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 SOX9
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  1. (2008) Capellini TD, Zewdu R, Di Giacomo G, Asciutti S, Kugler JE, Di Gregorio A, Selleri L. Pbx1/Pbx2 govern axial skeletal development by controlling Polycomb and Hox in mesoderm and Pax1/Pax9 in sclerotome. Dev. Biol., 321(2):500-14.
    The post-cranial axial skeleton consists of a metameric series of vertebral bodies and intervertebral discs, as well as adjoining ribs and sternum. Patterning of individual vertebrae and distinct regions of the vertebral column is accomplished by Polycomb and Hox proteins in the paraxial mesoderm, while their subsequent morphogenesis depends partially on Pax1/Pax9 in the sclerotome. In this study, we uncover that Pbx1/Pbx2 are co-expressed during successive stages of vertebral and rib development. Next, by exploiting a Pbx1/Pbx2 loss-of-function mouse, we show that decreasing Pbx2 dosage in the absence of Pbx1 affects axial development more severely than single loss of Pbx1. Pbx1/Pbx2 mutants exhibit a homogeneous vertebral column, with loss of vertebral identity, rudimentary ribs, and rostral hindlimb shifts. Of note, these axial defects do not arise from perturbed notochord function, as cellular proliferation, apoptosis, and expression of regulators of notochord signaling are normal in Pbx1/Pbx2 mutants. While the observed defects are consistent with loss of Pbx activity as a Hox-cofactor in the mesoderm, we additionally establish that axial skeletal patterning and hindlimb positioning are governed by Pbx1/Pbx2 through their genetic control of Polycomb and Hox expression and spatial distribution in the mesoderm, as well as of Pax1/Pax9 in the sclerotome.
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  2.  review article 
    (2003) LeBrun DP. E2A basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors in human leukemia. Front. Biosci., 8:s206-22.
    The gene E2A on chromosome 19 is involved in recurrent chromosomal rearrangements associated with pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The resulting fusion of 5' E2A sequences with 3' portions of other genes leads to the expression of two well-characterized fusion proteins: E2A-PBX1 and E2A-HLF. Since the E2A, PBX1 and HLF proteins all appear to function as transcription factors, it appears likely that the oncogenic fusion proteins contribute to leukemia development by causing abnormal transcriptional regulation of key target genes. Furthermore, since the E2A portion of the fusion proteins contains transcriptional activation domains, and the PBX1 and HLF portions contain DNA binding domains, leukemogenesis may be due, at least in part, to excessive transcriptional induction of target genes defined by PBX1 or HLF. However, recent findings suggest that this model is simplistic and possibly incorrect. In this article, I review the evidence pertaining to leukemogenesis by the well-characterized E2A-fusion proteins and consider its mechanistic implications.
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  3. (2008) Ficara F, Murphy MJ, Lin M, Cleary ML. Pbx1 regulates self-renewal of long-term hematopoietic stem cells by maintaining their quiescence. Cell Stem Cell, 2(5):484-96.
    Self-renewal is a defining characteristic of stem cells; however, the molecular pathways underlying its regulation are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that conditional inactivation of the Pbx1 proto-oncogene in the hematopoietic compartment results in a progressive loss of long-term hematopoietic stem cells (LT-HSCs) that is associated with concomitant reduction in their quiescence, leading to a defect in the maintenance of self-renewal as assessed by serial transplantation. Transcriptional profiling revealed that multiple stem cell maintenance factors are perturbed in Pbx1-deficient LT-HSCs, which prematurely express a large subset of genes, including cell-cycle regulators, normally expressed in non-self-renewing multipotent progenitors. A significant proportion of Pbx1-dependent genes is associated with the TGF-beta pathway, which serves a major role in maintaining HSC quiescence. Prospectively isolated, Pbx1-deficient LT-HSCs display altered transcriptional responses to TGF-beta stimulation in vitro, suggesting a possible mechanism through which Pbx1 maintenance of stem cell quiescence may in part be achieved.
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  4. (2008) Park JT, Shih IeM, Wang TL. Identification of Pbx1, a potential oncogene, as a Notch3 target gene in ovarian cancer. Cancer Res., 68(21):8852-60.
