Einat Zalckvar

Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

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Publications (15)158.43 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Binding of transcription factors (TFs) to regulatory sequences is a pivotal step in the control of gene expression. Despite many advances in the characterization of sequence motifs recognized by TFs, our ability to quantitatively predict TF binding to different regulatory sequences is still limited. Here, we present a novel experimental assay termed BunDLE-seq that provides quantitative measurements of TF binding to thousands of fully designed sequences of 200 bp in length within a single experiment. Applying this binding assay to two yeast TFs we demonstrate that sequences outside the core TF binding site profoundly affect TF binding. We show that TF-specific models based on the sequence or DNA shape of the regions flanking the core binding site are highly predictive of the measured differential TF binding. We further characterize the dependence of TF binding, accounting for measurements of single and co-occurring binding events, on the number and location of binding sites and on the TF concentration. Finally, by coupling our in vitro TF binding measurements, and another application of our method probing nucleosome formation, to in vivo expression measurements carried out with the same template sequences now serving and promoters, we offer insights into mechanisms that may determine the different expression outcomes observed. Our assay thus paves the way to a more comprehensive understanding of TF binding to regulatory sequences, and allows the characterization of TF binding determinants within and outside of core binding sites. Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.
    Genome Research 03/2015; DOI:10.1101/gr.185033.114 · 13.85 Impact Factor
  • Maya Schuldiner, Einat Zalckvar
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    ABSTRACT: In recent years, high-throughput experimentation with quantitative analysis and modeling of cells, recently dubbed systems cell biology, has been harnessed to study the organization and dynamics of simple biological systems. Here we suggest that the peroxisome, a fascinating dynamic organelle, can be used as a good candidate for studying a complete biological system. We discuss several aspects of peroxisomes that can be studied using high-throughput systematic approaches and be integrated into a predictive model. Such approaches can be used in the future to study and understand how a more complex biological system, like a cell and maybe even ultimately a whole organism, works.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
    Biology of the Cell 01/2015; 107(4). DOI:10.1111/boc.201400091 · 3.87 Impact Factor
  • Einat Zalckvar, Shani Bialik, Adi Kimchi
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    ABSTRACT: Three main cell death phenotypes have been identified in mammalian systems: apoptosis, autophagy and programmed necrosis. Currently, the field lacks systems level approaches to assess how the intricate cross-talk and interconnectivity between the different death functional modules affect the cell's final outcome. In order to dissect the cell death network's architecture, we developed a platform that measures the outcome of single and double RNAi-mediated perturbations of different apoptotic and autophagic genes on both the final cell death performance, and the pattern of protein connectivity. We applied this platform on cells exposed to a DNA damaging drug, and identified several levels of connectivity between apoptosis and autophagy. In addition, using computational methods we suggested a novel biochemical pathway providing a connection between ATG5 and caspase-3. Scaling up this platform into hundreds of perturbations will reveal novel principles of the organization of the cell death network, and will provide the basis for future computational modeling.
    Autophagy 10/2014; 6(6):813-815. DOI:10.4161/auto.6.6.12589 · 11.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glutathione, the most abundant small-molecule thiol in eukaryotic cells, is synthesized de-novo solely in the cytosol and must subsequently be transported to other cellular compartments. The mechanisms of glutathione transport into and out of organelles remain largely unclear. We show that budding yeast Opt2, a close homolog of the plasma membrane glutathione transporter Opt1, localizes to peroxisomes. We demonstrate that deletion of OPT2 leads to major defects in maintaining peroxisomal, mitochondrial, and cytosolic glutathione redox homeostasis. Furthermore, ∆opt2 strains display synthetic lethality with deletions of genes central to iron homeostasis that require mitochondrial glutathione redox homeostasis. Our results shed new light on the importance of peroxisomes in cellular glutathione homeostasis.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    FEMS Yeast Research 08/2014; 14(7). DOI:10.1111/1567-1364.12196 · 2.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Peroxisomes are ubiquitous and dynamic organelles that house many important pathways of cellular metabolism. In recent years it has been demonstrated that mitochondria are tightly connected with peroxisomes and are defective in several peroxisomal diseases. Indeed, these two organelles share metabolic routes as well as resident proteins and, at least in mammals, are connected via a vesicular transport pathway. However the exact extent of cross-talk between peroxisomes and mitochondria remains unclear. Here we used a combination of high throughput genetic manipulations of yeast libraries alongside high content screens to systematically unravel proteins that affect the transport of peroxisomal proteins and peroxisome biogenesis. Follow up work on the effector proteins that were identified revealed that peroxisomes are not randomly distributed in cells but are rather localized to specific mitochondrial subdomains such as mitochondria-ER junctions and sites of acetyl-CoA synthesis. Our approach highlights the intricate geography of the cell and suggests an additional layer of organization as a possible way to enable efficient metabolism. Our findings pave the way for further studying the machinery aligning mitochondria and peroxisomes, the role of the juxtaposition, as well as its regulation during various metabolic conditions. More broadly, the approaches used here can be easily applied to study any organelle of choice, facilitating the discovery of new aspects in cell biology.
