5 years ago

Role for the EWS domain of EWS/FLI in binding GGAA-microsatellites required for Ewing sarcoma anchorage independent growth [Biochemistry]

Role for the EWS domain of EWS/FLI in binding GGAA-microsatellites required for Ewing sarcoma anchorage independent growth [Biochemistry]
Emily R. Theisen, Nathan W. Callender, Cenny Taslim, Stephen L. Lessnick, Jesse C. Crow, Kyle R. Miller, Ranajeet S. Saund, Kirsten M. Johnson, Nathan R. Mahler

Ewing sarcoma usually expresses the EWS/FLI fusion transcription factor oncoprotein. EWS/FLI regulates myriad genes required for Ewing sarcoma development. EWS/FLI binds GGAA-microsatellite sequences in vivo and in vitro. These sequences provide EWS/FLI-mediated activation to reporter constructs, suggesting that they function as EWS/FLI-response elements. We now demonstrate the critical role of an EWS/FLI-bound GGAA-microsatellite in regulation of the NR0B1 gene as well as for Ewing sarcoma proliferation and anchorage-independent growth. Clinically, genomic GGAA-microsatellites are highly variable and polymorphic. Current data suggest that there is an optimal “sweet-spot” GGAA-microsatellite length (of 18–26 GGAA repeats) that confers maximal EWS/FLI-responsiveness to target genes, but the mechanistic basis for this remains unknown. Our biochemical studies, using recombinant Δ22 (a version of EWS/FLI containing only the FLI portion), demonstrate a stoichiometry of one Δ22-monomer binding to every two consecutive GGAA-repeats on shorter microsatellite sequences. Surprisingly, the affinity for Δ22 binding to GGAA-microsatellites significantly decreased, and ultimately became unmeasureable, when the size of the microsatellite was increased to the sweet-spot length. In contrast, a fully functional EWS/FLI mutant (Mut9, which retains approximately half of the EWS portion of the fusion) showed low affinity for smaller GGAA-microsatellites but instead significantly increased its affinity at sweet-spot microsatellite lengths. Single-gene ChIP and genome-wide ChIP-sequencing (ChIP-seq) and RNA-seq studies extended these findings to the in vivo setting. Together, these data demonstrate the critical requirement of GGAA-microsatellites as EWS/FLI activating response elements in vivo and reveal an unexpected role for the EWS portion of the EWS/FLI fusion in binding to sweet-spot GGAA-microsatellites.

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