    Notch3 gene amplification has recently been identified in ovarian cancer but the Notch3 effectors that are involved in the development of ovarian cancer remain elusive. In this study, we have identified Pbx1, a proto-oncogene in hematopoietic malignancy, as a Notch3 target gene. Pbx1 expression is transcriptionally regulated by Notch3 activation, and Notch3/CSL protein complex directly binds to the Pbx1 promoter segment harboring the CSL-binding sequence. The growth-inhibitory effect of gamma-secretase inhibitor could be partially reversed by ectopic Pbx1 expression. Furthermore, functional studies by Pbx1 short hairpin RNA knockdown show that Pbx1 is essential for cell proliferation and tumorigenicity. Taken together, the above findings indicate that Pbx1 is a direct Notch3-regulated gene that mediates the survival signal of Notch3 in ovarian cancer.
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  5. (2007) Sanyal M, Tung JW, Karsunky H, Zeng H, Selleri L, Weissman IL, Herzenberg LA, Cleary ML. B-cell development fails in the absence of the Pbx1 proto-oncogene. Blood, 109(10):4191-9.
    Pbx1, a homeodomain transcription factor that was originally identified as the product of a proto-oncogene in acute pre-B-cell leukemia, is a global regulator of embryonic development. However, embryonic lethality in its absence has prevented an assessment of its role in B-cell development. Here, using Rag1-deficient blastocyst complementation assays, we demonstrate that Pbx1 null embryonic stem (ES) cells fail to generate common lymphoid progenitors (CLPs) resulting in a complete lack of B and NK cells, and a partial impairment of T-cell development in chimeric mice. A critical role for Pbx1 was confirmed by rescue of B-cell development from CLPs following restoration of its expression in Pbx1-deficient ES cells. In adoptive transfer experiments, B-cell development from Pbx1-deficient fetal liver cells was also severely compromised, but not erased, since transient B lymphopoiesis was detected in Rag-deficient recipients. Conditional inactivation of Pbx1 in pro-B (CD19(+)) cells and thereafter revealed that Pbx1 is not necessary for B-cell development to proceed from the pro-B-cell stage. Thus, Pbx1 critically functions at a stage between hematopoietic stem cell development and B-cell commitment and, therefore, is one of the earliest-acting transcription factors that regulate de novo B-lineage lymphopoiesis.
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  6. (2003) Kilstrup-Nielsen C, Alessio M, Zappavigna V. PBX1 nuclear export is regulated independently of PBX-MEINOX interaction by PKA phosphorylation of the PBC-B domain. EMBO J., 22(1):89-99.
    The regulation of PBC protein function through subcellular distribution is a crucial evolutionarily conserved mechanism for appendage patterning. We investigated the processes controlling PBX1 nuclear export. Here we show that in the absence of MEINOX proteins nuclear export is not a default pathway for PBX1 subcellular localization. In different cell backgrounds, PBX1 can be imported or exported from the nucleus independently of its capacity to interact with MEINOX proteins. The cell context-specific balance between nuclear export and import of PBX1 is controlled by the PBC-B domain, which contains several conserved serine residues corresponding to phosphorylation sites for Ser/Thr kinases. PBX1 subcellular localization correlates with the phosphorylation state of these residues whose dephosphorylation induces nuclear export. Protein kinase A (PKA) specifically phosphorylates PBX1 at these serines, and stimulation of endogenous PKA activity in vivo blocks PBX1 nuclear export in distal limb mesenchymal cells. Our results reveal a novel mechanism for the control of PBX1 nuclear export in addition to the absence of MEINOX protein, which involves the inhibition of PKA-mediated phosphorylation at specific sites within the PBC-B domain.
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  7. (2002) Kim SK, Selleri L, Lee JS, Zhang AY, Gu X, Jacobs Y, Cleary ML. Pbx1 inactivation disrupts pancreas development and in Ipf1-deficient mice promotes diabetes mellitus. Nat. Genet., 30(4):430-5.
    Pbx1 is a member of the TALE (three-amino acid loop extension) class of homeodomain transcription factors, which are components of hetero-oligomeric protein complexes thought to regulate developmental gene expression and to maintain differentiated cell states. In vitro studies have shown that Pbx1 regulates the activity of Ipf1 (also known as Pdx1), a ParaHox homeodomain transcription factor required for the development and function of the pancreas in mice and humans. To investigate in vivo roles of Pbx1 in pancreatic development and function, we examined pancreatic Pbx1 expression, and morphogenesis, cell differentiation and function in mice deficient for Pbx1. Pbx1-/- embryos had pancreatic hypoplasia and marked defects in exocrine and endocrine cell differentiation prior to death at embryonic day (E) 15 or E16. In these embryos, expression of Isl1 and Atoh5, essential regulators of pancreatic morphogenesis and differentiation, was severely reduced. Pbx1+/- adults had pancreatic islet malformations, impaired glucose tolerance and hypoinsulinemia. Thus, Pbx1 is essential for normal pancreatic development and function. Analysis of trans-heterozygous Pbx1+/- Ipf1+/- mice revealed in vivo genetic interactions between Pbx1 and Ipf1 that are essential for postnatal pancreatic function; these mice developed age-dependent overt diabetes mellitus, unlike Pbx1+/- or Ipf1+/- mice. Mutations affecting the Ipf1 protein may promote diabetes mellitus in mice and humans. This study suggests that perturbation of Pbx1 activity may also promote susceptibility to diabetes mellitus.
