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Hum Mol Genet. 2017 Aug 1;26(15):2975-2983. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddx187.

Dystonia-causing mutations in the transcription factor THAP1 disrupt HCFC1 cofactor recruitment and alter gene expression.

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Section for Functional Genetics at the Institute for Human Genetics, University of Lübeck, Lübeck 23538, Germany.
Institute for Cardiogenetics, University of Lübeck, Lübeck 23538, Germany.
Institute of Neurogenetics, University of Lübeck, Lübeck 23538, Germany.


Thanatos-associated protein domain containing, apoptosis-associated protein 1 (THAP1), the gene mutated in DYT6 dystonia, encodes a transcription factor. While the N-terminal THAP domain allows for specific DNA-binding, the functional relevance of the other regions is largely unknown. The C-terminus contains a 4-amino-acid-spanning host cell factor 1 (HCFC1)-binding domain (HBM) that mediates the interaction with HCFC1. Interestingly, three mutations affecting the HBM (p.N136S, p.N136K, p.Y137C) have been reported in dystonia patients. We investigated the consequences of these mutations on the interaction of THAP1 with HCFC1 and demonstrated that all three mutations abolished HCFC1-THAP1 complex formation. Notably, HCFC1 co-localization was found in >90% of the almost 3,500 chromatin regions loaded with THAP1 in publicly available genome-wide ChIP data. By siRNA-mediated depletion of HCFC1, we detected an increase of THAP1 expression, indicating a co-repressor activity of HCFC1 for THAP1. Quantitative ChIP on selected promoters revealed that none of the mutations significantly decreased the DNA-binding ability of THAP1 while HCFC1 binding was highly reduced. Our findings indicate a THAP1-mediated recruitment of HCFC1 to THAP1 target sites. Of note, dystonia-causing mutations within the HBM in THAP1 abolished this interaction. Thus, we demonstrate disrupted THAP1-HCFC1 complex formation as another mechanism of dystonia-causing mutations leading to transcriptional dysregulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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