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Malignant melanoma is an aggressive cancer known for its notorious resistance to most current therapies. The basic helix-loop-helix microphthalmia transcription factor (MITF) is the master regulator determining the identity and properties of the melanocyte lineage, and is regarded as a lineage-specific 'oncogene' that has a critical role in the pathogenesis(More)
DNA methylation is a major epigenetic mechanism for gene silencing. Whereas methyltransferases mediate cytosine methylation, it is less clear how unmethylated regions in mammalian genomes are protected from de novo methylation and whether an active demethylating activity is involved. Here, we show that either knockout or catalytic inactivation of the DNA(More)
The origin of tumor heterogeneity is poorly understood, yet it represents a major barrier to effective therapy. In melanoma and in melanocyte development, the microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (Mitf) controls survival, differentiation, proliferation, and migration/metastasis. The Brn-2 (N-Oct-3, POU3F2) transcription factor also regulates(More)
POU3F2 is a POU-Homeodomain transcription factor expressed in neurons and melanoma cells. In melanoma lesions, cells expressing high levels of POU3F2 show enhanced invasive and metastatic capacity that can in part be explained by repression of Micropthalmia-associated Transcription Factor (MITF) expression via POU3F2 binding to its promoter. To identify(More)
It is well established that tumours are not homogenous, but comprise cells with differing invasive, proliferative and tumour-initiating potential. A major challenge in cancer research is therefore to develop methods to characterize cell heterogeneity. In melanoma, proliferative and invasive cells are characterized by distinct gene expression profiles and(More)
The TATA binding protein (TBP) plays a pivotal role in RNA polymerase II (Pol II) transcription through incorporation into the TFIID and B-TFIID complexes. The role of mammalian B-TFIID composed of TBP and B-TAF1 is poorly understood. Using a complementation system in genetically modified mouse cells where endogenous TBP can be conditionally inactivated and(More)
We have inactivated transcription factor TFIID subunit TBP-associated factor 4 (TAF4) in mouse embryonic fibroblasts. Mutant taf4(-/-) cells are viable and contain intact TFIID comprising the related TAF4b showing that TAF4 is not an essential protein. TAF4 inactivation deregulates more than 1000 genes indicating that TFIID complexes containing TAF4 and(More)
To evaluate the role of murine TFIID subunit TAF4 in activation of cellular genes by all-trans retinoic acid (T-RA), we have characterized the T-RA response of taf4(lox/-) and taf4(-/-) embryonic fibroblasts. T-RA regulates almost 1000 genes in taf4(lox/-) cells, but less than 300 in taf4(-/-) cells showing that TAF4 is required for T-RA regulation of most,(More)
The TAF4 subunit of transcription factor TFIID was inactivated in the basal keratinocytes of foetal and adult mouse epidermis. Loss of TAF4 in the foetal epidermis results in reduced expression of the genes required for skin barrier function, leading to early neonatal death. By contrast, TAF4 inactivation in adult epidermis leads to extensive fur loss and(More)
RNA polymerase II general transcription factor TFIID is a macromolecular complex comprising the TATA-binding protein, TBP and 13-14 evolutionary conserved TBP-associated factors, TAFs. Although genetic experiments have shown that TAFs are essential for cell cycle progression in yeast and in rapidly proliferating vertebrate cells in vitro, new experiments(More)