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  8. (2001) Selleri L, Depew MJ, Jacobs Y, Chanda SK, Tsang KY, Cheah KS, Rubenstein JL, O'Gorman S, Cleary ML. Requirement for Pbx1 in skeletal patterning and programming chondrocyte proliferation and differentiation. Development, 128(18):3543-57.
    Pbx1 and a subset of homeodomain proteins collaboratively bind DNA as higher-order molecular complexes with unknown consequences for mammalian development. Pbx1 contributions were investigated through characterization of Pbx1-deficient mice. Pbx1 mutants died at embryonic day 15/16 with severe hypoplasia or aplasia of multiple organs and widespread patterning defects of the axial and appendicular skeleton. An obligatory role for Pbx1 in limb axis patterning was apparent from malformations of proximal skeletal elements, but distal structures were unaffected. In addition to multiple rib and vertebral malformations, neural crest cell-derived skeletal structures of the second branchial arch were morphologically transformed into elements reminiscent of first arch-derived cartilages. Although the skeletal malformations did not phenocopy single or compound Hox gene defects, they were restricted to domains specified by Hox proteins bearing Pbx dimerization motifs and unaccompanied by alterations in Hox gene expression. In affected domains of limbs and ribs, chondrocyte proliferation was markedly diminished and there was a notable increase of hypertrophic chondrocytes, accompanied by premature ossification of bone. The pattern of expression of genes known to regulate chondrocyte differentiation was not perturbed in Pbx1-deficient cartilage at early days of embryonic skeletogenesis, however precocious expression of Col1a1, a marker of bone formation, was found. These studies demonstrate a role for Pbx1 in multiple developmental programs and reveal a novel function in co-ordinating the extent and/or timing of proliferation with terminal differentiation. This impacts on the rate of endochondral ossification and bone formation and suggests a mechanistic basis for most of the observed skeletal malformations.
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  9. (1999) Asahara H, Dutta S, Kao HY, Evans RM, Montminy M. Pbx-Hox heterodimers recruit coactivator-corepressor complexes in an isoform-specific manner. Mol. Cell. Biol., 19(12):8219-25.
    Homeobox (hox) proteins have been shown to regulate cell fate and segment identity by promoting the expression of specific genetic programs. In contrast to their restricted biological action in vivo, however, most homeodomain factors exhibit promiscuous DNA binding properties in vitro, suggesting a requirement for additional cofactors that enhance target site selectivity. In this regard, the pbx family of homeobox genes has been found to heterodimerize with and thereby augment the DNA binding activity of certain hox proteins on a subset of potential target sites. Here we examine the transcriptional properties of a forced hox-pbx heterodimer containing the pancreas-specific orphan homeobox factor pdx fused to pbx-1a. Compared to the pdx monomer, the forced pdx-pbx1a dimer, displayed 10- to 20-fold-higher affinity for a consensus hox-pbx binding site but was completely unable to bind a hox monomer recognition site. The pdx-pbx dimer stimulated target gene expression via an N-terminal trans-activation domain in pdx that interacts with the coactivator CREB binding protein. The pdx-pbx dimer was also found to repress transcription via a C-terminal domain in pbx-1a that associates with the corepressors SMRT and NCoR. The transcriptional properties of the pdx-pbx1 complex appear to be regulated at the level of alternative splicing; a pdx-pbx polypeptide containing the pbx1b isoform, which lacks the C-terminal extension in pbx1a, was unable to repress target gene expression via NCoR-SMRT. Since pbx1a and pbx1b are differentially expressed in endocrine versus exocrine compartments of the adult pancreas, our results illustrate a novel mechanism by which pbx proteins may modulate the expression of specific genetic programs, either positively or negatively, during development.
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  10. (1995) Lu Q, Knoepfler PS, Scheele J, Wright DD, Kamps MP. Both Pbx1 and E2A-Pbx1 bind the DNA motif ATCAATCAA cooperatively with the products of multiple murine Hox genes, some of which are themselves oncogenes. Mol. Cell. Biol., 15(7):3786-95.
