[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Background:
The presence of histone 3 lysine 9 (H3K9) methylation on the mouse inactive X chromosome has been controversial over the last 15 years, and the functional role of H3K9 methylation in X chromosome inactivation in any species has remained largely unexplored.
Here we report the first genomic analysis of H3K9 di- and tri-methylation on the inactive X: we find they are enriched at the intergenic, gene poor regions of the inactive X, interspersed between H3K27 tri-methylation domains found in the gene dense regions. Although H3K9 methylation is predominantly non-genic, we find that depletion of H3K9 methylation via depletion of H3K9 methyltransferase Set domain bifurcated 1 (Setdb1) during the establishment of X inactivation, results in failure of silencing for around 150 genes on the inactive X. By contrast, we find a very minor role for Setdb1-mediated H3K9 methylation once X inactivation is fully established. In addition to failed gene silencing, we observed a specific failure to silence X-linked long-terminal repeat class repetitive elements.
Here we have shown that H3K9 methylation clearly marks the murine inactive X chromosome. The role of this mark is most apparent during the establishment phase of gene silencing, with a more muted effect on maintenance of the silent state. Based on our data, we hypothesise that Setdb1-mediated H3K9 methylation plays a role in epigenetic silencing of the inactive X via silencing of the repeats, which itself facilitates gene silencing through alterations to the conformation of the whole inactive X chromosome.
Full-text Article · Dec 2016 · Epigenetics & Chromatin
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: It is well established that thrombopoietin (TPO), acting via its receptor Mpl, is the major cytokine regulator of platelet biogenesis. The primary mechanism by which TPO signaling stimulates thrombopoiesis is via stimulation of Mpl-expressing hematopoietic progenitors; Mpl on megakaryocytes and platelets act to control the amount of TPO available. TPO could potentially reduce platelet and/or megakaryocyte apoptosis and therefore increase the platelet count. However, the effect of TPO receptor signaling on platelet survival is unresolved. Here, we investigated platelet survival in mouse models of absent or enhanced TPO signaling. In the absence of thrombocytopenia, Mpl deficiency did not negatively influence platelet lifespan, nor was platelet survival affected in transgenic mice with chronically increased TPO signaling. We conclude that TPO and its receptor Mpl are dispensable for platelet survival in adult mice. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Article · Jun 2016 · Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Due to the myriad interactions between prosurvival and proapoptotic members of the Bcl-2 family of proteins, establishing the mechanisms that regulate the intrinsic apoptotic pathway has proven challenging. Mechanistic insights have primarily been gleaned from in vitro studies because genetic approaches in mammals that produce unambiguous data are difficult to design. Here we describe a mutation in mouse and human Bak that specifically disrupts its interaction with the prosurvival protein Bcl-xL Substitution of Glu75 in mBak (hBAK Q77) for leucine does not affect the three-dimensional structure of Bak or killing activity but reduces its affinity for Bcl-xL via loss of a single hydrogen bond. Using this mutant, we investigated the requirement for physical restraint of Bak by Bcl-xL in apoptotic regulation. In vitro, Bak(Q75L) cells were significantly more sensitive to various apoptotic stimuli. In vivo, loss of Bcl-xL binding to Bak led to significant defects in T-cell and blood platelet survival. Thus, we provide the first definitive in vivo evidence that prosurvival proteins maintain cellular viability by interacting with and inhibiting Bak.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Apoptosis is required to maintain tissue homeostasis in multicellular organisms. Platelets, the anucleate cells that are essential for blood clotting, are a prime example. Their brief life span in the circulation is regulated by the intrinsic apoptosis pathway. Pro-survival BCL-XL (also termed BCL2L1) is essential for platelet viability. It functions to restrain the pro-apoptotic BCL-2 family members BAK (also termed BAK1) and BAX, the essential mediators of intrinsic apoptosis. Genetic deletion or pharmacological inhibition of BCL-XL results in thrombocytopenia. Conversely, deletion of BAK in platelets doubles their circulating life span. However, what triggers platelet apoptosis in vivo remains unclear. The pro-apoptotic BH3-only proteins are essential for initiating apoptosis in nucleated cells, and there is some evidence to suggest they also play a role in platelet biology. We investigated whether PUMA (also termed BBC3), a potent BH3-only protein that can inhibit all pro-survival BCL-2 family members as well as directly activate BAX, regulates the death of platelets. Surprisingly, loss of PUMA had no impact on the loss of platelets caused by loss of BCL-XL. It therefore remains to be established whether other BH3-only proteins play a critical role in induction of apoptosis in platelets or whether their death is controlled solely by the interactions between BCL-XL with BAK and BAX.
