Potential role for the Metnase transposase fusion gene in colon cancer through the regulation of key genes.
ABSTRACT: The Metnase fusion gene consists of a SET histone methyltransferase domain and a transposase domain from Mariner transposase. This transposable element is involved in chromosome decatenation, enhances DNA repair, promotes foreign DNA integration, and assists topoisomerase II function. This study investigates the role of Metnase in colon cancer homeostasis and maintenance of the stemness phenotype in colon cancer stem cells (CSCs). Silencing of Metnase was performed in human cancer cell lines before and after treatment with cisplatin, and in colon CSCs. Subsequent changes in the expression of genes involved in repair mechanisms, DNA synthesis, topoisomerase II function, and metastasis as well stemness transcription factors were studied with RT-qPCR experiments. Cellular viability and apoptosis were evaluated by flow cytometry. The results suggest that Metnase influences the expression of many genes involved in the above processes. Furthermore, Metnase levels appear to impact upon expression of NANOG, OCT3/4, and SOX2. Suppression of Metnase also led to an increase in apoptosis. Therefore, Metnase may possess an important role in DNA repair, topoisomerase II function, and the maintenance of stemness during colon cancer development.
Project description:Metnase is a fusion gene comprising a SET histone methyl transferase domain and a transposase domain derived from the Mariner transposase. This fusion gene appeared first in anthropoid primates. Because of its biochemical activities, both histone (protein) methylase and endonuclease, we termed the protein Metnase (also called SETMAR). Metnase methylates histone H3 lysine 36 (H3K36), improves the integration of foreign DNA, and enhances DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair by the non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) pathway, potentially dependent on its interaction with DNA Ligase IV. Metnase interacts with PCNA and enhances replication fork restart after stalling. Metnase also interacts with and stimulates TopoIIalpha-dependent chromosome decatenation and regulates cellular sensitivity to topoisomerase inhibitors used as cancer chemotherapeutics. Metnase has DNA nicking and endonuclease activity that linearizes but does not degrade supercoiled plasmids. Metnase has many but not all of the properties of a transposase, including Terminal Inverted Repeat (TIR) sequence-specific DNA binding, DNA looping, paired end complex formation, and cleavage of the 5' end of a TIR, but it cannot efficiently complete transposition reactions. Interestingly, Metnase suppresses chromosomal translocations. It has been hypothesized that transposase activity would be deleterious in primates because unregulated DNA movement would predispose to malignancy. Metnase may have been selected for in primates because of its DNA repair and translocation suppression activities. Thus, its transposase activities may have been subverted to prevent deleterious DNA movement.
Project description:Metnase is a human SET and transposase domain protein that methylates histone H3 and promotes DNA double-strand break repair. We now show that Metnase physically interacts and co-localizes with Topoisomerase IIalpha (Topo IIalpha), the key chromosome decatenating enzyme. Metnase promotes progression through decatenation and increases resistance to the Topo IIalpha inhibitors ICRF-193 and VP-16. Purified Metnase greatly enhanced Topo IIalpha decatenation of kinetoplast DNA to relaxed circular forms. Nuclear extracts containing Metnase decatenated kDNA more rapidly than those without Metnase, and neutralizing anti-sera against Metnase reversed that enhancement of decatenation. Metnase automethylates at K485, and the presence of a methyl donor blocked the enhancement of Topo IIalpha decatenation by Metnase, implying an internal regulatory inhibition. Thus, Metnase enhances Topo IIalpha decatenation, and this activity is repressed by automethylation. These results suggest that cancer cells could subvert Metnase to mediate clinically relevant resistance to Topo IIalpha inhibitors.