    E2A-PBX1 is the oncogene produced at the t(1;19) chromosomal breakpoint of pediatric pre-B-cell leukemia. Expression of E2A-Pbx1 induces fibroblast transformation and myeloid and T-cell leukemia in mice and arrests differentiation of granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor-dependent myeloblasts in cultured marrow. Recently, the Drosophila melanogaster protein Exd, which is highly related to Pbx1, was shown to bind DNA cooperatively with the Drosophila homeodomain proteins Ubx and Abd-A. Here, we demonstrate that the normal Pbx1 homeodomain protein, as well as its oncogenic derivative, E2A-Pbx1, binds the DNA sequence ATCAATCAA cooperatively with the murine Hox-A5, Hox-B7, Hox-B8, and Hox-C8 homeodomain proteins, which are themselves known oncoproteins, as well as with the Hox-D4 homeodomain protein. Cooperative binding to ATCAATCAA required the homeodomain-dependent DNA-binding activities of both Pbx1 and the Hox partner. In cotransfection assays, Hox-B8 suppressed transactivation by E2A-Pbx1. These results suggest that (i) Pbx1 may participate in the normal regulation of Hox target gene transcription in vivo and therein contribute to aspects of anterior-posterior patterning and structural development in vertebrates, (ii) that E2A-Pbx1 could abrogate normal differentiation by altering the transcriptional regulation of Hox target genes in conjunction with Hox proteins, and (iii) that the oncogenic mechanism of certain Hox proteins may require their physical interaction with Pbx1 as a cooperating, DNA-binding partner.
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  11. (1990) Nourse J, Mellentin JD, Galili N, Wilkinson J, Stanbridge E, Smith SD, Cleary ML. Chromosomal translocation t(1;19) results in synthesis of a homeobox fusion mRNA that codes for a potential chimeric transcription factor. Cell, 60(4):535-45.
    The gene (E2A) for enhancer binding transcription factors E12 and E47 maps to the t(1;19) chromosomal translocation breakpoint in pre-B cell leukemias. Altered E2A transcripts lacking sequences coding for the helix-loop-helix DNA binding motif were detected in several t(1;19)-carrying cell lines. Fusion cDNAs that crossed the t(1;19) breakpoint were cloned and shown to code for an 85 kd protein consisting of the amino-terminal two-thirds of E2A fused to a chromosome 1-derived protein. The fusion protein has the features of a chimeric transcription factor in which the DNA binding domain of E2A is replaced by the putative DNA binding domain of a homeoprotein from chromosome 1 for which the name Prl (pre-B cell leukemia) is proposed. Identical E2A-prl mRNA junctions were detected by PCR in three t(1;19)-carrying cell lines, indicating that the fusion transcripts and predicted chimeric protein are a consistent feature of this translocation.
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  12. (2009) Chan KK, Zhang J, Chia NY, Chan YS, Sim HS, Tan KS, Oh SK, Ng HH, Choo AB. KLF4 and PBX1 Directly Regulate NANOG Expression in Human Embryonic Stem Cells. Stem Cells
    Insight into the regulation of core transcription factors is important for a better understanding of the molecular mechanisms that control self-renewal and pluripotency of human embryonic stem cells (hESC). However, the transcriptional regulation of NANOG itself in hESC has largely been elusive. We established a NANOG promoter luciferase reporter assay as a fast read-out for indicating the pluripotent status of hESC. From the functional cDNA screens and NANOG promoter characterization, we successfully identified a zinc finger transcription factor KLF4, and a homeodomain transcription factor PBX1 as two novel transcriptional regulators that maintain the pluripotent and undifferentiated state of hESC. We showed that both KLF4 and PBX1 mRNA and protein expression were downregulated during hESC differentiation. In addition, overexpression of KLF4 and PBX1 upregulated NANOG promoter activity and also the endogenous NANOG protein expression in hESC. Direct binding of KLF4 on NANOG proximal promoter and PBX1 on a new upstream enhancer and proximal promoter were confirmed by chromatin immunoprecipitation and electrophoretic mobility shift assay. Knockdown of KLF4/PBX1 or mutation of KLF4/PBX1 binding motifs significantly downregulated NANOG promoter activity. We also showed that specific members of the SP/KLF and PBX family are functionally redundant at the NANOG promoter, and that KLF4 and PBX1 cooperated with OCT4 and SOX2, and transactivated synergistically the NANOG promoter activity. Our results reveal two novel upstream transcription activators of NANOG that are functionally important for the self-renewal of hESC and provide new insights into the expanded regulatory circuitry that maintains hESC pluripotency.
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  13. (2008) Stankunas K, Shang C, Twu KY, Kao SC, Jenkins NA, Copeland NG, Sanyal M, Selleri L, Cleary ML, Chang CP. Pbx/Meis deficiencies demonstrate multigenetic origins of congenital heart disease. Circ. Res., 103(7):702-9.
    Congenital heart diseases are traditionally considered to be multifactorial in pathogenesis resulting from environmental and genetic interactions that determine penetrance and expressivity within a genetically predisposed family. Recent evidence suggests that genetic contributions have been significantly underestimated. However, single gene defects occur only in a minority of cases, and multigenetic causes of congenital heart diseases have not been fully demonstrated. Here, we show that interactions between alleles of 3 Pbx genes, which encode homeodomain transcription factors, are sufficient to determine the phenotypic presentation of congenital heart diseases in mice. A major role is served by Pbx1, whose inactivation results in persistent truncus arteriosus. Reduction or absence of Pbx2 or Pbx3 leads to Pbx1 haploinsufficiency and specific malformations that resemble tetralogy of Fallot, overriding aorta with ventricular septal defect, and bicuspid aortic valves. Disruption of Meis1, which encodes a Pbx DNA-binding partner, results in cardiac anomalies that resemble those caused by Pbx mutations. Each of the observed cardiac defects represents developmental abnormalities affecting distinct stages of cardiac outflow tract development and corresponds to specific types of human congenital heart disease. Thus, varied deficiencies in the Pbx gene family produce a full spectrum of cardiac defects involving the outflow tract, providing a framework for determining multigenetic causes of congenital heart anomalies.
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  14. (2007) Shiraishi K, Yamasaki K, Nanba D, Inoue H, Hanakawa Y, Shirakata Y, Hashimoto K, Higashiyama S. Pre-B-cell leukemia transcription factor 1 is a major target of promyelocytic leukemia zinc-finger-mediated melanoma cell growth suppression. Oncogene, 26(3):339-48.
    Promyelocytic leukemia zinc-finger (PLZF) is a transcriptional repressor and tumor suppressor. PLZF is expressed in melanocytes but not in melanoma cells, and recovery of PLZF expression markedly suppresses melanoma cell growth. Several target genes regulated by PLZF have been identified, but the precise function of PLZF remains uncertain. Here, we searched for candidate target genes of PLZF by DNA microarray analysis. Pre-B-cell leukemia transcription factor 1 (Pbx1) was one of the prominently suppressed genes. Pbx1 was highly expressed in melanoma cells, and its expression was reduced by transduction with the PLZF gene. Moreover, the growth suppression mediated by PLZF was reversed by enforced expression of Pbx1. Knockdown of Pbx1 by specific small interfering RNAs suppressed melanoma cell growth. We also found that Pbx1 binds HoxB7. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction analysis demonstrated that repression of Pbx1 by PLZF reduces the expression of HoxB7 target genes, including tumor-associated neoangiogenesis factors such as basic fibroblast growth factor, angiopoietin-2 and matrix metalloprotease 9. These findings suggest that deregulation of Pbx1 expression owing to loss of PLZF expression contributes to the progression and/or pathogenesis of melanoma.
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  15. (2004) Qin P, Haberbusch JM, Soprano KJ, Soprano DR. Retinoic acid regulates the expression of PBX1, PBX2, and PBX3 in P19 cells both transcriptionally and post-translationally. J. Cell. Biochem., 92(1):147-63.
    Pre-B cell leukemia transcription factors (PBXs) are important co-factors for the transcriptional regulation mediated by a number of Hox proteins during embryonic development. It was previously shown that the expression of several Pbx genes is elevated in mouse embryo limb buds and embryonal carcinoma P19 cells upon retinoic acid (RA) treatment although the mechanism of this induction is not well understood. In this report, we demonstrate that PBX1a, PBX1b, PBX2, and PBX3 mRNAs and PBX1/2/3 proteins are induced during endodermal and neuronal differentiation of P19 cells in a RAR-dependent subtype-unspecific manner following RA treatment. The increases in both PBX1 mRNA and PBX3 mRNA levels are secondary responses to RA treatment requiring new proteins synthesis while the increase in PBX2 mRNA is a primary response. The RA-dependent increases in PBX1 mRNA, PBX2 mRNA, and PBX3 mRNA levels are likely to be transcriptionally regulated since the stability of these mRNAs does not change. In addition, the half-lives of PBX1/2/3 proteins are significantly extended by RA treatment. Two possible mechanisms could contribute to the stabilization of PBX proteins: PBX proteins associate with RA-dependent increased levels of MEIS proteins, and RA may decrease the proteasome dependent degradation of PBX proteins.
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  16. (2001) Wagner K, Mincheva A, Korn B, Lichter P, Pöpperl H. Pbx4, a new Pbx family member on mouse chromosome 8, is expressed during spermatogenesis. Mech. Dev., 103(1-2):127-31.
    Members of the Pbx family are involved in a diverse range of developmental processes including axial patterning and organogenesis. Pbx functions are in part mediated by the interaction of Pbx proteins with members of the Hox and Meis/Prep families. We have identified a fourth mammalian Pbx family member. Pbx4 in the mouse and PBX4 in humans are located on chromosome 8 and chromosome 19, respectively. Pbx4 expression is confined to the testis, especially to spermatocytes in the pachytene stage of the first meiotic prophase.
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  17. (2001) Schnabel CA, Selleri L, Jacobs Y, Warnke R, Cleary ML. Expression of Pbx1b during mammalian organogenesis. Mech. Dev., 100(1):131-5.
    Mammalian Pbx genes (Pbx1-3) encode a family of TALE homeodomain proteins that function as transcriptional regulators in numerous cell types (Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. 8 (1998) 423). The present study highlights distinctive features of Pbx1b expression during mouse embryonic development as a framework to understand its biological functions. Immunohistochemical analyses demonstrate extensive expression of Pbx1b throughout post-implantation development, with highest levels observed during early to mid-gestation. Its initial distribution is predominantly associated with condensing mesoderm, however, Pbx1b displays dynamic expression patterns in derivatives of all principal germ layers. In particular, Pbx1b localizes to sites of mesenchymal-epithelial interactions during periods of active morphogenesis in tissues such as the lung, kidney, tooth buds and vibrissae follicles. Furthermore, BrdU labeling studies reveal that Pbx1b expression domains partially overlap with regions of cellular proliferation. Taken together, these data suggest that Pbx1b contributes to multiple cellular processes during embryogenesis, which may include roles in cell-autonomous regulation as well as in the mediation of tissue interactions.
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  18. (1999) Piper DE, Batchelor AH, Chang CP, Cleary ML, Wolberger C. Structure of a HoxB1-Pbx1 heterodimer bound to DNA: role of the hexapeptide and a fourth homeodomain helix in complex formation. Cell, 96(4):587-97.
    Hox homeodomain proteins are developmental regulators that determine body plan in a variety of organisms. A majority of the vertebrate Hox proteins bind DNA as heterodimers with the Pbx1 homeodomain protein. We report here the 2.35 A structure of a ternary complex containing a human HoxB1-Pbx1 heterodimer bound to DNA. Heterodimer contacts are mediated by the hexapeptide of HoxB1, which binds in a pocket in the Pbx1 protein formed in part by a three-amino acid insertion in the Pbx1 homeodomain. The Pbx1 DNA-binding domain is larger than the canonical homeodomain, containing an additional alpha helix that appears to contribute to binding of the HoxB1 hexapeptide and to stable binding of Pbx1 to DNA. The structure suggests a model for modulation of Hox DNA binding activity by Pbx1 and related proteins.
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  19. (1998) Mann RS, Affolter M. Hox proteins meet more partners. Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev., 8(4):423-9.
    The Hox genes are clustered sets of homeobox-containing genes that play a central role in animal development. Recent genetic and molecular data suggest that Hox proteins interact with pre-existing homeodomain protein complexes. These complexes may help to regulate Hox activity and Hox specificity, and help cells to interpret signaling cascades during development.
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  20. (1997) Chang CP, Jacobs Y, Nakamura T, Jenkins NA, Copeland NG, Cleary ML. Meis proteins are major in vivo DNA binding partners for wild-type but not chimeric Pbx proteins. Mol. Cell. Biol., 17(10):5679-87.
    The Pbx1 and Meis1 proto-oncogenes code for divergent homeodomain proteins that are targets for oncogenic mutations in human and murine leukemias, respectively, and implicated by genetic analyses to functionally collaborate with Hox proteins during embryonic development and/or oncogenesis. Although Pbx proteins have been shown to dimerize with Hox proteins and modulate their DNA binding properties in vitro, the biochemical compositions of endogenous Pbx-containing complexes have not been determined. In the present study, we demonstrate that Pbx and Meis proteins form abundant complexes that comprise a major Pbx-containing DNA binding activity in nuclear extracts of cultured cells and mouse embryos. Pbx1 and Meis1 dimerize in solution and cooperatively bind bipartite DNA sequences consisting of directly adjacent Pbx and Meis half sites. Pbx1-Meis1 heterodimers display distinctive DNA binding specificities and cross-bind to a subset of Pbx-Hox sites, including those previously implicated as response elements for the execution of Pbx-dependent Hox programs in vivo. Chimeric oncoprotein E2a-Pbx1 is unable to bind DNA with Meis1, due to the deletion of amino-terminal Pbx1 sequences following fusion with E2a. We conclude that Meis proteins are preferred in vivo DNA binding partners for wild-type Pbx1, a relationship that is circumvented by its oncogenic counterpart E2a-Pbx1.
