Direct inhibition of the DNA-binding activity of POU transcription factors Pit-1 and Brn-3 by selective binding of a phenyl-furan-benzimidazole dication.
ABSTRACT: The development of small molecules to control gene expression could be the spearhead of future-targeted therapeutic approaches in multiple pathologies. Among heterocyclic dications developed with this aim, a phenyl-furan-benzimidazole dication DB293 binds AT-rich sites as a monomer and 5'-ATGA sequence as a stacked dimer, both in the minor groove. Here, we used a protein/DNA array approach to evaluate the ability of DB293 to specifically inhibit transcription factors DNA-binding in a single-step, competitive mode. DB293 inhibits two POU-domain transcription factors Pit-1 and Brn-3 but not IRF-1, despite the presence of an ATGA and AT-rich sites within all three consensus sequences. EMSA, DNase I footprinting and surface-plasmon-resonance experiments determined the precise binding site, affinity and stoichiometry of DB293 interaction to the consensus targets. Binding of DB293 occurred as a cooperative dimer on the ATGA part of Brn-3 site but as two monomers on AT-rich sites of IRF-1 sequence. For Pit-1 site, ATGA or AT-rich mutated sequences identified the contribution of both sites for DB293 recognition. In conclusion, DB293 is a strong inhibitor of two POU-domain transcription factors through a cooperative binding to ATGA. These findings are the first to show that heterocyclic dications can inhibit major groove transcription factors and they open the door to the control of transcription factors activity by those compounds.
Project description:The POU-IV or Brn-3 class of transcription factors exhibit conserved structure, DNA-binding properties, and expression in specific subclasses of neurons across widely diverged species. In the mouse CNS, Brn-3.0 expression characterizes specific neurons from neurogenesis through the life of the cell. This irreversible activation of expression suggests positive autoregulation. To search for cis-acting elements that could mediate autoregulation we used a novel method, complex stability screening, which we applied to rapidly identify functional Brn-3.0 recognition sites within a large genomic region encompassing the mouse brn-3.0 locus. This method is based on the observation that the kinetic stability of Brn-3.0 complexes with specific DNA sequences, as measured by their dissociation half-lives, is highly correlated with the ability of those sequences to mediate transcriptional activation by Brn-3.0. The principal Brn-3.0 autoregulatory region lies approximately 5 kb upstream from the Brn-3.0 transcription start site and contains multiple Brn-3.0-binding sites that strongly resemble the optimal binding site for this protein class. This region also mediates transactivation by the closely related protein Brn-3.2, suggesting a regulatory cascade of POU proteins in specific neurons in which Brn-3.2 expression precedes Brn-3.0.
Project description:The different forms of the Oct-2 and Brn-3 POU family transcription factors can have distinct effects on their target promoters involving both the activation and repression of gene expression. To investigate the requirements for these effects we have altered both the context and spacing of the two TAATGARAT binding sites for these factors within the herpes simplex virus immediate-early 3 gene promoter. We show that the activation of this promoter by Brn-3a and its repression by Brn-3b is dependent on the correct spacing of these binding sites. In contrast, repression of the promoter by Oct-2.4 and Oct-2.5 is dependent on both the spacing and context of these sites with the requirements for repression by Oct-2.4 or Oct-2.5 being different. These effects are discussed in the context of the mechanisms by which POU factors activate or repress their target genes.
Project description:The regulatory region of the neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine (nACh) receptor alpha 2 subunit gene is activated by the Brn-3b POU family transcription factor but not by the closely related factors Brn-3a and Brn-3c. This pattern of regulation has not previously been observed for other neuronally expressed genes, several of which, such as those encoding alpha-internexin or SNAP-25, are activated by Brn-3a and Brn-3c but repressed by Brn-3b. The alpha 3 nACh receptor subunit gene is also shown to be activated by Brn-3a but is repressed by Brn-3b and Brn-3c. In contrast, the Brn-3 POU family transcription factors have no effects on either the alpha 7 or beta 4 nACh receptor subunit genes. The actions of Brn-3b on the alpha 2 subunit are thus in contrast to the inhibitory actions of Brn-3b on several promoters that are activated by Brn-3 alpha. The different actions of the Brn-3 POU factors on the range of nACh receptor genes tested suggests that the novel stimulation of the alpha 2 subunit by Brn-3b is specific to this subunit and not a general feature of nACh receptor genes.
Project description:The Brn-5 protein plays an important role in the control of cellular development and belongs to a class of transcription factors that usually contain two domains: the POU homeodomain (POU(HD)) and the POU-specific domain (POU(S)). Since high-quality crystals suitable for crystallographic studies of the proteins of this class are difficult to obtain, all the known structural information available is for POU(HD) and/or POU(S). This paper describes several critical steps that allowed the production of high-quality crystals of the full-length Brn-5 protein complexed with its cognate DNA.
Project description:Herpes simplex virus immediate-early (IE) promoters contain the TAATGARAT motif which acts as a target site for the cellular POU family transcription factors Oct-1 and Oct-2. Here we show that other members of the POU family that are expressed in sensory neurons can also affect IE promoter activity. In particular, two members of the Brn-3 family of POU proteins Brn-3a and Brn-3c can activate the IE-1 and IE-3 promoters when co-transfected into fibroblasts and neuronal cells whereas a third member Brn-3b represses IE promoter activity. In contrast, Brn-3 proteins cannot overcome the inhibitory effect of neuronal Oct-2 on IE promoter activity in co-transfections nor do they prevent transactivation of the IE promoters by the Oct-1-Vmw65 complex. The potential regulation of the IE promoters by several different neuronally expressed POU proteins during the initiation, maintenance and re-activation of latent infection in sensory neurons is discussed.
