GC-elements controlling HRAS transcription form i-motif structures unfolded by heterogeneous ribonucleoprotein particle A1.
ABSTRACT: HRAS is regulated by two neighbouring quadruplex-forming GC-elements (hras-1 and hras-2), located upstream of the major transcription start sites (doi: 10.1093/nar/gku 5784). In this study we demonstrate that the C-rich strands of hras-1 and hras-2 fold into i-motif conformations (iMs) characterized under crowding conditions (PEG-300, 40% w/v) by semi-transitions at pH 6.3 and 6.7, respectively. Nondenaturing PAGE shows that the HRAS C-rich sequences migrate at both pH 5 and 7 as folded intramolecular structures. Chromatin immunoprecipitation shows that hnRNP A1 is associated under in vivo conditions to the GC-elements, while EMSA proves that hnRNP A1 binds tightly to the iMs. FRET and CD show that hnRNP A1 unfolds the iM structures upon binding. Furthermore, when hnRNP A1 is knocked out in T24 bladder cancer cells by a specific shRNA, the HRAS transcript level drops to 44?±?5% of the control, suggesting that hnRNP A1 is necessary for gene activation. The sequestration by decoy oligonucleotides of the proteins (hnRNP A1 and others) binding to the HRAS iMs causes a significant inhibition of HRAS transcription. All these outcomes suggest that HRAS is regulated by a G-quadruplex/i-motif switch interacting with proteins that recognize non B-DNA conformations.
Project description:The promoter of the human KRAS proto-oncogene contains a structurally polymorphic nuclease hypersensitive element (NHE) whose purine strand forms a parallel G-quadruplex structure (called 32R). In a previous work we reported that quadruplex 32R is recognized by three nuclear proteins: PARP-1, Ku70 and hnRNP A1. In this study we describe the interaction of recombinant hnRNP A1 (A1) and its derivative Up1 with the KRAS G-quadruplex. Mobility-shift experiments show that A1/Up1 binds specifically, and also with a high affinity, to quadruplex 32R, while CD demonstrates that the proteins strongly reduce the intensity of the 260 nm-ellipticity-the hallmark for parallel G4-DNA-and unfold the G-quadruplex. Fluorescence resonance energy transfer melting experiments reveal that A1/Up1 completely abrogates the cooperative quadruplex-to-ssDNA transition that characterizes the KRAS quadruplex and facilitates the association between quadruplex 32R and its complementary polypyrimidine strand. When quadruplex 32R is stabilized by TMPyP4, A1/Up1 brings about only a partial destabilization of the G4-DNA structure. The possible role played by hnRNP A1 in the mechanism of KRAS transcription is discussed.
Project description:HRAS is a proto-oncogene involved in the tumorigenesis of urinary bladder cancer. In the HRAS promoter we identified two G-rich elements, hras-1 and hras-2, that fold, respectively, into an antiparallel and a parallel quadruplex (qhras-1, qhras-2). When we introduced in sequence hras-1 or hras-2 two point mutations that block quadruplex formation, transcription increased 5-fold, but when we stabilized the G-quadruplexes by guanidinium phthalocyanines, transcription decreased to 20% of control. By ChIP we found that sequence hras-1 is bound only by MAZ, while hras-2 is bound by MAZ and Sp1: two transcription factors recognizing guanine boxes. We also discovered by EMSA that recombinant MAZ-GST binds to both HRAS quadruplexes, while Sp1-GST only binds to qhras-1. The over-expression of MAZ and Sp1 synergistically activates HRAS transcription, while silencing each gene by RNAi results in a strong down-regulation of transcription. All these data indicate that the HRAS G-quadruplexes behave as transcription repressors. Finally, we designed decoy oligonucleotides mimicking the HRAS quadruplexes, bearing (R)-1-O-[4-(1-Pyrenylethynyl) phenylmethyl] glycerol and LNA modifications to increase their stability and nuclease resistance (G4-decoys). The G4-decoys repressed HRAS transcription and caused a strong antiproliferative effect, mediated by apoptosis, in T24 bladder cancer cells where HRAS is mutated.