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  21. (1997) Chang CP, de Vivo I, Cleary ML. The Hox cooperativity motif of the chimeric oncoprotein E2a-Pbx1 is necessary and sufficient for oncogenesis. Mol. Cell. Biol., 17(1):81-8.
    E2a-Pbx1 chimeric oncoproteins result from fusion of the E2A and PBX1 genes at the sites of t(1;19) chromosomal translocations in a subset acute lymphoblastic leukemias. Experimentally, E2a-Pbx1 transforms a variety of cell types, including fibroblasts, myeloid progenitors, and lymphoblasts. Structure-function studies have shown that contributions from both E2a and Pbx1 are necessary for oncogenesis, but the Pbx1 homeodomain is dispensable and the required portion of Pbx1 has not been delineated. In this study, we used deletional and site-directed mutagenesis to identify portions of Pbx1 necessary for oncogenic and transcriptional activities of E2a-Pbx1. These studies defined a motif (named the Hox cooperativity motif [HCM]) carboxy terminal to the Pbx homeodomain that is required for cooperative DNA binding, cellular transcriptional activity, and the oncogenic potential of E2a-Pbx1. The HCM is highly conserved throughout the Pbx/exd subfamily of divergent homeodomain proteins and functions in DNA-binding assays as a potential contact site for Hox dimerization. E2a-Pbx1 proteins with interstitial deletion or single-point mutations in the HCM could neither activate transcription in cellular assays nor transform NIH 3T3 cells. An E2a-Pbx1 mutant containing 50 amino acids of Pbx1b spanning the HCM but lacking the homeodomain was capable of inducing fibroblast transformation. Thus, the HCM is a necessary and sufficient contribution of Pbx1 for oncogenesis induced by E2a-Pbx1 and accounts for its homeodomain-independent transforming properties. Since subtle alterations of the Pbx HCM result in complete abrogation of transforming activity whereas the homeodomain is entirely dispensable, we conclude that interactions mediated by the HCM are more important for transformation by E2a-Pbx1 than interactions with cognate Pbx DNA sites.
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  22. (1996) Chang CP, Brocchieri L, Shen WF, Largman C, Cleary ML. Pbx modulation of Hox homeodomain amino-terminal arms establishes different DNA-binding specificities across the Hox locus. Mol. Cell. Biol., 16(4):1734-45.
    Pbx cofactors are implicated to play important roles in modulating the DNA-binding properties of heterologous homeodomain proteins, including class I Hox proteins. To assess how Pbx proteins influence Hox DNA-binding specificity, we used a binding-site selection approach to determine high-affinity target sites recognized by various Pbx-Hox homeoprotein complexes. Pbx-Hox heterodimers preferred to bind a bipartite sequence 5'-ATGATTNATNN-3' consisting of two adjacent half sites in which the Pbx component of the heterodimer contacted the 5' half (ATGAT) and the Hox component contacted the more variable 3' half (TNATNN). Binding sites matching the consensus were also obtained for Pbx1 complexed with HoxA10, which lacks a hexapeptide but requires a conserved tryptophan-containing motif for cooperativity with Pbx. Interactions with Pbx were found to play an essential role in modulating Hox homeodomain amino-terminal arm contact with DNA in the core of the Hox half site such that heterodimers of different compositions could distinguish single nucleotide alterations in the Hox half site both in vitro and in cellular assays measuring transactivation. When complexed with Pbx, Hox proteins B1 through B9 and A10 showed stepwise differences in their preferences for nucleotides in the Hox half site core (TTAT to TGAT, 5' to 3') that correlated with the locations of their respective genes in the Hox cluster. These observations demonstrate previously undetected DNA-binding specificity for the amino-terminal arm of the Hox homeodomain and suggest that different binding activities of Pbx-Hox complexes are at least part of the position-specific activities of the Hox genes.
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  23. (1995) Roberts VJ, van Dijk MA, Murre C. Localization of Pbx1 transcripts in developing rat embryos. Mech. Dev., 51(2-3):193-8.
