Elongator Protein 3 (Elp3) stabilizes Snail1 and regulates neural crest migration in Xenopus

Sci Rep. 2016 May 18;6:26238. doi: 10.1038/srep26238.


Elongator protein 3 (Elp3) is the enzymatic unit of the elongator protein complex, a histone acetyltransferase complex involved in transcriptional elongation. It has long been shown to play an important role in cell migration; however, the underlying mechanism is unknown. Here, we showed that Elp3 is expressed in pre-migratory and migrating neural crest cells in Xenopus embryos, and knockdown of Elp3 inhibited neural crest cell migration. Interestingly, Elp3 binds Snail1 through its zinc-finger domain and inhibits its ubiquitination by β-Trcp without interfering with the Snail1/Trcp interaction. We showed evidence that Elp3-mediated stabilization of Snail1 was likely involved in the activation of N-cadherin in neural crest cells to regulate their migratory ability. Our findings provide a new mechanism for the function of Elp3 in cell migration through stabilizing Snail1, a master regulator of cell motility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cadherins / metabolism
  • Cell Movement
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Histone Acetyltransferases / genetics
  • Histone Acetyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Neural Crest / embryology*
  • Snail Family Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Xenopus Proteins / genetics
  • Xenopus Proteins / metabolism*
  • Xenopus laevis / embryology*
  • Xenopus laevis / metabolism
  • beta-Transducin Repeat-Containing Proteins / metabolism


  • Cadherins
  • Histones
  • Snail Family Transcription Factors
  • Xenopus Proteins
  • beta-Transducin Repeat-Containing Proteins
  • Elp3 protein, Xenopus
  • Histone Acetyltransferases