CARM1 (PRMT4) Acts as a Transcriptional Coactivator during Retinoic Acid-Induced Embryonic Stem Cell Differentiation.
ABSTRACT: Activation of the retinoic acid (RA) signaling pathway is important for controlling embryonic stem cell differentiation and development. Modulation of this pathway occurs through the recruitment of different epigenetic regulators at the retinoic acid receptors (RARs) located at RA-responsive elements and/or RA-responsive regions of RA-regulated genes. Coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1, PRMT4) is a protein arginine methyltransferase that also functions as a transcriptional coactivator. Previous studies highlight CARM1's importance in the differentiation of different cell types. We address CARM1 function during RA-induced differentiation of murine embryonic stem cells (mESCs) using shRNA lentiviral transduction and CRISPR/Cas9 technology to deplete CARM1 in mESCs. We identify CARM1 as a novel transcriptional coactivator required for the RA-associated decrease in Rex1 (Zfp42) and for the RA induction of a subset of RA-regulated genes, including CRABP2 and NR2F1 (Coup-TF1). Furthermore, CARM1 is required for mESCs to differentiate into extraembryonic endoderm in response to RA. We next characterize the epigenetic mechanisms that contribute to RA-induced transcriptional activation of CRABP2 and NR2F1 in mESCs and show for the first time that CARM1 is required for this activation. Collectively, our data demonstrate that CARM1 is required for transcriptional activation of a subset of RA target genes, and we uncover changes in the recruitment of Suz12 and the epigenetic H3K27me3 and H3K27ac marks at gene regulatory regions for CRABP2 and NR2F1 during RA-induced differentiation.
Project description:As a novel epigenetic mechanism, histone H3 methylation at R17 and R26, which is mainly catalyzed by coactivator-associated protein arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1), has been reported to modulate the transcription of key pluripotency factors and to regulate pluripotency in mouse embryos and mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) in previous studies. However, the role of CARM1 in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) and the regulatory mechanism that controls CARM1 expression during ESCs differentiation are presently unknown. Here, we demonstrate that CARM1 plays an active role in the resistance to differentiation in hESCs by regulating pluripotency genes in response to BMP4. In a functional screen, we identified the miR-181 family as a regulator of CARM1 that is induced during ESC differentiation and show that endogenous miR-181c represses the expression of CARM1. Depletion of CARM1 or enforced expression of miR-181c inhibits the expression of pluripotency genes and induces differentiation independent of BMP4, whereas overexpression of CARM1 or miR-181c inhibitor elevates Nanog and impedes differentiation. Furthermore, expression of CARM1 rescue constructs inhibits the effect of miR-181c overexpression in promoting differentiation. Taken together, our findings demonstrate the importance of a miR-181c-CARM1 pathway in regulating the differentiation of hESCs.
Project description:Coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) is a protein arginine methyltransferase that methylates histones and transcriptional regulators. We previously reported that the absence of CARM1 partially blocks thymocyte differentiation at embryonic day 18.5 (E18.5). In this study, we find that reduced thymopoiesis in Carm1(-/-) mice is due to a defect in the fetal hematopoietic compartment rather than in the thymic stroma. To determine the cellular basis for impaired thymopoiesis, we examined the number and function of fetal liver (FL) and bone marrow cells. Despite markedly reduced cellularity of hematopoietic progenitors in E18.5 bone marrow, the number of long-term hematopoietic stem cells and downstream subsets was not reduced in Carm1(-/-) E14.5 or E18.5 FL. Nevertheless, competitive reconstitution assays revealed a deficit in the ability of Carm1(-/-) FL cells to contribute to hematopoiesis. Furthermore, impaired differentiation of Carm1(-/-) FL cells in a CARM1-sufficient host showed that CARM1 is required cell autonomously in hematopoietic cells. Coculture of Carm1(-/-) FL cells on OP9-DL1 monolayers showed that CARM1 is required for survival of hematopoietic progenitors under conditions that promote differentiation. Taken together, this report demonstrates that CARM1 is a key epigenetic regulator of hematopoiesis that affects multiple lineages at various stages of differentiation.
Project description:Polycomb proteins play key roles in mediating epigenetic modifications that occur during cell differentiation. The Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) mediates the tri-methylation of histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27me3). In this study, we identify a distinguishing feature of two classes of PRC2 target genes, represented by the Nr2F1 (Coup-TF1) and the Hoxa5 gene, respectively. Both genes are transcriptionally activated by all-trans retinoic acid (RA) and display increased levels of the permissive H3K9/K14ac and tri-methylated histone H3 lysine 4 epigenetic marks in response to RA. However, while in response to RA the PRC2 and H3K27me3 marks are greatly decreased at the Hoxa5 promoter, these marks are initially increased at the Nr2F1 promoter. Functional depletion of the essential PRC2 protein Suz12 by short hairpin RNA (shRNA) technology enhanced the RA-associated transcription of Nr2F1, Nr2F2, Meis1, Sox9 and BMP2, but had no effect on the Hoxa5, Hoxa1, Cyp26a1, Cyp26b1 and RAR?2 transcript levels in wild-type embryonic stem cells. We propose that PRC2 recruitment attenuates the RA-associated transcriptional activation of a subset of genes. Such a mechanism would permit the fine-tuning of transcriptional networks during differentiation.
