The core SWI/SNF catalytic subunit Brg1 regulates nephron progenitor cell proliferation and differentiation.
ABSTRACT: Chromatin-remodeling complexes play critical roles in establishing gene expression patterns in response to developmental signals. How these epigenetic regulators determine the fate of progenitor cells during development of specific organs is not well understood. We found that genetic deletion of Brg1 (Smarca4), the core enzymatic protein in SWI/SNF, in nephron progenitor cells leads to severe renal hypoplasia. Nephron progenitor cells were depleted in Six2-Cre, Brg1flx/flx mice due to reduced cell proliferation. This defect in self-renewal, together with impaired differentiation resulted in a profound nephron deficit in Brg1 mutant kidneys. Sall1, a transcription factor that is required for expansion and maintenance of nephron progenitors, associates with SWI/SNF. Brg1 and Sall1 bind promoters of many progenitor cell genes and regulate expression of key targets that promote their proliferation.
Project description:The balanced self-renewal and differentiation of nephron progenitors are critical for kidney development and controlled, in part, by the transcription factor Six2, which antagonizes canonical Wnt signaling-mediated differentiation. A nuclear factor, Sall1, is expressed in Six2-positive progenitors as well as differentiating nascent nephrons, and it is essential for kidney formation. However, the molecular functions and targets of Sall1, especially the functions and targets in the nephron progenitors, remain unknown. Here, we report that Sall1 deletion in Six2-positive nephron progenitors results in severe progenitor depletion and apoptosis of the differentiating nephrons in mice. Analysis of mice with an inducible Sall1 deletion revealed that Sall1 activates genes expressed in progenitors while repressing genes expressed in differentiating nephrons. Sall1 and Six2 co-occupied many progenitor-related gene loci, and Sall1 bound to Six2 biochemically. In contrast, Sall1 did not bind to the Wnt4 locus suppressed by Six2. Sall1-mediated repression was also independent of its binding to DNA. Thus, Sall1 maintains nephron progenitors and their derivatives by a unique mechanism, which partly overlaps but is distinct from that of Six2: Sall1 activates progenitor-related genes in Six2-positive nephron progenitors and represses gene expression in Six2-negative differentiating nascent nephrons.
Project description:Rhabdoid tumors of early infancy are highly aggressive with consequent poor prognosis. Most cases show inactivation of the SMARCB1 (also known as INI1 and hSNF5) tumor suppressor, a core member of the ATP-dependent SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex. Familial cases, described as rhabdoid tumor predisposition syndrome (RTPS), have been linked to heterozygous SMARCB1 germline mutations. We identified inactivation of another member of the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex, its ATPase subunit SMARCA4 (also known as BRG1), due to a SMARCA4/BRG1 germline mutation and loss of heterozygosity by uniparental disomy in the tumor cells of two sisters with rhabdoid tumors lacking SMARCB1 mutations. SMARCA4 is thus a second member of the SWI/SNF complex involved in cancer predisposition. Its general involvement in other tumor entities remains to be established.
Project description:Inactivation of SMARCA4/BRG1, the core ATPase subunit of mammalian SWI/SNF complexes, occurs at very high frequencies in non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC). There are no targeted therapies for this subset of lung cancers, nor is it known how mutations in <i>BRG1</i> contribute to lung cancer progression. Using a combination of gain- and loss-of-function approaches, we demonstrate that deletion of BRG1 in lung cancer leads to activation of replication stress responses. Single-molecule assessment of replication fork dynamics in BRG1-deficient cells revealed increased origin firing mediated by the prelicensing protein, CDC6. Quantitative mass spectrometry and coimmunoprecipitation assays showed that BRG1-containing SWI/SNF complexes interact with RPA complexes. Finally, BRG1-deficient lung cancers were sensitive to pharmacologic inhibition of ATR. These findings provide novel mechanistic insight into BRG1-mutant lung cancers and suggest that their dependency on ATR can be leveraged therapeutically and potentially expanded to BRG1-mutant cancers in other tissues. SIGNIFICANCE: These findings indicate that inhibition of ATR is a promising therapy for the 10% of non-small cell lung cancer patients harboring mutations in SMARCA4/BRG1. GRAPHICAL ABSTRACT: http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/canres/80/18/3841/F1.large.jpg.