Project description:The genetic hierarchy that controls myelination of peripheral nerves by Schwann cells includes the POU domain Oct-6/Scip/Tst-1and the zinc-finger Krox-20/Egr2 transcription factors. These pivotal transcription factors act to control the onset of myelination during development and tissue regeneration in adults following damage. In this report we demonstrate the involvement of a third transcription factor, the POU domain factor Brn-2. We show that Schwann cells express Brn-2 in a developmental profile similar to that of Oct-6 and that Brn-2 gene activation does not depend on Oct-6. Overexpression of Brn-2 in Oct-6-deficient Schwann cells, under control of the Oct-6 Schwann cell enhancer (SCE), results in partial rescue of the developmental delay phenotype, whereas compound disruption of both Brn-2 and Oct-6 results in a much more severe phenotype. Together these data strongly indicate that Brn-2 function largely overlaps with that of Oct-6 in driving the transition from promyelinating to myelinating Schwann cells.
Project description:The POU-domain transcription factor Pit-1 and Ets-1, a member of the ETS family of transcription factors, can associate in solution and synergistically activate the prolactin promoter by binding to a composite response element in the prolactin promoter. We mapped the minimal region of Ets-1 required for the interaction with the Pit-1 POU-homeodomain. Here, we describe a detailed NMR study of the interaction between the POU-homeodomain of Pit-1 and the minimal interacting region of Ets-1. By using heteronuclear single quantum coherence titration experiments, we were able to map exact residues on the POU-homeodomain that are involved in the interaction with this minimal Ets-1 interaction domain. By using our NMR data, we generated point mutants in the POU-homeodomain and tested their effect on the interaction with Ets-1. Our results show that phosphorylation of Pit-1 can regulate the interaction with Ets-1.
Project description:Small-molecule targeting of the DNA minor groove is a promising approach to modulate genomic processes necessary for normal cellular function. For instance, dicationic diamindines, a well-known class of minor groove binding compounds, have been shown to inhibit interactions of transcription factors binding to genomic DNA. The applications of these compounds could be significantly expanded if we understand sequence-specific recognition of DNA better and could use the information to design more sequence-specific compounds. Aside from polyamides, minor groove binders typically recognize DNA at A-tract or alternating AT base pair sites. Targeting sites with GC base pairs, referred to here as mixed base pair sequences, is much more difficult than those rich in AT base pairs. Compound 1 is the first dicationic diamidine reported to recognize a mixed base pair site. It binds in the minor groove of ATGA sequences as a dimer with positive cooperativity. Due to the well-characterized behavior of 1 with ATGA and AT rich sequences, it provides a paradigm for understanding the elements that are key for recognition of mixed sequence sites. Electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) is a powerful method to screen DNA complexes formed by analogues of 1 for specific recognition. We also report a novel approach to determine patterns of recognition by 1 for cognate ATGA and ATGA-mutant sequences. We found that functional group modifications and mutating the DNA target site significantly affect binding and stacking, respectively. Both compound conformation and DNA sequence directionality are crucial for recognition.
Project description:Both insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) induce the differentiation of post-mitotic neuronal precursors, derived from embryonic day 14 (E14) mouse striatal multipotent stem cells. Here we ask whether this differentiation is mediated by a member of the POU-III class of neural transcription factors. Exposure of stem cell progeny to either IGF-I or BDNF resulted in a rapid upregulation of Brn-4 mRNA and protein. Indirect immunocytochemistry with Brn-4 antiserum showed that the protein was expressed in newly generated neurons. Other POU-III genes, such as Brn-1 and Brn-2, did not exhibit this upregulation. Basic FGF, a mitogen for these neuronal precursors, did not stimulate Brn-4 expression. In the E14 mouse striatum, Brn-4-immunoreactive cells formed a boundary between the nestin-immunoreactive cells of the ventricular zone and the beta-tubulin-immunoreactive neurons migrating into the mantle zone. Loss of Brn-4 function during the differentiation of stem cell-derived or primary E14 striatal neuron precursors, by inclusion of antisense oligonucleotides, caused a reduction in the number of beta-tubulin-immunoreactive neurons. These findings suggest that Brn-4 mediates, at least in part, the actions of epigenetic signals that induce striatal neuron-precursor differentiation.
Project description:The POU class 1 homeobox 1 (POU1F1, also known as Pit-1), pertaining to the Pit-Oct-Unc (POU) family of transcription factors, has been related to tumor growth and metastasis in breast. However, its role in response to breast cancer therapy is unknown. We found that Pit-1 down-regulated DNA-damage and repair genes, and specifically inhibited BRCA1 gene expression, sensitizing breast cancer cells to DNA-damage agents. Administration of 1α, 25-dihydroxy-3-epi-vitamin D3 (3-Epi, an endogenous low calcemic vitamin D metabolite) reduced Pit-1 expression, and synergized with cisplatin, thus, decreasing cell proliferation and apoptosis in vitro, and reducing tumor growth in vivo. In addition, fifteen primary cultures of human breast tumors showed significantly decreased proliferation when treated with 3-Epi+cisplatin, compared to cisplatin alone. This response positively correlated with Pit-1 levels. Our findings demonstrate that high levels of Pit-1 and reduced BRCA1 levels increase breast cancer cell susceptibility to 3-Epi+cisplatin therapy.