• Genome-wide localization and expression profiling establish Sp2 as a sequence-specific transcription factor regulating vitally important genes.

      Terrados, Gloria; Finkernagel, Florian; Stielow, Bastian; Sadic, Dennis; Neubert, Juliane; Herdt, Olga; Krause, Michael; Scharfe, Maren; Jarek, Michael; Suske, Guntram; et al. (2012-09)
      The transcription factor Sp2 is essential for early mouse development and for proliferation of mouse embryonic fibroblasts in culture. Yet its mechanisms of action and its target genes are largely unknown. In this study, we have combined RNA interference, in vitro DNA binding, chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing and global gene-expression profiling to investigate the role of Sp2 for cellular functions, to define target sites and to identify genes regulated by Sp2. We show that Sp2 is important for cellular proliferation that it binds to GC-boxes and occupies proximal promoters of genes essential for vital cellular processes including gene expression, replication, metabolism and signalling. Moreover, we identified important key target genes and cellular pathways that are directly regulated by Sp2. Most significantly, Sp2 binds and activates numerous sequence-specific transcription factor and co-activator genes, and represses the whole battery of cholesterol synthesis genes. Our results establish Sp2 as a sequence-specific regulator of vitally important genes.
    • Genomewide analyses define different modes of transcriptional regulation by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-β/δ (PPARβ/δ).

      Adhikary, Till; Kaddatz, Kerstin; Finkernagel, Florian; Schönbauer, Anne; Meissner, Wolfgang; Scharfe, Maren; Jarek, Michael; Blöcker, Helmut; Müller-Brüsselbach, Sabine; Müller, Rolf; et al. (2011)
      Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are nuclear receptors with essential functions in lipid, glucose and energy homeostasis, cell differentiation, inflammation and metabolic disorders, and represent important drug targets. PPARs heterodimerize with retinoid X receptors (RXRs) and can form transcriptional activator or repressor complexes at specific DNA elements (PPREs). It is believed that the decision between repression and activation is generally governed by a ligand-mediated switch. We have performed genomewide analyses of agonist-treated and PPARβ/δ-depleted human myofibroblasts to test this hypothesis and to identify global principles of PPARβ/δ-mediated gene regulation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-Seq) of PPARβ/δ, H3K4me3 and RNA polymerase II enrichment sites combined with transcriptional profiling enabled the definition of 112 bona fide PPARβ/δ target genes showing either of three distinct types of transcriptional response: (I) ligand-independent repression by PPARβ/δ; (II) ligand-induced activation and/or derepression by PPARβ/δ; and (III) ligand-independent activation by PPARβ/δ. These data identify PPRE-mediated repression as a major mechanism of transcriptional regulation by PPARβ/δ, but, unexpectedly, also show that only a subset of repressed genes are activated by a ligand-mediated switch. Our results also suggest that the type of transcriptional response by a given target gene is connected to the structure of its associated PPRE(s) and the biological function of its encoded protein. These observations have important implications for understanding the regulatory PPAR network and PPARβ/δ ligand-based drugs.
    • Immune-responsive gene 1 protein links metabolism to immunity by catalyzing itaconic acid production.

      Michelucci, Alessandro; Cordes, Thekla; Ghelfi, Jenny; Pailot, Arnaud; Reiling, Norbert; Goldmann, Oliver; Binz, Tina; Wegner, André; Tallam, Aravind; Rausell, Antonio; et al. (2013-05-07)
      Immunoresponsive gene 1 (Irg1) is highly expressed in mammalian macrophages during inflammation, but its biological function has not yet been elucidated. Here, we identify Irg1 as the gene coding for an enzyme producing itaconic acid (also known as methylenesuccinic acid) through the decarboxylation of cis-aconitate, a tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediate. Using a gain-and-loss-of-function approach in both mouse and human immune cells, we found Irg1 expression levels correlating with the amounts of itaconic acid, a metabolite previously proposed to have an antimicrobial effect. We purified IRG1 protein and identified its cis-aconitate decarboxylating activity in an enzymatic assay. Itaconic acid is an organic compound that inhibits isocitrate lyase, the key enzyme of the glyoxylate shunt, a pathway essential for bacterial growth under specific conditions. Here we show that itaconic acid inhibits the growth of bacteria expressing isocitrate lyase, such as Salmonella enterica and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Furthermore, Irg1 gene silencing in macrophages resulted in significantly decreased intracellular itaconic acid levels as well as significantly reduced antimicrobial activity during bacterial infections. Taken together, our results demonstrate that IRG1 links cellular metabolism with immune defense by catalyzing itaconic acid production.
    • Interleukin-2 improves amyloid pathology, synaptic failure and memory in Alzheimer's disease mice.

