Biochemical characteristics of the chondrocyte-enriched SNORC protein and its transcriptional regulation by SOX9.
ABSTRACT: Snorc (Small NOvel Rich in Cartilage) has been identified as a chondrocyte-specific gene in the mouse. Yet little is known about the SNORC protein biochemical properties, and mechanistically how the gene is regulated transcriptionally in a tissue-specific manner. The goals of the present study were to shed light on those important aspects. The chondrocyte nature of Snorc expression was confirmed in mouse and rat tissues, in differentiated (day 7) ATDC5, and in RCS cells where it was constitutive. Topological mapping and biochemical analysis brought experimental evidences that SNORC is a type I protein carrying a chondroitin sulfate (CS) attached to serine 44. The anomalous migration of SNORC on SDS-PAGE was due to its primary polypeptide features, suggesting no additional post-translational modifications apart from the CS glycosaminoglycan. A highly conserved SOX9-binding enhancer located in intron 1 was necessary to drive transcription of Snorc in the mouse, rat, and human. The enhancer was active independently of orientation and whether located in a heterologous promoter or intron. Crispr-mediated inactivation of the enhancer in RCS cells caused reduction of Snorc. Transgenic mice carrying the intronic multimerized enhancer drove high expression of a ?Geo reporter in chondrocytes, but not in the hypertrophic zone. Altogether these data confirmed the chondrocyte-specific nature of Snorc and revealed dependency on the intronic enhancer binding of SOX9 for transcription.
Project description:Sox9 is a transcription factor of the SRY family required for several steps of chondrogenesis. It activates the expression of various chondrocyte-specific genes, but the mechanisms and role of cofactors involved in Sox9-regulated gene transcription are not fully understood. Here, we report on the characterization of a Tat interactive protein-60 (Tip60) as Sox9-associated protein identified in a yeast two-hybrid screen. Both in vitro and in vivo assays confirmed the specificity of interactions between Sox9 and Tip60 including the existence of an endogenous complex containing both polypeptides in chondrocytes. Gel shift assays showed the presence of a complex containing Sox9, Tip60 and the DNA of an enhancer region of the Col2a1 promoter. Reporter assays using a Col2a1 promoter with multimerized Col2a1 Sox9-binding sites indicated that Tip60 enhanced the transcriptional activity of Sox9. A larger Col2a1 promoter showed that Tip60 increased the activity of this promoter in the presence of both Sox9 and Sox5. Ectopic expression of Sox9 and transient-cotransfection with Tip60 in COS7 cells showed a more diffuse subnuclear colocalization, suggesting changes in the chromatin structure. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays showed that Tip60, Sox9 and Sox5 associated with the same Col2a1 enhancer region. Consistent with a role of Tip60 in chondrogenesis, addition of Tip60 siRNA to limb-bud micromass cultures delayed chondrocyte differention. Tip60 enhances acetylation of Sox9 mainly through K61, 253, 398 residues; however, the K61/253/398A mutant of Sox9 still exhibited enhanced transcriptional activity by Tip60. Our results support the hypothesis that Tip60 is a coactivator of Sox9 in chondrocytes.
Project description:Transcription of the type II collagen gene (Col2a1) is regulated by multiple cis-acting sites. The enhancer element, which is located in the first intron, is necessary for high-level and cartilage-specific expression of Col2a1. A mouse limb bud cDNA expression library was screened by the Saccharomyces cerevisiae one-hybrid screening method to identify protein factors bound to the enhancer. A zinc finger protein, alphaA-crystallin binding protein 1 (CRYBP1), which had been reported to bind to the mouse alphaA-crystallin gene promoter, was isolated. We herein demonstrate that CRYBP1 is involved in the negative regulation of Col2a1 enhancer activity. CRYBP1 mRNA expression was downregulated during chondrocyte differentiation in vitro. In situ hybridization analysis of developing mouse cartilage showed that CRYBP1 mRNA was also downregulated during mesenchymal condensation and that CRYBP1 mRNA was highly expressed by hypertrophic chondrocytes, but at very low levels by resting and proliferating chondrocytes. Expression of recombinant CRYBP1 in a transfected rat chondrosarcoma cell line inhibited Col2a1 enhancer activity. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays showed that CRYBP1 bound a specific sequence within the Col2a1 enhancer and inhibited the binding of Sox9, an activator for Col2a1, to the enhancer. Cotransfection of CRYBP1 with Sox9 into BALB/c 3T3 cells inhibited activation of the Col2a1 enhancer by Sox9. These results suggest a novel mechanism that negatively regulates cartilage-specific expression of Col2a1.
