Chemical genetic manipulation of interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF-1) using synthetic biology
Al Samman, Khaldoon Mohammed A
Interferon regulatory factor 1 (IRF-1), the founding member of IRF family, is a nuclear transcription factor first described as a transcription factor that binds to the upstream region of interferon induced genes following viral infection. In addition, IRF-1 has been reported to be involved in cell growth regulation, induction of apoptosis, immune responses, post-transcriptional modification, and cell transformation by oncogenes. Thus, IRF-1 shows accumulative evidence supporting the theory that IRF-1 functions as a tumour suppressor. However, we still lack the knowledge in the regulation and function behind IRF-1 and many other tumour suppressors due to the lack of synthetic tools that can aid in understanding the mechanism of cancer biology. Here we described the creation of synthetic tools that can be applied to study the role of a transcription factor(s) in cancer biology. Firstly, we described the creation, using recombineering technology, of universal bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) targeting vector. This targeting vector, carry a cre-conditioned STOP cassette that can be targeted at a desired specific area. The resulted targeting vector can aid the generation of mice models with a conditioned knock-in subtle mutation(s). The resulted cre-conditioned mice models are an essential tool for any outstanding research project in cancer biology. Secondly, we described the development of Flp-In System™ from Invitrogen; the system can ease the generation of isogenic stable mammalian expression cell lines. Using this system, we created two isogenic stable cell lines expressing wild-type IRF-1 and a mutant that abolish IRF-1 DNA binding ability (W11R). Both cell lines were investigated using microarray analysis revealing new IRF-1 target genes. We reported the up-regulation of expected standard interferon regulatory genes such as, interleukin-24 (IL-24) and interferon regulatory factor-2 binding protein-2 (IRF2BP2) and the up-regulation of standard apoptotic genes such as, early growth response-1 (EGR-1) and prostate transmembrane protein, androgen induced-1 (PMEPA1) confirming the role of IRF-1 as a tumour suppressor. However, we also reported the up-regulation of secreted phosphoprotein-1 (SPP1) and SH3 and PX domains-2A (SH3PXD2A) which are matricellular protein produced by cancer cells playing a role in cellular adhesion, invasion, tumour growth progression and metastasis. Thus, we proposed a new biological role of IRF-1 in cellular movement. Thirdly, we described the development of a synthetic stable reporter cell line which can report IRF-1 transcriptional activity; such reporter cell line can be used once large scale screening is needed. The created stable reporter cell line was used to screen a kinase inhibitor library which has revealed C3 as an IRF-1 modifier. The newly identified IRF-1 modifier regulates IRF-1 transcriptional activity by inhibiting platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR) and/or vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) tyrosine kinase. Finally, we validated the synthetic Flp-In System™ by testing the system using a novel oncoprotein model. We have developed a stable cell line that overexpresses an oncoprotein named Anterior Gradient 2 (AGR-2). We have found that AGR-2 can attenuate IRF-1 protein levels dependent of p53. In addition, AGR-2 has been identified as a cellular survivor factor during unfolding protein response. In conclusion, this study descried the creation and the validation of synthetic tools: synthetic cassette for cre-conditioned mice creation, the Flp-In System™ for isogenic stable cell line creation, and IRF-1 reporter cell line for high throughput screening. All synthetic tools were validated and used to investigate IRF-1, a transcription factor that plays a role in cancer and immune system.