Article · May 2016 · British Journal of Haematology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Type-1 interferons (IFNs) are pleiotropic cytokines that signal through the type-1 IFN receptor (IFNAR1). Recent literature has implicated the type-1 IFNs in disorders of the CNS. In this study, we have investigated the role of type-1 IFNs in neuroinflammation following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Using a controlled cortical impact model, TBI was induced in 8- to 10-week-old male C57BL/6J WT and IFNAR1−/− mice and brains were excised to study infarct volume, inflammatory mediator release via quantitative PCR analysis and immune cell profile via immunohistochemistry. IFNAR1−/− mice displayed smaller infarcts compared with WT mice after TBI. IFNAR1−/− mice exhibited an altered anti-inflammatory environment compared with WT mice, with significantly reduced levels of the proinflammatory mediators TNFα, IL-1β and IL-6, an up-regulation of the anti-inflammatory mediator IL-10 and an increased activation of resident and peripheral immune cells after TBI. WT mice injected intravenously with an anti-IFNAR1 blocking monoclonal antibody (MAR1) 1 h before, 30 min after or 30 min and 2 d after TBI displayed significantly improved histological and behavioral outcome. Bone marrow chimeras demonstrated that the hematopoietic cells are a peripheral source of type-1 IFNs that drives neuroinflammation and a worsened TBI outcome. Type-1 IFN mRNA levels were confirmed to be significantly altered in human postmortem TBI brains. Together, these data demonstrate that type-1 IFN signaling is a critical pathway in the progression of neuroinflammation and presents a viable therapeutic target for the treatment of TBI.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Human platelets contain microRNAs (miRNAs) and miRNA processing machinery, but their contribution to platelet function remains incompletely understood. Here, we show that murine megakaryocyte-specific knockdown of Dicer1, the ribonuclease that cleaves miRNA precursors (pre-miRNAs) into mature miRNAs, reduces the level of the majority of miRNAs in platelets. This leads to altered platelet mRNA expression profiles and mild thrombocytopenia. Fibrinogen receptor subunits Itga2b (αIIb) and Itgb3 (β3) mRNAs were among the differentially expressed transcripts that are increased in platelets lacking Dicer1. Argonaute 2 (Ago2), a member of the miRNA silencing complex, co-immunoprecipitated with αIIb and β3 mRNAs in wild-type platelets. Furthermore, co-immunoprecipitation experiments suggested reduced αIIb/β3/Ago2 complexes in miRNA deficient platelets. These results suggested that miRNAs regulate both integrin subunits. Subsequent 3' untranslated region (UTR) luciferase reporter assays confirmed that the translation of both αIIb and β3 mRNAs can be regulated by miRNAs miR-326, miR-128, miR-331 and miR-500. Consistent with these molecular changes, deletion of Dicer1 resulted in increased surface expression of integrins αIIb and β3, and enhanced platelet binding to fibrinogen in vivo and in vitro. Heightened platelet reactivity, shortened tail bleeding time, and reduced survival following collagen/epinephrine induced pulmonary embolism were also observed in Dicer1 deficient animals. Combined Pf4-cre mediated deletion of Drosha and Dicer1 did not significantly exacerbate phenotypes observed in single Dicer1 knockout mice. In summary, these findings indicate that Dicer1-dependent generation of mature miRNAs in late-stage megakaryocytes and platelets modulates the expression of target mRNAs important for the hemostatic and thrombotic function of platelets.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: The Piwi pathway is deeply conserved amongst animals because one of its essential functions is to repress transposons. However, many Piwi-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) do not base-pair to transposons and remain mysterious in their targeting function. The sheer number of piRNA cluster (piC) loci in animal genomes and infrequent piRNA sequence conservation also present challenges in determining which piC loci are most important for development. To address this question, we determined the piRNA expression patterns of piC loci across a wide phylogenetic spectrum of animals, and reveal that most genic and intergenic piC loci evolve rapidly in their capacity to generate piRNAs, regardless of known transposon silencing function. Surprisingly, we also uncovered a distinct set of piC loci with piRNA expression conserved deeply in Eutherian mammals. We name these loci Eutherian-Conserved piRNA cluster (ECpiC) loci. Supporting the hypothesis that conservation of piRNA expression across ~100 million years of