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Runx3 - Top 30 Publications

Core-binding factor β and Runx transcription factors promote adaptive natural killer cell responses.

Natural killer (NK) cells are innate lymphocytes that have features of adaptive immunity such as clonal expansion and generation of long-lived memory. Interleukin-12 (IL-12) signaling through its downstream transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription 4 (STAT4) is required for the generation of memory NK cells after expansion. We identify gene loci that are highly enriched for STAT4 binding using chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing for STAT4 and the permissive histone mark H3K4me3 in activated NK cells. We found that promoter regions of Runx1 and Runx3 are targets of STAT4 and that STAT4 binding during NK cell activation induces epigenetic modifications of Runx gene loci resulting in increased expression. Furthermore, specific ablation of Runx1, Runx3, or their binding partner Cbfb in NK cells resulted in defective clonal expansion and memory formation during viral infection, with evidence for Runx1-mediated control of a cell cycle program. Thus, our study reveals a mechanism whereby STAT4-mediated epigenetic control of individual Runx transcription factors promotes the adaptive behavior of antiviral NK cells.

A screening system to identify transcription factors that induce binding site-directed DNA demethylation.

DNA methylation is a fundamental epigenetic modification that is involved in many biological systems such as differentiation and disease. We and others recently showed that some transcription factors (TFs) are involved in the site-specific determination of DNA demethylation in a binding site-directed manner, although the reports of such TFs are limited.

Runx3 programs CD8+ T cell residency in non-lymphoid tissues and tumours.

Tissue-resident memory CD8+ T (TRM) cells are found at common sites of pathogen exposure, where they elicit rapid and robust protective immune responses. However, the molecular signals that control TRM cell differentiation and homeostasis are not fully understood. Here we show that mouse TRM precursor cells represent a unique CD8+ T cell subset that is distinct from the precursors of circulating memory cell populations at the levels of gene expression and chromatin accessibility. Using computational and pooled in vivo RNA interference screens, we identify the transcription factor Runx3 as a key regulator of TRM cell differentiation and homeostasis. Runx3 was required to establish TRM cell populations in diverse tissue environments, and supported the expression of crucial tissue-residency genes while suppressing genes associated with tissue egress and recirculation. Furthermore, we show that human and mouse tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes share a core tissue-residency gene-expression signature with TRM cells that is associated with Runx3 activity. In a mouse model of adoptive T cell therapy for melanoma, Runx3-deficient CD8+ tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes failed to accumulate in tumours, resulting in greater rates of tumour growth and mortality. Conversely, overexpression of Runx3 enhanced tumour-specific CD8+ T cell abundance, delayed tumour growth, and prolonged survival. In addition to establishing Runx3 as a central regulator of TRM cell differentiation, these results provide insight into the signals that promote T cell residency in non-lymphoid sites, which could be used to enhance vaccine efficacy or adoptive cell therapy treatments that target cancer.

Truncated forms of RUNX3 Unlike Full Length Protein Alter Cell Proliferation in a TGF-β Context Dependent Manner.

The Runt related transcription factors (RUNX) are recognized as key players in suppressing or promoting tumor growth. RUNX3, a member of this family, is known as a tumor suppressor in many types of cancers, although such a paradigm was challenged by some researchers. The TGF-β pathway governs major upstream signals to activate RUNX3. RUNX3 protein consists of several regions and domains. The Runt domain is a conserved DNA binding domain and is considered as the main part of RUNX proteins. Herein, we compared the effects of Runt domains and full-Runx3 in cell viability by designing two constructs of Runx3, including N-terminal region and Runt domain. We investigated the effect of full-Runx3, N-t, and RD on growth inhibition in AGS, MCF-7, A549, and HEK293 cell lines which are different in TGF-β sensitivity, in the absence and presence of TGF-β. The full length RUNX3 did not notably inhibit growth of these cell lines while, the N-t and RD truncates showed different trends in these cell lines. Cell proliferation in the TGF-β impaired context cell lines (AGS and MCF-7) significantly decrease while in the A549 significantly increase. On the other hand, transfection of N-t and RD did not considerably affect the cell proliferation in the HEK293.Our results show that full-lenght RUNX3 did not affect the cell viability. Conversely, the N-t and RD constructs significantly changed cell proliferation. Therefore, therapeutic potentials for these truncated proteins are suggested in tumors with RUNX proteins dysfunction, even in the TGF-β impair context.

