The chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factors (COUP-TFs), members of the nuclear receptor superfamily, consist of two highly homologous subtypes, COUP-TFI (EAR-3, NR2F1) and COUP-TFII (ARP-1, NR2F2). They are referred to as orphan receptors because the COUP-TF ligands have yet to be identified. Since the discovery of COUP-TFs in 1986, extensive studies have demonstrated their crucial functions in a variety of developmental processes, such as organogenesis, angiogenesis, and metabolic homeostasis. Recently, emerging evidence has highlighted that COUP-TFs, specifically COUP-TFII, play important roles in tumorigenesis. In this review, we will discuss the critical functions of COUP-TFII in the development of the tumor microenvironment, the progression of various cancers, and its underlying mechanisms.
A major clinical hurdle for the management of advanced prostate cancer (PCa) in patients is the resistance of tumors to androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) and their subsequent development into castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). While recent studies have identified potential pathways involved in CRPC development, the drivers of CRPC remain largely undefined. Here we determined that nuclear receptor coactivator 2 (NCoA2, also known as SRC-2), which is frequently amplified or overexpressed in patients with metastatic PCa, mediates development of CRPC. In a murine model, overexpression of NCoA2 in the prostate epithelium resulted in neoplasia and, in combination with Pten deletion, promoted the development of metastasis-prone cancer. Moreover, depletion of NCoA2 in PTEN-deficient mice prevented the development of CRPC. In human androgen-sensitive prostate cancer cells, androgen signaling suppressed NCoA2 expression, and NCoA2 overexpression in murine prostate tumors resulted in hyperactivation of PI3K/AKT and MAPK signaling, promoting tumor malignance. Analysis of PCa patient samples revealed a strong correlation among NCoA2-mediated signaling, disease progression, and PCa recurrence. Taken together, our findings indicate that androgen deprivation induces NCoA2, which in turn mediates activation of PI3K signaling and promotes PCa metastasis and CRPC development. Moreover, these results suggest that the inhibition of NCoA2 has potential for PCa therapy.
Coactivator activator (CoAA) is a dual-functional coregulator that regulates steroid receptor-mediated transcription and alternative splicing. Previously, we have shown that CoAA has tumor-suppressive potential in tumorigenic human kidney cells. Here, we uncover a molecular mechanism by which Sjogren syndrome-associated autoantigen (SSA), an estrogen receptor (ER) coactivator, induces MYC oncogene by removing repressive CoAA through E2-dependent degradation of CoAA and promotes G(1)/S transition of the cell cycle as well as anchorage-independent growth capability of breast cancer cells. We also show that E2 and ER enhance the E3 ligase activity of SSA to modulate CoAA through splicing isoform-selective ubiquitylation. We propose this as one potential molecular basis for the reduced tumor incidence in autoimmune disease patients and suggest SSA as a potential therapeutic target to treat breast cancer.
Recent studies reveal that COUP-TF genes are essential for neural development, cardiovascular development, energy metabolism and adipogenesis, as well as for organogenesis of multiple systems. In this review, we mainly describe the COUP-TF genes, molecular mechanisms of COUP-TF action, and their crucial functions in the morphogenesis of the murine eye. Mutations of COUP-TF genes lead to the congenital coloboma and/or optic atrophy in both mouse and human, indicating that the study on COUP-TFs and the eye will benefit our understanding of the etiology of human ocular diseases. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Nuclear receptors in animal development. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Nuclear receptors in animal development.
Optic nerve atrophy and hypoplasia can be primary disorders or can result from trans-synaptic degeneration arising from cerebral visual impairment (CVI). Here we report six individuals with CVI and/or optic nerve abnormalities, born after an uneventful pregnancy and delivery, who have either de novo heterozygous missense mutations in NR2F1, also known as COUP-TFI, or deletions encompassing NR2F1. All affected individuals show mild to moderate intellectual impairment. NR2F1 encodes a nuclear receptor protein that regulates transcription. A reporter assay showed that missense mutations in the zinc-finger DNA-binding domain and the putative ligand-binding domain decrease NR2F1 transcriptional activity. These findings indicate that NR2F1 plays an important role in the neurodevelopment of the visual system and that its disruption can lead to optic atrophy with intellectual disability.
Chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factor II (COUP-TFII) belongs to the steroid/thyroid hormone receptor superfamily. Extensive evidence has indicated that COUP-TFII plays a critical and indispensable role in cell-fate specification, organogenesis, angiogenesis, and metabolism as well as in a variety of diseases. Recent studies obtained from genetically engineered mouse models (GEM) and patient specimen analysis indicate that COUP-TFII is also important for tumor progression and metastasis. In this article, we will comprehensively review the oncogenic roles of COUP-TFII within the tumor microenvironment and tumor cells and delineate the mechanism by which COUP-TFII contributes to tumorigenesis. The applicability of current data to our understanding of the role of COUP-TFII in cancer and the potential therapeutic implications will also be discussed.