Eutherian evolution implies function, we determined that one ECpiC locus generates abundant piRNAs antisense to the STOX1 transcript, a gene clinically associated with preeclampsia. Furthermore, we confirmed reduced piRNAs in existing mouse mutations at ECpiC-Asb1 and -Cbl, which also display spermatogenic defects. The Asb1 mutant testes with strongly reduced Asb1 piRNAs also exhibit up-regulated gene expression profiles. These data indicate ECpiC loci may be specially adapted to support Eutherian reproduction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Interleukin-18 (IL-18) is activated by Caspase-1 in inflammasome complexes and has anti-obesity effects; however, it is not known which inflammasome regulates this process. We found that mice lacking the NLRP1 inflammasome phenocopy mice lacking IL-18, with spontaneous obesity due to intrinsic lipid accumulation. This is exacerbated when the mice are fed a high-fat diet (HFD) or a high-protein diet, but not when mice are fed a HFD with low energy density (high fiber). Furthermore, mice with an activating mutation in NLRP1, and hence increased IL-18, have decreased adiposity and are resistant to diet-induced metabolic dysfunction. Feeding these mice a HFD further increased plasma IL-18 concentrations and strikingly resulted in loss of adipose tissue mass and fatal cachexia, which could be prevented by genetic deletion of IL-18. Thus, NLRP1 is an innate immune sensor that functions in the context of metabolic stress to produce IL-18, preventing obesity and metabolic syndrome.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS) proteins are key regulators of innate and adaptive immunity. Mice lacking functional SOCS4 are hypersusceptible to primary infection with influenza A virus (IAV), displaying dysregulated pro-inflammatory cytokine and chemokine production in the lungs, delayed viral clearance and impaired trafficking of influenza-specific CD8(+) T cells to the site of infection. Therefore, we postulated that SOCS4 is a critical regulator of anti-viral immunity. Unexpectedly, SOCS4 was not required for CD8(+) T-cell memory generation, nor was it required to efficiently recall those cells in response to secondary IAV infection. Wild-type or SOCS4-deficient mice primed and re-challenged with serologically different influenza strains, did not show differences in susceptibility to IAV and cleared the virus from the lungs at the same rate. We have not observed differences in trafficking or numbers of IAV-specific cells, numbers of resident memory T cells or in cytokine profiles in lungs of infected animals. Our data show that despite an impaired primary immune response in Socs4(R108X/R108X) mice, SOCS4 is dispensable for an efficient recall response to influenza virus infection.Immunology and Cell Biology advance online publication, 16 June 2015; doi:10.1038/icb.2015.55.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Navitoclax (ABT-263), an inhibitor of the pro-survival BCL-2 family proteins BCL-2, BCL-XL and BCL-W, has shown clinical efficacy in certain BCL-2-dependent haematological cancers, but causes dose-limiting thrombocytopaenia. The latter effect is caused by Navitoclax directly inducing the apoptotic death of platelets, which are dependent on BCL-XL for survival. Recently, ABT-199, a selective BCL-2 antagonist, was developed. It has shown promising anti-leukaemia activity in patients whilst sparing platelets, suggesting that the megakaryocyte lineage does not require BCL-2. In order to elucidate the role of BCL-2 in megakaryocyte and platelet survival, we generated mice with a lineage-specific deletion of Bcl2, alone or in combination with loss of Mcl1 or Bclx. Platelet production and platelet survival were analysed. Additionally, we made use of BH3 mimetics that selectively inhibit BCL-2 or BCL-XL. We show that the deletion of BCL-2, on its own or in concert with MCL-1, does not affect platelet production or platelet lifespan. Thrombocytopaenia in Bclx-deficient mice was not affected by additional genetic loss or pharmacological inhibition of BCL-2. Thus, BCL-2 is dispensable for thrombopoiesis and platelet survival in mice.
Full-text Article · Apr 2015 · Cell Death & Disease
[Show abstract][Hide abstract]ABSTRACT: Immunology and Cell Biology focuses on the general functioning of the immune system in its broadest sense, with a particular emphasis on its cell biology. Areas that are covered include but are not limited to: Cellular immunology, Innate and adaptive immunity, Immune responses to pathogens,Tumour immunology,Immunopathology, Immunotherapy, Immunogenetics, Immunological studies in humans and model organisms (including mouse, rat, Drosophila etc)
Full-text Article · Mar 2015 · Immunology and Cell Biology