A STAT3-dependent transcriptional circuitry inhibits cytotoxic gene expression in T cells.

CD8+ T cells are preprogrammed for cytotoxic differentiation in the thymus as they acquire expression of the transcription factor Runx3. However, a subset of effector CD8+ T cells (Tc17) produce IL-17 and fail to express cytotoxic genes. Here, we show that the transcription factors directing IL-17 production, STAT3 and RORγt, inhibit cytotoxicity despite persistent Runx3 expression. Cytotoxic gene repression did not require the transcription factor Thpok, which in CD4+ T cells restrains Runx3 functions and cytotoxicity; and STAT3 restrained cytotoxic gene expression in CD8+ T cells responding to viral infection in vivo. STAT3-induced RORγt represses cytotoxic genes by inhibiting the functions but not the expression of the "cytotoxic" transcription factors T-bet and Eomesodermin. Thus, the transcriptional circuitry directing IL-17 expression inhibits cytotoxic functions. However, by allowing expression of activators of the cytotoxic program, this inhibitory mechanism contributes to the instability of IL-17-producing T cells.

Induction of CD4+CD25+Foxp3+ regulatory T cells by mesenchymal stem cells is associated with RUNX complex factors.

Among the particular immunomodulation properties of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), one relies on their capacity to regulatory T cell (Treg) induction from effector T cells. Stable expression of Foxp3 has a dominant role in suppressive phenotype and stability of induced regulatory T cells (iTregs). How MSCs induce stable Foxp3 expression in iTregs remains unknown. We previously showed MSCs could enhance demethylation of Treg-specific demethylated region (TSDR) in iTregs in cell-cell contact manner (unpublished data). Here, we evaluated the possible effect of MSCs on the mRNA expression of Runx complex genes (Runx1, Runx3, and CBFB) that perch on TSDR in iTregs and play the main role in suppressive properties of Tregs, a regulatory pathway that has not yet been explored by MSCs. Also, we investigated the mRNA expression of MBD2 that promotes TSDR demethylation in Tregs. We first showed that in vitro MSC-iTreg induction was associated with strong mRNA modifications of genes involved in Runx complex. We next injected high doses of MSCs in a murine model of C57BL/6 into Balb/C allogeneic skin transplantation to prolong allograft survival. When splenocytes of grafted mice were analyzed, we realized that the Foxp3 expression was increased at day 5 and 10 post-graft merely in MSC-treated mice. Furthermore, Foxp3 mRNA expression was associated with modified Runx complex mRNA expression comparable to what was shown in in vitro studies. Hence, our data identify a possible mechanism in which MSCs convert conventional T cells to iTreg through strong modifications of mRNA of genes that are involved in Runx complex of Foxp3.

Neural EGFL like 1 regulates cartilage maturation through runt-related transcription factor 3-mediated Indian hedgehog signaling.

The pro-chondrogenic function of runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) was previously considered to be dependent on direct binding with the promoter of Indian hedgehog (Ihh)-the major regulator of chondrocyte differentiation, proliferation, and maturation. Our previous studies identified neural EGFL like 1 (Nell-1) as a Runx2-responsive growth factor for chondrogenic differentiation and maturation. In this study, we further revealed that the pro-chondrogenic activities of Nell-1 also rely on Ihh signaling, by showing: [1] Nell-1 significantly elevated Ihh signal transduction, [2] Nell-1 deficiency markedly reduced Ihh activation in chondrocytes, and [3] Nell-1-stimulated chondrogenesis was significantly reduced by the specific hedgehog inhibitor, cyclopamine. Importantly, we demonstrated that Nell-1-responsive Ihh signaling and chondrogenic differentiation extended to Runx2-/- models in vitro and in vivo. In Runx2-/- chondrocytes, Nell-1 stimulated the expression and signal transduction of Runx3, another transcription factor required for complete chondrogenic differentiation and maturation. Furthermore, knocking down Runx3 in Runx2-/- chondrocytes abolished Nell-1's stimulation of Ihh-associated molecule expression, which validates Runx3 as a major mediator of Nell-1-stimulated Ihh activation. For the first time, we identify the Runx2→Nell-1→Runx3→Ihh signaling cascade during chondrogenic differentiation and maturation, as an alternative, but critical pathway for Runx2 to function as a pro-chondrogenic molecule via Nell-1.

