ABSTRACT: Wilms tumour is an embryonal tumour of childhood that closely resembles the developing kidney. Genomic changes responsible for the development of the majority of Wilms tumours remain largely unknown. Here we identify recurrent mutations within Wilms tumours that involve the highly conserved YEATS domain of MLLT1 (ENL), a gene known to be involved in transcriptional elongation during early development. The mutant MLLT1 protein shows altered binding to acetylated histone tails. Moreover, MLLT1-mutant tumours show an increase in MYC gene expression and HOX dysregulation. Patients with MLLT1-mutant tumours present at a younger age and have a high prevalence of precursor intralobar nephrogenic rests. These data support a model whereby activating MLLT1 mutations early in renal development result in the development of Wilms tumour.
Project description:YEATS-domain-containing MLLT1 is an acetyl/acyl-lysine reader domain, which is structurally distinct from well-studied bromodomains and has been strongly associated in development of cancer. Here, we characterized piperazine-urea derivatives as an acetyl/acyl-lysine mimetic moiety for MLLT1. Crystal structures revealed distinct interaction mechanisms of this chemotype compared to the recently described benzimidazole-amide based inhibitors, exploiting different binding pockets within the protein. Thus, the piperazine-urea scaffold offers an alternative strategy for targeting the YEATS domain family.
Project description:YEATS domain (YD) containing proteins are an emerging class of epigenetic targets in drug discovery. Dysregulation of these modified lysine-binding proteins has been linked to the onset and progression of cancers. We herein report the discovery and characterisation of the first small-molecule chemical probe, SGC-iMLLT, for the YD of MLLT1 (ENL/YEATS1) and MLLT3 (AF9/YEATS3). SGC-iMLLT is a potent and selective inhibitor of MLLT1/3-histone interactions. Excellent selectivity over other human YD proteins (YEATS2/4) and bromodomains was observed. Furthermore, our probe displays cellular target engagement of MLLT1 and MLLT3. The first small-molecule X-ray co-crystal structures with the MLLT1 YD are also reported. This first-in-class probe molecule can be used to understand MLLT1/3-associated biology and the therapeutic potential of small-molecule YD inhibitors.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Loss of imprinting (LOI) of the H19/IGF2 domain is a common feature of Wilms tumour. The GTL2/DLK1 domain is also imprinted and is structurally similar to H19/IGF2. The question arises as to whether DLK1 also undergoes LOI in Wilms tumour, or whether the LOI mechanism is restricted to the H19/IGF2 domain. AIM: To investigate the imprinting status of DLK1 in Wilms tumours with IGF2 LOI. The cellular localisation of DLK1 in the tumours was also examined. METHODS: DLK1 expression was measured by quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (Q-PCR) in 30 Wilms tumours that had previously been classified according to whether they had IGF2 LOI, WT1 mutations, or 11p15.5 loss of heterozygosity. Allele specific expression of DLK1 was examined by direct sequencing using a DLK1 exon 5 polymorphism (rs1802710). Immunohistochemical analysis of DLK1 was performed on 13 tumours and two intralobar nephrogenic rests, in addition to two fetal kidneys and one fetal skeletal muscle sample. RESULTS: Ten of 30 tumours were heterozygous for rs1802710 and all tumours showed retention of imprinting of DLK1. Moderate to high expression of DLK1 was detected by Q-PCR in nine of 13 tumours with myogenic differentiation. Immunohistochemical expression of DLK1 was detected in the myogenic elements. CONCLUSION: LOI does not occur at the GTL2/DLK1 domain in Wilms tumour. This finding suggests that LOI at 11p15.5 does not reflect non-specific disruption of a shared imprinting mechanism. DLK1 expression in Wilms tumour might reflect the presence of myogenic differentiation, rather than an alteration of its imprinting status.
Project description:Wilms' tumours, paediatric kidney cancers, are the archetypal example of tumours caused through the disruption of normal development. The genetically best-defined subgroup of Wilms' tumours is the group caused by biallelic loss of the WT1 tumour suppressor gene. Here, we describe a developmental series of mouse models with conditional loss of Wt1 in different stages of nephron development before and after the mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET). We demonstrate that Wt1 is essential for normal development at all kidney developmental stages under study. Comparison of genome-wide expression data from the mutant mouse models with human tumour material of mutant or wild-type WT1 datasets identified the stage of origin of human WT1-mutant tumours, and emphasizes fundamental differences between the two human tumour groups due to different developmental stages of origin.
Project description:The WT1 gene encodes a zinc finger transcription factor important for normal kidney development. WT1 is a suppressor for Wilms tumour development and an oncogene for diverse malignant tumours. We recently established cell lines from primary Wilms tumours with different WT1 mutations. To investigate the function of mutant WT1 proteins, we performed WT1 knockdown experiments in cell lines with a frameshift/extension (p.V432fsX87 = Wilms3) and a stop mutation (p.P362X = Wilms2) of WT1, followed by genome-wide gene expression analysis. We also expressed wild-type and mutant WT1 proteins in human mesenchymal stem cells and established gene expression profiles. A detailed analysis of gene expression data enabled us to classify the WT1 mutations as gain-of-function mutations. The mutant WT1(Wilms2) and WT1(Wilms3) proteins acquired an ability to modulate the expression of a highly significant number of genes from the G2/M phase of the cell cycle, and WT1 knockdown experiments showed that they are required for Wilms tumour cell proliferation. p53 negatively regulates the activity of a large number of these genes that are also part of a core proliferation cluster in diverse human cancers. Our data strongly suggest that mutant WT1 proteins facilitate expression of these cell cycle genes by antagonizing transcriptional repression mediated by p53. We show that mutant WT1 can physically interact with p53. Together the findings show for the first time that mutant WT1 proteins have a gain-of-function and act as oncogenes for Wilms tumour development by regulating Wilms tumour cell proliferation.
