Transcriptional repression by the Drosophila giant protein: cis element positioning provides an alternative means of interpreting an effector gradient.
Early developmental patterning of the Drosophila embryo is driven by the activities of a diverse set of maternally and zygotically derived transcription factors, including repressors encoded by gap genes such as Kruppel, knirps, giant and the mesoderm-specific snail. The mechanism of repression by gap transcription factors is not well understood at a molecular level. Initial characterization of these transcription factors suggests that they act as short-range repressors, interfering with the activity of enhancer or promoter elements 50 to 100 bp away. To better understand the molecular mechanism of short-range repression, we have investigated the properties of the Giant gap protein. We tested the ability of endogenous Giant to repress when bound close to the transcriptional initiation site and found that Giant effectively represses a heterologous promoter when binding sites are located at -55 bp with respect to the start of transcription. Consistent with its role as a short-range repressor, as the binding sites are moved to more distal locations, repression is diminished. Rather than exhibiting a sharp 'step-function' drop-off in activity, however, repression is progressively restricted to areas of highest Giant concentration. Less than a two-fold difference in Giant protein concentration is sufficient to determine a change in transcriptional status of a target gene. This effect demonstrates that Giant protein gradients can be differentially interpreted by target promoters, depending on the exact location of the Giant binding sites within the gene. Thus, in addition to binding site affinity and number, cis element positioning within a promoter can affect the response of a gene to a repressor gradient. We also demonstrate that a chimeric Gal4-Giant protein lacking the basic/zipper domain can specifically repress reporter genes, suggesting that the Giant effector domain is an autonomous repression domain. (+info)
Four dimers of lambda repressor bound to two suitably spaced pairs of lambda operators form octamers and DNA loops over large distances.
Transcription factors that are bound specifically to DNA often interact with each other over thousands of base pairs  . Large DNA loops resulting from such interactions have been observed in Escherichia coli with the transcription factors deoR  and NtrC , but such interactions are not, as yet, well understood. We propose that unique protein complexes, that are not present in solution, may form specifically on DNA. Their uniqueness would make it possible for them to interact tightly and specifically with each other. We used the repressor and operators of coliphage lambda to construct a model system in which to test our proposition. lambda repressor is a dimer at physiological concentrations, but forms tetramers and octamers at a hundredfold higher concentration. We predict that two lambda repressor dimers form a tetramer in vitro when bound to two lambda operators spaced 24 bp apart and that two such tetramers interact to form an octamer. We examined, in vitro, relaxed circular plasmid DNA in which such operator pairs were separated by 2,850 bp and 2,470 bp. Of these molecules, 29% formed loops as seen by electron microscopy (EM). The loop increased the tightness of binding of lambda repressor to lambda operator. Consequently, repression of the lambda PR promoter in vivo was increased fourfold by the presence of a second pair of lambda operators, separated by a distance of 3,600 bp. (+info)
ETO-2, a new member of the ETO-family of nuclear proteins.
The t(8;21) is associated with 12-15% of acute myelogenous leukemias of the M2 subtype. The translocation results in the fusion of two genes, AML1 (CBFA2) on chromosome 21 and ETO (MTG8) on chromosome 8. AML1 encodes a DNA binding factor; the ETO protein product is less well characterized, but is thought to be a transcription factor. Here we describe the isolation and characterization of ETO-2, a murine cDNA that encodes a new member of the ETO family of proteins. ETO-2 is 75% identical to murine ETO and shares very high sequence identities over four regions of the protein with ETO (domain I-III and zinc-finger). Northern analysis identifies ETO-2 transcripts in many of the murine tissues analysed and in the developing mouse embryo. ETO-2 is also expressed in myeloid and erythroid cell lines. We confirmed the nuclear localization of ETO-2 and demonstrated that domain III and the zinc-finger region are not required for nuclear localization. We further showed that a region within ETO, containing domain II, mediates dimerization among family members. This region is conserved in the oncoprotein AML-1/ETO. The recent identification of another ETO-like protein, myeloid translocation gene-related protein 1, together with the data presented here, demonstrates that at least three ETO proteins exist with the potential to form dimers in the cell nucleus. (+info)
Coupling of the cell cycle and myogenesis through the cyclin D1-dependent interaction of MyoD with cdk4.