Body mass index, diet, and exercise: testing possible linkages to breast cancer risk via DNA methylation.

To examine DNA methylation as a mechanism linking diet, physical activity, weight status, and breast cancer risk.

Beyond genome-wide scan: Association of a cis-regulatory NCR3 variant with mild malaria in a population living in the Republic of Congo.

Linkage studies have revealed a linkage of mild malaria to chromosome 6p21 that contains the NCR3 gene encoding a natural killer cell receptor, whereas NCR3-412G>C (rs2736191) located in its promoter region was found to be associated with malaria in Burkina Faso. Here we confirmed the association of rs2736191 with mild malaria in a Congolese cohort and investigated its potential cis-regulatory effect. Luciferase assay results indicated that rs2736191-G allele had a significantly increased promoter activity compared to rs2736191-C allele. Furthermore, EMSAs demonstrated an altered binding of two nuclear protein complexes to the rs2736191-C allele in comparison to rs2736191-G allele. Finally, after in silico identification of transcription factor candidates, pull-down western blot experiments confirmed that both STAT4 and RUNX3 bind the region encompassing rs2736191 with a higher affinity for the G allele. To our knowledge, this is the first report that explored the functional role of rs2736191. These results support the hypothesis that genetic variation within natural killer cell receptors alters malaria resistance in humans.

JAB1-STAT3 activation loop is associated with recurrence following 5-fluorouracil-based adjuvant chemotherapy in human colorectal cancer.

Jun activation domain-binding protein 1 (JAB1) has been shown to have multiple roles in tumorigenesis, including the degradation of tumor suppressor proteins such as p53, Smad7, Runx3 and the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor p27Kip1, and the activation of oncogenic transcription factors, such as c-Jun and hypoxia-inducible factor-1α. In addition, our previous study revealed that JAB1 positively regulates signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) DNA-binding activity in human colon cancer cells. In turn, the oncogenic transcription factor STAT3 positively regulates JAB1 expression, indicative of a positive feedback loop. Furthermore, high JAB1 expression is associated with a poor prognosis in numerous malignant carcinomas. However, the association between JAB1 expression and prognosis in colorectal cancer remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to elucidate the association between JAB1 and STAT3 expression and recurrence in colorectal cancer. In the present study, it was found that high JAB1 expression in primary colorectal cancer tissues is an independent predictor of recurrence following 5-fluorouracil (5-FU)-based adjuvant chemotherapy in colorectal cancer patients, and that high expression of both JAB1 and STAT3 in primary colorectal cancer tissues is associated with a lower recurrence-free survival rate following 5-FU-based adjuvant chemotherapy compared to high expression of only JAB1 or STAT3. Overall, these results suggest that JAB1 is a novel predictive marker of recurrence following 5-FU-based adjuvant chemotherapy in colorectal cancer patients, and that the JAB1-STAT3 activation loop may be a potential therapeutic target in recurrent colorectal cancer following 5-FU-based adjuvant chemotherapy.

Inflammation-driven colon neoplasmatogenesis in uPA-deficient mice is associated with an increased expression of Runx transcriptional regulators.

Deregulation of the bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) pathway has been documented in colorectal cancer (CRC). Previously, we investigated possible associations between urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA) deficiency and expression of extracellular constituents of BMP signaling in a newly developed mouse model of inflammation-driven intestinal neoplasmatogenesis, in which chronic colitis and CRC are induced using dextran sodium sulfate (DSS). In this report, we explored the contribution of intracellular components of Smad-mediated BMP signal transduction using the same model. Interestingly, upon DSS treatment, we noticed an overexpression of Runx1/2/3 transcription factors in both wild-type and uPA-deficient mice. Moreover, Runx1 and Runx2 expression levels exhibited an even higher increase in DSS-treated/uPA-deficient mice as compared to DSS-treated/wild-type animals. In all experimental conditions, in situ investigation of Runx-expressing cell types, revealed detection of all three Runx in the immune cells, yet in the DSS-treated/uPA-deficient mice Runx1 and Runx2 were also identified in the preneoplastic epithelium of advanced high-grade dysplasia and carcinoma in-situ colonic lesions. Finally, the uPA-deficient pro-tumorigenic colitic microenvironment exhibited increased levels of the Runx-induced target genes Snai2, Bim and Claudin1, known to have a role in tumor development and progression. These findings suggest that the absence of uPA correlates with increased levels of Runx transcriptional regulators in a way that promotes inflammation-associated carcinogenesis.