Project description:Breast cancers with estrogen receptor ? (ER?) expression are often more differentiated histologically than ER?-negative tumors, but the reasons for this difference are poorly understood. One possible explanation is that transcriptional cofactors associated with ER? determine the expression of genes which promote a more differentiated phenotype. In this study, we identify one such cofactor as coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1), a unique coactivator of ER? that can simultaneously block cell proliferation and induce differentiation through global regulation of ER?-regulated genes. CARM1 was evidenced as an ER? coactivator in cell-based assays, gene expression microarrays, and mouse xenograft models. In human breast tumors, CARM1 expression positively correlated with ER? levels in ER-positive tumors but was inversely correlated with tumor grade. Our findings suggest that coexpression of CARM1 and ER? may provide a better biomarker of well-differentiated breast cancer. Furthermore, our findings define an important functional role of this histone arginine methyltransferase in reprogramming ER?-regulated cellular processes, implicating CARM1 as a putative epigenetic target in ER-positive breast cancers.
Project description:Histone H3 methylation at R17 and R26 recently emerged as a novel epigenetic mechanism regulating pluripotency in mouse embryos. Blastomeres of four-cell embryos with high H3 methylation at these sites show unrestricted potential, whereas those with lower levels cannot support development when aggregated in chimeras of like cells. Increasing histone H3 methylation, through expression of coactivator-associated-protein-arginine-methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) in embryos, elevates expression of key pluripotency genes and directs cells to the pluripotent inner cell mass. We demonstrate CARM1 is also required for the self-renewal and pluripotency of embryonic stem (ES) cells. In ES cells, CARM1 depletion downregulates pluripotency genes leading to their differentiation. CARM1 associates with Oct4/Pou5f1 and Sox2 promoters that display detectable levels of R17/26 histone H3 methylation. In CARM1 overexpressing ES cells, histone H3 arginine methylation is also at the Nanog promoter to which CARM1 now associates. Such cells express Nanog at elevated levels and delay their response to differentiation signals. Thus, like in four-cell embryo blastomeres, histone H3 arginine methylation by CARM1 in ES cells allows epigenetic modulation of pluripotency.
Project description:Chromatin adapts and responds to extrinsic and intrinsic cues. We hypothesize that inheritable aberrant chromatin states in cancer and aging are caused by genetic/environmental factors. In previous studies we demonstrated that either genetic mutations, or loss, of retinoic acid receptor alpha (RARalpha), can impair the integration of the retinoic acid (RA) signal at the chromatin of RA-responsive genes downstream of RARalpha, and can lead to aberrant repressive chromatin states marked by epigenetic modifications. In this study we tested whether the mere interference with the availability of RA signal at RARalpha, in cells with an otherwise functional RARalpha, can also induce epigenetic repression at RA-responsive genes downstream of RARalpha.To hamper the availability of RA at RARalpha in untransformed human mammary epithelial cells, we targeted the cellular RA-binding protein 2 (CRABP2), which transports RA from the cytoplasm onto the nuclear RARs. Stable ectopic expression of a CRABP2 mutant unable to enter the nucleus, as well as stable knock down of endogenous CRABP2, led to the coordinated transcriptional repression of a few RA-responsive genes downstream of RARalpha. The chromatin at these genes acquired an exacerbated repressed state, or state "of no return". This aberrant state is unresponsive to RA, and therefore differs from the physiologically repressed, yet "poised" state, which is responsive to RA. Consistent with development of homozygosis for epigenetically repressed loci, a significant proportion of cells with a defective CRABP2-mediated RA transport developed heritable phenotypes indicative of loss of function.Derangement/lack of a critical factor necessary for RARalpha function induces epigenetic repression of a RA-regulated gene network downstream of RARalpha, with major pleiotropic biological outcomes.