As pleiotropic coregulators, members of the p160/steroid receptor coactivator (SRC) family control a broad spectrum of transcriptional responses that underpin a diverse array of physiological and pathophysiological processes. Because of their potent coregulator properties, strict controls on SRC expression levels are required to maintain normal tissue functionality. Accordingly, an unwarranted increase in the cellular levels of SRC members has been causally linked to the initiation and/or progression of a number of clinical disorders. Although knockout mouse models have underscored the critical non-redundant roles for each SRC member in vivo, there are surprisingly few mouse models that have been engineered to overexpress SRCs. This deficiency is significant since SRC involvement in many of these disorders is based on unscheduled increases in the levels (rather than the absence) of SRC expression. To address this deficiency, we used recent mouse technology that allows for the targeted expression of human SRC-2 in cells which express the progesterone receptor. Through cre-loxP recombination driven by the endogenous progesterone receptor promoter, a marked elevation in expression levels of human SRC-2 was achieved in endometrial cells that are positive for the progesterone receptor. As a result of this increase in coregulator expression, female mice are severely subfertile due to a dysfunctional uterus, which exhibits a hypersensitivity to estrogen exposure. Our findings strongly support the proposal from clinical observations that increased levels of SRC-2 are causal for a number of endometrial disorders which compromise fertility. Future studies will use this mouse model to decipher the molecular mechanisms that underpin the endometrial defect. We believe such mechanistic insight may provide new molecular descriptors for diagnosis, prognosis, and/or therapy in the clinical management of female infertility.
Endometriosis is one of the most common gynecological diseases in women with a prevalence rate of approximately 10%. Chronic pelvic inflammation has been observed in patients with endometriosis and is associated with disease severity. However, how pelvic inflammation promotes endometriosis progression remains unknown.
Chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor II (COUP-TFII; NR2F2) is an orphan nuclear receptor involved in cell-fate specification, organogenesis, angiogenesis, and metabolism. Ablation of COUP-TFII in the mouse uterus causes infertility due to defects in embryo attachment and impaired uterine stromal cell decidualization. Although the function of COUP-TFII in uterine decidualization has been described in mice, its role in the human uterus remains unknown. We observed that, as in mice, COUP-TFII is robustly expressed in the endometrial stroma of healthy women, and its expression is reduced in the ectopic lesions of women with endometriosis. To interrogate the role of COUP-TFII in human endometrial function, we used a small interfering RNA-mediated loss of function approach in primary human endometrial stromal cells. Attenuation of COUP-TFII expression did not completely block decidualization; rather it had a selective effect on gene expression. To better elucidate the role of COUP-TFII in endometrial stroma cell biology, the COUP-TFII transcriptome was defined by pairing microarray comparison with chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by deep sequencing. Gene ontology analysis demonstrates that COUP-TFII regulates a subset of genes in endometrial stroma cell decidualization such as those involved in cell adhesion, angiogenesis, and inflammation. Importantly this analysis shows that COUP-TFII plays a role in controlling the expression of inflammatory cytokines. The determination that COUP-TFII plays a role in inflammation may add insight into the role of COUP-TFII in embryo implantation and in endometrial diseases such as endometriosis.
Atria and ventricles exhibit distinct molecular profiles that produce structural and functional differences between the two cardiac compartments. However, the factors that determine these differences remain largely undefined. Cardiomyocyte-specific COUP-TFII ablation produces ventricularized atria that exhibit ventricle-like action potentials, increased cardiomyocyte size, and development of extensive T tubules. Changes in atrial characteristics are accompanied by alterations of 2,584 genes, of which 81% were differentially expressed between atria and ventricles, suggesting that a major function of myocardial COUP-TFII is to determine atrial identity. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays using E13.5 atria identified classic atrial-ventricular identity genes Tbx5, Hey2, Irx4, MLC2v, MLC2a, and MLC1a, among many other cardiac genes, as potential COUP-TFII direct targets. Collectively, our results reveal that COUP-TFII confers atrial identity through direct binding and by modulating expression of a broad spectrum of genes that have an impact on atrial development and function.
Chromatin immunoprecipitation studies have mapped protein occupancies at many genomic loci. However, a detailed picture of the complexity of coregulators (CoRs) bound to a defined enhancer along with a transcription factor is missing. To address this, we used biotin-DNA pull-down assays coupled with mass spectrometry-immunoblotting to identify at least 17 CoRs from nuclear extracts bound to 17?-estradiol (E2)-liganded estrogen receptor-? on estrogen response elements (EREs). Unexpectedly, these complexes initially are biochemically stable and contain certain atypical corepressors. Addition of ATP dynamically converts these complexes to an "activated" state by phosphorylation events, primarily mediated by DNA-dependent protein kinase. Importantly, a "natural" ERE-containing enhancer and nucleosomal EREs recruit similar complexes. We further discovered the mechanism whereby H3K4me3 stimulates ER?-mediated transcription as compared with unmodified nucleosomes. H3K4me3 templates promote specific CoR dynamics in the presence of ATP and AcCoA, as manifested by CBP/p300 and SRC-3 dismissal and SAGA and TFIID stabilization/recruitment.
The formation of complex organisms is highly dependent on the differentiation of specialized mature cells from common stem/progenitor cells. The orphan nuclear receptors chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factors (COUP-TFs) are broadly, but not ubiquitously, expressed in multiple tissues throughout embryonic development and COUP-TFs are indispensible for proper organogenesis. Recently, growing evidence suggests a critical role of COUP-TFs in multiple aspects of stem/progenitor cell biology. In this review, we highlight the progress of COUP-TFs function and its underlying mechanism in driving stem/progenitor cell self-renewal, lineage specification, differentiation, maintenance, and cell identity in diverse tissue types. These studies provide novel insights into future clinical utilities of COUP-TFs in stem cell based therapies and in the management of diseases.