Promoter methylation of tumor-related genes as a potential biomarker using blood samples for gastric cancer detection.

Gene promoter methylation has been reported in gastric cancer (GC). However, the potential applications of blood-based gene promoter methylation as a noninvasive biomarker for GC detection remain to be evaluated. Hence, we performed this analysis to determine whether promoter methylation of 11 tumor-related genes could become a promising biomarker in blood samples in GC. We found that the cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A (p16), E-cadherin (CDH1), runt-related transcription factor 3 (RUNX3), human mutL homolog 1 (MLH1), RAS association domain family protein 1A (RASSF1A), cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2B (p15), adenomatous polyposis coli (APC), Glutathione S-transferase P1 (GSTP1), TP53 dependent G2 arrest mediator candidate (Reprimo), and O6-methylguanine-DNAmethyl-transferase (MGMT) promoter methylation was notably higher in blood samples of patients with GC compared with non-tumor controls. While death-associated protein kinase (DAPK) promoter methylation was not correlated with GC. Further analyses demonstrated that RUNX3, RASSF1A and Reprimo promoter methylation had a good diagnostic capacity in blood samples of GC versus non-tumor controls (RUNX3: sensitivity = 63.2% and specificity = 97.5%, RASSF1A: sensitivity = 61.5% and specificity = 96.3%, Reprimo: sensitivity = 82.0% and specificity = 89.0%). Our findings indicate that promoter methylation of the RUNX3, RASSF1A and Reprimo genes could be powerful and potential noninvasive biomarkers for the detection and diagnosis of GC in blood samples in clinical practices, especially Reprimo gene. Further well-designed (multi-center) and prospective clinical studies with large populations are needed to confirm these findings in the future.

Combination immunohistochemistry for SMAD4 and Runt-related transcription factor 3 may identify a favorable prognostic subgroup of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas.

SMAD4/DPC4 mutations have been associated with aggressive behavior in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAC), and it has recently been suggested that RUNX3 expression combined with SMAD4 status may predict the metastatic potential of PDACs. We evaluated the prognostic utility of SMAD4/RUNX3 status in human PDACs by immunohistochemistry.

TGF-β promotes genomic instability after loss of RUNX3.

Studies of genomic instability have historically focused on intrinsic mechanisms rather than extrinsic mechanisms based on the tumor microenvironment (TME). TGF-β is the most abundantly secreted cytokine in the TME where it imparts various aggressive characteristics including invasive migration, drug resistance and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). Here we show that TGF-β also promotes genomic instability in the form of DNA double strand breaks (DSB) in cancer cells which lack the tumor suppressor gene RUNX3. Loss of RUNX3 resulted in transcriptional downregulation of the redox regulator heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1 or HMOX1). Consequently, elevated oxidative DNA damage disrupted genomic integrity and triggered cellular senescence, which was accompanied by tumor-promoting inflammatory cytokine expression and acquisition of the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP). Recapitulating the above findings, tumors harbouring a TGF-β gene expression signature and RUNX3 loss exhibited higher levels of genomic instability. In summary, RUNX3 creates an effective barrier against further TGF-β-dependent tumor progression by preventing genomic instability. These data suggest a novel cooperation between cancer cell-extrinsic TGF-β signaling and cancer cell-intrinsic RUNX3 inactivation as aggravating factors for genomic instability.

RUNX3 inhibits the proliferation and metastasis of gastric cancer through regulating miR-182/HOXA9.

This study intended to explore the molecular mechanism of RUNX3 in inhibiting the process of migration and proliferation of gastric cancer (GC) cells.

DNA methylation signatures in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from a lifestyle intervention for women at midlife: A pilot RCT.

Physical activity confers many health benefits, but the underlying mechanisms require further exploration. In this pilot randomized controlled trial we tested the association between longitudinal measures of DNA methylation and changes in objective measures including physical activity, weight loss, and C-reactive protein levels in community-dwelling women aged 55 to 70 years.

