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Mol Cell Biol. 2012 Nov;32(22):4611-27. doi: 10.1128/MCB.00886-12. Epub 2012 Sep 10.

Impact of CUX2 on the female mouse liver transcriptome: activation of female-biased genes and repression of male-biased genes.

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Division of Cell and Molecular Biology, Department of Biology, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


The growth hormone-regulated transcription factors STAT5 and BCL6 coordinately regulate sex differences in mouse liver, primarily through effects in male liver, where male-biased genes are upregulated and many female-biased genes are actively repressed. Here we investigated whether CUX2, a highly female-specific liver transcription factor, contributes to an analogous regulatory network in female liver. Adenoviral overexpression of CUX2 in male liver induced 36% of female-biased genes and repressed 35% of male-biased genes. In female liver, CUX2 small interfering RNA (siRNA) preferentially induced genes repressed by adenovirus expressing CUX2 (adeno-CUX2) in male liver, and it preferentially repressed genes induced by adeno-CUX2 in male liver. CUX2 binding in female liver chromatin was enriched at sites of male-biased DNase hypersensitivity and at genomic regions showing male-enriched STAT5 binding. CUX2 binding was also enriched near genes repressed by adeno-CUX2 in male liver or induced by CUX2 siRNA in female liver but not at genes induced by adeno-CUX2, indicating that CUX2 binding is preferentially associated with gene repression. Nevertheless, direct CUX2 binding was seen at several highly female-specific genes that were positively regulated by CUX2, including A1bg, Cyp2b9, Cyp3a44, Tox, and Trim24. CUX2 expression and chromatin binding were high in immature male liver, where repression of adult male-biased genes and expression of adult female-biased genes are common, suggesting that the downregulation of CUX2 in male liver at puberty contributes to the developmental changes establishing adult patterns of sex-specific gene expression.

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