Project description:The YEATS domain has been identified as a reader of histone acylation and more recently emerged as a promising anti-cancer therapeutic target. Here, we detail the structural mechanisms for ?-?-? stacking involving the YEATS domains of yeast Taf14 and human AF9 and acylated histone H3 peptides and explore DNA-binding activities of these domains. Taf14-YEATS selects for crotonyllysine, forming ? stacking with both the crotonyl amide and the alkene moiety, whereas AF9-YEATS exhibits comparable affinities to saturated and unsaturated acyllysines, engaging them through ? stacking with the acyl amide. Importantly, AF9-YEATS is capable of binding to DNA, whereas Taf14-YEATS is not. Using a structure-guided approach, we engineered a mutant of Taf14-YEATS that engages crotonyllysine through the aromatic-aliphatic-aromatic ? stacking and shows high selectivity for the crotonyl H3K9 modification. Our findings shed light on the molecular principles underlying recognition of acyllysine marks and reveal a previously unidentified DNA-binding activity of AF9-YEATS.
Project description:Chemical probes of epigenetic 'readers' of histone post-translational modifications (PTMs) have become powerful tools for mechanistic and functional studies of their target proteins in normal physiology and disease pathogenesis. Here we report the development of the first class of chemical probes of YEATS domains, newly identified 'readers' of histone lysine acetylation (Kac) and crotonylation (Kcr). Guided by the structural analysis of a YEATS-Kcr complex, we developed a series of peptide-based inhibitors of YEATS domains by targeting a unique ?-?-? stacking interaction at the proteins' Kcr recognition site. Further structure optimization resulted in the selective inhibitors preferentially binding to individual YEATS-containing proteins including AF9 and ENL with submicromolar affinities. We demonstrate that one of the ENL YEATS-selective inhibitors, XL-13m, engages with endogenous ENL, perturbs the recruitment of ENL onto chromatin, and synergizes the BET and DOT1L inhibition-induced downregulation of oncogenes in MLL-rearranged acute leukemia.
Project description:The role of a highly conserved YEATS protein motif is explored in the context of the Taf14 protein of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In S. cerevisiae, Taf14 is a protein physically associated with many critical multisubunit complexes including the general transcription factors TFIID and TFIIF, the chromatin remodeling complexes SWI/SNF, Ino80 and RSC, Mediator and the histone modification enzyme NuA3. Taf14 is a member of the YEATS superfamily, conserved from bacteria to eukaryotes and thought to have a transcription stimulatory activity. However, besides its ubiquitous presence and its links with transcription, little is known about Taf14's role in the nucleus. We use structure-function and mutational analysis to study the function of Taf14 and its well conserved N-terminal YEATS domain. We show here that the YEATS domain is not necessary for Taf14's association with these transcription and chromatin remodeling complexes, and that its presence in these complexes is dependent only on its C-terminal domain. Our results also indicate that Taf14's YEATS domain is not necessary for complementing the synthetic lethality between TAF14 and the general transcription factor TFIIS (encoded by DST1). Furthermore, we present evidence that the YEATS domain of Taf14 has a negative impact on cell growth: its absence enables cells to grow better than wild-type cells under stress conditions, like the microtubule destabilizing drug benomyl. Moreover, cells expressing solely the YEATS domain grow worser than cells expressing any other Taf14 construct tested, including the deletion mutant. Thus, this highly conserved domain should be considered part of a negative regulatory loop in cell growth.
Project description:Acute leukemias caused by translocations of the MLL gene at chromosome 11 band q23 (11q23) are characterized by a unique gene expression profile. More recently, data from several laboratories indicate that the most commonly encountered MLL fusion proteins, MLLT1, MLLT3, and AFF1 are found within a molecular complex that facilitates the elongation phase of mRNA transcription. Mutational analyses suggest that interaction between the MLLT1/3 proteins and AFF family proteins are required for experimental transformation of hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPCs). Here, we define a specific pairing of two amino acids that creates a salt bridge between MLLT1/3 and AFF proteins that is critically important for MLL-mediated transformation of HPCs. Our findings, coupled with the newly defined structure of MLLT3 in complex with AFF1, should facilitate the development of small molecules that block this amino acid interaction and interfere with the activity of the most common MLL oncoproteins.
Project description:The discovery of new histone modifications is unfolding at startling rates; however, the identification of effectors capable of interpreting these modifications has lagged behind. Here we report the YEATS domain as an effective reader of histone lysine crotonylation, an epigenetic signature associated with active transcription. We show that the Taf14 YEATS domain engages crotonyllysine via a unique ?-?-?-stacking mechanism and that other YEATS domains have crotonyllysine-binding activity.