The publication data currently available has been vetted by Vanderbilt faculty, staff, administrators and trainees. The data itself is retrieved directly from NCBI's PubMed and is automatically updated on a weekly basis to ensure accuracy and completeness.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact us.
Gene network transitions in embryos and other fate-changing contexts involve combinations of transcription factors. A subset of fate-changing transcription factors act as pioneers; they scan and target nucleosomal DNA and initiate cooperative events that can open the local chromatin. However, a gap has remained in understanding how molecular interactions with the nucleosome contribute to the chromatin-opening phenomenon. Here we identified a short α-helical region, conserved among FOXA pioneer factors, that interacts with core histones and contributes to chromatin opening in vitro. The same domain is involved in chromatin opening in early mouse embryos for normal development. Thus, local opening of chromatin by interactions between pioneer factors and core histones promotes genetic programming.
WD repeat domain 5 (WDR5) is a member of the WD40-repeat protein family that plays a critical role in multiple chromatin-centric processes. Overexpression of WDR5 correlates with a poor clinical outcome in many human cancers, and WDR5 itself has emerged as an attractive target for therapy. Most drug-discovery efforts center on the WIN site of WDR5 that is responsible for the recruitment of WDR5 to chromatin. Here, we describe discovery of a novel WDR5 WIN site antagonists containing a dihydroisoquinolinone bicyclic core using a structure-based design. These compounds exhibit picomolar binding affinity and selective concentration-dependent antiproliferative activities in sensitive MLL-fusion cell lines. Furthermore, these WDR5 WIN site binders inhibit proliferation in MYC-driven cancer cells and reduce MYC recruitment to chromatin at MYC/WDR5 co-bound genes. Thus, these molecules are useful probes to study the implication of WDR5 inhibition in cancers and serve as a potential starting point toward the discovery of anti-WDR5 therapeutics.
BACKGROUND - The discoidin domain receptor 1 (DDR1) is activated by collagens, upregulated in injured and fibrotic kidneys, and contributes to fibrosis by regulating extracellular matrix production, but how DDR1 controls fibrosis is poorly understood. DDR1 is a receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK). RTKs can translocate to the nucleus a nuclear localization sequence (NLS) present on the receptor itself or a ligand it is bound to. In the nucleus, RTKs regulate gene expression by binding chromatin directly or by interacting with transcription factors.
METHODS - To determine whether DDR1 translocates to the nucleus and whether this event is mediated by collagen-induced DDR1 activation, we generated renal cells expressing wild-type or mutant forms of DDR1 no longer able to bind collagen. Then, we determined the location of the DDR1 upon collagen stimulation. Using both biochemical assays and immunofluorescence, we analyzed the steps involved in DDR1 nuclear translocation.
RESULTS - We show that although DDR1 and its natural ligand, collagen, lack an NLS, DDR1 is present in the nucleus of injured human and mouse kidney proximal tubules. We show that DDR1 nuclear translocation requires collagen-mediated receptor activation and interaction of DDR1 with SEC61B, a component of the Sec61 translocon, and nonmuscle myosin IIA and -actin. Once in the nucleus, DDR1 binds to chromatin to increase the transcription of collagen IV, a major collagen upregulated in fibrosis.
CONCLUSIONS - These findings reveal a novel mechanism whereby activated DDR1 translates to the nucleus to regulate synthesis of profibrotic molecules.
Copyright © 2019 by the American Society of Nephrology.
Transcription factors positively and/or negatively impact gene expression by recruiting coregulatory factors, which interact through protein-protein binding. Here we demonstrate that mouse pancreas size and islet β-cell function are controlled by the ATP-dependent Swi/Snf chromatin remodeling coregulatory complex that physically associates with Pdx1, a diabetes-linked transcription factor essential to pancreatic morphogenesis and adult islet cell function and maintenance. Early embryonic deletion of just the Swi/Snf Brg1 ATPase subunit reduced multipotent pancreatic progenitor cell proliferation and resulted in pancreas hypoplasia. In contrast, removal of both Swi/Snf ATPase subunits, Brg1 and Brm, was necessary to compromise adult islet β-cell activity, which included whole-animal glucose intolerance, hyperglycemia, and impaired insulin secretion. Notably, lineage-tracing analysis revealed Swi/Snf-deficient β-cells lost the ability to produce the mRNAs for and other key metabolic genes without effecting the expression of many essential islet-enriched transcription factors. Swi/Snf was necessary for Pdx1 to bind to the gene enhancer, demonstrating the importance of this association in mediating chromatin accessibility. These results illustrate how fundamental the Pdx1:Swi/Snf coregulator complex is in the pancreas, and we discuss how disrupting their association could influence type 1 and type 2 diabetes susceptibility.
© 2019 by the American Diabetes Association.
The chromatin-associated protein WDR5 is a promising target for pharmacological inhibition in cancer. Drug discovery efforts center on the blockade of the "WIN site" of WDR5, a well-defined pocket that is amenable to small molecule inhibition. Various cancer contexts have been proposed to be targets for WIN site inhibitors, but a lack of understanding of WDR5 target genes and of the primary effects of WIN site inhibitors hampers their utility. Here, by the discovery of potent WIN site inhibitors, we demonstrate that the WIN site links WDR5 to chromatin at a small cohort of loci, including a specific subset of ribosome protein genes. WIN site inhibitors rapidly displace WDR5 from chromatin and decrease the expression of associated genes, causing translational inhibition, nucleolar stress, and p53 induction. Our studies define a mode by which WDR5 engages chromatin and forecast that WIN site blockade could have utility against multiple cancer types.
