Characterization and Molecular Targeting of a Mechanosensor Mechanism Controlled By the G-Quadruplex/I-Motif Molecular Switch in the MYC Promoter NHE III₁
AuthorSutherland, Caleb Daniel
AdvisorHurley, Laurence H.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 08-Jul-2016
AbstractMYC is overexpressed in most types of tumors, but a means to selectively decrease its expression is yet to be found. Our recent findings on modulation of BCL2 gene expression through protein interactions with the BCL2 i-motif have provided a basis for further investigation of MYC gene control. It is proposed that the MYC i-motif could function by a similar molecular switch mechanism as in BCL2.Binding sites for heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein K (hnRNP K) within the MYC promoter also exist in the i-motif-forming sequence. Circular dichroism and bromine footprinting confirmed that this DNA sequence is able to form an i-motif, and systematic mutation of the cytosine residues in this sequence has revealed a 5:5:5 loop configuration. Indeed, all loops of the i-motif, when folded into a 5:5:5 loop configuration, contain the hnRNP K consensus sequence (CCCT). Previous studies show that hnRNP K binds to this i-motif-forming sequence, but it was assumed to be single-stranded. Binding studies revealed that hnRNP K has more binding affinity to its consensus sequence in the i-motif compared to a mutant sequence where the i-motif cannot form. Further investigation of the MYC promoter revealed an additional two runs of cytosine seven bases downstream of the MYC i-motif. Biophysical studies showed that the additional two runs were not involved in i-motif formation, however recent studies describe their importance for transcriptional activation. We found that hnRNP K preferred the longer 5CT sequence compared to the i-motif forming 4CT sequence when using a competitive binding assay. Utilizing luciferase reporters containing either the 4CT or 5CT sequence validated that hnRNP K required both the i-motif and 5th CT element for maximum transcriptional activation. Competition binding studies and bromine footprinting showed that hnRNP K bound to the downstream 5th CT element and the central and lateral loops of the i-motif.Additionally, we found that co-overexpression of Sp1 and hnRNP K induced a 10-fold increase in luciferase activity in the 5CT reporter only. We hypothesize that Sp1 continuously primes the promoter to initiate transcription inducing more negative superhelicity and increasing the melting of duplex DNA. This increased melting grants hnRNP K’s three KH domains access to the i-motif loops and the 5Th CT element. Confirmation by ChIP analysis validated that Sp1 overexpression causes an increase in hnRNP K occupancy at the MYC promoter. These findings provide new insight into the mechanisms of MYC transcriptional control by the i-motif and G-quadruplex.Recently, our group has demonstrated that two small molecules IMC-48 and IMC-76 can interact with the i-motif and can be an effective means to modulate BCL2 expression. Based on these results with the BCL2 i-motif, we employed a similar strategy and screened and identified small drug-like molecules that interact with MYC i-motif, using a FRET high-throughput assay. We then further validated that IMC-16 stabilizes the MYC i-motif through the interactions with the loops of the i-motif. No stabilization by IMC-16 treatment was observed with the MYC G-quadruplex and the BCL2 and PDGFRβi-motifs demonstrating selectivity for the MYC i-motif.Finally, we investigated the effects of IMC-16 on MYC expression in three lymphoma cell lines all expressing different levels of MYC. In the case of both Daudi and RAJI Burkitt’s lymphoma cell lines we demonstrated that selectively stabilizing the i-motif by IMC-16 could increase MYC expression. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the MYC G-quadruplex stabilizing compound GQC-05 and IMC-16, which stabilizes the MYC i-motif, have antagonistic effects on MYC expression, providing further evidence of a molecular switch mechanism in the NHEIII1. Directly targeting MYC expression through the i-motif offers advantages over targeting the G-quadruplex, because of the reduced stability and dynamic nature of the i-motif, additionally the i-motif is only found in DNA. The use of such i-motif interactive compounds is the first step into the development of new innovative approaches to treat cancers.
Degree ProgramGraduate College