Bacterial microcompartments are large supramolecular assemblies, resembling viruses in size and shape, found inside many bacterial cells. A protein-based shell encapsulates a series of sequentially acting enzymes in order to sequester certain sensitive metabolic processes within the cell. Crystal structures of the individual shell proteins have revealed details about how they self-assemble and how pores through their centers facilitate molecular transport into and out of the microcompartments. Biochemical and genetic studies have shown that enzymes are directed to the interior in some cases by special targeting sequences in their termini. Together, these findings open up prospects for engineering bacterial microcompartments with novel functionalities for applications ranging from metabolic engineering to targeted drug delivery.
The mesenchymal cell is a multipotent stem cell with the capacity to give rise to multiple cell types such as adipocytes, osteoblasts, chondrocytes, and myocytes. However, the molecular events responsible for their lineage specification and differentiation remain obscure. Here we show that inactivation of chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor II (COUP-TFII), a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily, in mesenchymal progenitors favors osteoblast and myoblast development while simultaneously impairing adipogenic and chondrogenic programs. During mouse embryogenesis, COUP-TFII protein is highly detected in the mesenchymal compartment and is involved in mesoderm tissue formation. Ablation of COUP-TFII in mice led to higher bone density, increased muscle mass, and suppression of cartilage and fat formation. We further demonstrate that COUP-TFII directs the plasticity of mesenchymal precursors primarily through the combined modulation of Wnt signaling, Runx2 activity, as well as PPAR? and Sox9 expression. Together, our results provide insight into the mechanisms whereby a single nuclear receptor can fine-tune the lineage-specific differentiation of a progenitor cell.
Chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factors (COUP-TFs) belong to the steroid/thyroid hormone receptor superfamily. Cloning of their cDNAs demonstrated the existence of two distinct but related genes: COUP-TFI (EAR-3, NR2F1) and COUP-TFII (ARP-1, NR2F2). They are referred to as orphan receptors because ligands for COUP-TFs have yet to be identified. Since 1998, extensive studies have demonstrated their physiological importance in cell-fate specification, organogenesis, angiogenesis, and metabolism, as well as a variety of diseases. In this article, we will comprehensively review the biological functions of COUP-TFII and its underlying mechanism in various developmental processes and diseases. In addition, we will briefly summarize some of the current findings of COUP-TFI.
EGF induces signal transduction between EGFR and FAK, and FAK is required for EGF-induced cell migration. It is unknown, however, what factor mediates the interaction between EGFR and FAK and leads to EGF-induced FAK phosphorylation. Here, we identify SRC-3Delta4, a splicing isoform of the SRC-3 oncogene, as a signaling adaptor that links EGFR and FAK and promotes EGF-induced phosphorylations of FAK and c-Src. We identify three PAK1-mediated phosphorylations in SRC-3Delta4 that promote the localization of SRC-3Delta4 to the plasma membrane and mediate the interactions with EGFR and FAK. Importantly, overexpression of SRC-3Delta4 promotes MDA-MB231-induced breast tumor metastasis. Our findings identify phosphorylated SRC-3Delta4 as a missing adaptor between EGFR and its downstream signaling molecule FAK to coordinately regulate EGF-induced cell migration. Our study also reveals that a nuclear receptor coactivator can act in the periphery of a cell to directly mediate activation of an enzyme.
The significance of angiogenesis in cancer biology and therapy is well established. In this study, we used the prototypical RIP-Tag model of multistage pancreatic islet tumorigenesis to show that the nuclear receptor COUP-TFII is essential to regulate the balance between pro- and anti-angiogenic molecules that influence the angiogenic switch in cancer. Conditional ablation of COUP-TFII in the tumor microenvironment severely compromised neoangiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis during pancreatic tumor progression and metastasis. We found that COUP-TFII plays a cell-autonomous role in endothelial cells to control blood vessel sprouting by regulating cell proliferation and migration. Mechanistic investigations revealed that COUP-TFII suppressed vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)/VEGF receptor-2 (VEGFR-2) signaling by transcriptionally repressing the expression of VEGFR-1, thereby curtailing a central angiogenic driver of vascular growth. Taken together, our results implicate COUP-TFII as a critical factor in tumor angiogenesis through regulation of VEGF/VEGFR-2 signaling, suggesting COUP-TFII as a candidate target for antiangiogenic therapy.
Nuclear receptors and coregulators orchestrate diverse aspects of biological functions and inappropriate expression of these factors often associates with human diseases. The present study describes a conditional overexpression system consisting of a minigene located at the Rosa26 locus in the genome of mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells. Before activation, the minigene is silent due to a floxed STOP cassette inserted between the promoter and the transgene. Upon cre-mediated excision of the STOP cassette, the minigene constitutively expresses the tagged transgene driven by the ubiquitous CAGGS promoter. Thus, this system can be used to express target gene in any tissue in a spatial and/or temporal manner if respective cre mouse lines are available. Serving as proof of principle, the CAG-S-hCOUP-TFI allele was generated in ES cells and subsequently in mice. This allele was capable of conditionally overexpressing human chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor I (COUP-TFI) in all tissues tested upon activation by cre drivers. This allele was further subjected to address functionality of expressed COUP-TFI and the functional similarity between COUP-TFI and COUP-TFII. Expression of COUP-TFI in COUP-TFII-ablated uterus suppressed aberrant estrogen receptor-alpha activities and rescued implantation and decidualization defects of COUP-TFII mutants, suggesting that COUP-TFI and COUP-TFII are able to functionally compensate for each other in the uterus. A toolbox currently under construction will contain ES cell lines for overexpressing all 48 nuclear receptors and selected 10 coregulators. Upon completion, it will be a very valuable resource for the scientific community. Several ES cells are currently available for distribution.
