Targeted inactivation of Runx3 in mouse lung induced mucinous and nonmucinous adenomas and markedly shortened latency of adenocarcinoma formation induced by oncogenic K-Ras. RUNX3 was frequently inactivated in K-RAS mutated human lung adenocarcinomas. A functional genetic screen of a fly mutant library and molecular analysis in cultured cell lines revealed that Runx3 forms a complex with BRD2 in a K-Ras-dependent manner in the early phase of the cell cycle; this complex induces expression of p14(ARF)/p19(Arf) and p21(WAF/CIP). When K-Ras was constitutively activated, the Runx3-BRD2 complex was stably maintained and expression of both p14(ARF) and p21(WAF/CIP) was prolonged. These results provide a missing link between oncogenic K-Ras and the p14(ARF)-p53 pathway, and may explain how cells defend against oncogenic K-Ras.
The pathophysiologic continuum of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease begins with steatosis. Despite recent advances in our understanding of the gene regulatory program directing steatosis, how it is orchestrated at the chromatin level is unclear. PPARγ2 is a hepatic steatotic transcription factor induced by overnutrition. Here, we report that the histone H3 lysine 4 methyltransferase MLL4/KMT2D directs overnutrition-induced murine steatosis via its coactivator function for PPARγ2. We demonstrate that overnutrition facilitates the recruitment of MLL4 to steatotic target genes of PPARγ2 and their transactivation via H3 lysine 4 methylation because PPARγ2 phosphorylated by overnutrition-activated ABL1 kinase shows enhanced interaction with MLL4. We further show that Pparg2 (encoding PPARγ2) is also a hepatic target gene of ABL1-PPARγ2-MLL4. Consistently, inhibition of ABL1 improves the fatty liver condition of mice with overnutrition by suppressing the pro-steatotic action of MLL4. Our results uncover a murine hepatic steatosis regulatory axis consisting of ABL1-PPARγ2-MLL4, which may serve as a target of anti-steatosis drug development.
Human lung adenocarcinoma, the most prevalent form of lung cancer, is characterized by many molecular abnormalities. K-ras mutations are associated with the initiation of lung adenocarcinomas, but K-ras-independent mechanisms may also initiate lung tumors. Here, we find that the runt-related transcription factor Runx3 is essential for normal murine lung development and is a tumor suppressor that prevents lung adenocarcinoma. Runx3À/À mice, which die soon after birth, exhibit alveolar hyperplasia. Importantly, Runx3À/À bronchioli exhibit impaired differentiation, as evidenced by the accumulation of epithelial cells containing specific markers for both alveolar (that is SP-B) and bronchiolar (that is CC10) lineages. Runx3À/À epithelial cells also express Bmi1, which supports self-renewal of stem cells. Lung adenomas spontaneously develop in aging Runx3 þ /À mice (B18 months after birth) and invariably exhibit reduced levels of Runx3. As K-ras mutations are very rare in these adenomas, Runx3 þ /À mice provide an animal model for lung tumorigenesis that recapitulates the preneoplastic stage of human lung adenocarcinoma development, which is independent of K-Ras mutation. We conclude that Runx3 is essential for lung epithelial cell differentiation, and that downregulation of Runx3 is causally linked to the preneoplastic stage of lung adenocarcinoma.
Despite critical roles of the hypothalamic arcuate neurons in controlling the growth and energy homeostasis, the gene regulatory network directing their development remains unclear. Here we report that the transcription factors Dlx1/2 and Otp coordinate the balanced generation of the two functionally related neurons in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus, GHRH-neurons promoting the growth and AgRP-neurons controlling the feeding and energy expenditure. Dlx1/2-deficient mice show a loss-of-GHRH-neurons and an increase of AgRP-neurons, and consistently develop dwarfism and consume less energy. These results indicate that Dlx1/2 are crucial for specifying the GHRH-neuronal identity and, simultaneously, for suppressing AgRP-neuronal fate. We further show that Otp is required for the generation of AgRP-neurons and that Dlx1/2 repress the expression of Otp by directly binding the Otp gene. Together, our study demonstrates that the identity of GHRH- and AgRP-neurons is synchronously specified and segregated by the Dlx1/2-Otp gene regulatory axis.
RUNX3 is a transcription factor that functions as a tumor suppressor. In some cancers, RUNX3 expression is down-regulated, usually due to promoter hypermethylation. Recently, it was found that RUNX3 can also be inactivated by the mislocalization of the protein in the cytoplasm. The molecular mechanisms controlling this mislocalization are poorly understood. In this study, we found that the overexpression of Src results in the tyrosine phosphorylation and cytoplasmic localization of RUNX3. We also found that the tyrosine residues of endogenous RUNX3 are phosphorylated and that the protein is localized in the cytoplasm in Src-activated cancer cell lines. We further showed that the knockdown of Src by small interfering RNA, or the inhibition of Src kinase activity by a chemical inhibitor, causes the re-localization of RUNX3 to the nucleus. Collectively, our results demonstrate that the tyrosine phosphorylation of RUNX3 by activated Src is associated with the cytoplasmic localization of RUNX3 in gastric and breast cancers.
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