    Molecular BioSystems 04/2014; 10(7). DOI:10.1039/c4mb00001c · 3.18 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human CMV (hCMV) establishes lifelong infections in most of us, causing developmental defects in human embryos and life-threatening disease in immunocompromised individuals. During productive infection, the viral >230,000-bp dsDNA genome is expressed widely and in a temporal cascade. The hCMV genome does not carry histones when encapsidated but has been proposed to form nucleosomes after release into the host cell nucleus. Here, we present hCMV genome-wide nucleosome occupancy and nascent transcript maps during infection of permissive human primary cells. We show that nucleosomes occupy nuclear viral DNA in a nonrandom and highly predictable fashion. At early times of infection, nucleosomes associate with the hCMV genome largely according to their intrinsic DNA sequence preferences, indicating that initial nucleosome formation is genetically encoded in the virus. However, as infection proceeds to the late phase, nucleosomes redistribute extensively to establish patterns mostly determined by nongenetic factors. We propose that these factors include key regulators of viral gene expression encoded at the hCMV major immediate-early (IE) locus. Indeed, mutant virus genomes deficient for IE1 expression exhibit globally increased nucleosome loads and reduced nucleosome dynamics compared with WT genomes. The temporal nucleosome occupancy differences between IE1-deficient and WT viruses correlate inversely with changes in the pattern of viral nascent and total transcript accumulation. These results provide a framework of spatial and temporal nucleosome organization across the genome of a major human pathogen and suggest that an hCMV major IE protein governs overall viral chromatin structure and function.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2013; 110(32). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1305548110 · 9.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Genome-scale screening studies are gradually accumulating a wealth of data on the putative involvement of hundreds of genes in various cellular responses or functions. A fundamental challenge is to chart the molecular pathways that underlie these systems. ANAT is an interactive software tool, implemented as a Cytoscape plug-in, for elucidating functional networks of proteins. It encompasses a number of network inference algorithms and provides access to networks of physical associations in several organisms. In contrast to existing software tools, ANAT can be used to infer subnetworks that connect hundreds of proteins to each other or to a given set of "anchor" proteins, a fundamental step in reconstructing cellular subnetworks. The interactive component of ANAT provides an array of tools for evaluating and exploring the resulting subnetwork models and for iteratively refining them. We demonstrate the utility of ANAT by studying the crosstalk between the autophagic and apoptotic cell death modules in humans, using a network of physical interactions. Relative to published software tools, ANAT is more accurate and provides more features for comprehensive network analysis. The latest version of the software is available at http://www.cs.tau.ac.il/~bnet/ANAT_SI.
    Science Signaling 10/2011; 4(196):pl1. DOI:10.1126/scisignal.2001935 · 7.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Systems biology, a combined computational and experimental approach to analyzing complex biological systems, has recently been applied to understanding the pathways that regulate programmed cell death. This approach has become especially crucial because recent advances have resulted in an expanded view of the network, to include not just a single death module (apoptosis) but multiple death programs, including programmed necrosis and autophagic cell death. Current research directions in the systems biology field range from quantitative analysis of subprocesses of individual death pathways to the study of interconnectivity among the various death modules of the larger network. These initial studies have provided great advances in our understanding of programmed cell death and have important clinical implications for drug target research.
    Trends in Biochemical Sciences 10/2010; 35(10):556-64. DOI:10.1016/j.tibs.2010.04.008 · 13.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The mammalian cell death network comprises three distinct functional modules: apoptosis, autophagy and programmed necrosis. Currently, the field lacks systems level approaches to assess the extent to which the intermodular connectivity affects cell death performance. Here, we developed a platform that is based on single and double sets of RNAi-mediated perturbations targeting combinations of apoptotic and autophagic genes. The outcome of perturbations is measured both at the level of the overall cell death responses, using an unbiased quantitative reporter, and by assessing the molecular responses within the different functional modules. Epistatic analyses determine whether seemingly unrelated pairs of proteins are genetically linked. The initial running of this platform in etoposide-treated cells, using a few single and double perturbations, identified several levels of connectivity between apoptosis and autophagy. The knock down of caspase3 turned on a switch toward autophagic cell death, which requires Atg5 or Beclin-1. In addition, a reciprocal connection between these two autophagic genes and apoptosis was identified. By applying computational tools that are based on mining the protein-protein interaction database, a novel biochemical pathway connecting between Atg5 and caspase3 is suggested. Scaling up this platform into hundreds of perturbations potentially has a wide, general scope of applicability, and will provide the basis for future modeling of the cell death network.