The human steroid receptor RNA activator (SRA) gene encodes both noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) and protein-generating isoforms. In reporter assays, SRA ncRNA enhances nuclear receptor and myogenic differentiation 1 (MyoD)-mediated transcription but also participates in specific corepressor complexes, serving as a distinct scaffold. That SRA RNA levels might affect some biological functions, such as proliferation, apoptosis, steroidogenesis, and myogenesis, has been reported. However, the breadth of endogenous target genes that might be regulated by SRA RNAs remains largely unknown. To address this, we depleted SRA RNA in two human cancer cell lines with small interfering RNAs and then assayed for changes in gene expression by microarray analyses. The majority of significantly changed genes were reduced upon SRA knockdown, implicating SRA RNAs as endogenous coactivators. Unexpectedly, only a small subset of direct estrogen receptor-alpha target genes was affected in estradiol-treated MCF-7 cells. Eight bona fide SRA downstream target genes were identified (SLC2A3, SLC2A12, CCL20, TGFB2, DIO2, TMEM65, TBL1X, and TMPRSS2), representing entirely novel SRA targets, except for TMPRSS2. These data suggest unanticipated roles for SRA in glucose uptake, cellular signaling, T(3) hormone generation, and invasion/metastasis. SRA depletion in MDA-MB-231 cells reduced invasiveness and expression of some genes critical for this process. Consistent with the knockdown data, overexpressed SRA ncRNA coactivates certain target promoters and may enhance the activity of some coregulatory proteins. This study is a valuable resource because it represents the first genome-wide analysis of a mammalian RNA coregulator.
Synchrony between embryo competency and uterine receptivity is essential for successful implantation. Mice with ablation of chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor II (COUP-TFII) in the uterus (PR(Cre/+);COUP-TFII(flox/flox)) exhibit implantation defects and increased estrogen receptor (ER)alpha activity in the luminal epithelium, suggesting high ERalpha activity may disrupt the window of uterine receptivity. To determine whether increased ERalpha activity in the PR(Cre/+);COUP-TFII(flox/flox) uterus is the cause of defective implantation, we assessed whether inhibition of ERalpha activity could rescue the PR(Cre/+);COUP-TFII(flox/flox) uterine implantation defect. ICI 182,780 (ICI), a pure ERalpha antagonist, was administered to PR(Cre/+);COUP-TFII(flox/flox) mutant and COUP-TFII(flox/flox) control mice during the receptive period, and the number of implantation sites was examined. COUP-TFII(flox/flox) control mice treated with oil or ICI showed the normal number of implantation sites. As expected, no implantation sites were observed in PR(Cre/+);COUP-TFII(flox/flox) mutant mice treated with oil, consistent with previous observations. In contrast, implantation sites were greatly increased in ICI-treated PR(Cre/+);COUP-TFII(flox/flox) mutant mice, albeit at a reduced number in comparison with the control mice. ICI treatment was also able to restore the expression of Wnt4 and bone morphogenetic protein 2, important for endometrial decidualization in the PR(Cre/+);COUP-TFII(flox/flox) mutant mice. To confirm that the rescue of embryo attachment and decidualization is a consequence of a reduced ERalpha activity upon ICI treatment, we showed a reduction of the expression of ERalpha target genes in PR(Cre/+);COUP-TFII(flox/flox) mutant mice. Because COUP-TFII was also shown in our laboratory to be important for placentation during pregnancy, we asked whether ICI treatment could also rescue the placentation defect to allow full-term pregnancy in these mice. We found that whereas mice were born in COUP-TFII(flox/flox) control mice given ICI, no pups were born in the PR(Cre/+);COUP-TFII(flox/flox) mutant mice, suggesting that the increased ERalpha activity is not the reason for placentation defects. These results demonstrate that during the periimplantation period, COUP-TFII regulates embryo attachment and decidualization through controlling ERalpha activity. However, COUP-TFII expression is still required in the postimplantation period to facilitate placentation.
Transcriptional networks, which are initiated by secreted proteins, cooperate with each other to orchestrate eye development. The establishment of dorsal/ventral polarity, especially dorsal specification in the optic vesicle, is poorly understood at a molecular and cellular level. Here, we show that COUP-TFI (Nr2f1) and COUP-TFII (Nr2f2) are highly expressed in the progenitor cells in the developing murine eye. Phenotype analysis of COUP-TFI and COUP-TFII single-gene conditional knockout mouse models suggests that COUP-TFs compensate for each other to maintain morphogenesis of the eye. However, in eye-specific COUP-TFI/TFII double-knockout mice, progenitor cells at the dorso-distal optic vesicle fail to differentiate appropriately, causing the retinal pigmented epithelium cells to adopt a neural retina fate and abnormal differentiation of the dorsal optic stalk; the development of proximo-ventral identities, neural retina and ventral optic stalk is also compromised. These cellular defects in turn lead to congenital ocular colobomata and microphthalmia. Immunohistochemical and in situ hybridization assays reveal that the expression of several regulatory genes essential for early optic vesicle development, including Pax6, Otx2, Mitf, Pax2 and Vax1/2, is altered in the corresponding compartments of the mutant eye. Using ChIP assay, siRNA treatment and transient transfection in ARPE-19 cells in vitro, we demonstrate that Pax6 and Otx2 are directly regulated by COUP-TFs. Taken together, our findings reveal novel and distinct cell-intrinsic mechanisms mediated by COUP-TF genes to direct the specification and differentiation of progenitor cells, and that COUP-TFs are crucial for dorsalization of the eye.
