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Nuclear cGMP-dependent kinase regulates gene expression via activity-dependent recruitment of a conserved histone deacetylase complex.

Hao Y., Xu N., Box A.C., Schaefer L., Kannan K., Zhang Y., Florens L., Seidel C., Washburn M.P., Wiegraebe W., Mak H.Y.

Elevation of the second messenger cGMP by nitric oxide (NO) activates the cGMP-dependent protein kinase PKG, which is key in regulating cardiovascular, intestinal, and neuronal functions in mammals. The NO-cGMP-PKG signaling pathway is also a major therapeutic target for cardiovascular and male reproductive diseases. Despite widespread effects of PKG activation, few molecular targets of PKG are known. We study how EGL-4, the Caenorhabditis elegans PKG ortholog, modulates foraging behavior and egg-laying and seeks the downstream effectors of EGL-4 activity. Using a combination of unbiased forward genetic screen and proteomic analysis, we have identified a conserved SAEG-1/SAEG-2/HDA-2 histone deacetylase complex that is specifically recruited by activated nuclear EGL-4. Gene expression profiling by microarrays revealed >40 genes that are sensitive to EGL-4 activity in a SAEG-1-dependent manner. We present evidence that EGL-4 controls egg laying via one of these genes, Y45F10C.2, which encodes a novel protein that is expressed exclusively in the uterine epithelium. Our results indicate that, in addition to cytoplasmic functions, active EGL-4/PKG acts in the nucleus via a conserved Class I histone deacetylase complex to regulate gene expression pertinent to behavioral and physiological responses to cGMP. We also identify transcriptional targets of EGL-4 that carry out discrete components of the physiological response.

PLoS Genet. 7:E1002065-E1002065(2011) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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