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Molecular biology of the cell

Live-cell monitoring of periodic gene expression in synchronous human cells identifies Forkhead genes involved in cell cycle control.


PMID 22740631

Abstract

We developed a system to monitor periodic luciferase activity from cell cycle-regulated promoters in synchronous cells. Reporters were driven by a minimal human E2F1 promoter with peak expression in G1/S or a basal promoter with six Forkhead DNA-binding sites with peak expression at G2/M. After cell cycle synchronization, luciferase activity was measured in live cells at 10-min intervals across three to four synchronous cell cycles, allowing unprecedented resolution of cell cycle-regulated gene expression. We used this assay to screen Forkhead transcription factors for control of periodic gene expression. We confirmed a role for FOXM1 and identified two novel cell cycle regulators, FOXJ3 and FOXK1. Knockdown of FOXJ3 and FOXK1 eliminated cell cycle-dependent oscillations and resulted in decreased cell proliferation rates. Analysis of genes regulated by FOXJ3 and FOXK1 showed that FOXJ3 may regulate a network of zinc finger proteins and that FOXK1 binds to the promoter and regulates DHFR, TYMS, GSDMD, and the E2F binding partner TFDP1. Chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing analysis identified 4329 genomic loci bound by FOXK1, 83% of which contained a FOXK1-binding motif. We verified that a subset of these loci are activated by wild-type FOXK1 but not by a FOXK1 (H355A) DNA-binding mutant.