Proliferating myoblasts express the muscle determination factor, MyoD, throughout the cell cycle in the absence of differentiation. Here we show that a mitogen-sensitive mechanism, involving the direct interaction between MyoD and cdk4, restricts myoblast differentiation to cells that have entered into the G0 phase of the cell cycle under mitogen withdrawal. Interaction between MyoD and cdk4 disrupts MyoD DNA-binding, muscle-specific gene activation and myogenic conversion of 10T1/2 cells independently of cyclin D1 and the CAK activation of cdk4. Forced induction of cyclin D1 in myotubes results in the cytoplasmic to nuclear translocation of cdk4. The specific MyoD-cdk4 interaction in dividing myoblasts, coupled with the cyclin D1-dependent nuclear targeting of cdk4, suggests a mitogen-sensitive mechanism whereby cyclin D1 can regulate MyoD function and the onset of myogenesis by controlling the cellular location of cdk4 rather than the phosphorylation status of MyoD. (+info)
Assembly requirements of PU.1-Pip (IRF-4) activator complexes: inhibiting function in vivo using fused dimers.
Gene expression in higher eukaryotes appears to be regulated by specific combinations of transcription factors binding to regulatory sequences. The Ets factor PU.1 and the IRF protein Pip (IRF-4) represent a pair of interacting transcription factors implicated in regulating B cell-specific gene expression. Pip is recruited to its binding site on DNA by phosphorylated PU.1. PU.1-Pip interaction is shown to be template directed and involves two distinct protein-protein interaction surfaces: (i) the ets and IRF DNA-binding domains; and (ii) the phosphorylated PEST region of PU.1 and a lysine-requiring putative alpha-helix in Pip. Thus, a coordinated set of protein-protein and protein-DNA contacts are essential for PU.1-Pip ternary complex assembly. To analyze the function of these factors in vivo, we engineered chimeric repressors containing the ets and IRF DNA-binding domains connected by a flexible POU domain linker. When stably expressed, the wild-type fused dimer strongly repressed the expression of a rearranged immunoglobulin lambda gene, thereby establishing the functional importance of PU.1-Pip complexes in B cell gene expression. Comparative analysis of the wild-type dimer with a series of mutant dimers distinguished a gene regulated by PU.1 and Pip from one regulated by PU.1 alone. This strategy should prove generally useful in analyzing the function of interacting transcription factors in vivo, and for identifying novel genes regulated by such complexes. (+info)
p50(cdc37) acting in concert with Hsp90 is required for Raf-1 function.
Genetic screens in Drosophila have identified p50(cdc37) to be an essential component of the sevenless receptor/mitogen-activated kinase protein (MAPK) signaling pathway, but neither the function nor the target of p50(cdc37) in this pathway has been defined. In this study, we examined the role of p50(cdc37) and its Hsp90 chaperone partner in Raf/Mek/MAPK signaling biochemically. We found that coexpression of wild-type p50(cdc37) with Raf-1 resulted in robust and dose-dependent activation of Raf-1 in Sf9 cells. In addition, p50(cdc37) greatly potentiated v-Src-mediated Raf-1 activation. Moreover, we found that p50(cdc37) is the primary determinant of Hsp90 recruitment to Raf-1. Overexpression of a p50(cdc37) mutant which is unable to recruit Hsp90 into the Raf-1 complex inhibited Raf-1 and MAPK activation by growth factors. Similarly, pretreatment with geldanamycin (GA), an Hsp90-specific inhibitor, prevented both the association of Raf-1 with the p50(cdc37)-Hsp90 heterodimer and Raf-1 kinase activation by serum. Activation of Raf-1 via baculovirus coexpression with oncogenic Src or Ras in Sf9 cells was also strongly inhibited by dominant negative p50(cdc37) or by GA. Thus, formation of a ternary Raf-1-p50(cdc37)-Hsp90 complex is crucial for Raf-1 activity and MAPK pathway signaling. These results provide the first biochemical evidence for the requirement of the p50(cdc37)-Hsp90 complex in protein kinase regulation and for Raf-1 function in particular. (+info)
C/EBPalpha regulates generation of C/EBPbeta isoforms through activation of specific proteolytic cleavage.
