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Pelosi A.,Regina Elena Cancer Institute | Careccia S.,Regina Elena Cancer Institute | Lulli V.,Oncology and Molecular Medicine | Romania P.,Oncology and Molecular Medicine | And 12 more authors.
Oncogene | Year: 2013

MicroRNAs (miRNAs), small non-coding RNAs that regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally, are involved in many complex cellular processes. Several miRNAs are differentially expressed in hematopoietic tissues and play important roles in normal differentiation, but, when aberrantly regulated, contribute to the abnormal proliferation and differentiation of leukemic cells. Recently, we reported that a small subset of miRNAs is differentially expressed in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) blasts and is modulated by treatment with all-trans-retinoic acid (ATRA). In particular, PML/RARα-positive blasts from APL patients display lower levels of miRNA let-7c, a member of the let-7 family, than normal promyelocytes and its expression increases after ATRA treatment. In this study, we investigated the effects of let-7c in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells. We found that ectopic expression of let-7c promotes granulocytic differentiation of AML cell lines and primary blasts. Moreover, we identified PBX2, a well-known homeodomain protein whose aberrant expression enhances HoxA9-dependent leukemogenesis, as a novel let-7c target that may contribute to the AML phenotype. Together, these studies raise the possibility that perturbation of the let-7c-PBX2 pathway may have a therapeutic value in AML. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited.

Pelosi A.,Regina Elena Cancer Institute | Careccia S.,Regina Elena Cancer Institute | Sagrestani G.,Regina Elena Cancer Institute | Nanni S.,Regina Elena Cancer Institute | And 13 more authors.
Molecular Cancer Research | Year: 2014

Let-7c, an intronic microRNA (miRNA) embedded in the long non-coding gene LINC00478, can act as a tumor suppressor by targeting oncogenes. Previous studies indicated that in acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), a subtype of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) bearing the leukemia promoting PML/RARα fusion protein, let-7c expression seems to be controlled by the host gene promoter, in which canonical Retinoic Acid Responsive Elements (RAREs) are bound by PML/RARα in an all transretinoic acid (ATRA)-sensitive manner. Here, let-7c transcriptional regulation was further investigated and a novel intronic promoter upstream of the pre-miRNA was identified. This new promoter has transcriptional activity strongly indicating that at least two promoters need to be considered for let-7c transcription: the distal host gene and the proximal intronic promoter. Therefore, epigenetic modifying enzymes and histone acetylation and methylation status were analyzed on both let-7c promoters. It was demonstrated that ATRA treatment leads to let-7c upregulation inducing a more open chromatin conformation of the host gene promoter, with an enrichment of epigenetic marks that correlate with a more active transcriptional state. Conversely, the epigenetic marks on the intronic promoter are not significantly affected by ATRA treatment. Interestingly, in solid tumors such as prostate and lung adenocarcinoma it was found that both host and intronic promoters are functional. These data suggest that while the host gene promoter may control let-7c expression in AML, in a nonleukemic tumor context instead the intronic promoter contributes or preferentially regulates let-7c transcription. ©2014 AACR.

Belloni L.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Belloni L.,Laboratory of Gene Expression | Allweiss L.,University of Hamburg | Guerrieri F.,University of Rome La Sapienza | And 11 more authors.
Journal of Clinical Investigation | Year: 2012

HBV infection remains a leading cause of death worldwide. IFN-α inhibits viral replication in vitro and in vivo, and pegylated IFN-α is a commonly administered treatment for individuals infected with HBV. The HBV genome contains a typical IFN-stimulated response element (ISRE), but the molecular mechanisms by which IFN-α suppresses HBV replication have not been established in relevant experimental systems. Here, we show that IFN-α inhibits HBV replication by decreasing the transcription of pregenomic RNA (pgRNA) and subgenomic RNA from the HBV covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) minichromosome, both in cultured cells in which HBV is replicating and in mice whose livers have been repopulated with human hepatocytes and infected with HBV. Administration of IFN-α resulted in cccDNA-bound histone hypoacetylation as well as active recruitment to the cccDNA of transcriptional corepressors. IFN-α treatment also reduced binding of the STAT1 and STAT2 transcription factors to active cccDNA. The inhibitory activity of IFN-α was linked to the IRSE, as IRSE-mutant HBV transcribed less pgRNA and could not be repressed by IFN-α treatment. Our results identify a molecular mechanism whereby IFN-α mediates epigenetic repression of HBV cccDNA transcriptional activity, which may assist in the development of novel effective therapeutics.

Miccio A.,H San Raffaele Telethon Institute For Gene Therapy Hsr Tiget | Miccio A.,University of Modena and Reggio Emilia | Poletti V.,Laboratory of Gene Expression | Tiboni F.,H San Raffaele Telethon Institute For Gene Therapy Hsr Tiget | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2011

Gene therapy of genetic diseases requires persistent and position-independent expression of a therapeutic transgene. Transcriptional enhancers binding chromatin-remodeling and modifying complexes may play a role in shielding transgenes from repressive chromatin effects. We tested the activity of the HS2 enhancer of the GATA1 gene in protecting the expression of a β-globin minigene delivered by a lentiviral vector in hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells. Gene expression from proviruses carrying GATA1-HS2 in both LTRs was persistent and resistant to silencing at most integration sites in the in vivo progeny of human hematopoietic progenitors and murine long-term repopulating stem cells. The GATA1-HS2-modified vector allowed correction of murine β-thalassemia at low copy number without inducing clonal selection of erythroblastic progenitors. Chromatin immunoprecipitation studies showed that GATA1 and the CBP acetyltransferase bind to GATA1-HS2, significantly increasing CBP-specific histone acetylations at the LTRs and β-globin promoter. Recruitment of CBP by the LTRs thus establishes an open chromatin domain encompassing the entire provirus, and increases the therapeutic efficacy of β-globin gene transfer by reducing expression variegation and epigenetic silencing. © 2011 Miccio et al.

Massimi I.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Guerrieri F.,Laboratory of Gene Expression | Guerrieri F.,University of Rome La Sapienza | Petroni M.,University of Rome La Sapienza | And 9 more authors.
Molecular Carcinogenesis | Year: 2013

Reactivation of the HMGA1 protoncogene is very frequent in human cancer, but still very little is known on the molecular mechanisms leading to this event. Prompted by the finding of putative E2F binding sites in the human HMGA1 promoter and by the frequent deregulation of the RB/E2F1 pathway in human carcinogenesis, we investigated whether E2F1 might contribute to the regulation of HMGA1 gene expression. Here we report that E2F1 induces HMGA1 by interacting with a 193bp region of the HMGA1 promoter containing an E2F binding site surrounded by three putative Sp1 binding sites. Both gain and loss of function experiments indicate that Sp1 functionally interacts with E2F1 to promote HMGA1 expression. However, while Sp1 constitutively binds HMGA1 promoter, it is the balance between different E2F family members that tunes the levels of HMGA1 expression between quiescence and proliferation. Finally, we found increased HMGA1 expression in pituitary and thyroid tumors developed in Rb+/- mice, supporting the hypothesis that E2F1 is a novel important regulator of HMGA1 expression and that deregulation of the RB/E2F1 path might significantly contribute to HMGA1 deregulation in cancer. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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