Runx2 trans-activation mediated by the Msx2-interacting nuclear target requires homeodomain interacting protein kinase-3

Oscar L. Sierra, Dwight A. Towler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Runt-related transcription factor 2 (Runx2) and muscle segment homeobox homolog 2-interacting nuclear target (MINT) (Spen homolog) are transcriptional regulators critical for mammalian development. MINT enhances Runx2 activation of osteocalcin (OC) fibroblast growth factor (FGF) response element in an FGF2-dependent fashion in C3H10T1/2 cells. Although the MINT N-terminal RNA recognition motif domain contributes, the muscle segment homeobox homolog 2-interacting domain is sufficient for Runx2 activation. Intriguingly, Runx1 cannot replace Runx2 in this assay. To better understand this Runx2 signaling cascade, we performed structure-function analysis of the Runx2-MINT trans-activation relationship. Systematic truncation and domain swapping in Runx1:Runx2 chimeras identified that the unique Runx2 activation domain 3 (AD3), encompassed by residues 316-421, conveys MINT+FGF2 trans-activation in transfection assays. Ala mutagenesis of Runx2 Ser/Thr residues identified that S301 and T326 in AD3 are necessary for full MINT+FGF2 trans-activation. Conversely, phosphomimetic Asp substitution of these AD3 Ser/Thr residues enhanced activation by MINT. Adjacent Pro residues implicated regulation by a proline-directed protein kinase (PDPK). Systematic screening with PDPK inhibitors identified that the casein kinase-2/homeodomain-interacting protein kinase (HIPK)/dual specificity tyrosine phosphorylation regulated kinase inhibitor 2-dimethylamino-4,5,6,7-tetrabromo-1H-benzimidazole (DMAT), but not ERK, c-Jun N-terminal kinase, p38MAPK, or other casein kinase-2 inhibitors, abrogated Runx2-, MINT-, and FGF2-activation. Systematic small interfering RNA-mediated silencing of DMAT-inhibited PDPKs revealed that HIPK3 depletion reduced MINT+FGF2-dependent activation of Runx2. HIPK3 and Runx2 coprecipitate after in vitro transcription-translation, and recombinant HIPK3 recognizes Runx2 AD3 as kinase substrate. Furthermore, DMAT treatment and HIPK3 RNAi inhibited MINT+FGF2 activation of Runx2 AD3, and nuclear HIPK3 colocalized with MINT. HIPK3 antisense oligodeoxynucleotide selectively reduced Runx2 protein accumulation and OC gene expression in C3H10T1/2 cells. Thus, HIPK3 participates in MINT+FGF2 regulation of Runx2 AD3 activity and controls Runx2-dependent OC expression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1478-1497
Number of pages20
JournalMolecular Endocrinology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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