C/EBPalpha and C/EBPbeta are intronless genes that can produce several N-terminally truncated isoforms through the process of alternative translation initiation at downstream AUG codons. C/EBPbeta has been reported to produce four isoforms: full-length 38-kDa C/EBPbeta, 35-kDa LAP (liver-enriched transcriptional activator protein), 21-kDa LIP (liver-enriched transcriptional inhibitory protein), and a 14-kDa isoform. In this report, we investigated the mechanisms by which C/EBPbeta isoforms are generated in the liver and in cultured cells. Using an in vitro translation system, we found that LIP can be generated by two mechanisms: alternative translation and a novel mechanism-specific proteolytic cleavage of full-length C/EBPbeta. Studies of mice in which the C/EBPalpha gene had been deleted (C/EBPalpha-/-) showed that the regulation of C/EBPbeta proteolysis is dependent on C/EBPalpha. The induction of C/EBPalpha in cultured cells leads to induced cleavage of C/EBPbeta to generate the LIP isoform. We characterized the cleavage activity in mouse liver extracts and found that the proteolytic cleavage activity is specific to prenatal and newborn livers, is sensitive to chymostatin, and is completely abolished in C/EBPalpha-/- animals. The lack of cleavage activity in the livers of C/EBPalpha-/- mice correlates with the decreased levels of LIP in the livers of these animals. Analysis of LIP production during liver regeneration showed that, in this system, the transient induction of LIP is dependent on the third AUG codon and most likely involves translational control. We propose that there are two mechanisms by which C/EBPbeta isoforms might be generated in the liver and in cultured cells: one that is determined by translation and a second that involves C/EBPalpha-dependent, specific proteolytic cleavage of full-length C/EBPbeta. The latter mechanism implicates C/EBPalpha in the regulation of posttranslational generation of the dominant negative C/EBPbeta isoform, LIP. (+info)
The significance of tetramerization in promoter recruitment by Stat5.
Stat5a and Stat5b are rapidly activated by a wide range of cytokines and growth factors, including interleukin-2 (IL-2). We have previously shown that these signal transducers and activators of transcription (STAT proteins) are key regulatory proteins that bind to two tandem gamma interferon-activated site (GAS) motifs within an IL-2 response element (positive regulatory region III [PRRIII]) in the human IL-2Ralpha promoter. In this study, we demonstrate cooperative binding of Stat5 to PRRIII and explore the molecular basis underlying this cooperativity. We demonstrate that formation of a tetrameric Stat5 complex is essential for the IL-2-inducible activation of PRRIII. Stable tetramer formation of Stat5 is mediated through protein-protein interactions involving a tryptophan residue conserved in all STATs and a lysine residue in the Stat5 N-terminal domain (N domain). The functional importance of tetramer formation is shown by the decreased levels of transcriptional activation associated with mutations in these residues. Moreover, the requirement for STAT protein-protein interactions for gene activation from a promoter with tandemly linked GAS motifs can be relieved by strengthening the avidity of protein-DNA interactions for the individual binding sites. Taken together, these studies demonstrate that a dimeric but tetramerization-deficient Stat5 protein can activate only a subset of target sites. For functional activity on a wider range of potential recognition sites, N-domain-mediated oligomerization is essential. (+info)