RUNX3 plays an important role in mediating the BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells.

Although bone morphogenetic protein 9 (BMP9) is highly capable of promoting the osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) both in vitro and in vivo, the molecular mechanisms involved remain to be fully elucidated. Runt-related transcription factor (RUNX)3 is an essential regulator of osteoblast/chondrocyte maturation. However, the exact role of RUNX3 in BMP9 osteoinductive activity is unknown. In this study, we sought to investigate the functional role of RUNX3 in the BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation of MSCs. We found that BMP9 upregulated the endogenous expression of RUNX3 in MSCs. The overexpression or/and knockdown of RUNX3 both increased the levels of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) a marker of BMP9-induced early osteogenic differentiation. Nevertheless, matrix mineralization, a marker of BMP9-induced late osteogenic differentiation was enhanced by the overexpression of RUNX3, whereas it was inhibited by the knockdown of RUNX3. The BMP9-induced expression of osteogenic pivotal transcription factors [inhibitor of differentiation (Id)3, distal-less homeobox 5 (DLX5) and RUNX2)] was further increased by the overexpression of RUNX3; however, it was reduced by the knockdown of RUNX3. However, the expression levels of Id1 and Id2 were both enhanced by the overexpression or/and knockdown of RUNX3. The BMP9-induced phosphorylation of Smad1/5/8 was increased with the overexpression of RUNX3, and yet was decreased with the knockdown of RUNX3. Collectively, our findings suggest that RUNX3 is an essential modulator of the BMP9-induced osteoblast lineage differentiation of MSCs.

Methylation analysis of p16, SLIT2, SCARA5, and Runx3 genes in hepatocellular carcinoma.

This study is to investigate the methylation status of multiple tumor suppressor 1 (p16), secreted glycoprotein 2 (SLIT2), scavenger receptor class A, member 5 putative (SCARA5), and human runt-related transcription factor 3 (Runx3) genes in the peripheral blood of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).This is a case-control study. The peripheral blood samples were collected from 25 HCC patients, 25 patients with high risk of HCC (defined as "internal control group"), and 25 healthy individuals (defined as "external control group"), respectively. Then the methylation status of p16, SLIT2, SCARA5, and Runx3 genes in the blood samples were analyzed by pyrosequencing. The relationship between the methylation and the clinical features of HCC patients were evaluated.The methylation levels in the 7 CpG loci of p16 gene in HCC patients were low and without statistically significant difference (P > .05) compared to the control groups. Although the methylation levels of CpG3 and CpG4 in SLIT2 gene loci were higher than those of the control groups, there was no statistically significant difference (P > .05). However, the methylation rate of CpG2 locus in SCARA5 gene in HCC patients was significantly higher (P < .05). And the methylation rates of CpG1, CpG2, CpG3, CpG4, CpG5, and CpG8 in Runx3 gene in HCC patients were significantly different to that of control groups (P < .05). We also have analyzed the correlations between the CpG islands methylation of Runx3 or SCARA5 genes and the age, gender, hepatitis B, liver cirrhosis, alpha fetal protein, or hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) of the HCC patients, which all showed no significant correlations (P > .05).The methylation status of SCARA5 and Runx3 genes are abnormal in HCC patients, which may further be used as molecular markers for early auxiliary diagnosis of liver cancer.

HSD11B2, RUNX3, and LINE-1 Methylation in Placental DNA of Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy Patients.

Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy (HDsP) remain leading causes of maternal and perinatal morbidity and mortality. Growing evidence suggests the involvement of epigenetic factors, such as gene-specific and global DNA methylation changes, both in the etiology and as an effect of HDsP. In this study, we investigated the potential association between placental DNA methylation status in selected CpGs of HSD11B2 cortisol level controlling gene, RUNX3 tumor suppressor gene, and long interspersed nucleotide element-1 (LINE-1) repetitive elements and HDsP-preeclampsia (PE), gestational hypertension (GH), and chronic hypertension (CH). Methylation-specific polymerase chain reaction (MSP) and pyrosequencing (PSQ) were used to analyze placental DNA methylation. Plasma and urine cortisol and cortisone levels were measured using high performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection (HPLC-FLD), whereas serum progesterone level was determined by electrochemiluminescence immunoassay. The mean percentage of HSD11B2, RUNX3, and LINE-1 methylation was not altered in the placentas of patients with HDsP, as compared to the controls. However, among patients from PE, GH, and CH groups, several significant correlations were observed between the methylation status of HSD11B2, RUNX3, or LINE-1 and children's birth weight, gestational age at delivery, mother's age, and body mass index as well as hormones levels. These results indicate lack of association between methylation status of HSD11B2, RUNX3, or LINE-1 repetitive elements and HDsP. However, association of these parameters with some clinical variables may suggest the role of placental DNA methylation in fetal development and should be further explored.

