription via Trichostatin A-sensitive and -insensitive mechanisms. A distal 1000 bp portion of the PSA promoter is required for transrepression by Nkx3.1, although Nkx3.1 DNA-binding activity is itself not required. We conclude that Nkx3.1 negatively regulates Sp-mediated transcription via the tethering of histone deacetylases and/or by inhibiting the association of Sp proteins with co-activators.
    Biochemical Journal 02/2006; 393(Pt 1):397-409. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sp3 is a ubiquitously expressed member of the Sp family of transcription factors that encodes three proteins, Sp3, M1 and M2, with differing capacities to stimulate or repress transcription. As part of ongoing efforts to study the functions of Sp3 isoforms, we employed a yeast "two-hybrid" screen to identify Sp3-binding proteins. This screen resulted in the identification of Ubc9, a SUMO-1 conjugating enzyme, as an M2-binding protein, and consistent with these results sequence analyses identified consensus sumoylation motifs within several Sp family members. Western blots probed with anti-Sp3 detected a high molecular weight Sp3 isoform that is stabilized by a SUMO-1 hydrolase inhibitor, and this protein is also bound by anti-SUMO-1 antiserum. Transient transfection assays with epitope-tagged-SUMO-1 and GFP-SUMO-1 fusion proteins confirmed that Sp3, M1 and M2 proteins are sumoylated in vivo. Substitution of arginine for lysine at one putative site of sumoylation, lysine(551), blocked sumoylation of all Sp3 isoforms in vivo and led to a marginal increase in Sp3-mediated trans-activation in insect and mammalian cells. In contrast, introduction of this amino acid substitution within M1 converted it into a potent transcriptional trans-activator. We conclude that Sp3 isoforms are sumoylated in vivo and this post-translational modification plays an important role in the regulation of Sp3-mediated transcription.
    Cellular Signalling 03/2005; 17(2):153-66. · 4.47 Impact Factor
  • K Scott Moorefield, Sarah J Fry, Jonathan M Horowitz
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    ABSTRACT: Previous studies have indicated that Sp2 binds poorly to GC-rich sequences bound by Sp1 and Sp3, and further functional analyses of Sp2 have been limited. To study Sp2-mediated transcription, we employed a PCR-based protocol to determine the Sp2 consensus DNA-binding sequence (5'-GGGCGGGAC-3') and performed kinetic experiments to show that Sp2 binds this consensus sequence with high affinity (225 pm) in vitro. To determine the functional consequence of Sp2 interaction with this sequence in vivo, we transformed well characterized Sp-binding sites within the dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR) promoter to consensus Sp2-binding sites. Incorporation of Sp2-binding sites within the DHFR promoter increased Sp2-mediated trans-activation in transient co-transfection experiments but also revealed Sp2 to be a relatively weak trans-activator with little or no capacity for additive or synergistic trans-activation. Using chimeric molecules prepared with portions of Sp1 and Sp2 and the human prostate-specific antigen promoter, we show that Sp2 DNA binding activity and trans-activation are negatively regulated in mammalian cells. Taken together, our data indicate that Sp2 is functionally distinct relative to other Sp family members and suggest that Sp2 may play a unique role in cell physiology.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 05/2004; 279(14):13911-24. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Sarah B Kennett, K Scott Moorefield, Jonathan M Horowitz
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    ABSTRACT: We have determined previously that Sp3 encodes three distinct gene products as follows: a full-length protein (Sp3) that is an activator of transcription and two isoforms (M1 and M2) derived via internal translational initiation that function as transcriptional repressors. To identify amino acids and functions required for transcriptional repression, we employed PCR-directed mutagenesis to create a panel of mutated M2 proteins. Biochemical and functional analyses of these mutated proteins indicate that functions encoded by the M2 carboxyl terminus, such as DNA binding activity and the capacity to form multimeric complexes, are not required or sufficient for transcriptional repression. Instead, a 93-amino acid portion of the trans-activation domain was shown to be the minimal portion of M2 required to block Sp-dependent gene expression. Transcriptional analysis of three Sp-dependent promoters showed that mutations sustained by many M2 proteins result in promoter-specific effects. Regions of M2 required for physical interactions with five TATA box-associated factors (TAF(II)s) were mapped, and mutations that disrupt the interaction of M2 with two of these proteins, TAF(II)70 and TAF(II)40, were identified. We conclude that Sp3- mediated transcriptional repression is due, at least in part, to competition for promoter-specific transcription factors.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2002; 277(12):9780-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor