Smrter/SANT domain protein

EVOLUTIONARY HOMOLOGS part 1/3 | part 2/3 | part 3/3

Identification of SMRT and N-CoR transcriptional corepressors

Thyroid-hormone and retinoic-acid receptors exert their regulatory functions by acting as both activators and repressors of gene expression. A nuclear receptor co-repressor (N-CoR) of relative molecular mass 270K has been identified that mediates ligand-independent inhibition of gene transcription by these receptors, suggesting that the molecular mechanisms of repression by thyroid-hormone and retinoic-acid receptors are analogous to the co-repressor-dependent transcriptional inhibitory mechanisms of yeast and Drosophila (Horlein, 1995).

Transcriptional silencing mediated by nuclear receptors is important in development, differentiation and oncogenesis. The mechanism underlying this effect is unknown but is one key to understanding the molecular basis of hormone action. A receptor-interacting factor, SMRT, has been identified as a silencing mediator (co-repressor) for retinoid and thyroid-hormone receptors. SMRT is a previously undiscovered protein whose association with receptors both in solution and bound to DNA-response elements is destabilized by ligand. The interaction with mutant receptors correlates with their transcriptional silencing activities. In vivo, SMRT functions as a potent co-repressor, and a GAL4 DNA-binding domain fusion of SMRT behaves as a frank repressor of a GAL4-dependent reporter. Together, these results identify a new class of cofactors that may be important mediators of hormone action (Chen, 1995).

Transcriptional repression represents an important component in the regulation of cell differentiation and oncogenesis mediated by nuclear hormone receptors. Hormones act to relieve repression, thus allowing receptors to function as transcriptional activators. The transcriptional corepressor SMRT was identified as a silencing mediator for retinoid and thyroid hormone receptors. SMRT is highly related to another corepressor, N-CoR, suggesting the existence of a new family of receptor-interacting proteins. SMRT is a ubiquitous nuclear protein that interacts with unliganded receptor heterodimers in mammalian cells. Furthermore, expression of the receptor-interacting domain of SMRT acts as an antirepressor, suggesting the potential importance of splicing variants as modulators of thyroid hormone and retinoic acid signaling (Chen, 1996).

Domain structure of SMRT and N-CoR

The thyroid hormone receptor (TR) and the retinoic acid receptor (RAR) act as transcriptional repressors when they are not occupied by their cognate ligands. This repressor function is mediated by proteins called corepressors. One of the nuclear hormone receptor corepressors, N-CoR, was originally isolated as a retinoid X receptor-interacting protein called RIP13. A new potential variant of RIP13/N-CoR has been isolated that is missing previously described transcriptional repressor domains but is similar in structure to the related corepressor termed SMRT or TRAC-2. Detailed analysis of the interaction with TR and RAR demonstrates that RIP13/N-CoR contains a new receptor interaction domain, termed ID-II, in addition to the previously described domain, referred to here as ID-I. Both ID-I and ID-II are capable of interacting independently with either TR or RAR, as assessed by the yeast two-hybrid system, by a mammalian two-hybrid system, or by direct in vitro binding. Results with all three approaches confirm that RIP13/N-CoR also interacts with retinoid X receptor, but this interaction is weaker than that with TR or RAR. Together, these results demonstrate that RIP13/N-CoR can interact with several different nuclear hormone receptors via two separate receptor interaction domains. Differences between the interactions observed in the different systems suggest that corepressor function may be modified by additional factors present in various cell types (Seol, 1996).

SMRT (silencing mediator of retinoic acid and thyroid hormone receptor) and N-CoR (nuclear receptor corepressor) are two related transcriptional corepressors that contain separable domains capable of interacting with unliganded nuclear receptors and repressing basal transcription. To decipher the mechanisms of receptor interaction and transcriptional repression by SMRT/N-CoR, protein-protein interacting surfaces between (1) SMRT and nuclear receptors and (2) defined transcriptional repression domains of both SMRT and N-CoR have been characterized. Deletional analysis reveals two individual nuclear receptor domains necessary for stable association with SMRT and a C-terminal helix essential for corepressor dissociation. Coordinately, two SMRT domains interact independently with the receptors. Functional analysis reveals that SMRT contains two distinct repression domains, and the corresponding regions in N-CoR also repress basal transcription. Both repression domains in SMRT and N-CoR interact weakly with mSin3A, which in turn associates with a histone deacetylase HDAC1 in a mammalian two-hybrid assay. Far-Western analysis demonstrates a direct protein-protein interaction between two N-CoR repression domains with mSin3A. Overexpression of full-length SMRT further represses basal transcription from natural promoters. Together, these results support a role for SMRT/N-CoR in corepression through the utilization of multiple mechanisms for receptor interactions and transcriptional repression (Li, 1997).