Tumor growth depends on nutrients and oxygen supplied by the vasculature through angiogenesis. Here, we show that the chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor II (COUP-TFII), a member of the nuclear receptor family, is a major angiogenesis regulator within the tumor microenvironment. Conditional ablation of COUP-TFII in adults severely compromised neoangiogenesis and suppressed tumor growth in xenograft mouse models. In addition, tumor growth and tumor metastasis were also impaired in a spontaneous mammary-gland tumor model in the absence of COUP-TFII. We showed that COUP-TFII directly regulates the transcription of Angiopoietin-1 in pericytes to enhance neoangiogenesis. Importantly, provision of Angiopoietin-1 partially restores the angiogenic defects exhibited by the COUP-TFII-deficient mice, which supports the notion that COUP-TFII controls Angiopoietin-1/Tie2 signaling to regulate tumor angiogenesis. Because COUP-TFII has little impact on normal adult physiological function, our results raise an interesting possibility that inhibition of COUP-TFII may offer a therapeutic approach for anticancer intervention.
Healthy uterine function depends on the balanced interaction of the ovarian steroids estrogen and progesterone (P4) signaling through their respective receptors. The expression of each receptor is regulated by the other through crucial cross talk between the epithelial and stromal compartments. Ablation of the progesterone receptor (PR) results in complete infertility in mice, and evidence increasingly demonstrates that the PR is a major mediator of epithelial-stromal cross talk and events leading to the disruption of this communication can lead to P4 resistance in the uterus. This resistance, through impaired P4 signaling, can be at the level of the PR itself, coregulators, and downstream effectors. The mechanisms underlying P4 resistance is of critical importance in womens health because this defect is seen in a wide variety of diseases including infertility, endometriosis, endometrial carcinoma, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and leiomyomas. By using mouse models of PR signaling, many of these mechanisms are beginning to be elucidated and aid in the development of effective therapies for treatment of uterine diseases.
The lymphatic system plays a key role in tissue fluid homeostasis. Lymphatic dysfunction contributes to the pathogenesis of many human diseases, including lymphedema and tumor metastasis. However, the mechanisms regulating lymphangiogenesis remain largely unknown. Here, we show that COUP-TFII (also known as Nr2f2), an orphan member of the nuclear receptor superfamily, mediates both developmental and pathological lymphangiogenesis in mice. Conditional ablation of COUP-TFII at an early embryonic stage resulted in failed formation of pre-lymphatic ECs (pre-LECs) and lymphatic vessels. COUP-TFII deficiency at a late developmental stage resulted in loss of LEC identity, gain of blood EC fate, and impaired lymphatic vessel sprouting. siRNA-mediated downregulation of COUP-TFII in cultured primary human LECs demonstrated that the maintenance of lymphatic identity and VEGF-C-induced lymphangiogenic activity, including cell proliferation and migration, are COUP-TFII-dependent and cell-autonomous processes. COUP-TFII enhanced the pro-lymphangiogenic actions of VEGF-C, at least in part by directly stimulating expression of neuropilin-2, a coreceptor for VEGF-C. In addition, COUP-TFII inactivation in a mammary gland mouse tumor model resulted in inhibition of tumor lymphangiogenesis, suggesting that COUP-TFII also regulates neo-lymphangiogenesis in the adult. Thus, COUP-TFII is a critical factor that controls lymphangiogenesis in embryonic development and tumorigenesis in adults.
Coactivator-associated arginine methyltransferase 1 (CARM1) is a dual functional coregulator that facilitates transcription initiation by methylation of Arg(17) and Arg(26) of histone H3 and also dictates the subsequent coactivator complex disassembly by methylation of the steroid receptor coactivator family coactivators and p300/cAMP-response element-binding protein-binding protein. However, the regulation of CARM1 enzymatic activity and substrate specificity remains largely unknown. In this study, we report that CARM1 function is regulated by phosphorylation at Ser(217), a residue completely conserved in the type I protein arginine methyltransferase (PRMT) family of enzymes. Comparative analysis of the published CARM1 crystal structures reveals that the hydroxyl group of Ser(217) forms a strong hydrogen bond with the carbonyl oxygen atom of Tyr(154) to lock the cofactor S-adenosylmethionine inside the binding cavity. Phosphorylation of Ser(217) disrupts this hydrogen bond and subsequently abolishes S-adenosylmethionine binding and its methyltransferase activity. Importantly, Tyr(154) is also conserved in the type I PRMT family of enzymes, suggesting a general role of this hydrogen bond in maintaining the holo structure of the type I PRMT catalytic domain. Moreover, we found that phosphorylation at Ser(217) also promoted CARM1 cytoplasmic localization and that this translocation occurred mainly during mitosis. We propose that phosphorylation at Ser(217) serves as a molecular switch for controlling CARM1 enzymatic activity during the cell cycle.
