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Tavares L.,University of Oxford | Dimitrova E.,Babraham Institute | Oxley D.,Babraham Institute | Webster J.,Babraham Institute | And 10 more authors.

Polycomb-repressive complex 1 (PRC1) has a central role in the regulation of heritable gene silencing during differentiation and development. PRC1 recruitment is generally attributed to interaction of the chromodomain of the core protein Polycomb with trimethyl histone H3K27 (H3K27me3), catalyzed by a second complex, PRC2. Unexpectedly we find that RING1B, the catalytic subunit of PRC1, and associated monoubiquitylation of histone H2A are targeted to closely overlapping sites in wild-type and PRC2-deficient mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs), demonstrating an H3K27me3-independent pathway for recruitment of PRC1 activity. We show that this pathway is mediated by RYBP-PRC1, a complex comprising catalytic subunits of PRC1 and the protein RYBP. RYBP-PRC1 is recruited to target loci in mESCs and is also involved in Xist RNA-mediated silencing, the latter suggesting a wider role in Polycomb silencing. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding recruitment and function of Polycomb repressors. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. Source

Fernandez I.F.,University of Salamanca | Blanco S.,University of Salamanca | Blanco S.,Wellcome Trust Center for Stem Cell Research | Lozano J.,University of Malaga | And 2 more authors.
Molecular and Cellular Biology

The epidermal growth factor (EGF)-ErbB-mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) transcription signaling pathway is altered in many types of carcinomas, and this pathway can be regulated by new protein-protein interactions. Vaccinia-related kinase (VRK) proteins are Ser-Thr kinases that regulate several signal transduction pathways. In this work, we study the effect of VRK2 on MAPK signaling using breast cancer as a model. High levels of VRK2 inhibit EGF and ErbB2 activation of transcription by the serum response element (SRE). This effect is also detected in response to H-Ras(G12V) or B-Raf(V600E) oncogenes and is accompanied by a reduction in phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) levels, p90RSK levels, and SRE-dependent transcription. Furthermore, VRK2 knockdown has the opposite effect, increasing the transcriptional response to stimulation with EGF and leading to increased levels of ERK phosphorylation. The molecular mechanism lies between MAPK/ERK kinase (MEK) and ERK, since MEK remains phosphorylated while ERK phosphorylation is blocked by VRK2A. This inhibition of the ERK signaling pathway is a consequence of a direct protein-protein interaction between VRK2A, MEK, and kinase suppressor of Ras 1 (KSR1). Identification of new correlations in human cancer can lead to a better understanding of the biology of individual tumors. ErbB2 and VRK2 protein levels were inversely correlated in 136 cases of human breast carcinoma. In ErbB2+ tumors, there is a significant reduction in the VRK2 level, suggesting a role for VRK2A in ErbB2-MAPK signaling. Thus, VRK2 downregulation in carcinomas permits signal transmission through the MEK-ERK pathway without affecting AKT signaling, causing a signal imbalance among pathways that contributes to the phenotype of breast cancer. Copyright © 2010, American Society for Microbiology. All Rights Reserved. Source

Leeb M.,Research Institute of Molecular Pathology | Pasini D.,Copenhagen University | Novatchkova M.,Research Institute of Molecular Pathology | Jaritz M.,Research Institute of Molecular Pathology | And 3 more authors.
Genes and Development

Polycomb complexes establish chromatin modifications for maintaining gene repression and are essential for embryonic development in mice. Here we use pluripotent embryonic stem (ES) cells to demonstrate an unexpected redundancy between Polycomb-repressive complex 1 (PRC1) and PRC2 during the formation of differentiated cells. ES cells lacking the function of either PRC1 or PRC2 can differentiate into cells of the three germ layers, whereas simultaneous loss of PRC1 and PRC2 abrogates differentiation. On the molecular level, the differentiation defect is caused by the derepression of a set of genes that is redundantly repressed by PRC1 and PRC2 in ES cells. Furthermore, we find that genomic repeats are Polycomb targets and show that, in the absence of Polycomb complexes, endogenous murine leukemia virus elements can mobilize. This indicates a contribution of the Polycomb group system to the defense against parasitic DNA, and a potential role of genomic repeats in Polycomb-mediated gene regulation. © 2010 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. Source

Goldie S.J.,CRUK Cambridge Research Institute | Mulder K.W.,CRUK Cambridge Research Institute | Tan D.W.-M.,Wellcome Trust Center for Stem Cell Research | Lyons S.K.,CRUK Cambridge Research Institute | And 3 more authors.
Cancer Research

New therapeutic strategies are needed to improve treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC), an aggressive tumor with poor survival rates. FRMD4A is a human epidermal stem cell marker implicated previously in epithelial polarity that is upregulated in SCC cells. Here, we report that FRMD4A upregulation occurs in primary human HNSCCs where high expression levels correlate with increased risks of relapse. FRMD4A silencing decreased growth and metastasis of human SCC xenografts in skin and tongue, reduced SCC proliferation and intercellular adhesion, and stimulated caspase-3 activity and expression of terminal differentiation markers. Notably, FRMD4A attenuation caused nuclear accumulation of YAP, suggesting a potential role for FRMD4A in Hippo signaling. Treatment with the HSP90 inhibitor 17-DMAG or ligation of CD44 with hyaluronan caused nuclear depletion of FRMD4A, nuclear accumulation of YAP and reduced SCC growth and metastasis. Together, our findings suggest FRMD4A as a novel candidate therapeutic target in HNSCC based on the key role in metastatic growth we have identified. ©2012 AACR. Source

Oeztuerk-Winder F.,Wellcome Trust Center for Stem Cell Research | Ventura J.-J.,Wellcome Trust Center for Stem Cell Research
Biochemical Journal

Regulation of stem cells is essential for development and adult tissue homoeostasis. The proper control of stem cell self-renewal and differentiation maintains organ physiology, and disruption of such a balance results in disease. There are many mechanisms that have been established as stem cell regulators, such as Wnt or Notch signals. However, the intracellular mechanisms that mediate and integrate these signals are not well understood. A new intracellular pathway that has been reported to be involved in the regulation of many stem cell types is that of p38 MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase). In particular, p38α is essential for the proper differentiation of many haematopoietic, mesenchymal and epithelial stem/progenitor cells. Many reports have shown that disruption of this kinase pathway has pathological consequences in many organs. Understanding the extracellular cues and downstream targets of p38α in stem cell regulation may help to tackle some of the pathologies associated with improper differentiation and regulation of stem cell function. In the present reviewwe present a vision of the current knowledge on the roles of the p38α signal as a regulator of stem/progenitor cells in different tissues in physiology and disease. © The Authors Journal compilation © 2012 Biochemical Society. Source

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