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)
Association of snRNA genes with coiled bodies is mediated by nascent snRNA transcripts.
BACKGROUND: Coiled bodies are nuclear organelles that are highly enriched in small nuclear ribonucleoproteins (snRNPs) and certain basal transcription factors. Surprisingly, coiled bodies not only contain mature U snRNPs but also associate with specific chromosomal loci, including gene clusters that encode U snRNAs and histone messenger RNAs. The mechanism(s) by which coiled bodies associate with these genes is completely unknown. RESULTS: Using stable cell lines, we show that artificial tandem arrays of human U1 and U2 snRNA genes colocalize with coiled bodies and that the frequency of the colocalization depends directly on the transcriptional activity of the array. Association of the genes with coiled bodies was abolished when the artificial U2 arrays contained promoter mutations that prevent transcription or when RNA polymerase II transcription was globally inhibited by alpha-amanitin. Remarkably, the association was also abolished when the U2 snRNA coding regions were replaced by heterologous sequences. CONCLUSIONS: The requirement for the U2 snRNA coding region indicates that association of snRNA genes with coiled bodies is mediated by the nascent U2 RNA itself, not by DNA or DNA-bound proteins. Our data provide the first evidence that association of genes with a nuclear organelle can be directed by an RNA and suggest an autogenous feedback regulation model. (+info)
Telomerase reverse transcriptase gene is a direct target of c-Myc but is not functionally equivalent in cellular transformation.
The telomerase reverse transcriptase component (TERT) is not expressed in most primary somatic human cells and tissues, but is upregulated in the majority of immortalized cell lines and tumors. Here, we identify the c-Myc transcription factor as a direct mediator of telomerase activation in primary human fibroblasts through its ability to specifically induce TERT gene expression. Through the use of a hormone inducible form of c-Myc (c-Myc-ER), we demonstrate that Myc-induced activation of the hTERT promoter requires an evolutionarily conserved E-box and that c-Myc-ER-induced accumulation of hTERT mRNA takes place in the absence of de novo protein synthesis. These findings demonstrate that the TERT gene is a direct transcriptional target of c-Myc. Since telomerase activation frequently correlates with immortalization and telomerase functions to stabilize telomers in cycling cells, we tested whether Myc-induced activation of TERT gene expression represents an important mechanism through which c-Myc acts to immortalize cells. Employing the rat embryo fibroblast cooperation assay, we show that TERT is unable to substitute for c-Myc in the transformation of primary rodent fibroblasts, suggesting that the transforming activities of Myc extend beyond its ability to activate TERT gene expression and hence telomerase activity. (+info)
Detailed methylation analysis of the glutathione S-transferase pi (GSTP1) gene in prostate cancer.
Glutathione-S-Transferases (GSTs) comprise a family of isoenzymes that provide protection to mammalian cells against electrophilic metabolites of carcinogens and reactive oxygen species. Previous studies have shown that the CpG-rich promoter region of the pi-class gene GSTP1 is methylated at single restriction sites in the majority of prostate cancers. In order to understand the nature of abnormal methylation of the GSTP1 gene in prostate cancer we undertook a detailed analysis of methylation at 131 CpG sites spanning the promoter and body of the gene. Our results show that DNA methylation is not confined to specific CpG sites in the promoter region of the GSTP1 gene but is extensive throughout the CpG island in prostate cancer cells. Furthermore we found that both alleles are abnormally methylated in this region. In normal prostate tissue, the entire CpG island was unmethylated, but extensive methylation was found outside the island in the body of the gene. Loss of GSTP1 expression correlated with DNA methylation of the CpG island in both prostate cancer cell lines and cancer tissues whereas methylation outside the CpG island in normal prostate tissue appeared to have no effect on gene expression. (+info)
B-MYB transactivates its own promoter through SP1-binding sites.
B-MYB is an ubiquitous protein required for mammalian cell growth. In this report we show that B-MYB transactivates its own promoter through a 120 bp segment proximal to the transcription start site. The B-MYB-responsive element does not contain myb-binding sites and gel-shift analysis shows that SP1, but not B-MYB, protein contained in SAOS2 cell extracts binds to the 120 bp B-myb promoter fragment. B-MYB-dependent transactivation is cooperatively increased in the presence of SP1, but not SP3 overexpression. When the SP1 elements of the B-myb promoter are transferred in front of a heterologous promoter, an increased response to B-MYB results. In contrast, c-MYB, the prototype member of the Myb family, is not able to activate the luciferase construct containing the SP1 elements. With the use of an SP1-GAL4 fusion protein, we have determined that the cooperative activation occurs through the domain A of SP1. These observations suggest that B-MYB functions as a coactivator of SP1, and that diverse combinations of myb and SP1 sites may dictate the responsiveness of myb-target genes to the various members of the myb family. (+info)
Differential stability of the DNA-activated protein kinase catalytic subunit mRNA in human glioma cells.
DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) functions in double-strand break repair and immunoglobulin [V(D)J] recombination. We previously established a radiation-sensitive human cell line, M059J, derived from a malignant glioma, which lacks the catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) of the DNA-PK multiprotein complex. Although previous Northern blot analysis failed to detect the DNA-PKcs transcript in these cells, we show here through quantitative studies that the transcript is present, albeit at greatly reduced (approximately 20x) levels. Sequencing revealed no genetic alteration in either the promoter region, the kinase domain, or the 3' untranslated region of the DNA-PKcs gene to account for the reduced transcript levels. Nuclear run-on transcription assays indicated that the rate of DNA-PKcs transcription in M059J and DNA-PKcs proficient cell lines was similar, but the stability of the DNA-PKcs message in the M059J cell line was drastically (approximately 20x) reduced. Furthermore, M059J cells lack an alternately spliced DNA-PKcs transcript that accounts for a minor (5-20%) proportion of the DNA-PKcs message in all other cell lines tested. Thus, alterations in DNA-PKcs mRNA stability and/or the lack of the alternate mRNA may result in the loss of DNA-PKcs activity. This finding has important implications as DNA-PKcs activity is essential to cells repairing damage induced by radiation or radiomimetric agents. (+info)
Id helix-loop-helix proteins inhibit nucleoprotein complex formation by the TCF ETS-domain transcription factors.
The Id subfamily of helix-loop-helix (HLH) proteins plays a fundamental role in the regulation of cellular proliferation and differentiation. Id proteins are thought to inhibit differentiation mainly through interaction with other HLH proteins and by blocking their DNA-binding activity. Members of the ternary complex factor (TCF) subfamily of ETS-domain proteins have key functions in regulating immediate-early gene expression in response to mitogenic stimulation. TCFs form DNA-bound complexes with the serum response factor (SRF) and are direct targets of MAP kinase (MAPK) signal transduction cascades. In this study we demonstrate functional interactions between Id proteins and TCFs. Ids bind to the ETS DNA-binding domain and disrupt the formation of DNA-bound complexes between TCFs and SRF on the c-fos serum response element (SRE). Inhibition occurs by disrupting protein-DNA interactions with the TCF component of this complex. In vivo, the Id proteins cause down-regulation of the transcriptional activity mediated by the TCFs and thereby block MAPK signalling to SREs. Therefore, our results demonstrate a novel facet of Id function in the coordination of mitogenic signalling and cell cycle entry. (+info)
Cooperative binding of heat shock factor to the yeast HSP82 promoter in vivo and in vitro.
Previous work has shown that heat shock factor (HSF) plays a central role in remodeling the chromatin structure of the yeast HSP82 promoter via constitutive interactions with its high-affinity binding site, heat shock element 1 (HSE1). The HSF-HSE1 interaction is also critical for stimulating both basal (noninduced) and induced transcription. By contrast, the function of the adjacent, inducibly occupied HSE2 and -3 is unknown. In this study, we examined the consequences of mutations in HSE1, HSE2, and HSE3 on HSF binding and transactivation. We provide evidence that in vivo, HSF binds to these three sites cooperatively. This cooperativity is seen both before and after heat shock, is required for full inducibility, and can be recapitulated in vitro on both linear and supercoiled templates. Quantitative in vitro footprinting reveals that occupancy of HSE2 and -3 by Saccharomyces cerevisiae HSF (ScHSF) is enhanced approximately 100-fold through cooperative interactions with the HSF-HSE1 complex. HSE1 point mutants, whose basal transcription is virtually abolished, are functionally compensated by cooperative interactions with HSE2 and -3 following heat shock, resulting in robust inducibility. Using a competition binding assay, we show that the affinity of recombinant HSF for the full-length HSP82 promoter is reduced nearly an order of magnitude by a single-point mutation within HSE1, paralleling the effect of these mutations on noninduced transcript levels. We propose that the remodeled chromatin phenotype previously shown for HSE1 point mutants (and lost in HSE1 deletion mutants) stems from the retention of productive, cooperative interactions between HSF and its target binding sites. (+info)