Project description:The HRAS promoter contains immediately upstream of the transcription start site two neighboring G-elements, each capable of folding into a G-quadruplex structure. We have previously found that these G-quadruplexes bind to the zinc-finger transcription factors MAZ and Sp1. In the present study we have examined the interaction between the HRAS promoter and MAZ, demonstrating for the first time that the protein unfolds the G-quadruplex structures. We also demonstrate that MAZ-GST, in the presence of the complementary strands, promotes a rapid transformation of the two HRAS quadruplexes into duplexes. By a mutational analysis of the HRAS G-elements, we dissected the MAZ-binding sites from the quadruplex-forming motifs, finding that the two neighboring G-quadruplexes bring about a dramatic repression of transcription, in a synergistic manner. We also discovered that the two G-quadruplexes are strong targets for small anticancer molecules. We found that a cell-penetrating anthratiophenedione (ATPD-1), which binds tightly to the G-quadruplexes (?T > 15°C), promotes the total extinction of HRAS transcription. In contrast, when one of the two G-quadruplexes was abrogated by point mutations, ATPD-1 repressed transcription by only 50%. Our study provides relevant information for the rationale design of targeted therapy drugs specific for the HRAS oncogene.
Project description:The expression and role of RNA binding proteins (RBPs) controlling mRNA translation during tumor progression remains largely uncharacterized. Analysis by immunohistochemistry of the expression of hnRNP A1, hnRNPH, RBM9/FOX2, SRSF1/ASF/SF2, SRSF2/SC35, SRSF3/SRp20, SRSF7/9G8 in breast tumors shows that the expression of hnRNP A1, but not the other tested RBPs, is associated with metastatic relapse. Strikingly, hnRNP A1, a nuclear splicing regulator, is also present in the cytoplasm of tumor cells of a subset of patients displaying exceedingly worse prognosis. Expression of a cytoplasmic mutant of hnRNP A1 leads to increased translation of the mRNA encoding the tyrosine kinase receptor RON/MTS1R, known for its function in tumor dissemination, and increases cell migration in vitro. hnRNP A1 directly binds to the 5' untranslated region of the RON mRNA and activates its translation through G-quadruplex RNA secondary structures. The correlation between hnRNP A1 and RON tumoral expression suggests that these findings hold clinical relevance.
Project description:In a previous study we have demonstrated that two neighboring G-quadruplexes, hras-1 and hras-2, located immediately upstream of the major transcription start site of HRAS, bind MAZ, a nuclear factor that activates transcription (Cogoi, S.; et al. Nucl. Acid Res. 2014, 42, 8379). For the present study we have designed G4 oligonucleotides with anthraquinone insertions and locked nucleic acids (LNA) modifications mimicking quadruplex hras-1. Luciferase, qRT-PCR, and Western blot data demonstrate that these constructs efficiently down regulate HRAS in T24 bladder cancer cells. The inhibitory efficiency of the G4 oligonucleotides correlates with their nuclease resistance in the cell environment. By chromatin immunoprecipitation we show that the association of MAZ to the HRAS promoter is strongly attenuated by the designed G4 oligonucleotides, thus suggesting that these constructs behave with a decoy mechanism.
Project description:Non-B DNA structures represent intriguing and challenging targets for small molecules. For example, the promoter of the HRAS oncogene contains multiple G-quadruplex and i-motif structures, atypical globular folds that serve as molecular switches for gene expression. Of the two, i-motif structures are far less studied. Here, we report the first example of small organic compounds that directly interact with the hras-1Y i-motif. We use a small molecule microarray screen to identify drug-like small molecules that bind to the hras-1Y i-motif but not to several other DNA or RNA secondary structures. Two different lead compounds, 1 and 2, were discovered to have 7.4 ± 5.3 ?M and 5.9 ± 3.7 ?M binding affinity by surface plasmon resonance and similar affinity by fluorescence titration. A structure-activity relationship (SAR) was developed and two improved analogues of 2 demonstrated submicromolar binding affinities. Both compounds display pH-dependent binding, indicating that they interact with the DNA only when the i-motif is properly folded. Chemical shift perturbation shows that 1 alters the structure of the i-motif, while 2 has no effect on the i-motif conformation, indicating different modes of interaction.
Project description:See Fratta and Isaacs (doi:10.1093/brain/awy091) for a scientific commentary on this article.The RNA binding proteins TDP-43 (encoded by TARDBP) and hnRNP A1 (HNRNPA1) are each mutated in certain amyotrophic lateral sclerosis cases and are often mislocalized in cytoplasmic aggregates within motor neurons of affected patients. Cytoplasmic inclusions of TDP-43, which are accompanied by a depletion of nuclear TDP-43, are observed in most amyotrophic lateral sclerosis cases and nearly half of frontotemporal dementia cases. Here, we report that TDP-43 binds HNRNPA1 pre-mRNA and modulates its splicing, and that depletion of nuclear TDP-43 results in increased inclusion of a cassette exon in the HNRNPA1 transcript, and consequently elevated protein levels of an isoform containing an elongated prion-like domain, referred to as hnRNP A1B. Combined in vivo and in vitro approaches demonstrated greater fibrillization propensity for hnRNP A1B, which drives protein aggregation and is toxic to cells. Moreover, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis patients with documented TDP-43 pathology showed neuronal hnRNP A1B cytoplasmic accumulation, indicating that TDP-43 mislocalization may contribute to neuronal vulnerability and loss via altered HNRNPA1 pre-mRNA splicing and function. Given that TDP-43 and hnRNP A1 each bind, and thus modulate, a third of the transcriptome, our data suggest a much broader disruption in RNA metabolism than previously considered.