Project description:Transcripts for a new form of Sox5, called L-Sox5, and Sox6 are coexpressed with Sox9 in all chondrogenic sites of mouse embryos. A coiled-coil domain located in the N-terminal part of L-Sox5, and absent in Sox5, showed >90% identity with a similar domain in Sox6 and mediated homodimerization and heterodimerization with Sox6. Dimerization of L-Sox5/Sox6 greatly increased efficiency of binding of the two Sox proteins to DNA containing adjacent HMG sites. L-Sox5, Sox6 and Sox9 cooperatively activated expression of the chondrocyte differentiation marker Col2a1 in 10T1/2 and MC615 cells. A 48 bp chondrocyte-specific enhancer in this gene, which contains several HMG-like sites that are necessary for enhancer activity, bound the three Sox proteins and was cooperatively activated by the three Sox proteins in non-chondrogenic cells. Our data suggest that L-Sox5/Sox6 and Sox9, which belong to two different classes of Sox transcription factors, cooperate with each other in expression of Col2a1 and possibly other genes of the chondrocytic program.
Project description:Sox9 encodes an essential transcriptional regulator of chondrocyte specification and differentiation. When Sox9 nuclear activity was compared with markers of chromatin organization and transcriptional activity in primary chondrocytes, we identified two distinct categories of target association. Class I sites cluster around the transcriptional start sites of highly expressed genes with no chondrocyte-specific signature. Here, Sox9 association reflects protein-protein association with basal transcriptional components. Class II sites highlight evolutionarily conserved active enhancers that direct chondrocyte-related gene activity through the direct binding of Sox9 dimer complexes to DNA. Sox9 binds through sites with sub-optimal binding affinity; the number and grouping of enhancers into super-enhancer clusters likely determines the levels of target gene expression. Interestingly, comparison of Sox9 action in distinct chondrocyte lineages points to similar regulatory strategies. In addition to providing insights into Sox family action, our comprehensive identification of the chondrocyte regulatory genome will facilitate the study of skeletal development and human disease.
Project description:Cartilage and endochondral bone development require SOX9 activity to regulate chondrogenesis, chondrocyte proliferation, and transition to a non-mitotic hypertrophic state. The restricted and reciprocal expression of the collagen X gene, Col10a1, in hypertrophic chondrocytes and Sox9 in immature chondrocytes epitomise the precise spatiotemporal control of gene expression as chondrocytes progress through phases of differentiation, but how this is achieved is not clear. Here, we have identified a regulatory element upstream of Col10a1 that enhances its expression in hypertrophic chondrocytes in vivo. In immature chondrocytes, where Col10a1 is not expressed, SOX9 interacts with a conserved sequence within this element that is analogous to that within the intronic enhancer of the collagen II gene Col2a1, the known transactivation target of SOX9. By analysing a series of Col10a1 reporter genes in transgenic mice, we show that the SOX9 binding consensus in this element is required to repress expression of the transgene in non-hypertrophic chondrocytes. Forced ectopic Sox9 expression in hypertrophic chondrocytes in vitro and in mice resulted in down-regulation of Col10a1. Mutation of a binding consensus motif for GLI transcription factors, which are the effectors of Indian hedgehog signaling, close to the SOX9 site in the Col10a1 regulatory element, also derepressed transgene expression in non-hypertrophic chondrocytes. GLI2 and GLI3 bound to the Col10a1 regulatory element but not to the enhancer of Col2a1. In addition to Col10a1, paired SOX9-GLI binding motifs are present in the conserved non-coding regions of several genes that are preferentially expressed in hypertrophic chondrocytes and the occurrence of pairing is unlikely to be by chance. We propose a regulatory paradigm whereby direct concomitant positive and negative transcriptional control by SOX9 ensures differentiation phase-specific gene expression in chondrocytes. Discrimination between these opposing modes of transcriptional control by SOX9 may be mediated by cooperation with different partners such as GLI factors.
Project description:The insulin receptor exists as two isoforms, IR-A and IR-B, which result from alternative splicing of exon 11 in the primary transcript. These two isoforms show a cell-specific distribution, and their relative proportions also vary during development, aging, and in different disease states. We have previously demonstrated that both intron 10 and the alternatively spliced exon 11 contain regulatory sequences that affect insulin receptor splicing both positively and negatively and that these sequences bind the serine/arginine-rich (SR) proteins SRp20 and SF2/ASF and the CELF protein CUG-BP1. In this study, we describe a new intronic splicing element within intron 11 that is highly conserved across species. Using minigenes carrying deletion mutations within intron 11, we demonstrated that this sequence functions as an intronic splicing enhancer. We subsequently used RNA affinity chromatography to identify Mbnl1 as a splicing factor that recognizes this enhancer. By ribonucleoprotein immunoprecipitation, we also established that Mbnl1 binds specifically to the INSR (insulin receptor gene) RNA. Overexpression or knockdown of Mbnl1 in hepatoma and embryonic kidney cells altered the levels of exon 11 inclusion. Finally, we showed that deletion of the intronic enhancer eliminates the ability of Mbnl1 to promote exon inclusion. Collectively, these findings demonstrate a role for Mbnl1 in controlling insulin receptor exon 11 inclusion via binding to a downstream intronic enhancer element.
