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Genes and Development [journal]
- Rap1 relocalization contributes to the chromatin-mediated gene expression profile and pace of cell senescence. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Genes Dev 2013 Jun 11.
Cellular senescence is accompanied by dramatic changes in chromatin structure and gene expression. Using Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutants lacking telomerase (tlc1Δ) to model senescence, we found that with critical telomere shortening, the telomere-binding protein Rap1 (repressor activator protein 1) relocalizes to the upstream promoter regions of hundreds of new target genes. The set of new Rap1 targets at senescence (NRTS) is preferentially activated at senescence, and experimental manipulations of Rap1 levels indicate that it contributes directly to NRTS activation. A notable subset of NRTS includes the core histone-encoding genes; we found that Rap1 contributes to their repression and that histone protein levels decline at senescence. Rap1 and histones also display a target site-specific antagonism that leads to diminished nucleosome occupancy at the promoters of up-regulated NRTS. This antagonism apparently impacts the rate of senescence because underexpression of Rap1 or overexpression of the core histones delays senescence. Rap1 relocalization is not a simple consequence of lost telomere-binding sites, but rather depends on the Mec1 checkpoint kinase. Rap1 relocalization is thus a novel mechanism connecting DNA damage responses (DDRs) at telomeres to global changes in chromatin and gene expression while driving the pace of senescence.
- Structural basis for R-spondin recognition by LGR4/5/6 receptors. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Genes Dev 2013 Jun 11.
The R-spondin (RSPO) family of secreted proteins (RSPO1-RSPO4) has pleiotropic functions in development and stem cell growth by strongly enhancing Wnt pathway activation. Recently, leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptor 4 (LGR4), LGR5, and LGR6 have been identified as receptors for RSPOs. Here we report the complex structure of the LGR4 extracellular domain (ECD) with the RSPO1 N-terminal fragment (RSPO1-2F) containing two adjacent furin-like cysteine-rich domains (FU-CRDs). The LGR4-ECD adopts the anticipated TLR horseshoe structure and uses its concave surface close to the N termini to bind RSPO1-2F. Both the FU-CRD1 and FU-CRD2 domains of RSPO1 contribute to LGR4 interaction, and binding and cellular assays identified critical RSPO1 residues for its biological activities. Our results define the molecular mechanism by which the LGR4/5/6 receptors recognize RSPOs and also provide structural insights into the signaling difference between the LGR4/5/6 receptors and other members in the LGR family.
- The structural basis of R-spondin recognition by LGR5 and RNF43. [JOURNAL ARTICLE]
- Genes Dev 2013 Jun 11.
R-spondins (RSPOs) enhance Wnt signaling, affect stem cell behavior, bind to leucine-rich repeat-containing G-protein-coupled receptors 4-6, (LGR4-6) and the transmembrane E3 ubiquitin ligases RING finger 43/zinc and RING finger 3 (RNF43/ZNRF3). The structure of RSPO1 bound to both LGR5 and RNF43 ectodomains confirms their physical linkage. RSPO1 is sandwiched by LGR5 and RNF43, with its rod module of the cysteine-rich domain (CRD) contacting LGR5 and a hairpin inserted into RNF43. LGR5 does not contact RNF43 but increases the affinity of RSPO1 to RNF43, supporting LGR5 as an engagement receptor and RNF43 as an effector receptor. Disease mutations map to the RSPO1-RNF43 interface, which promises therapeutic targeting.
- The methyltransferase SMYD3 mediates the recruitment of transcriptional cofactors at the myostatin and c-Met genes and regulates skeletal muscle atrophy. [Journal Article]
- Genes Dev 2013 Jun 1; 27(11):1299-312.
