[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We characterized the initiation and evolution of the immune response against a new inducible p53-dependent model of aggressive ovarian carcinoma that recapitulates the leukocyte infiltrates and cytokine milieu of advanced human tumors. Unlike other models that initiate tumors before the development of a mature immune system, we detect measurable anti-tumor immunity from very early stages, which is driven by infiltrating dendritic cells (DCs) and prevents steady tumor growth for prolonged periods. Coinciding with a phenotypic switch in expanding DC infiltrates, tumors aggressively progress to terminal disease in a comparatively short time. Notably, tumor cells remain immunogenic at advanced stages, but anti-tumor T cells become less responsive, whereas their enduring activity is abrogated by different microenvironmental immunosuppressive DCs. Correspondingly, depleting DCs early in the disease course accelerates tumor expansion, but DC depletion at advanced stages significantly delays aggressive malignant progression. Our results indicate that phenotypically divergent DCs drive both immunosurveillance and accelerated malignant growth. We provide experimental support for the cancer immunoediting hypothesis, but we also show that aggressive cancer progression after a comparatively long latency period is primarily driven by the mobilization of immunosuppressive microenvironmental leukocytes, rather than loss of tumor immunogenicity.
Journal of Experimental Medicine 02/2012; 209(3):495-506. · 13.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In mammalian nuclei, a select number of tissue-specific gene loci exhibit broadly distributed patterns of histone modifications, such as histone hyperacetylation, that are normally associated with active gene promoters. Previously, we characterized such hyperacetylated domains within mammalian β-globin gene loci, and determined that within the murine locus, neither the β-globin locus control region nor the gene promoters were required for domain formation. Here, we identify a developmentally specific erythroid enhancer, hypersensitive site-embryonic 1 (HS-E1), located within the embryonic β-globin domain in mouse, which is homologous to a region located downstream of the human embryonic ε-globin gene. This sequence exhibits nuclease hypersensitivity in primitive erythroid cells and acts as an enhancer in gain-of-function assays. Deletion of HS-E1 from the endogenous murine β-globin locus results in significant decrease in the expression of the embryonic β-globin genes and loss of the domain-wide pattern of histone hyperacetylation. The data suggest that HS-E1 is an enhancer that is uniquely required for β-like globin expression in primitive erythroid cells, and that it defines a novel class of enhancer that works in part by domain-wide modulation of chromatin structure.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Members of the CHD protein family play key roles in gene regulation through ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling. This is facilitated by chromodomains that bind histone tails, and by the SWI2/SNF2-like ATPase/helicase domain that remodels chromatin by moving histones. Chd6 is ubiquitously expressed in both mouse and human, with the highest levels of expression in the brain. The Chd6 gene contains 37 exons, of which exons 12-19 encode the highly conserved ATPase domain. To determine the biological role of Chd6, we generated mouse lines with a deletion of exon 12. Chd6 without exon 12 is expressed at normal levels in mice, and Chd6 Exon 12 -/- mice are viable, fertile, and exhibit no obvious morphological or pathological phenotype. Chd6 Exon 12 -/- mice lack coordination as revealed by sensorimotor analysis. Further behavioral testing revealed that the coordination impairment was not due to muscle weakness or bradykinesia. Histological analysis of brain morphology revealed no differences between Chd6 Exon 12 -/- mice and wild-type (WT) controls. The location of CHD6 on human chromosome 20q12 is overlapped by the linkage map regions of several human ataxias, including autosomal recessive infantile cerebellar ataxia (SCAR6), a nonprogressive cerebrospinal ataxia. The genomic location, expression pattern, and ataxic phenotype of Chd6 Exon 12 -/- mice indicate that mutations within CHD6 may be responsible for one of these ataxias.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Active gene promoters are associated with covalent histone modifications, such as hyperacetylation, which can modulate chromatin structure and stabilize binding of transcription factors that recognize these modifications. At the beta-globin locus and several other loci, however, histone hyperacetylation extends beyond the promoter, over tens of kilobases; we term such patterns of histone modifications "hyperacetylated domains." Little is known of either the mechanism by which these domains form or their function. Here, we show that domain formation within the murine beta-globin locus occurs before either high-level gene expression or erythroid commitment. Analysis of beta-globin alleles harboring deletions of promoters or the locus control region demonstrates that these sequences are not required for domain formation, suggesting the existence of additional regulatory sequences within the locus. Deletion of embryonic globin gene promoters, however, resulted in the formation of a hyperacetylated domain over these genes in definitive erythroid cells, where they are otherwise inactive. Finally, sequences within beta-globin domains exhibit hyperacetylation in a context-dependent manner, and domains are maintained when transcriptional elongation is inhibited. These data narrow the range of possible mechanisms by which hyperacetylated domains form.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mammalian beta-globin loci contain multiple genes that are activated at different developmental stages. Studies have suggested that the transcription of one gene in a locus can influence the expression of the other locus genes. The prevalent model to explain this transcriptional interference is that all potentially active genes compete for locus control region (LCR) activity. To investigate the influence of transcription by the murine embryonic genes on transcription of the other beta-like genes, we generated mice with deletions of the promoter regions of Ey and betah1 and measured transcription of the remaining genes. Deletion of the Ey and betah1 promoters increased transcription of betamajor and betaminor 2-fold to 3-fold during primitive erythropoiesis. Deletion of Ey did not affect betah1 nor did deletion of betah1 affect Ey, but Ey deletion uniquely activated transcription from betah0, a beta-like globin gene immediately downstream of Ey. Protein analysis showed that betah0 encodes a translatable beta-like globin protein that can pair with alpha globin. The lack of transcriptional interference between Ey and betah1 and the gene-specific repression of betah0 did not support LCR competition among the embryonic genes and suggested that direct transcriptional interference from Ey suppressed betah0.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The beta-globin locus control region (LCR) is a large DNA element that is required for high-level expression of beta-like globin genes from the endogenous mouse locus or in transgenic mice carrying the human beta-globin locus. The LCR encompasses 6 DNaseI hypersensitive sites (HSs) that bind transcription factors. These HSs each contain a core of a few hundred base pairs (bp) that has most of the functional activity and exhibits high interspecies sequence homology. Adjoining the cores are 500- to 1000-bp "flanks" with weaker functional activity and lower interspecies homology. Studies of human beta-globin transgenes and of the endogenous murine locus show that deletion of an entire HS (core plus flanks) moderately suppresses expression. However, human transgenes in which only individual HS core regions were deleted showed drastic loss of expression accompanied by changes in chromatin structure. To address these disparate results, we have deleted the core region of 5'HS2 from the endogenous murine beta-LCR. The phenotype was similar to that of the larger 5'HS2 deletion, with no apparent disruption of chromatin structure. These results demonstrate that the greater severity of HS core deletions in comparison to full HS deletions is not a general property of the beta-LCR.