RUNX3 regulates hepatocellular carcinoma cell metastasis via targeting miR-186/E-cadherin/EMT pathway.

Runt-related transcription factor 3 (RUNX3) has been reported as a tumor suppressor in some kinds of cancers. In the present study, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) microarray analysis showed that RUNX3 expression was significantly lower in HCC tissues compared with that in adjacent non-tumor tissues, and was negatively associated with metastasis and TNM stage. RUNX3 was an independently prognostic factor for 5-year overall and disease-free patient survival. Mechanically, RUNX3 repressed metastasis and invasion of HCC, and increased E-cadherin expression. RUNX3 also repressed microRNA-186 to increase E-cadherin expression. We demonstrated that miR-186 mimics attenuated RUNX3-induced increase of E-cadherin and inhibition of metastasis and invasion. In conclusion, RUNX3 suppressed HCC cell migration and invasion by targeting the miR-186/E-cadherin/EMT pathway. RUNX3 may be recommended as an effective prognostic indicator and therapeutic target for patients with HCC.

Mislocalization of Runt-related transcription factor 3 results in airway inflammation and airway hyper-responsiveness in a murine asthma model.

The Runt-related transcription factor (RUNX) gene family consists of three members, RUNX1, -2 and -3, which heterodimerize with a common protein, core-binding factor β, and contain the highly conserved Runt-homology domain. RUNX1 and -2 have essential roles in hematopoiesis and osteogenesis. Runx3 protein regulates cell lineage decisions in neurogenesis and thymopoiesis. The aim of the present study was to determine the expression features of the Runx3 protein in a murine asthma model. In vivo, Runx3 protein and mRNA were found to be almost equivalently expressed in the murine lung tissue of the control, ovalbumin (OVA) and genistein groups; however, the nuclear Runx3 protein was abated in lung tissue in OVA-immunized and challenged mice. Following treatment with genistein, which is a flavonoid previously demonstrated to decrease airway inflammation in asthma, the allergic airway inflammation and airway hyper-responsiveness were attenuated and the Runx3 protein tended to augment in the nucleus. These results were further determined in vitro. These results indicated that the mislocalization of Runx3 protein is a molecular mechanism of allergic inflammation and airway hyper-responsiveness in a murine asthma model.

Regulation of Cartilage Development and Diseases by Transcription Factors.

Genetic studies and molecular cloning approaches have been successfully used to identify several transcription factors that regulate the numerous stages of cartilage development. Sex-determining region Y (SRY)-box 9 (Sox9) is an essential transcription factor for the initial stage of cartilage development. Sox5 and Sox6 play an important role in the chondrogenic action of Sox9, presumably by defining its cartilage specificity. Several transcription factors have been identified as transcriptional partners for Sox9 during cartilage development. Runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) and Runx3 are necessary for hypertrophy of chondrocytes. CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein β (C/EBPβ) and activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) function as co-activators for Runx2 during hypertrophy of chondrocytes. In addition, myocyte-enhancer factor 2C (Mef2C) is required for initiation of chondrocyte hypertrophy, presumably by functioning upstream of Runx2. Importantly, the pathogenic roles of several transcription factors in osteoarthritis have been demonstrated based on the similarity of pathological phenomena seen in osteoarthritis with chondrocyte hypertrophy. We discuss the importance of investigating cellular and molecular properties of articular chondrocytes and degradation mechanisms in osteoarthritis, one of the most common cartilage diseases.

Priming of lineage-specifying genes by Bcl11b is required for lineage choice in post-selection thymocytes.