Project description:We found that UP1, a proteolytic product of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 (hnRNP A1), both enhances and represses the telomerase activity. The formation of the UP1-telomerase RNA-telomeric DNA ternary complex was revealed by a gel retardation experiment. The interactions in the ternary and binary complexes were elucidated by NMR. UP1 has two nucleic acid-binding domains, BD1 and BD2. In the UP1-telomerase RNA binary complex, both BD1 and BD2 interact with telomerase RNA. Interestingly, when telomeric DNA was added to the binary complex, telomeric DNA bound to BD1 in place of telomerase RNA. Thus, BD1 basically binds to telomeric DNA, while BD2 mainly binds to telomerase RNA, which resulted in the formation of the ternary complex. Here, UP1 bridges telomerase and telomeric DNA. It is supposed that UP1/hnRNP A1 serves to recruit telomerase to telomeric DNA through the formation of the ternary complex. A model has been proposed for how hnRNP A1/UP1 contributes to enhancement of the telomerase activity through recruitment and unfolding of the quadruplex of telomeric DNA.
Project description:Tumorigenesis requires accumulation of genetic and epigenetic alterations, some of which drive tumor initiation. "Oncogene addiction" describes the phenomenon that (1) well-established cancers are dependent on one mutated oncogene or pathway for the maintenance of a malignant phenotype and that (2) withdrawal of the single oncogenic event leads to growth arrest and/or cancer regression. While oncogene addiction has been experimentally validated in advanced tumor models, its role in tumor precursors has not been investigated. We utilized the requirement of Forkhead box A1 (Foxa1) for transcriptional activation of the Upk2-promoter to temporally control the expression of Upk2-HRAS* oncogene, an inducer of urothelial hyperplasia in transgenic mice. Inducible homozygous knockout of Foxa1 in Upk2-HRAS*/UBC-Cre<sup>ERT2</sup>/Foxa1<sup>loxp/loxp</sup> mice results in reduced HRAS* levels. This led to a marked reduction of urothelial proliferation as evidenced by urothelial thinning, degenerative changes such as intracellular vacuole formation, and reduced Ki67 expression. Reduced proliferation did not affect basal, Krt14-positive cells, supporting the fact that Foxa1-regulated Upk2-HRAS* expression occurs primarily in supra-basal cells. Our results indicate that maintenance of urothelial hyperplasia in Upk2-HRAS* mice depends on continuous expression of Foxa1 and activated HRAS, and that mutated receptor tyrosine kinases, FOXA1 and/or other downstream effectors may mediate oncogene addiction in urothelial hyperplasia.
Project description:G-quadruplexes are four-stranded conformations of nucleic acids that act as cellular epigenetic regulators. A dynamic G-quadruplex forming region in the HIV-1 LTR promoter represses HIV-1 transcription when in the folded conformation. This activity is enhanced by nucleolin, which induces and stabilizes the HIV-1 LTR G-quadruplexes. In this work by a combined pull-down/mass spectrometry approach, we consistently found hnRNP A2/B1 as an additional LTR-G-quadruplex interacting protein. Surface plasmon resonance confirmed G-quadruplex specificity over linear sequences and fluorescence resonance energy transfer analysis indicated that hnRNP A2/B1 is able to efficiently unfold the LTR G-quadruplexes. Evaluation of the thermal stability of the LTR G-quadruplexes in different-length oligonucleotides showed that the protein is fit to be most active in the LTR full-length environment. When hnRNP A2/B1 was silenced in cells, LTR activity decreased, indicating that the protein acts as a HIV-1 transcription activator. Our data highlight a tightly regulated control of transcription based on G-quadruplex folding/unfolding, which depends on interacting cellular proteins. These findings provide a deeper understanding of the viral transcription mechanism and may pave the way to the development of drugs effective against the integrated HIV-1, present both in actively and latently infected cells.