Elucidating the epigenetic mechanisms underlying muscle mass determination and skeletal muscle wasting holds the potential of identifying molecular pathways that constitute possible drug targets. Here, we report that the methyltransferase SMYD3 modulates myostatin and c-Met transcription in primary skeletal muscle cells and C2C12 myogenic cells. SMYD3 targets the myostatin and c-Met genes and participates in the recruitment of the bromodomain protein BRD4 to their regulatory regions through protein-protein interaction. By recruiting BRD4, SMYD3 favors chromatin engagement of the pause-release factor p-TEFb (positive transcription elongation factor) and elongation of Ser2-phosphorylated RNA polymerase II (PolIISer2P). Reducing SMYD3 decreases myostatin and c-Met transcription, thus protecting from glucocorticoid-induced myotube atrophy. Supporting functional relevance of the SMYD3/BRD4 interaction, BRD4 pharmacological blockade by the small molecule JQ1 prevents dexamethasone-induced myostatin and atrogene up-regulation and spares myotube atrophy. Importantly, in a mouse model of dexamethasone-induced skeletal muscle atrophy, SMYD3 depletion prevents muscle loss and fiber size decrease. These findings reveal a mechanistic link between SMYD3/BRD4-dependent transcriptional regulation, muscle mass determination, and skeletal muscle atrophy and further encourage testing of small molecules targeting specific epigenetic regulators in animal models of muscle wasting.
- Multivalent histone engagement by the linked tandem Tudor and PHD domains of UHRF1 is required for the epigenetic inheritance of DNA methylation. [Journal Article]
- Genes Dev 2013 Jun 1; 27(11):1288-98.
Histone post-translational modifications regulate chromatin structure and function largely through interactions with effector proteins that often contain multiple histone-binding domains. While significant progress has been made characterizing individual effector domains, the role of paired domains and how they function in a combinatorial fashion within chromatin are poorly defined. Here we show that the linked tandem Tudor and plant homeodomain (PHD) of UHRF1 (ubiquitin-like PHD and RING finger domain-containing protein 1) operates as a functional unit in cells, providing a defined combinatorial readout of a heterochromatin signature within a single histone H3 tail that is essential for UHRF1-directed epigenetic inheritance of DNA methylation. These findings provide critical support for the "histone code" hypothesis, demonstrating that multivalent histone engagement plays a key role in driving a fundamental downstream biological event in chromatin.
- Protein kinase A activates the Hippo pathway to modulate cell proliferation and differentiation. [Journal Article]
- Genes Dev 2013 Jun 1; 27(11):1223-32.
The Hippo tumor suppressor pathway plays an important role in tissue homeostasis that ensures development of functional organs at proper size. The YAP transcription coactivator is a major effector of the Hippo pathway and is phosphorylated and inactivated by the Hippo pathway kinases Lats1/2. It has recently been shown that YAP activity is regulated by G-protein-coupled receptor signaling. Here we demonstrate that cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP), a second messenger downstream from Gαs-coupled receptors, acts through protein kinase A (PKA) and Rho GTPases to stimulate Lats kinases and YAP phosphorylation. We also show that inactivation of YAP is crucial for PKA-induced adipogenesis. In addition, PKA activation in Drosophila inhibits the expression of Yorki (Yki, a YAP ortholog) target genes involved in cell proliferation and death. Taken together, our study demonstrates that Hippo-YAP is a key signaling branch of cAMP and PKA and reveals new insight into mechanisms of PKA in regulating a broad range of cellular functions.
- State-dependent signaling by Cav1.2 regulates hair follicle stem cell function. [Journal Article]
- Genes Dev 2013 Jun 1; 27(11):1217-22.
The signals regulating stem cell activation during tissue regeneration remain poorly understood. We investigated the baldness associated with mutations in the voltage-gated calcium channel (VGCC) Cav1.2 underlying Timothy syndrome (TS). While hair follicle stem cells express Cav1.2, they lack detectable voltage-dependent calcium currents. Cav1.2(TS) acts in a dominant-negative manner to markedly delay anagen, while L-type channel blockers act through Cav1.2 to induce anagen and overcome the TS phenotype. Cav1.2 regulates production of the bulge-derived BMP inhibitor follistatin-like1 (Fstl1), derepressing stem cell quiescence. Our findings show how channels act in nonexcitable tissues to regulate stem cells and may lead to novel therapeutics for tissue regeneration.
- linc-HOXA1 is a noncoding RNA that represses Hoxa1 transcription in cis. [Journal Article]
- Genes Dev 2013 Jun 1; 27(11):1260-71.