SMRT (silencing mediator for retinoid and thyroid hormone receptors) and N-CoR (nuclear receptor copressor) mediate transcriptional repression of important regulators that are involved in many signaling pathways. SMRT and N-CoR are related proteins that form complexes with mSin3A/B and histone deacetylases to induce local chromatin condensation and transcriptional repression. However, SMRT is substantially smaller than N-CoR, lacking an N-terminal domain of approximately 1,000 aa that are present in N-CoR. The identification of SMRT-extended (SMRTe), which contains an N-terminal sequence that shows striking similarity with N-CoR, is described. As in N-CoR, this SMRTe-N-terminal domain also represses basal transcription. SMRTe expression is regulated during cell cycle progression and SMRTe transcripts are present in many embryonic tissues. These data redefine a structurally and functionally more related nuclear receptor corepressor family and suggest an additional role for SMRTe in the regulation of cycle-specific gene expression in diverse signaling pathways (Park, 1999).

Nuclear hormone receptors have been shown to repress transcription in the absence of ligand. This repression is mediated by a corepressor complex that contains the Sin3A protein and histone deacetylases (HDAC1 and 2). Studies by several groups demonstrate that this complex is recruited to nuclear receptors through the highly related corepressors SMRT (silencing mediator of retinoid acid and thyroid hormone receptor) and N-CoR (nuclear receptor corepressor). This paper describes the cloning, characterization, and chromosomal mapping of forms of human and mouse SMRT that include a 1,000-aa extension; this extension reveals striking homology to the amino terminus of N-CoR. Structure and function studies of wild-type and natural splicing variants suggest the presence of 3-4 amino terminal domains that repress in a cooperative as well as mechanistically distinct fashion (Ordentlich, 1999).

Several genes encoding proteins critical to the neuronal phenotype, such as the brain type II sodium channel gene, are expressed to high levels only in neurons. This cell specificity is due, in part, to long-term repression in nonneural cells mediated by the repressor protein REST/NRSF (RE1 silencing transcription factor/neural-restrictive silencing factor). CoREST (see Drosophila CoREST), a newly identified human protein, functions as a corepressor for REST. A single zinc finger motif in REST is required for CoREST interaction. Mutations of the motif that disrupt binding also abrogate repression. When fused to a Gal4 DNA-binding domain, CoREST functions as a repressor. CoREST is present in cell lines that express REST, and the proteins are found in the same immunocomplex. CoREST contains two SANT (SW13/ADA2/NCoR/TFIIIB B) domains, a structural feature of the nuclear receptor and silencing mediator for retinoid and thyroid human receptors (SMRT)-extended corepressors that mediate inducible repression by steroid hormone receptors. Together, REST and CoREST mediate repression of the type II sodium channel promoter in nonneural cells, and the REST/CoREST complex may mediate long-term repression essential to maintenance of cell identity (Andres, 1999).

Signaling upstream of SMRT

The SMRT (silencing mediator of retinoic acid and thyroid hormone receptor) corepressor participates in the repression of target gene expression by a variety of transcription factors, including the nuclear hormone receptors, promyelocytic leukemia zinc finger protein, and B-cell leukemia protein 6. The ability of SMRT to associate with these transcription factors and thereby to mediate repression is strongly inhibited by activation of tyrosine kinase signaling pathways, such as that represented by the epidermal growth factor receptor. SMRT function is potently inhibited by a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) kinase kinase (MAPKKK) cascade that operates downstream of this growth factor receptor. Intriguingly, the SMRT protein is a substrate for phosphorylation by protein kinases operating at multiple levels in this MAPKKK pathway, including the MAPKs, MAPK-extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 (MEK-1), and MEK-1 kinase (MEKK-1). Phosphorylation of SMRT by MEKK-1 and, to a lesser extent, MEK-1 inhibits the ability of SMRT to physically tether to its transcription factor partners. Notably, activation of MEKK-1 or MEK-1 signaling in transfected cells also leads to a redistribution of the SMRT protein from a nuclear compartment to a more perinuclear or cytoplasmic compartment. It is suggested that SMRT-mediated repression is regulated by the MAPKKK cascade and that changes both in the affinity of SMRT for its transcription factors and in the subcellular distribution of SMRT contribute to the loss of SMRT function that is observed in response to kinase signal transduction (Hong, 2000).

Structural insights into the recruitment of SMRT by the corepressor SHARP under phosphorylative regulation

The transcriptional corepressors SMRT/NCoR, components of histone deacetylase complexes, interact with nuclear receptors and many other transcription factors. SMRT is a target for the ubiquitously expressed protein kinase CK2, which is known to phosphorylate a wide variety of substrates. Increasing evidence suggests that CK2 plays a regulatory role in many cellular events, particularly, in transcription. However, little is known about the precise mode of action involved. This study reports the three-dimensional structure of a SMRT/HDAC1-associated repressor protein (SHARP) in complex with phosphorylated SMRT, as determined by solution NMR. Phosphorylation of the CK2 site on SMRT significantly increased affinity for SHARP. The significance of CK2 phosphorylation was confirmed by reporter assay, and a mechanism involving the process of phosphorylation acting as a molecular switch is proposed Finally, it is proposed that the SPOC domain functions as a phosphorylation binding module (Mikami, 2013).

SMRT and N-CoR interactions with transcription factors
see part 2/3 | part 3/3

Smrter/SANT domain protein: Biological Overview | Regulation | Developmental Biology | References

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