Kaiso regulates Znf131-mediated transcriptional activation
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Kaiso is a dual-specificity POZ-ZF transcription factor that regulates gene expression by binding to sequence-specific Kaiso binding sites (KBS) or methyl-CpG dinucleotide pairs. Kaiso was first identified as a binding partner for the epithelial cell adhesion regulator p120(ctn). The p120(ctn)/Kaiso interaction is reminiscent of the beta-catenin/TCF interaction and several studies have suggested that Kaiso is a negative regulator of the Wnt/beta-catenin TCF signaling pathway. To gain further insight into Kaiso's function, we performed a yeast two-hybrid screen using the Kaiso POZ domain as bait. This screen identified the POZ-ZF protein, Znf131, as a Kaiso-specific binding partner. GST pull-down assays confirmed that the interaction is mediated via the POZ domain of each protein, and co-immunoprecipitation experiments further supported an in vivo Kaiso-Znf131 interaction. Using a Cyclic Amplification and Selection of Targets (CAST) approach, we identified the 12-base pair DNA palindrome sequence GTCGCR-(X)(n)-YGCGAC as a potential Znf131 binding element (ZBE). In vitro studies using electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) demonstrated that Znf131 binds the ZBE via its zinc finger domain. Znf131 DNA-binding specificity was confirmed using competition assays and ZBE mutational analyses. An artificial promoter-reporter construct containing four tandem copies of the ZBE was constructed and used to assess Znf131 transcriptional properties. We observed dose-dependent transcriptional activation of this artificial promoter-reporter by Znf131 in both epithelial and fibroblast cells, suggesting that Znf131 is a transcriptional activator. Kaiso overexpression significantly decreased the Znf131-mediated transcriptional activation, and interestingly, co-expression of the Kaiso-specific interaction partner p120(ctn) relieved Kaiso's inhibition of Znf131-mediated transcriptional activation. These findings indicate that Znf131 is a transcriptional activator, a less common function of POZ-ZF proteins, that is negatively regulated by its heterodimerization partner Kaiso.
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