Project description:After DNA replication, sister chromatids must be untangled, or decatenated, before mitosis so that chromatids do not tear during anaphase. Topoisomerase IIalpha (Topo IIalpha) is the major decatenating enzyme. Topo IIalpha inhibitors prevent decatenation, causing cells to arrest during mitosis. Here we report that acute myeloid leukemia cells fail to arrest at the mitotic decatenation checkpoint, and their progression through this checkpoint is regulated by the DNA repair component Metnase (also termed SETMAR). Metnase contains a SET histone methylase and transposase nuclease domain, and is a component of the nonhomologous end-joining DNA double-strand break repair pathway. Metnase interacts with Topo IIalpha and enhances its decatenation activity. Here we show that multiple types of acute leukemia cells have an attenuated mitotic arrest when decatenation is inhibited and that in an acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cell line this is mediated by Metnase. Of further importance, Metnase permits continued proliferation of these AML cells even in the presence of the clinical Topo IIalpha inhibitor VP-16. In vitro, purified Metnase prevents VP-16 inhibition of Topo IIalpha decatenation of tangled DNA. Thus, Metnase expression levels may predict AML resistance to Topo IIalpha inhibitors, and Metnase is a potential therapeutic target for small molecule interference.
Project description:Previous studies have shown that the DNA repair component Metnase (SETMAR) mediates resistance to DNA damaging cancer chemotherapy. Metnase has a nuclease domain that shares homology with the Transposase family. We therefore virtually screened the tertiary Metnase structure against the 550,000 compound ChemDiv library to identify small molecules that might dock in the active site of the transposase nuclease domain of Metnase. We identified eight compounds as possible Metnase inhibitors. Interestingly, among these candidate inhibitors were quinolone antibiotics and HIV integrase inhibitors, which share common structural features. Previous reports have described possible activity of quinolones as antineoplastic agents. Therefore, we chose the quinolone ciprofloxacin for further study, based on its wide clinical availability and low toxicity. We found that ciprofloxacin inhibits the ability of Metnase to cleave DNA and inhibits Metnase-dependent DNA repair. Ciprofloxacin on its own did not induce DNA damage, but it did reduce repair of chemotherapy-induced DNA damage. Ciprofloxacin increased the sensitivity of cancer cell lines and a xenograft tumor model to clinically relevant chemotherapy. These studies provide a mechanism for the previously postulated antineoplastic activity of quinolones, and suggest that ciprofloxacin might be a simple yet effective adjunct to cancer chemotherapy.
Project description:Transposase domain proteins mediate DNA movement from one location in the genome to another in lower organisms. However, in human cells such DNA mobility would be deleterious, and therefore the vast majority of transposase-related sequences in humans are pseudogenes. We recently isolated and characterized a SET and transposase domain protein termed Metnase that promotes DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair by non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ). Both the SET and transposase domain were required for its NHEJ activity. In this study we found that Metnase interacts with DNA Ligase IV, an important component of the classical NHEJ pathway. We investigated whether Metnase had structural requirements of the free DNA ends for NHEJ repair, and found that Metnase assists in joining all types of free DNA ends equally well. Metnase also prevents long deletions from processing of the free DNA ends, and improves the accuracy of NHEJ. Metnase levels correlate with the speed of disappearance of gamma-H2Ax sites after ionizing radiation. However, Metnase has little effect on homologous recombination repair of a single DSB. Altogether, these results fit a model where Metnase plays a role in the fate of free DNA ends during NHEJ repair of DSBs.
Project description:The molecular mechanism by which foreign DNA integrates into the human genome is poorly understood yet critical to many disease processes, including retroviral infection and carcinogenesis, and to gene therapy. We hypothesized that the mechanism of genomic integration may be similar to transposition in lower organisms. We identified a protein, termed Metnase, that has a SET domain and a transposase/nuclease domain. Metnase methylates histone H3 lysines 4 and 36, which are associated with open chromatin. Metnase increases resistance to ionizing radiation and increases nonhomologous end-joining repair of DNA doublestrand breaks. Most significantly, Metnase promotes integration of exogenous DNA into the genomes of host cells. Therefore, Metnase is a nonhomologous end-joining repair protein that regulates genomic integration of exogenous DNA and establishes a relationship among histone modification, DNA repair, and integration. The data suggest a model wherein Metnase promotes integration of exogenous DNA by opening chromatin and facilitating joining of DNA ends. This study demonstrates that eukaryotic transposase domains can have important cell functions beyond transposition of genetic elements.
