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Mol Cell Biol. 2010 Dec;30(24):5621-35. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00465-10. Epub 2010 Oct 11.

Pygo2 associates with MLL2 histone methyltransferase and GCN5 histone acetyltransferase complexes to augment Wnt target gene expression and breast cancer stem-like cell expansion.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences and Key Laboratory of the Ministry of Education for Cell Biology and Tumor Cell Engineering, School of Life Sciences, Xiamen University, Xiamen, Fujian, China.


Resent studies have identified Pygopus as a core component of the β-catenin/T-cell factor (TCF)/lymphoid-enhancing factor 1 (LEF) transcriptional activation complex required for the expression of canonical Wg/Wnt target genes in Drosophila. However, the biochemical involvement of mammalian Pygopus proteins in β-catenin/TCF/LEF gene activation remains controversial. In this study, we perform a series of molecular/biochemical experiments to demonstrate that Pygo2 associates with histone-modifying enzymatic complexes, specifically the MLL2 histone methyltransferase (HMT) and STAGA histone acetyltransferase (HAT) complexes, to facilitate their interaction with β-catenin and to augment Wnt1-induced, TCF/LEF-dependent transcriptional activation in breast cancer cells. We identify a critical domain in Pygo2 encompassing the first 47 amino acids that mediates its HMT/HAT interaction. We further demonstrate the importance of this domain in Pygo2's ability to transcriptionally activate both artificial and endogenous Wnt target genes and to expand breast cancer stem-like cells in culture. This work now links mechanistically Pygo2's role in histone modification to its enhancement of the Wnt-dependent transcriptional program and cancer stem-like cell expansion.

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