Induction of HoxB transcription by retinoic acid requires actin polymerization

Carmelo Ferrai, Gabriela Naum-Onganía, Elena Longobardi, Martina Palazzolo, Andrea Disanza, Victor M. Diaz, Massimo P. Crippa, Giorgio Scita, Francesco Blasi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have analyzed the role of actin polymerization in retinoic acid (RA)-induced HoxB transcription, which is mediated by the HoxB regulator Prep1. RA induction of the HoxB genes can be prevented by the inhibition of actin polymerization. Importantly, inhibition of actin polymerization specifically affects the transcription of inducible Hox genes, but not that of their transcriptional regulators, the RARs, nor of constitutively expressed, nor of actively transcribed Hox genes. RA treatment induces the recruitment to the HoxB2 gene enhancer of a complex composed of "elongating" RNAPII, Prep1, β-actin, and N-WASP as well as the accessory splicing components p54Nrb and PSF. We show that inhibition of actin polymerization prevents such recruitment. We conclude that inducible Hox genes are selectively sensitive to the inhibition of actin polymerization and that actin polymerization is required for the assembly of a transcription complex on the regulatory region of the Hox genes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3543-3551
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Biology of the Cell
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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