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J Biol Chem. 2012 May 25;287(22):18318-29. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M112.339424. Epub 2012 Apr 5.

Small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) modification mediates function of the inhibitory domains of developmental regulators FOXC1 and FOXC2.

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  • 1Department of Periodontics and Oral Medicine, University of Michigan School of Dentistry, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA. tdanciu@umich.edu

Abstract

FOXC1 and FOXC2 are forkhead transcription factors that play essential roles during development and physiology. Despite their critical role, the mechanisms that regulate the function of these factors remain poorly understood. We have identified conserved motifs within a previously defined N-terminal negative regulatory region of FOXC1/C2 that conforms to the definition of synergy control or SC motifs. Because such motifs inhibit the activity of transcription factors by serving as sites of post-translational modification by small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO), we have examined whether FOXC1/C2 are targets of SUMOylation and probed the functional significance of this modification. We find that endogenous FOXC1 forms modified by SUMO2/3 can be detected. Moreover, in cell culture, all three SUMO isoforms are readily conjugated to FOXC1 and FOXC2. The modification can be reconstituted in vitro with purified components and can be reversed in vitro by treatment with the SUMO protease SENP2. SUMOylation of FOXC1 and FOXC2 occurs primarily on one consensus synergy control motif with minor contributions of a second, more degenerate site. Notably, although FOXC1 is also phosphorylated at multiple sites, disruption of sites immediately downstream of the SC motifs does not influence SUMOylation. Consistent with a negative functional role, SUMOylation-deficient mutants displayed higher transcriptional activity when compared with wild type forms despite comparable protein levels and subcellular localization. Thus, the findings demonstrate that SC motifs mediate the inhibitory function of this region by serving as sites for SUMOylation and reveal a novel mechanism for acute and reversible regulation of FOXC1/C2 function.

PMID:
22493429
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC3365760
Free PMC Article

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