T-lineage committed precursor thymocytes are screened by a fate-determination process mediated via T cell receptor (TCR) signals for differentiation into distinct lineages. However, it remains unclear whether any antecedent event is required to couple TCR signals with the transcriptional program governing lineage decisions. Here we show that Bcl11b, known as a T-lineage commitment factor, is essential for proper expression of ThPOK and Runx3, central regulators for the CD4-helper/CD8-cytotoxic lineage choice. Loss of Bcl11b results in random expression of these factors and, thereby, lineage scrambling that is disconnected from TCR restriction by MHC. Initial Thpok repression by Bcl11b prior to the pre-selection stage is independent of a known silencer for Thpok, and requires the last zinc-finger motif in Bcl11b protein, which by contrast is dispensable for T-lineage commitment. Collectively, our findings shed new light on the function of Bcl11b in priming lineage-specifying genes to integrate TCR signals into subsequent transcriptional regulatory mechanisms.CD4 and CD8 T cells develop in the thymus with their transcription programs controlled by ThPOK and Runx3, respectively. Here the authors show that a pre-commitment event modulated by the transcription factor, Bcl11b, is required for the proper expression of ThPOK and Runx3 and correct CD4/CD8 lineage commitment.

Runx3 is a key modulator during the epithelial-mesenchymal transition of alveolar type II cells in animal models of BPD.

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) is a major challenge for premature infants; however, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We previously reported that epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in alveolar type II (AT2) epithelial cells influences the normal alveolar development process. In this study, we wished to examine whether Runx3 is an important factor for BPD by regulating EMT in AT2 cells. In vivo, animal models of BPD were established by placing newborn rats in hyperoxia tanks. Lung tissue and isolated AT2 cells were collected on different days following exposure to oxygen. The pathological changes in lung tissue, alveolar development and Runx3 expression were then investigated. In vitro, RLE-6TN cells were divided into 5 groups as follows: the cont-rol, Runx3, siRunx3, transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) and Runx3 + TGF-β1 groups, and the biomarkers of EMT were investigated. In the newborn rat model of BPD, Runx3 protein and mRNA levels in both lung tissue and BPD-derived AT2 cells were significantly lower than those in the control group. The correlation between Runx3 protein expression and pulmonary development indicators was analyzed; Runx3 expression positively correlated with the radial alveolar count (RAC) and the percentage of smooth muscle actin-positive secondary septa, but negatively correlated with alveolar wall thickness. EMT was observed in the RLE-6TN cells in which the Runx3 gene was knocked down and follwoing TGF-β1‑induced EMT stimulation; however, TGF-β1 failed to induce EMT in the RLE-6TN cells overexpressing Runx3. On the whole, our data indicte that low Runx3 levels may promote EMT, while high Runx3 levels inhibit TGF-β1-induced EMT. Therefore, we predict that low levels of Runx3 in BPD lung tissue may promote EMT in AT2 cells, thus affecting alveolar development.

Identification of lineage-specifying cytokines that signal all CD8+-cytotoxic-lineage-fate 'decisions' in the thymus.

T cell antigen receptor (TCR) signaling in the thymus initiates positive selection, but the CD8+-lineage fate is thought to be induced by cytokines after TCR signaling has ceased, although this remains controversial and unproven. We have identified four cytokines (IL-6, IFN-γ, TSLP and TGF-β) that did not signal via the common γ-chain (γc) receptor but that, like IL-7 and IL-15, induced expression of the lineage-specifying transcription factor Runx3d and signaled the generation of CD8+ T cells. Elimination of in vivo signaling by all six of these 'lineage-specifying cytokines' during positive selection eliminated Runx3d expression and completely abolished the generation of CD8+ single-positive thymocytes. Thus, this study proves that signaling during positive selection by lineage-specifying cytokines is responsible for all CD8+-lineage-fate 'decisions' in the thymus.

Screening of exon methylation biomarkers for colorectal cancer via LC-MS/MS strategy.

