Background: The 250 kDa P2P-R protein (also known as PACT and Rbbp6) was cloned over a decade ago and was found to bind both the p53 and Rb1 tumor suppressor proteins. In addition, P2P-R has been associated with multiple biological functions, such as mitosis, mRNA processing, translation and ubiquitination. In the current studies, the online GeneNetwork system was employed to further probe P2P-R biological functions. Molecular studies were then performed to confirm the GeneNetwork evaluations.
Results: GeneNetwork and associated gene ontology links were used to investigate the coexpression of P2P-R with distinct functional sets of genes in an adipocyte genetic reference panel of HXB/BXH recombinant strains of rats and an eye genetic reference panel of BXD recombinant inbred strains of mice. The results establish that biological networks of 75 and 135 transcription-associated gene products that include P2P-R are co-expressed in a genetically-defined manner in rat adipocytes and in the mouse eye, respectively. Of this large set of transcription-associated genes, >10% are associated with hormone-mediated transcription. Since it has been previously reported that P2P-R can bind the SRC-1 transcription co-regulatory factor (steroid receptor co-activator 1, [Ncoa1]), the possible effects of P2P-R on estrogen-induced transcription were evaluated. Estrogen-induced transcription was repressed 50-70% by the transient transfection of P2P-R plasmid constructs into four different cell types. In addition, knockdown of P2P-R expression using an antisense oligonucleotide increased estrogen-mediated transcription. Co-immunoprecipitation assays confirmed that P2P-R interacts with SRC-1 and also demonstrated that P2P-R interacts with estrogen receptor alpha.
Conclusions: The findings presented in this study provide strong support for the value of systems genetics, especially GeneNetwork, in discovering new functions of genes that can be confirmed by molecular analysis. More specifically, these data provide evidence that the expression of P2P-R co-varies in a genetically-defined manner with large transcription networks and that P2P-R can function as a co-repressor of estrogen-dependent transcription.