Project description:Eya1 interacts with Six1/2 to induce nephron fate and promote nephron progenitor self-renewal. Haploinsufficiency for these genes in humans causes kidney agenesis or hypoplasia. However, how the Eya1-centered network operates remains elusive. Here we identify Eya1's interacting factors via mass-spectrometry and show that Eya1 and Six2 interact with Brg1-based SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complex in the kidney. Depletion of Brg1 results in lack of metanephric mesenchyme and depletion of nephron progenitor cells, which is linked to loss of Eya1 expression. Transcriptional profiling reveals conspicuous downregulation of the proto-oncogene Pbx1 and the Dchs1/Fat4 signaling but premature upregulation of a large subset of genes for podocyte lineages and aberrant activation of oncogenic factors in Brg1-deficent cell. ChIP-seq identifies Brg1-occupancy to enhancers at Pbx1 to a distal enhancer of Eya1 that drives nephron progenitor-specific expression. We demonstrate Six2-dependent Brg1 enrichment to the proximal-promoter of Mycn and two distal enhancers of Pbx1, all of which govern nephron progenitor-specific expression in response to binding to Six2. Together, our results suggest a possible mechanism through which the functional specificity of Brg1-BAFs and Eya1-Six2 in cell cycle regulation and self-renewal of the nephron progenitors may be in part achieved. Overall design: Genome-wide Brg1 binding feature was characterized in kidney using ChIP-seq.
Project description:Nephron progenitor number determines nephron endowment; a reduced nephron count is linked to the onset of kidney disease. Several transcriptional regulators including Six2, Wt1, Osr1, Sall1, Eya1, Pax2, and Hox11 paralogues are required for specification and/or maintenance of nephron progenitors. However, little is known about the regulatory intersection of these players. Here, we have mapped nephron progenitor-specific transcriptional networks of Six2, Hoxd11, Osr1, and Wt1. We identified 373 multi-factor associated 'regulatory hotspots' around genes closely associated with progenitor programs. To examine their functional significance, we deleted 'hotspot' enhancer elements for Six2 and Wnt4. Removal of the distal enhancer for Six2 leads to a ~40% reduction in Six2 expression. When combined with a Six2 null allele, progeny display a premature depletion of nephron progenitors. Loss of the Wnt4 enhancer led to a significant reduction of Wnt4 expression in renal vesicles and a mildly hypoplastic kidney, a phenotype also enhanced in combination with a Wnt4 null mutation. To explore the regulatory landscape that supports proper target gene expression, we performed CTCF ChIP-seq to identify insulator-boundary regions. One such putative boundary lies between the Six2 and Six3 loci. Evidence for the functional significance of this boundary was obtained by deep sequencing of the radiation-induced Brachyrrhine (Br) mutant allele. We identified an inversion of the Six2/Six3 locus around the CTCF-bound boundary, removing Six2 from its distal enhancer regulation, but placed next to Six3 enhancer elements which support ectopic Six2 expression in the lens where Six3 is normally expressed. Six3 is now predicted to fall under control of the Six2 distal enhancer. Consistent with this view, we observed ectopic Six3 in nephron progenitors. 4C-seq supports the model for Six2 distal enhancer interactions in wild-type and Br/+ mouse kidneys. Together, these data expand our view of the regulatory genome and regulatory landscape underpinning mammalian nephrogenesis.
Project description:ATP-dependent chromatin-remodeling complexes contribute to the proper temporal and spatial patterns of gene expression in mammalian embryos and therefore play important roles in a number of developmental processes. SWI/SNF-like chromatin-remodeling complexes use one of two different ATPases as their catalytic subunit: brahma (BRM, also known as SMARCA2) and brahma-related gene 1 (BRG1, also known as SMARCA4). We have conditionally deleted a floxed Brg1 allele with a Tie2-Cre transgene, which is expressed in developing hematopoietic and endothelial cells. Brg1(fl/fl):Tie2-Cre(+) embryos die at midgestation from anemia, as mutant primitive erythrocytes fail to transcribe embryonic alpha- and beta-globins, and subsequently undergo apoptosis. Additionally, vascular remodeling of the extraembryonic yolk sac is abnormal in Brg1(fl/fl):Tie2-Cre(+) embryos. Importantly, Brm deficiency does not exacerbate the erythropoietic or vascular abnormalities found in Brg1(fl/fl):Tie2-Cre(+) embryos, implying that Brg1-containing SWI/SNF-like complexes, rather than Brm-containing complexes, play a crucial role in primitive erythropoiesis and in early vascular development.