The identification of biomarkers would be benefit for the diagnosis and treatment of colorectal cancer in clinic. DNA methylation in specific genomic regions, which had shown strongly association with disease genotypes, was effective indicators to reveal the occurrence and development of cancers. To screen out the methylation biomarkers for colorectal cancer (CRC), genomic DNA was isolated from colorectal cancerous and corresponding cancer-adjacent tissues collected from 30 CRC patients and then bisulfite-converted. The exon regions of five targeted genes (CNRIP1, HIC1, RUNX3, p15 and SFRP2) were amplified using Nest-PCR with specific primers and the amplicon was purified and hydrolyzed. The methylation levels of these specific regions were detected by LC-MS/MS and evaluated using the formula. The results showed five targeted exon regions were successfully amplified and confirmed by sequencing. The methodological validations indicated LC-MS/MS was highly sensitive and accurate. The methylation levels of CNRIP1 and RUNX3 was remarkably high in CRC tissues with statistical difference when compared with corresponding cancer-adjacent individuals, while that of HIC1, p15 and SFRP2 had no difference between two subjects. These finding supported that CNRIP1 and RUNX3 can be used as potential DNA methylation biomarkers for CRC diagnosis and treatment, and our LC-MS/MS approach exhibited great advantages in the identification of regional DNA methylation biomarkers.

miR106b regulates retinoblastoma Y79 cells through Runx3.

MicroRNAs are increasingly recognized as important regulators of cancer. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of miR-106b in the regulation of Y79 retinoblastoma. Y79 cells were transfected with antisense oligonucleotides (ASO) against miR-106b (ASO-miR-106b) or ASO-control. After transfection, the levels of miR-106b were monitored with real-time PCR (RT-PCR). The effects of ASO-miR-106b transfection on cell viability was evaluated by Cell Counting Kit-8 (CCK-8) analysis at 24, 48 and 72 h after transfection. Subsequently, the cells were stained with Annexin V-FITC and propidium iodide (PI) and subjected to flow cytometry to assess cell apoptosis. Transwell assay was used to analyze cell migration. Changes in Runt-related transcription factor 3 (Runx3) mRNA and proteins levels were also evaluated. miR-106b was downregulated by ASO-miR-106b at 48 and 72 h after transfection, accompanied by a decrease in cell viability and proliferation, as well as an increase in cell apoptosis. Transwell analysis indicated that cells treated with ASO-miR-106b exhibited significantly lower cell migratory abilities. The mRNA and protein level of Runx3 were upregulated after transfection. These results demonstrated that suppression of miR-106b inhibited Y79 cell proliferation and migration. The upregulation of Runx3 after miR-106b suppression ascertained that Runx3 is a tumor-suppressor in retinoblastoma and is a target of miR-106b.

BRCA2 carriers with male breast cancer show elevated tumour methylation.

Male breast cancer (MBC) represents a poorly characterised group of tumours, the management of which is largely based on practices established for female breast cancer. However, recent studies demonstrate biological and molecular differences likely to impact on tumour behaviour and therefore patient outcome. The aim of this study was to investigate methylation of a panel of commonly methylated breast cancer genes in familial MBCs.

RUNX3 as a Potential Predictor of Metastasis in Human Pancreatic Cancer.

In genetically engineered murine models of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAC), high levels of Runx3 increase the metastatic potential of cancer cells. In this study we evaluated the role of Runx3 in human pancreatic cancer.

Runx3 plays a critical role in restriction-point and defense against cellular transformation.

The restriction (R)-point decision is fundamental to normal differentiation and the G1-S transition, and the decision-making machinery is perturbed in nearly all cancer cells. The mechanisms underlying the cellular context-dependent R-point decision remain poorly understood. We found that the R-point was dysregulated in Runx3-/-mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), which formed tumors in nude mice. Ectopic expression of Runx3 restored the R-point and abolished the tumorigenicity of Runx3-/-MEFs and K-Ras-activated Runx3-/-MEFs (Runx3-/-;K-RasG12D/+). During the R-point, Runx3 transiently formed a complex with pRb and Brd2 and induced Cdkn1a (p21Waf1/Cip1/Sdi1; p21), a key regulator of the R-point transition. Cyclin D-CDK4/6 promoted dissociation of the pRb-Runx3-Brd2 complex, thus turning off p21 expression. However, cells harboring oncogenic K-Ras maintained the pRb-Runx3-Brd2 complex and p21 expression even after introduction of Cyclin D1. Thus, Runx3 plays a critical role in R-point regulation and defense against cellular transformation.Oncogene advance online publication, 28 August 2017; doi:10.1038/onc.2017.290.