      Alves, Sandro; Churlaud, Guillaume; Audrain, Mickael; Michaelsen-Preusse, Kristin; Fol, Romain; Souchet, Benoit; Braudeau, Jérôme; Korte, Martin; Klatzmann, David; Cartier, Nathalie; et al. (2017-03-01)
      Interleukin-2 (IL-2)-deficient mice have cytoarchitectural hippocampal modifications and impaired learning and memory ability reminiscent of Alzheimer's disease. IL-2 stimulates regulatory T cells whose role is to control inflammation. As neuroinflammation contributes to neurodegeneration, we investigated IL-2 in Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, we investigated IL-2 levels in hippocampal biopsies of patients with Alzheimer's disease relative to age-matched control individuals. We then treated APP/PS1ΔE9 mice having established Alzheimer's disease with IL-2 for 5 months using single administration of an AAV-IL-2 vector. We first found decreased IL-2 levels in hippocampal biopsies of patients with Alzheimer's disease. In mice, IL-2-induced systemic and brain regulatory T cells expansion and activation. In the hippocampus, IL-2 induced astrocytic activation and recruitment of astrocytes around amyloid plaques, decreased amyloid-β42/40 ratio and amyloid plaque load, improved synaptic plasticity and significantly rescued spine density. Of note, this tissue remodelling was associated with recovery of memory deficits, as assessed in the Morris water maze task. Altogether, our data strongly suggest that IL-2 can alleviate Alzheimer's disease hallmarks in APP/PS1ΔE9 mice with established pathology. Therefore, this should prompt the investigation of low-dose IL-2 in Alzheimer's disease and other neuroinflammatory/neurodegenerative disorders.
    • The NF-κB-dependent and -independent transcriptome and chromatin landscapes of human coronavirus 229E-infected cells.

      Poppe, Michael; Wittig, Sascha; Jurida, Liane; Bartkuhn, Marek; Wilhelm, Jochen; Müller, Helmut; Beuerlein, Knut; Karl, Nadja; Bhuju, Sabin; Ziebuhr, John; et al. (2017-03)
      Coronavirus replication takes place in the host cell cytoplasm and triggers inflammatory gene expression by poorly characterized mechanisms. To obtain more insight into the signals and molecular events that coordinate global host responses in the nucleus of coronavirus-infected cells, first, transcriptome dynamics was studied in human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E)-infected A549 and HuH7 cells, respectively, revealing a core signature of upregulated genes in these cells. Compared to treatment with the prototypical inflammatory cytokine interleukin(IL)-1, HCoV-229E replication was found to attenuate the inducible activity of the transcription factor (TF) NF-κB and to restrict the nuclear concentration of NF-κB subunits by (i) an unusual mechanism involving partial degradation of IKKβ, NEMO and IκBα and (ii) upregulation of TNFAIP3 (A20), although constitutive IKK activity and basal TNFAIP3 expression levels were shown to be required for efficient virus replication. Second, we characterized actively transcribed genomic regions and enhancers in HCoV-229E-infected cells and systematically correlated the genome-wide gene expression changes with the recruitment of Ser5-phosphorylated RNA polymerase II and prototypical histone modifications (H3K9ac, H3K36ac, H4K5ac, H3K27ac, H3K4me1). The data revealed that, in HCoV-infected (but not IL-1-treated) cells, an extensive set of genes was activated without inducible p65 NF-κB being recruited. Furthermore, both HCoV-229E replication and IL-1 were shown to upregulate a small set of genes encoding immunomodulatory factors that bind p65 at promoters and require IKKβ activity and p65 for expression. Also, HCoV-229E and IL-1 activated a common set of 440 p65-bound enhancers that differed from another 992 HCoV-229E-specific enhancer regions by distinct TF-binding motif combinations. Taken together, the study shows that cytoplasmic RNA viruses fine-tune NF-κB signaling at multiple levels and profoundly reprogram the host cellular chromatin landscape, thereby orchestrating the timely coordinated expression of genes involved in multiple signaling, immunoregulatory and metabolic processes.