SWI/SNF complexes use the energy of ATP hydrolysis to remodel chromatin. In mammals they play a central role in regulating gene expression during differentiation and proliferation. Mutations in SWI/SNF subunits are among the most frequent gene alterations in cancer. The INI1/hSNF5/SMARCB1 subunit is mutated in both malignant rhabdoid tumor, a highly aggressive childhood cancer, and schwannomatosis, a tumor-predisposing syndrome characterized by mostly benign tumors of the CNS. Here, we show that mutations in INI1 that cause schwannomatosis target a hitherto unidentified N-terminal winged helix DNA binding domain that is also present in the BAF45a/PHF10 subunit of the SWI/SNF complex. The domain is structurally related to the SKI/SNO/DAC domain, which is found in a number of metazoan chromatin-associated proteins.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.