Project description:Defects in epigenetic regulation play a fundamental role in the development of cancer, and epigenetic regulators have recently emerged as promising therapeutic candidates. We therefore set out to systematically interrogate epigenetic cancer dependencies by screening an epigenome-focused deep-coverage design shRNA (DECODER) library across 58 cancer cell lines. This screen identified BRM/SMARCA2, a DNA-dependent ATPase of the mammalian SWI/SNF (mSWI/SNF) chromatin remodeling complex, as being essential for the growth of tumor cells that harbor loss of function mutations in BRG1/SMARCA4. Depletion of BRM in BRG1-deficient cancer cells leads to a cell cycle arrest, induction of senescence, and increased levels of global H3K9me3. We further demonstrate the selective dependency of BRG1-mutant tumors on BRM in vivo. Genetic alterations of the mSWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes are the most frequent among chromatin regulators in cancers, with BRG1/SMARCA4 mutations occurring in ?10-15% of lung adenocarcinomas. Our findings position BRM as an attractive therapeutic target for BRG1 mutated cancers. Because BRG1 and BRM function as mutually exclusive catalytic subunits of the mSWI/SNF complex, we propose that such synthetic lethality may be explained by paralog insufficiency, in which loss of one family member unveils critical dependence on paralogous subunits. This concept of "cancer-selective paralog dependency" may provide a more general strategy for targeting other tumor suppressor lesions/complexes with paralogous subunits.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the major type of primary liver cancer. Genomic studies have revealed that HCC is a heterogeneous disease with multiple subtypes. BRG1, encoded by the SMARCA4 gene, is a key component of SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling complexes. Based on TCGA studies, somatic mutations of SMARCA4 occur in ~3% of human HCC samples. Additional studies suggest that BRG1 is overexpressed in human HCC specimens and may promote HCC growth and invasion. However, the precise functional roles of BRG1 in HCC remain poorly delineated. Here, we analyzed BRG1 in human HCC samples as well as in mouse models. We found that BRG1 is overexpressed in most of human HCC samples, especially in those associated with poorer prognosis. BRG1 expression levels positively correlate with cell cycle and negatively with metabolic pathways in the Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) human HCC data set. In a murine HCC model induced by c-MYC overexpression, ablation of the Brg1 gene completely repressed HCC formation. In striking contrast, however, we discovered that concomitant deletion of Brg1 and overexpression of c-Met or mutant NRas (NRASV12) triggered HCC formation in mice. Altogether, the present data indicate that BRG1 possesses both oncogenic and tumor-suppressing roles depending on the oncogenic stimuli during hepatocarcinogenesis.
Project description:The formation of the proper number of nephrons requires a tightly regulated balance between renal progenitor cell self-renewal and differentiation. The molecular pathways that regulate the transition from renal progenitor to renal vesicle are not well understood. Here, we show that Sall1interacts with the nucleosome remodeling and deacetylase complex (NuRD) to inhibit premature differentiation of nephron progenitor cells. Disruption of Sall1-NuRD in vivo in knock-in mice (?SRM) resulted in accelerated differentiation of nephron progenitors and bilateral renal hypoplasia. Transcriptional profiling of mutant kidneys revealed a striking pattern in which genes of the glomerular and proximal tubule lineages were either unchanged or upregulated, and those in the loop of Henle and distal tubule lineages were downregulated. These global changes in gene expression were accompanied by a significant decrease in THP-, NKCC2- and AQP1-positive loop of Henle nephron segments in mutant ?SRM kidneys. These findings highlight an important function of Sall1-NuRD interaction in the regulation of Six2-positive multipotent renal progenitor cells and formation of the loop of Henle.
Project description:Mutations in SOX10 cause neurocristopathies which display varying degrees of hypopigmentation. Using a sensitized mutagenesis screen, we identified Smarca4 as a modifier gene that exacerbates the phenotypic severity of Sox10 haplo-insufficient mice. Conditional deletion of Smarca4 in SOX10 expressing cells resulted in reduced numbers of cranial and ventral trunk melanoblasts. To define the requirement for the Smarca4 -encoded BRG1 subunit of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex, we employed in vitro models of melanocyte differentiation in which induction of melanocyte-specific gene expression is closely linked to chromatin alterations. We found that BRG1 was required for expression of Dct, Tyrp1 and Tyr, genes that are regulated by SOX10 and MITF and for chromatin remodeling at distal and proximal regulatory sites. SOX10 was found to physically interact with BRG1 in differentiating melanocytes and binding of SOX10 to the Tyrp1 distal enhancer temporally coincided with recruitment of BRG1. Our data show that SOX10 cooperates with MITF to facilitate BRG1 binding to distal enhancers of melanocyte-specific genes. Thus, BRG1 is a SOX10 co-activator, required to establish the melanocyte lineage and promote expression of genes important for melanocyte function.