Project description:Type II? DNA topoisomerase (TopoII?) is among the most important clinical drug targets for the treatment of cancer. Recently, the DNA repair protein Metnase was shown to enhance TopoII? activity and increase resistance to TopoII? poisons. Using in vitro DNA decatenation assays we show that neoamphimedine potently inhibits TopoII?-dependent DNA decatenation in the presence of Metnase. Cell proliferation assays demonstrate that neoamphimedine can inhibit Metnase-enhanced cell growth with an IC(50) of 0.5 ?M. Additionally, we find that the apparent K(m) of TopoII? for ATP increases linearly with higher concentrations of neoamphimedine, indicating ATP-competitive inhibition, which is substantiated by molecular modeling. These findings support the continued development of neoamphimedine as an anticancer agent, particularly in solid tumors that over-express Metnase.
Project description:Metnase (or SETMAR) arose from a chimeric fusion of the Hsmar1 transposase downstream of a protein methylase in anthropoid primates. Although the Metnase transposase domain has been largely conserved, its catalytic motif (DDN) differs from the DDD motif of related transposases, which may be important for its role as a DNA repair factor and its enzymatic activities. Here, we show that substitution of DDN(610) with either DDD(610) or DDE(610) significantly reduced in vivo functions of Metnase in NHEJ repair and accelerated restart of replication forks. We next tested whether the DDD or DDE mutants cleave single-strand extensions and flaps in partial duplex DNA and pseudo-Tyr structures that mimic stalled replication forks. Neither substrate is cleaved by the DDD or DDE mutant, under the conditions where wild-type Metnase effectively cleaves ssDNA overhangs. We then characterized the ssDNA-binding activity of the Metnase transposase domain and found that the catalytic domain binds ssDNA but not dsDNA, whereas dsDNA binding activity resides in the helix-turn-helix DNA binding domain. Substitution of Asn-610 with either Asp or Glu within the transposase domain significantly reduces ssDNA binding activity. Collectively, our results suggest that a single mutation DDN(610) → DDD(610), which restores the ancestral catalytic site, results in loss of function in Metnase.
Project description:Chk1 both arrests replication forks and enhances repair of DNA damage by phosphorylating downstream effectors. Although there has been a concerted effort to identify effectors of Chk1 activity, underlying mechanisms of effector action are still being identified. Metnase (also called SETMAR) is a SET and transposase domain protein that promotes both DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair and restart of stalled replication forks. In this study, we show that Metnase is phosphorylated only on Ser495 (S495) in vivo in response to DNA damage by ionizing radiation. Chk1 is the major mediator of this phosphorylation event. We had previously shown that wild-type (wt) Metnase associates with chromatin near DSBs and methylates histone H3 Lys36. Here we show that a Ser495Ala (S495A) Metnase mutant, which is not phosphorylated by Chk1, is defective in DSB-induced chromatin association. The S495A mutant also fails to enhance repair of an induced DSB when compared with wt Metnase. Interestingly, the S495A mutant demonstrated increased restart of stalled replication forks compared with wt Metnase. Thus, phosphorylation of Metnase S495 differentiates between these two functions, enhancing DSB repair and repressing replication fork restart. In summary, these data lend insight into the mechanism by which Chk1 enhances repair of DNA damage while at the same time repressing stalled replication fork restart.
Project description:Metnase is a human protein with methylase (SET) and nuclease domains that is widely expressed, especially in proliferating tissues. Metnase promotes non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ), and knockdown causes mild hypersensitivity to ionizing radiation. Metnase also promotes plasmid and viral DNA integration, and topoisomerase II? (TopoII?)-dependent chromosome decatenation. NHEJ factors have been implicated in the replication stress response, and TopoII? has been proposed to relax positive supercoils in front of replication forks. Here we show that Metnase promotes cell proliferation, but it does not alter cell cycle distributions, or replication fork progression. However, Metnase knockdown sensitizes cells to replication stress and confers a marked defect in restart of stalled replication forks. Metnase promotes resolution of phosphorylated histone H2AX, a marker of DNA double-strand breaks at collapsed forks, and it co-immunoprecipitates with PCNA and RAD9, a member of the PCNA-like RAD9-HUS1-RAD1 intra-S checkpoint complex. Metnase also promotes TopoII?-mediated relaxation of positively supercoiled DNA. Metnase is not required for RAD51 focus formation after replication stress, but Metnase knockdown cells show increased RAD51 foci in the presence or absence of replication stress. These results establish Metnase as a key factor that promotes restart of stalled replication forks, and implicate Metnase in the repair of collapsed forks.