Copyright © 2019 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The sustained expression of the MAFB transcription factor in human islet β-cells represents a distinct difference in mice. Moreover, mRNA expression of closely related and islet β-cell-enriched MAFA does not peak in humans until after 9 years of age. We show that the MAFA protein also is weakly produced within the juvenile human islet β-cell population and that expression is postnatally restricted in mouse β-cells by de novo DNA methylation. To gain insight into how MAFB affects human β-cells, we developed a mouse model to ectopically express in adult mouse β-cells using transcriptional control sequences. Coexpression of MafB with MafA had no overt impact on mouse β-cells, suggesting that the human adult β-cell MAFA/MAFB heterodimer is functionally equivalent to the mouse MafA homodimer. However, MafB alone was unable to rescue the islet β-cell defects in a mouse mutant lacking MafA in β-cells. Of note, transgenic production of MafB in β-cells elevated tryptophan hydroxylase 1 mRNA production during pregnancy, which drives the serotonin biosynthesis critical for adaptive maternal β-cell responses. Together, these studies provide novel insight into the role of MAFB in human islet β-cells.
© 2018 by the American Diabetes Association.
Control of DNA copy number is essential to maintain genome stability and ensure proper cell and tissue function. In polyploid cells, the SNF2-domain-containing SUUR protein inhibits replication fork progression within specific regions of the genome to promote DNA underreplication. While dissecting the function of SUUR's SNF2 domain, we identified an interaction between SUUR and Rif1. Rif1 has many roles in DNA metabolism and regulates the replication timing program. We demonstrate that repression of DNA replication is dependent on Rif1. Rif1 localizes to active replication forks in a partially SUUR-dependent manner and directly regulates replication fork progression. Importantly, SUUR associates with replication forks in the absence of Rif1, indicating that Rif1 acts downstream of SUUR to inhibit fork progression. Our findings uncover an unrecognized function of the Rif1 protein as a regulator of replication fork progression.
© 2018, Munden et al.
Renal cell carcinomas (RCCs) are a diverse set of malignancies that have recently been shown to harbour mutations in a number of chromatin modifier genes - including PBRM1, SETD2, BAP1, KDM5C, KDM6A, and MLL2 - through high-throughput sequencing efforts. Current research focuses on understanding the biological activities that chromatin modifiers employ to suppress tumorigenesis and on developing clinical approaches that take advantage of this knowledge. Unsurprisingly, several common themes unify the functions of these epigenetic modifiers, particularly regulation of histone post-translational modifications and nucleosome organization. Furthermore, chromatin modifiers also govern processes crucial for DNA repair and maintenance of genomic integrity as well as the regulation of splicing and other key processes. Many chromatin modifiers have additional non-canonical roles in cytoskeletal regulation, which further contribute to genomic stability, expanding the repertoire of functions that might be essential in tumorigenesis. Our understanding of how mutations in chromatin modifiers contribute to tumorigenesis in RCC is improving but remains an area of intense investigation. Importantly, elucidating the activities of chromatin modifiers offers intriguing opportunities for the development of new therapeutic interventions in RCC.
Inactivation of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) E3 ubiquitin ligase protein is a hallmark of clear cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC). Identifying how pathways affected by VHL loss contribute to ccRCC remains challenging. We used a genome-wide in vitro expression strategy to identify proteins that bind VHL when hydroxylated. Zinc fingers and homeoboxes 2 (ZHX2) was found as a VHL target, and its hydroxylation allowed VHL to regulate its protein stability. Tumor cells from ccRCC patients with loss-of-function mutations usually had increased abundance and nuclear localization of ZHX2. Functionally, depletion of ZHX2 inhibited VHL-deficient ccRCC cell growth in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, integrated chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing and microarray analysis showed that ZHX2 promoted nuclear factor κB activation. These studies reveal ZHX2 as a potential therapeutic target for ccRCC.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.
Force generation within cells, mediated by motor proteins along cytoskeletal networks, maintains the function of multicellular structures during homeostasis and when generating collective forces. Here, we describe the use of chromatin dynamics to detect cellular force propagation [a technique termed SINK (sensors from intranuclear kinetics)] and investigate the force response of cells to disruption of the monolayer and changes in substrate stiffness. We find that chromatin dynamics change in a substrate stiffness-dependent manner within epithelial monolayers. We also investigate point defects within monolayers to map the impact on the strain field of a heterogeneous monolayer. We find that cell monolayers behave as a colloidal assembly rather than as a continuum since the data fit an exponential decay; the lateral characteristic length of recovery from the mechanical defect is ∼50 µm for cells with a 10 µm spacing. At distances greater than this characteristic length, cells behave similarly to those in a fully intact monolayer. This work demonstrates the power of SINK to investigate diseases including cancer and atherosclerosis that result from single cells or heterogeneities in monolayers.This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.
© 2018. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.