    Cell death and differentiation 02/2010; 17(8):1244-53. DOI:10.1038/cdd.2010.7 · 8.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Beclin 1, an essential autophagic protein, is a BH3-only protein that binds Bcl-2 anti-apoptotic family members. The dissociation of Beclin 1 from the Bcl-2 inhibitors is essential for its autophagic activity, and therefore is tightly controlled. We recently revealed a novel phosphorylation-based mechanism by which death-associated protein kinase (DAPk) regulates this process. We found that DAPk phosphorylates Beclin 1 on T119, a critical residue within its BH3 domain, and thus promotes Beclin 1 dissociation from Bcl-X(L) and autophagy induction. Here we report that T119 phosphorylation also reduces the interaction between Beclin 1 and Bcl-2, in line with the high degree of structural homology between the BH3 binding pockets of Bcl-2 and Bcl-X(L) proteins. Our results reveal a new phosphorylation-based mechanism that reduces the interaction of Beclin 1 with its inhibitors to activate the autophagic machinery.
    Autophagy 08/2009; 5(5):720-2. DOI:10.4161/auto.5.5.8625 · 11.42 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Autophagy, an evolutionarily conserved process, has functions both in cytoprotective and programmed cell death mechanisms. Beclin 1, an essential autophagic protein, was recently identified as a BH3-domain-only protein that binds to Bcl-2 anti-apoptotic family members. The dissociation of beclin 1 from its Bcl-2 inhibitors is essential for its autophagic activity, and therefore should be tightly controlled. Here, we show that death-associated protein kinase (DAPK) regulates this process. The activated form of DAPK triggers autophagy in a beclin-1-dependent manner. DAPK phosphorylates beclin 1 on Thr 119 located at a crucial position within its BH3 domain, and thus promotes the dissociation of beclin 1 from Bcl-XL and the induction of autophagy. These results reveal a substrate for DAPK that acts as one of the core proteins of the autophagic machinery, and they provide a new phosphorylation-based mechanism that reduces the interaction of beclin 1 with its inhibitors to activate the autophagic machinery.
    EMBO Reports 02/2009; 10(3):285-92. DOI:10.1038/embor.2008.246 · 7.86 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Genome-scale screening studies are gradually accumulating a wealth of data on the putative involvement of hundreds of genes/proteins in various cellular responses or functions. A fundamental challenge is to chart out the protein pathways that underlie these systems. Previous approaches to the problem have either employed a local optimization criterion, aiming to infer each pathway independently, or a global criterion, searching for the overall most parsimonious subnetwork. Here, we study the trade-off between the two approaches and present a new intermediary scheme that provides explicit control over it. We demonstrate its utility in the analysis of the apoptosis network in humans, and the telomere length maintenance (TLM) system in yeast. Our results show that in the majority of real-life cases, the intermediary approach provides the most plausible solutions. We use a new set of perturbation experiments measuring the role of essential genes in telomere length regulation to further study the TLM network. Surprisingly, we find that the proteasome plays an important role in telomere length regulation through its associations with transcription and DNA repair circuits.
    Molecular Systems Biology 02/2009; 5:248. DOI:10.1038/msb.2009.3 · 14.10 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The functional relationship between apoptosis ('self-killing') and autophagy ('self-eating') is complex in the sense that, under certain circumstances, autophagy constitutes a stress adaptation that avoids cell death (and suppresses apoptosis), whereas in other cellular settings, it constitutes an alternative cell-death pathway. Autophagy and apoptosis may be triggered by common upstream signals, and sometimes this results in combined autophagy and apoptosis; in other instances, the cell switches between the two responses in a mutually exclusive manner. On a molecular level, this means that the apoptotic and autophagic response machineries share common pathways that either link or polarize the cellular responses.
    Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology 10/2007; 8(9):741-52. DOI:10.1038/nrm2239 · 36.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The tumor suppressor functions of p19(ARF) have been attributed to its ability to induce cell cycle arrest or apoptosis by activating p53 and regulating ribosome biogenesis. Here we describe another cellular function of p19(ARF), involving a short isoform (smARF, short mitochondrial ARF) that localizes to a Proteinase K-resistant compartment of the mitochondria. smARF is a product of internal initiation of translation at Met45, which lacks the nucleolar functional domains. The human p14(ARF) mRNA likewise produces a shorter isoform. smARF is maintained at low levels via proteasome-mediated degradation, but it increases in response to viral and cellular oncogenes. Ectopic expression of smARF reduces mitochondrial membrane potential (DeltaPsim) without causing cytochrome c release or caspase activation. The dissipation of DeltaPsim does not depend on p53 or Bcl-2 family members. smARF induces massive autophagy and caspase-independent cell death that can be partially rescued by knocking down ATG5 or Beclin-1, suggesting a different prodeath function for this short isoform.
    Molecular Cell 06/2006; 22(4):463-75. DOI:10.1016/j.molcel.2006.04.014 · 14.46 Impact Factor