Project description:Retinoic acid (RA), a metabolite of vitamin A, is required for the regulation of growth and development. Aberrant expression of molecules involved in RA signaling has been reported in various cancer types including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Cellular retinoic acid-binding protein 2 (CRABP2) has previously been shown to play a key role in the transport of RA to retinoic acid receptors (RARs) to activate their transcription regulatory activity. Here, we demonstrate that CRABP2 is predominantly located in the cytoplasm of GBM tumors. Cytoplasmic, but not nuclear, CRABP2 levels in GBM tumors are associated with poor patient survival. Treatment of malignant glioma cell lines with RA results in a dose-dependent increase in accumulation of CRABP2 in the cytoplasm. CRABP2 knockdown reduces proliferation rates of malignant glioma cells, and enhances RA-induced RAR activation. Levels of CRYAB, a small heat shock protein with anti-apoptotic activity, and GFAP, an astrocyte-specific intermediate filament protein, are greatly reduced in CRABP2-depleted cells. Restoration of CRYAB expression partially but significantly reversed the effect of CRABP2 depletion on RAR activation. Our combined in vivo and in vitro data indicate that: (i) CRABP2 is an important determinant of clinical outcome in GBM patients, and (ii) the mechanism of action of CRABP2 in GBM involves sequestration of RA in the cytoplasm and activation of an anti-apoptotic pathway, thereby enhancing proliferation and preventing RA-mediated cell death and differentiation. We propose that reducing CRABP2 levels may enhance the therapeutic index of RA in GBM patients.
Project description:Epigenetics is an emerging field that demands selective cell-permeable chemical probes to perturb, especially in vivo, the activity of specific enzymes involved in modulating the epigenetic codes. Coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) is a coactivator of estrogen receptor ? (ER?), the main target in human breast cancer. We previously showed that twofold overexpression of CARM1 in MCF7 breast cancer cells increased the expression of ER?-target genes involved in differentiation and reduced cell proliferation, thus leading to the hypothesis that activating CARM1 by chemical activators might be therapeutically effective in breast cancer. Selective, potent, cell-permeable CARM1 activators will be essential to test this hypothesis. Here we report the development of a cell-based, time-resolved (TR) FRET assay that uses poly(A) binding protein 1 (PABP1) methylation to monitor cellular activity of CARM1. The LanthaScreen TR-FRET assay uses MCF7 cells expressing GFP-PABP1 fusion protein through BacMam gene delivery system, methyl-PABP1 specific antibody, and terbium-labeled secondary antibody. This assay has been validated as reflecting the expression and/or activity of CARM1 and optimized for high throughput screening to identify CARM1 allosteric activators. This TR-FRET platform serves as a generic tool for functional screening of cell-permeable, chemical modulators of CARM1 for elucidation of its in vivo functions.
Project description:Cellular retinoic acid-binding protein 2 (CRABP2) potently suppresses the growth of various carcinomas, but the mechanism(s) that underlies this activity remains incompletely understood. CRABP2 displays two distinct functions. The classical function of this protein is to directly deliver retinoic acid (RA) to RA receptor (RAR), a nuclear receptor activated by this hormone, in turn inducing the expression of multiple antiproliferative genes. The other function of the protein is exerted in the absence of RA and mediated by the RNA-binding and stabilizing protein HuR. CRABP2 directly binds to HuR, markedly strengthens its interactions with target mRNAs, and thus increases their stability and up-regulates their expression. Here we show that the anticarcinogenic activities of CRABP2 are mediated by both of its functions. Transcriptome analyses revealed that, in the absence of RA, a large cohort of transcripts is regulated in common by CRABP2 and HuR, and many of these are involved in regulation of oncogenic properties. Furthermore, both in cultured cells and in vivo, CRABP2 or a CRABP2 mutant defective in its ability to cooperate with RAR but competent in interactions with HuR suppressed carcinoma growth and did so in the absence of RA. Hence, transcript stabilization by the CRABP2-HuR complex significantly contributes to the ability of CRABP2 to inhibit tumorigenesis. Surprisingly, the observations also revealed that HuR regulates the expression of multiple genes involved in nuclear pore formation and is required for nuclear import of CRABP2 and for transcriptional activation by RAR. The data thus point at a novel function for this important protein.
Project description:Coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) is a type I protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) that catalyzes the conversion of arginine into monomethylarginine (MMA) and further into asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA). CARM1 methylates histone 3 arginines 17 and 26, as well as numerous non-histone proteins including CBP/p300, SRC-3, NCOA2, PABP1, and SAP49, while also functioning as a coactivator for various proteins that have been linked to cancer such as p53, NF-??, ?-catenin, E2F1 and steroid hormone receptor ER?. As a result, CARM1 is involved in transcriptional activation, cellular differentiation, cell cycle progression, RNA splicing and DNA damage response. It has been associated with several human cancers including breast, colon, prostate and lung cancers and thus, is a potential oncological target. Herein, we present the design and synthesis of a series of CARM1 inhibitors. Based on a fragment hit, we discovered compound 9 as a potent inhibitor that displayed selectivity for CARM1 over other PRMTs.