TCERG1 inhibits C/EBPα through a mechanism that does not involve sequestration of C/EBPα at pericentromeric heterochromatin



Transcriptional elongation regulator 1 (TCERG1) is a nuclear protein that participates in multiple events that include regulating the elongation of RNA polymerase II and coordinating transcription and pre-mRNA processing. More recently, we showed that TCERG1 is also a specific inhibitor of the transcription factor CCAAT enhancer binding protein α (C/EBPα). Interestingly, the inhibition of C/EBPα by TCERG1 is associated with the relocalization of TCERG1 from the nuclear speckle compartment to the pericentromeric regions where C/EBPα resides. In the present study, we examined additional aspects of C/EBPα-induced redistribution of TCERG1. Using several mutants of C/EBPα, we showed that C/EBPα does not need to be transcriptionally competent or have anti-proliferative activity to induce TCERG1 relocalization. Moreover, our results show that C/EBPα does not need to be localized to the pericentromeric region in order to relocalize TCERG1. This conclusion was illustrated through the use of a V296A mutant of C/EBPα, which is incapable of binding to the pericentromeric regions of heterochromatin and thus takes on a dispersed appearance in the nucleus. This mutant retained the ability to redistribute TCERG1, however in this case the redistribution was from the nuclear speckle pattern to the dispersed phenotype of C/EBPα V296A. Moreover, we showed that TCERG1 was still able to inhibit the activity of the V296A mutant. While we previously hypothesized that TCERG1 might inhibit C/EBPα by keeping it sequestered at the pericentromeric regions, our new findings indicate that TCERG1 can inhibit C/EBPα activity regardless of the latter's location in the nucleus. J. Cell. Biochem. 112: 2317–2326, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.