Regulation of histone acetyltransferases p300 and PCAF by the bHLH protein twist and adenoviral oncoprotein E1A.
Histone acetyltransferases (HAT) play a critical role in transcriptional control by relieving repressive effects of chromatin, and yet how HATs themselves are regulated remains largely unknown. Here, it is shown that Twist directly binds two independent HAT domains of acetyltransferases, p300 and p300/CBP-associated factor (PCAF), and directly regulates their HAT activities. The N terminus of Twist is a primary domain interacting with both acetyltransferases, and the same domain is required for inhibition of p300-dependent transcription by Twist. Adenovirus E1A protein mimics the effects of Twist by inhibiting the HAT activities of p300 and PCAF. These findings establish a cogent argument for considering the HAT domains as a direct target for acetyltransferase regulation by both a cellular transcription factor and a viral oncoprotein. (+info
Mutations within or upstream of the basic helix-loop-helix domain of the TWIST gene are specific to Saethre-Chotzen syndrome.
Saethre-Chotzen syndrome (ACS III) is an autosomal dominant craniosynostosis syndrome recently ascribed to mutations in the TWIST gene, a basic helix-loop-helix (b-HLH) transcription factor regulating head mesenchyme cell development during cranial neural tube formation in mouse. Studying a series of 22 unrelated ACS III patients, we have found TWIST mutations in 16/22 cases. Interestingly, these mutations consistently involved the b-HLH domain of the protein. Indeed, mutant genotypes included frameshift deletions/insertions, nonsense and missense mutations, either truncating or disrupting the b-HLH motif of the protein. This observation gives additional support to the view that most ACS III cases result from loss-of-function mutations at the TWIST locus. The P250R recurrent FGFR 3 mutation was found in 2/22 cases presenting mild clinical manifestations of the disease but 4/22 cases failed to harbour TWIST or FGFR 3 mutations. Clinical re-examination of patients carrying TWIST mutations failed to reveal correlations between the mutant genotype and severity of the phenotype. Finally, since no TWIST mutations were detected in 40 cases of isolated coronal craniosynostosis, the present study suggests that TWIST mutations are specific to Saethre-Chotzen syndrome. (+info
Limb and skin abnormalities in mice lacking IKKalpha.
The gene encoding inhibitor of kappa B (IkappaB) kinase alpha (IKKalpha; also called IKK1) was disrupted by gene targeting. IKKalpha-deficient mice died perinatally. In IKKalpha-deficient fetuses, limb outgrowth was severely impaired despite unaffected skeletal development. The epidermal cells in IKKalpha-deficient fetuses were highly proliferative with dysregulated epidermal differentiation. In the basal layer, degradation of IkappaB and nuclear localization of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB) were not observed. Thus, IKKalpha is essential for NF-kappaB activation in the limb and skin during embryogenesis. In contrast, there was no impairment of NF-kappaB activation induced by either interleukin-1 or tumor necrosis factor-alpha in IKKalpha-deficient embryonic fibroblasts and thymocytes, indicating that IKKalpha is not essential for cytokine-induced activation of NF-kappaB. (+info
An interplay between two EGF-receptor ligands, Vein and Spitz, is required for the formation of a subset of muscle precursors in Drosophila.
Activation of the Drosophila EGF-receptor (DER) is spatially and temporally controlled by the release of its various ligands. DER and its ligand Spitz mediate the formation of specific somatic muscle precursors. We show that a second DER ligand, Vein, complements the activity of Spitz in the development of various somatic muscle precursors. In vn mutant embryos, the DER-dependent muscle precursors do not form in some of the segments. This phenotype is significantly enhanced in embryos carrying only one copy of wild type spitz. Our analysis suggests that Vein activation of DER differs qualitatively from that of Spitz in that it does not lead to the expression of the inhibitory protein Argos, possibly leading to a continuous activation of the DER signaling pathway. (+info
Functions for Drosophila brachyenteron and forkhead in mesoderm specification and cell signalling.