Cone photopigments, known as opsins, are pivotal elements and the first detection module used in color vision. In mice, cone photoreceptors are distributed throughout the retina, and short-wavelength (S) and medium-wavelength (M) opsins have unique expression patterns in the retina with a gradient along the dorsoventral axis; however, the mechanisms regulating the spatial patterning of cone opsin expression have not been well documented. The purpose of this study was to define the mechanisms regulating the spatial patterning of cone opsin expression. By analyzing knock-outs for bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling, we found an essential role for BMP in forming cone opsin expression patterns in the retina; however, BMP signaling is activated only transiently in the dorsal half of the retina during early retinal development. Thus, BMP is not likely to play a direct role in opsin gene expression, which starts at a later stage of retinal development. We identified the chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor (COUP-TF) nuclear receptor as a link between BMP and opsin expression. BMP signaling is essential for the correct dorsoventral spatial expression of COUP-TFI and COUP-TFII. Through gain- and loss-of-function analyses, we found that both COUP-TFI and COUP-TFII are required to suppress S-opsin expression in the dorsal retina but that only COUP-TFI plays an essential role in suppressing M-opsin expression in the ventral retina. Based on these findings, we propose a new molecular cascade involving BMP and COUP-TFs that conveys dorsoventral information to direct the expression of cone opsins during retinal development.
Normal endometrial function requires a balance of progesterone (P4) and estrogen (E2) effects. An imbalance caused by increased E2 action and/or decreased P4 action can result in abnormal endometrial proliferation and, ultimately, endometrial adenocarcinoma, the fourth most common cancer in women. We have identified mitogen-inducible gene 6 (Mig-6) as a downstream target of progesterone receptor (PR) and steroid receptor coactivator (SRC-1) action in the uterus. Here, we demonstrate that absence of Mig-6 in mice results in the inability of P4 to inhibit E2-induced uterine weight gain and E2-responsive target genes expression. At 5 months of age, the absence of Mig-6 results in endometrial hyperplasia. Ovariectomized Mig-6(d/d) mice exhibit this hyperplastic phenotype in the presence of E2 and P4 but not without ovarian hormone. Ovariectomized Mig-6(d/d) mice treated with E2 developed invasive endometrioid-type endometrial adenocarcinoma. Importantly, the observation that endometrial carcinomas from women have a significant reduction in MIG-6 expression provides compelling support for an important growth regulatory role for Mig-6 in the uterus of both humans and mice. This demonstrates the Mig-6 is a critical regulator of the response of the endometrium to E2 in regulating tissue homeostasis. Since Mig-6 is regulated by both PR and SRC-1, this identifies a PR, SRC-1, Mig-6 regulatory pathway that is critical in the suppression of endometrial cancer.
Nuclear receptors and coregulators are multifaceted players in normal metabolic and homeostatic processes in addition to a variety of disease states including cancer, inflammation, diabetes, obesity, and atherosclerosis. Over the past 7 yr, the Nuclear Receptor Signaling Atlas (NURSA) research consortium has worked toward establishing a discovery-driven platform designed to address key questions concerning the expression, organization, and function of these molecules in a variety of experimental model systems. By applying powerful technologies such as quantitative PCR, high-throughput mass spectrometry, and embryonic stem cell manipulation, we are pursuing these questions in a series of transcriptomics-, proteomics-, and metabolomics-based research projects and resources. The consortiums web site (www.nursa.org) integrates NURSA datasets and existing public datasets with the ultimate goal of furnishing the bench scientist with a comprehensive framework for hypothesis generation, modeling, and testing. We place a strong emphasis on community input into the development of this resource and to this end have published datasets from academic and industrial laboratories, established strategic alliances with Endocrine Society journals, and are developing tools to allow web site users to act as data curators. With the ongoing support of the nuclear receptor and coregulator signaling communities, we believe that NURSA can make a lasting contribution to research in this dynamic field.
The lymphoid tyrosine phosphatase (LYP), encoded by the PTPN22 gene, recently emerged as an important risk factor and drug target for human autoimmunity. Here we solved the structure of the catalytic domain of LYP, which revealed noticeable differences with previously published structures. The active center with a semi-closed conformation binds a phosphate ion, which may represent an intermediate conformation after dephosphorylation of the substrate but before release of the phosphate product. The structure also revealed an unusual disulfide bond formed between the catalytic Cys and one of the two Cys residues nearby, which is not observed in previously determined structures. Our structural and mutagenesis data suggest that the disulfide bond may play a role in protecting the enzyme from irreversible oxidation. Surprisingly, we found that the two noncatalytic Cys around the active center exert an opposite yin-yang regulation on the catalytic Cys activity. These detailed structural and functional characterizations have provided new insights into autoregulatory mechanisms of LYP function.
A gain-of-function R620W polymorphism in the PTPN22 gene, encoding the lymphoid tyrosine phosphatase LYP, has recently emerged as an important risk factor for human autoimmunity. Here we report that another missense substitution (R263Q) within the catalytic domain of LYP leads to reduced phosphatase activity. High-resolution structural analysis revealed the molecular basis for this loss of function. Furthermore, the Q263 variant conferred protection against human systemic lupus erythematosus, reinforcing the proposal that inhibition of LYP activity could be beneficial in human autoimmunity.