Project description:Our previous work has provided strong evidence that the transcription factor SOX9 is completely needed for chondrogenic differentiation and cartilage formation acting as a "master switch" in this differentiation. Heterozygous mutations in SOX9 cause campomelic dysplasia, a severe skeletal dysmorphology syndrome in humans characterized by a generalized hypoplasia of endochondral bones. To obtain insights into the logic used by SOX9 to control a network of target genes in chondrocytes, we performed a ChIP-on-chip experiment using SOX9 antibodies.The ChIP DNA was hybridized to a microarray, which covered 80 genes, many of which are involved in chondrocyte differentiation. Hybridization peaks were detected in a series of cartilage extracellular matrix (ECM) genes including Col2a1, Col11a2, Aggrecan and Cdrap as well as in genes for specific transcription factors and signaling molecules. Our results also showed SOX9 interaction sites in genes that code for proteins that enhance the transcriptional activity of SOX9. Interestingly, a strong SOX9 signal was also observed in genes such as Col1a1 and Osx, whose expression is strongly down regulated in chondrocytes but is high in osteoblasts. In the Col2a1 gene, in addition to an interaction site on a previously identified enhancer in intron 1, another strong interaction site was seen in intron 6. This site is free of nucleosomes specifically in chondrocytes suggesting an important role of this site on Col2a1 transcription regulation by SOX9.Our results provide a broad understanding of the strategies used by a "master" transcription factor of differentiation in control of the genetic program of chondrocytes.
Project description:An analysis of Sox9 binding profiles in developing chondrocytes identified marked enrichment of an AP-1-like motif. Here, we have explored the functional interplay between Sox9 and AP-1 in mammalian chondrocyte development. Among AP-1 family members, Jun and Fosl2 were highly expressed within prehypertrophic and early hypertrophic chondrocytes. Chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by DNA sequencing (ChIP-seq) showed a striking overlap in Jun- and Sox9-bound regions throughout the chondrocyte genome, reflecting direct binding of each factor to the same enhancers and a potential for protein-protein interactions within AP-1- and Sox9-containing complexes. In vitro reporter analysis indicated that direct co-binding of Sox9 and AP-1 at target motifs promoted gene activity. By contrast, where only one factor can engage its DNA target, the presence of the other factor suppresses target activation consistent with protein-protein interactions attenuating transcription. Analysis of prehypertrophic chondrocyte removal of Sox9 confirmed the requirement of Sox9 for hypertrophic chondrocyte development, and in vitro and ex vivo analyses showed that AP-1 promotes chondrocyte hypertrophy. Sox9 and Jun co-bound and co-activated a Col10a1 enhancer in Sox9 and AP-1 motif-dependent manners consistent with their combined action promoting hypertrophic gene expression. Together, the data support a model in which AP-1 family members contribute to Sox9 action in the transition of chondrocytes to the hypertrophic program.
Project description:SOX9 is a transcriptional activator required for chondrogenesis, and SOX5 and SOX6 are closely related DNA-binding proteins that critically enhance its function. We use here genome-wide approaches to gain novel insights into the full spectrum of the target genes and modes of action of this chondrogenic trio. Using the RCS cell line as a faithful model for proliferating/early prehypertrophic growth plate chondrocytes, we uncover that SOX6 and SOX9 bind thousands of genomic sites, frequently and most efficiently near each other. SOX9 recognizes pairs of inverted SOX motifs, whereas SOX6 favors pairs of tandem SOX motifs. The SOX proteins primarily target enhancers. While binding to a small fraction of typical enhancers, they bind multiple sites on almost all super-enhancers (SEs) present in RCS cells. These SEs are predominantly linked to cartilage-specific genes. The SOX proteins effectively work together to activate these SEs and are required for in vivo expression of their associated genes. These genes encode key regulatory factors, including the SOX trio proteins, and all essential cartilage extracellular matrix components. Chst11, Fgfr3, Runx2 and Runx3 are among many other newly identified SOX trio targets. SOX9 and SOX5/SOX6 thus cooperate genome-wide, primarily through SEs, to implement the growth plate chondrocyte differentiation program.
Project description:The transcriptional mechanism through which chondrocytes control the spatial and temporal composition of the cartilage tissue has remained largely elusive. The central aim of this study was to identify whether transcriptional enhancers played a role in the organisation of the chondrocytes in cartilaginous tissue. We focused on the Aggrecan gene (Acan) as it is essential for the normal structure and function of cartilage and it is expressed developmentally in different stages of chondrocyte maturation. Using transgenic reporter studies in mice we identified four elements, two of which showed individual chondrocyte developmental stage specificity. In particular, one enhancer (-80) distinguishes itself from the others by being predominantly active in adult cartilage. Furthermore, the -62 element uniquely drove reporter activity in early chondrocytes. The remaining chondrocyte specific enhancers, +28 and -30, showed no preference to chondrocyte type. The transcription factor SOX9 interacted with all the enhancers in vitro and mutation of SOX9 binding sites in one of the enhancers (-30) resulted in a loss of its chondrocyte specificity and ectopic enhancer reporter activity. Thus, the Acan enhancers orchestrate the precise spatiotemporal expression of this gene in cartilage types at different stages of development and adulthood.