The visceral musculature of the larval midgut of Drosophila has a lattice-type structure and consists of an inner stratum of circular fibers and an outer stratum of longitudinal fibers. The longitudinal fibers originate from the posterior tip of the mesoderm anlage, which has been termed the caudal visceral mesoderm (CVM). In this study, we investigate the specification of the CVM and particularly the role of the Drosophila Brachyury-homologue brachyenteron. Supported by fork head, brachyenteron mediates the early specification of the CVM along with zinc-finger homeodomain protein-1. This is the first function described for brachyenteron or fork head in the mesoderm of Drosophila. The mode of cooperation resembles the interaction of the Xenopus homologues Xbra and Pintallavis. Another function of brachyenteron is to establish the surface properties of the CVM cells, which are essential for their orderly migration along the trunk-derived visceral mesoderm. During this movement, the CVM cells, under the control of brachyenteron, induce the formation of one muscle/pericardial precursor cell in each parasegment. We propose that the functions of brachyenteron in mesodermal development of Drosophila are comparable to the roles of the vertebrate Brachyury genes during gastrulation. (+info
Mesoderm-determining transcription in Drosophila is alleviated by mutations in TAF(II)60 and TAF(II)110.
In Drosophila, a coordinate interplay between the Rel transcription factor Dorsal and the basic Helix-Loop-Helix transcription factor Twist initiates mesoderm formation by activating the zygotic expression of mesoderm-determining genes. Here, we show that TBP-associated-factors (TAF(II)s) within the basal transcription factor TFIID mediate transcriptional activation by Dorsal and Twist. Dorsal interacts with TAF(II)110 and TAF(II)60, while Twist contacts TAF(II)110. The TAF(II):activator interactions mediate simple and synergistic transactivation by Dorsal and Twist in vitro. Mutations in TAF(II)60 or TAF(II)110 alleviate the transcription of Dorsal and Twist target genes. Gene dosage assays imply that an interplay of Dorsal and Twist with TAF(II)110 is critically required for the activation of mesoderm-determining gene expression in the Drosophila embryo. The results provide evidence that TAF(II)-subunits within the TFIID complex play an important role during the molecular events leading to initiation of mesoderm formation in Drosophila. (+info
Twist is a potential oncogene that inhibits apoptosis.
Oncogene activation increases susceptibility to apoptosis. Thus, tumorigenesis must depend, in part, on compensating mutations that protect from programmed cell death. A functional screen for cDNAs that could counteract the proapoptotic effects of the myc oncogene identified two related bHLH family members, Twist and Dermo1. Both of these proteins inhibited oncogene- and p53-dependent cell death. Twist expression bypassed p53-induced growth arrest. These effects correlated with an ability of Twist to interfere with activation of a p53-dependent reporter and to impair induction of p53 target genes in response to DNA damage. An underlying explanation for this observation may be provided by the ability of Twist to reduce expression of the ARF tumor suppressor. Thus, Twist may affect p53 indirectly through modulation of the ARF/MDM2/p53 pathway. Consistent with a role as a potential oncoprotein, Twist expression promoted colony formation of E1A/ras-transformed mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) in soft agar. Furthermore, Twist was inappropriately expressed in 50% of rhabdomyosarcomas, a tumor that arises from skeletal muscle precursors that fail to differentiate. Twist is known to block myogenic differentiation. Thus, Twist may play multiple roles in the formation of rhabdomyosarcomas, halting terminal differentiation, inhibiting apoptosis, and interfering with the p53 tumor-suppressor pathway. (+info
Expression patterns of Twist and Fgfr1, -2 and -3 in the developing mouse coronal suture suggest a key role for twist in suture initiation and biogenesis.
Sutural growth depends on maintenance of a balance between proliferation of osteogenic stem cells and their differentiation to form new bone, so that the stem cell population is maintained until growth of the skull is complete. The identification of heterozygous mutations in FGFR1, -2 and -3 and TWIST as well as microdeletions of TWIST in human craniosynostosis syndromes has highlighted these genes as playing important roles in maintaining the suture as a growth centre. In contrast to Drosophila, a molecular relationship between human (or other vertebrate) TWIST and FGFR genes has not yet been established. TWIST mutations exert their effect via haploinsufficiency whereas FGFR mutations have a gain-of-function mechanism of action. To investigate the biological basis of FGFR signalling pathways in the developing calvarium we compared the expression patterns of Twist with those of Fgfr1, -2 and -3 in the fetal mouse coronal suture over the course of embryonic days 14-18, as the suture is initiated and matures. Our results show that: (1) Twist expression precedes that of Fgfr genes at the time of initiation of the coronal suture; (2) in contrast to Fgfr transcripts, which are localised within and around the developing bone domains, Twist is expressed by the midsutural mesenchyme cells. Twist expression domains show some overlap with those of Fgfr2, which is expressed in the most immature (proliferating) osteogenic tissue. (+info