COUP-TFII (also known as Nr2f2), a member of the nuclear orphan receptor superfamily, is expressed in several regions of the central nervous system (CNS), including the ventral thalamus, hypothalamus, midbrain, pons, and spinal cord. To address the function of COUP-TFII in the CNS, we generated conditional COUP-TFII knockout mice using a tissue-specific NSE-Cre recombinase. Ablation of COUP-TFII in the brain resulted in malformation of the lobule VI in the cerebellum and a decrease in differentiation of cerebellar neurons and cerebellar growth. The decrease in cerebellar growth in NSE(Cre/+)/CII(F/F) mice is due to reduced proliferation and increased apoptosis in granule cell precursors (GCPs). Additional studies demonstrated that insulin like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) expression was reduced in the cerebellum of NSE(Cre/+)/CII(F/F) mice, thereby leading to decreased Akt1 and GSK-3beta activities, and the reduced expression of mTOR. Using ChIP assays, we demonstrated that COUP-TFII was recruited to the promoter region of IGF-1 in a Sp1-dependent manner. In addition, dendritic branching of Purkinje cells was decreased in the mutant mice. Thus, our results indicate that COUP-TFII regulates growth and maturation of the mouse postnatal cerebellum through modulation of IGF-1 expression.
The genetic factors that determine the risk of papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) among patients with multinodular goiter (MNG) remain undefined. Because thyroid transcription factor-1 (TTF-1) is important to thyroid development, we evaluated whether the gene that encodes it, TITF-1/NKX2.1, is a genetic determinant of MNG/PTC predisposition.
Adipose tissue development and function play a central role in the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of metabolic syndromes. Here, we show that chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factor II (COUP-TFII) plays a pivotal role in adipogenesis and energy homeostasis. COUP-TFII is expressed in the early stages of white adipocyte development. COUP-TFII heterozygous mice (COUP-TFII(+/-)) have much less white adipose tissue (WAT) than wild-type mice (COUP-TFII(+/+)). COUP-TFII(+/-) mice display a decreased expression of key regulators for WAT development. Knockdown COUP-TFII in 3T3-L1 cells resulted in an increased expression of Wnt10b, while chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis revealed that Wnt10b is a direct target of COUP-TFII. Moreover, COUP-TFII(+/-) mice have increased mitochondrial biogenesis in WAT, and COUP-TFII(+/-) mice have improved glucose homeostasis and increased energy expenditure. Thus, COUP-TFII regulates adipogenesis by regulating the key molecules in adipocyte development and can serve as a target for regulating energy metabolism.
Mutations in phosphatase and tensin homologue (PTEN) or genomic alterations in the phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase-signalling pathway are the most common genetic alterations reported in human prostate cancer. However, the precise mechanism underlying how indolent tumours with PTEN alterations acquire metastatic potential remains poorly understood. Recent studies suggest that upregulation of transforming growth factor (TGF)-? signalling triggered by PTEN loss will form a growth barrier as a defence mechanism to constrain prostate cancer progression, underscoring that TGF-? signalling might represent a pre-invasive checkpoint to prevent PTEN-mediated prostate tumorigenesis. Here we show that COUP transcription factor II (COUP-TFII, also known as NR2F2), a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily, serves as a key regulator to inhibit SMAD4-dependent transcription, and consequently overrides the TGF-?-dependent checkpoint for PTEN-null indolent tumours. Overexpression of COUP-TFII in the mouse prostate epithelium cooperates with PTEN deletion to augment malignant progression and produce an aggressive metastasis-prone tumour. The functional counteraction between COUP-TFII and SMAD4 is reinforced by genetically engineered mouse models in which conditional loss of SMAD4 diminishes the inhibitory effects elicited by COUP-TFII ablation. The biological significance of COUP-TFII in prostate carcinogenesis is substantiated by patient sample analysis, in which COUP-TFII expression or activity is tightly correlated with tumour recurrence and disease progression, whereas it is inversely associated with TGF-? signalling. These findings reveal that the destruction of the TGF-?-dependent barrier by COUP-TFII is crucial for the progression of PTEN-mutant prostate cancer into a life-threatening disease, and supports COUP-TFII as a potential drug target for the intervention of metastatic human prostate cancer.
Septal defects and coronary vessel anomalies are common congenital heart defects, yet their ontogeny and the underlying genetic mechanisms are not well understood. Here, we investigated the role of chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter-transcription factor II (COUP-TFII, NR2F2) in cardiac organogenesis.
Chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factor (COUP-TF)II has been shown to play a major role in endothelial cell growth and regulation of the Notch signaling pathway to confer vein identity. However, the underlying mechanisms for COUP-TFII regulation in these pathways remain to be defined. Here we employed a genomic approach by using microarray analysis to identify downstream targets in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) cells and found the expression of many genes in the cell cycle pathway and Notch signaling pathway are significantly altered in the COUP-TFII-depleted cells. The expression of E2F transcription factor 1 (E2F1), a key transcription factor that regulates the expression of cell cycle regulators, is reduced in the absence of COUP-TFII. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments, we showed that COUP-TFII directly regulates the expression of E2F1 through tethering to the Sp1 binding sites in the promoter of E2F1 to modulate cell proliferation. In addition, we also demonstrate that Foxc1 and Np-1, two upstream genes of Notch signaling and Hey2, a downstream effector of Notch signaling, are direct targets of COUP-TFII. Furthermore, COUP-TFII suppresses the expression of EphrinB2, an arterial marker, while enhancing the expression of ephrin receptor B4, a venous marker, supporting our in vivo findings that COUP-TFII regulates vein identity by suppressing the Notch signal pathway.