Recently, researchers have uncovered the presence of many long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) in embryonic stem cells and believe they are important regulators of the differentiation process. However, there are only a few examples explicitly linking lncRNA activity to transcriptional regulation. Here, we used transcript counting and spatial localization to characterize a lncRNA (dubbed linc-HOXA1) located ∼50 kb from the Hoxa gene cluster in mouse embryonic stem cells. Single-cell transcript counting revealed that linc-HOXA1 and Hoxa1 RNA are highly variable at the single-cell level and that whenever linc-HOXA1 RNA abundance was high, Hoxa1 mRNA abundance was low and vice versa. Knockdown analysis revealed that depletion of linc-HOXA1 RNA at its site of transcription increased transcription of the Hoxa1 gene cis to the chromosome and that exposure of cells to retinoic acid can disrupt this interaction. We further showed that linc-HOXA1 RNA represses Hoxa1 by recruiting the protein PURB as a transcriptional cofactor. Our results highlight the power of transcript visualization to characterize lncRNA function and also suggest that PURB can facilitate lncRNA-mediated transcriptional regulation.
- Tissue-specific splicing of a ubiquitously expressed transcription factor is essential for muscle differentiation. [Journal Article]
- Genes Dev 2013 Jun 1; 27(11):1247-59.
Alternate splicing contributes extensively to cellular complexity by generating protein isoforms with divergent functions. However, the role of alternate isoforms in development remains poorly understood. Mef2 transcription factors are essential transducers of cell signaling that modulate differentiation of many cell types. Among Mef2 family members, Mef2D is unique, as it undergoes tissue-specific splicing to generate a muscle-specific isoform. Since the ubiquitously expressed (Mef2Dα1) and muscle-specific (Mef2Dα2) isoforms of Mef2D are both expressed in muscle, we examined the relative contribution of each Mef2D isoform to differentiation. Using both in vitro and in vivo models, we demonstrate that Mef2D isoforms act antagonistically to modulate differentiation. While chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) sequencing analysis shows that the Mef2D isoforms bind an overlapping set of genes, only Mef2Dα2 activates late muscle transcription. Mechanistically, the differential ability of Mef2D isoforms to activate transcription depends on their susceptibility to phosphorylation by protein kinase A (PKA). Phosphorylation of Mef2Dα1 by PKA provokes its association with corepressors. Conversely, exon switching allows Mef2Dα2 to escape this inhibitory phosphorylation, permitting recruitment of Ash2L for transactivation of muscle genes. Thus, our results reveal a novel mechanism in which a tissue-specific alternate splicing event has evolved that permits a ubiquitously expressed transcription factor to escape inhibitory signaling for temporal regulation of gene expression.
- Bicaudal-D uses a parallel, homodimeric coiled coil with heterotypic registry to coordinate recruitment of cargos to dynein. [Journal Article]
- Genes Dev 2013 Jun 1; 27(11):1233-46.
Cytoplasmic dynein is the major minus end-directed microtubule motor in eukaryotes. However, there is little structural insight into how different cargos are recognized and linked to the motor complex. Here we describe the 2.2 Å resolution crystal structure of a cargo-binding region of the dynein adaptor Bicaudal-D (BicD), which reveals a parallel coiled-coil homodimer. We identify a shared binding site for two cargo-associated proteins-Rab6 and the RNA-binding protein Egalitarian (Egl)-within a region of the BicD structure with classical, homotypic core packing. Structure-based mutagenesis in Drosophila provides evidence that occupancy of this site drives association of BicD with dynein, thereby coupling motor recruitment to cargo availability. The structure also contains a region in which, remarkably, the same residues in the polypeptide sequence have different heptad registry in each chain. In vitro and in vivo analysis of a classical Drosophila dominant mutation reveals that this heterotypic region regulates the recruitment of dynein to BicD. Our results support a model in which the heterotypic segment is part of a molecular switch that promotes release of BicD autoinhibition following cargo binding to the neighboring, homotypic coiled-coil region. Overall, our data reveal a pivotal role of a highly asymmetric coiled-coil domain in coordinating the assembly of cargo-motor complexes.