    Recently, a new family of homeodomain proteins has emerged, that includes extradenticle, ceh-20, Pbx1, Pbx2 and Pbx3. The Pbx family has been shown to modulate the biological activities of the Hox proteins. We demonstrate here by in situ hybridization that Pbx1 transcripts are present in many embryonic tissues. Highest levels of Pbx1 expression in the developing embryo, from 12 to 20 days post coitum, are found in neuronal tissues, including brain, spinal cord and ganglia. In addition, Pbx1 transcripts are also detectable in the gut, lung, olfactory epithelium and kidney. The expression pattern of Pbx1 overlaps with that of many of the Hox gene products and is consistent with them acting in parallel to regulate common target genes.
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  24. (1994) LeBrun DP, Cleary ML. Fusion with E2A alters the transcriptional properties of the homeodomain protein PBX1 in t(1;19) leukemias. Oncogene, 9(6):1641-7.
    The t(1;19) chromosomal translocation is observed in pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias and results in expression of chimeric E2A-PBX1 proteins that contain transcriptional activation domains from E2A and the homeodomain of PBX1. Since homeodomains mediate DNA-binding, a potential model for the action of E2A-PBX1 is that it disrupts the transcriptional regulation of genes normally controlled by PBX1 or its closely-related family members PBX2 or PBX3. Using a binding site selection assay, we identified a consensus nucleotide sequence ATCAATCA specifically bound by the PBX1 homeodomain and those of its closely-related family members PBX2 and PBX3. An endogenous protein with the properties of PBX3b specifically bound to this sequence in nuclear extracts of precursor B cells. Transfection of reporter genes containing PBX binding sites linked to a minimal promoter demonstrated transactivation by E2A-PBX1 fusion protein dependent upon presence of the homeodomain. In contrast, wild-type PBX proteins were incapable of activating transcription. The striking differences in transcriptional properties of fusion and wild-type PBX proteins provides strong functional evidence for the importance of aberrant transcriptional regulation in the genesis of t(1;19)-bearing leukemias.
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  25. (1993) Van Dijk MA, Voorhoeve PM, Murre C. Pbx1 is converted into a transcriptional activator upon acquiring the N-terminal region of E2A in pre-B-cell acute lymphoblastoid leukemia. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A., 90(13):6061-5.
    Twenty-five percent of human pediatric pre-B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemias (ALLs) are characterized by the t(1;19)(q23;p13.3) chromosomal translocation. This translocation joins the 5' region of the E2A gene to the 3' region of the Pbx1 gene. The protein encoded by this chimeric gene contains the N-terminal transcriptional activation domain of E2A fused to the C-terminal region of Pbx1, which contains a putative homeodomain. Here we show that the Pbx1 homeodomain preferentially binds the sequence ATCAATCAA. We further show that promoters containing Pbx1-binding sites are activated by the chimeric E2A-Pbx1 protein but not by Pbx1. These results indicate that the t(1;19) translocation converts a nonactivating DNA-binding protein into a potent transcriptional activator, suggesting an unusual mechanism for oncogenic transformation.
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  26. (1992) Bürglin TR, Ruvkun G. New motif in PBX genes. Nat. Genet., 1(5):319-20.
    Abstract not available.
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  27. (1991) Monica K, Galili N, Nourse J, Saltman D, Cleary ML. PBX2 and PBX3, new homeobox genes with extensive homology to the human proto-oncogene PBX1. Mol. Cell. Biol., 11(12):6149-57.
    Two new homeobox genes, PBX2 and PBX3, were isolated on the basis of their extensive homology to PBX1, a novel human homeobox gene involved in t(1;19) translocation in acute pre-B-cell leukemias. The predicted Pbx2 and Pbx3 proteins are 92 and 94% identical to Pbx1 over a large region of 266 amino acids within and flanking their homeodomains, but all three proteins diverge significantly near their amino and carboxy termini. Chromosome in situ hybridizations demonstrated that the PBX genes are not clustered but map to separate chromosomal loci: PBX1, 1q23; PBX2, 3q22-23; PBX3, 9q33-34. Expression of PBX2 or PBX3 was not restricted to particular states of differentiation or development, as mRNA transcripts of these genes were detected in most fetal and adult tissues and all cell lines, unlike PBX1, which is not expressed in lymphoid cell lines. Similar to PBX1 RNA, PBX3 RNA is alternatively spliced to yield two translation products with different carboxy termini, a feature not observed for PBX2. Their extensive sequence similarity and widespread expression suggest a generalized, overlapping role for Pbx proteins in most cell types. Differences in their amino and carboxy termini may modulate their activities, mediated in part by differential splicing and, for PBX1, protein fusion following t(1;19) chromosomal translocation.
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