Development of the metanephric kidney in mammals requires complex reciprocal tissue interactions between the ureteric epithelium and the mesenchyme. It is believed that Gdnf, produced in the metanephric mesenchyme, activates Ret signaling in the Wolffian duct to initiate the formation of the metanephros. However, the molecular mechanism for induction of Gdnf in the metanephric mesenchyme is not completely defined. Previous studies demonstrated that during the early stages of kidney development, loss of Osr1, Eya1, Pax2 or Wt1 gene function in the metanephric mesenchyme compromises the formation of the kidney. Moreover, it has been shown that the Hox11-Eya1-Pax2 complex activates the expression of Six2 and Gdnf in the metanephric mesenchyme to drive nephrogenesis. Here, we demonstrate that the orphan nuclear receptor chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factor II (COUP-TFII, also known as Nr2f2) is required for the specification of the metanephric mesenchyme. Deletion of COUP-TFII at E7.5 results in improper differentiation of the metanephric mesenchyme and absence of essential developmental regulators, such as Eya1, Six2, Pax2 and Gdnf. Importantly, we show that COUP-TFII directly regulates the expression of both Eya1 and Wt1 in the metanephric mesenchyme. Our findings reveal, for the first time, that COUP-TFII plays a central role in the specification of metanephric fate and in the maintenance of metanephric mesenchyme proliferation and survival by acting as a crucial regulator of Eya1 and Wt1 expression.
This study aimed to investigate the possible involvement of the orphan nuclear receptor chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factor II (COUP-TFII) in the regulation of renin gene expression. COUP-TFII colocalized with renin in the juxtaglomerular cells of the kidney, which are the main source of renin in vivo. Protein-DNA binding studies demonstrated that COUP-TFII binds to an imperfect direct repeat COUP-TFII recognition sequence (termed hereafter proxDR) in the proximal renin promoter. Because cAMP signaling plays a central role in the control of the renin gene expression, we suggested that COUP-TFII may modulate this cAMP effect. Accordingly, knockdown of COUP-TFII in the clonal renin-producing cell lines As4.1 and Calu-6 diminished the stimulation of the renin mRNA expression by cAMP agonists. In addition, the mutation of the proxDR element in renin promoter reporter gene constructs abrogated the inducibility by cAMP. The proxDR sequence was found to be necessary for the function of a proximal renin promoter cAMP-response element (CRE). Knockdown of COUP-TFII or cAMP-binding protein (CREB), which is the archetypal transcription factor binding to CRE, decreased the basal renin gene expression. However, the deficiency of COUP-TFII did not further diminish the renin expression when CREB was knocked down. In agreement with the cell culture studies, mutant mice deficient in COUP-TFII have lower renin expression than their control strain. Altogether our data show that COUP-TFII is involved in the control of renin gene expression.
In contrast to the well-studied classic MAPKs, such as ERK1/2, little is known concerning the regulation and substrates of the atypical MAPK ERK3 signaling cascade and its function in cancer progression. Here, we report that ERK3 interacted with and phosphorylated steroid receptor coactivator 3 (SRC-3), an oncogenic protein overexpressed in multiple human cancers at serine 857 (S857). This ERK3-mediated phosphorylation at S857 was essential for interaction of SRC-3 with the ETS transcription factor PEA3, which promotes upregulation of MMP gene expression and proinvasive activity in lung cancer cells. Importantly, knockdown of ERK3 or SRC-3 inhibited the ability of lung cancer cells to invade and form tumors in the lung in a xenograft mouse model. In addition, ERK3 was found to be highly upregulated in human lung carcinomas. Our study identifies a previously unknown role for ERK3 in promoting lung cancer cell invasiveness by phosphorylating SRC-3 and regulating SRC-3 proinvasive activity by site-specific phosphorylation. As such, ERK3 protein kinase may be an attractive target for therapeutic treatment of invasive lung cancer.
The development of the progenitor zones in the pallium, lateral ganglionic eminence (LGE) and medial ganglionic eminence (MGE) in the subpallium has been well studied; however, so far the role of the caudal ganglionic eminence (CGE), a posterior subpallial domain, in telencephalon patterning remains poorly understood. COUP-TFII, an orphan nuclear receptor, is preferentially expressed in the CGE. We generated COUP-TFII mouse mutants, using Rx-Cre (RxCre;COUP-TFII(F/F)), to study its function in telencephalon development. In these mutants, we found severe defects in the formation of the amygdala complex, including the lateral (LA), basolateral (BLA) and basomedial (BMA) amygdala nuclei. Molecular analysis provided evidence that the migration of CGE-derived Pax6(+) cells failed to settle into the BMA nucleus, owing to reduced expression of neuropilin 1 (Nrp1) and Nrp2, two semaphorin receptors that regulate neuronal cell migration and axon guidance. Our ChIP assays revealed that Nrp1 and Nrp2 genes are the direct targets of COUP-TFII in the telencephalon in vivo. Furthermore, our results showed that the coordinated development between the CGE originated subpallial population (Pax6(+) cells) and pallial populations (Tbr1(+) and Lhx2(+) cells) was essential for patterning the amygdala assembly. Our study presented novel genetic evidence that the caudal ganglionic eminence, a distinct subpallial progenitor zone, contributes cells to the basal telencephalon, such as the BMA nucleus.
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