[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: How transcription factors (TFs) cooperate within large protein complexes to allow rapid modulation of gene expression during development is still largely unknown. Here we show that the key haematopoietic LIM-domain-binding protein-1 (LDB1) TF complex contains several activator and repressor components that together maintain an erythroid-specific gene expression programme primed for rapid activation until differentiation is induced. A combination of proteomics, functional genomics and in vivo studies presented here identifies known and novel co-repressors, most notably the ETO2 and IRF2BP2 proteins, involved in maintaining this primed state. The ETO2-IRF2BP2 axis, interacting with the NCOR1/SMRT co-repressor complex, suppresses the expression of the vast majority of archetypical erythroid genes and pathways until its decommissioning at the onset of terminal erythroid differentiation. Our experiments demonstrate that multimeric regulatory complexes feature a dynamic interplay between activating and repressing components that determines lineage-specific gene expression and cellular differentiation.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2015 · Nature Communications
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In response to DNA damage, tissue homoeostasis is ensured by protein networks promoting DNA repair, cell cycle arrest or apoptosis. DNA damage response signalling pathways coordinate these processes, partly by propagating gene-expression-modulating signals. DNA damage influences not only the abundance of messenger RNAs, but also their coding information through alternative splicing. Here we show that transcription-blocking DNA lesions promote chromatin displacement of late-stage spliceosomes and initiate a positive feedback loop centred on the signalling kinase ATM. We propose that initial spliceosome displacement and subsequent R-loop formation is triggered by pausing of RNA polymerase at DNA lesions. In turn, R-loops activate ATM, which signals to impede spliceosome organization further and augment ultraviolet-irradiation-triggered alternative splicing at the genome-wide level. Our findings define R-loop-dependent ATM activation by transcription-blocking lesions as an important event in the DNA damage response of non-replicating cells, and highlight a key role for spliceosome displacement in this process.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ordered assembly of a functional preinitiation complex (PIC), composed of general transcription factors (GTFs), is a prerequisite
for the transcription of protein-coding genes by RNA polymerase II. TFIID, comprised of the TATA binding protein (TBP) and
13 TBP-associated factors (TAFs), is the GTF that is thought to recognize the promoter sequences allowing site-specific PIC
assembly. Transcriptional cofactors, such as SAGA, are also necessary for tightly regulated transcription initiation. The
contribution of the two TAF10-containing complexes (TFIID, SAGA) to erythropoiesis remains elusive. By ablating TAF10 specifically
in erythroid cells in vivo, we observed a differentiation block accompanied by deregulated GATA1 target genes, including Gata1 itself, suggesting functional cross talk between GATA1 and TAF10. Additionally, we analyzed by mass spectrometry the composition
of TFIID and SAGA complexes in mouse and human cells and found that their global integrity is maintained, with minor changes,
during erythroid cell differentiation and development. In agreement with our functional data, we show that TAF10 interacts
directly with GATA1 and that TAF10 is enriched on the GATA1 locus in human fetal erythroid cells. Thus, our findings demonstrate a cross talk between canonical TFIID and SAGA complexes
and cell-specific transcription activators during development and differentiation.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Molecular and Cellular Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As some of the most widely utilised intercellular signalling molecules, transforming growth factor β (TGFβ) superfamily members play critical roles in normal development and become disrupted in human disease. Establishing appropriate levels of TGFβ signalling involves positive and negative feedback, which are coupled and driven by the same signal transduction components (R-Smad transcription factor complexes), but whether and how the regulation of the two can be distinguished are unknown. Genome-wide comparison of published ChIP-seq datasets suggests that LIM domain binding proteins (Ldbs) co-localise with R-Smads at a substantial subset of R-Smad target genes including the locus of inhibitory Smad7 (I-Smad7), which mediates negative feedback for TGFβ signalling. We present evidence suggesting that zebrafish Ldb2a binds and directly activates the I-Smad7 gene, whereas it binds and represses the ligand gene, Squint (Sqt), which drives positive feedback. Thus, the fine tuning of TGFβ signalling derives from positive and negative control by Ldb2a. Expression of ldb2a is itself activated by TGFβ signals, suggesting potential feed-forward loops that might delay the negative input of Ldb2a to the positive feedback, as well as the positive input of Ldb2a to the negative feedback. In this way, precise gene expression control by Ldb2a enables an initial build-up of signalling via a fully active positive feedback in the absence of buffering by the negative feedback. In Ldb2a-deficient zebrafish embryos, homeostasis of TGFβ signalling is perturbed and signalling is stably enhanced, giving rise to excess mesoderm and endoderm, an effect that can be rescued by reducing signalling by the TGFβ family members, Nodal and BMP. Thus, Ldb2a is critical to the homeostatic control of TGFβ signalling and thereby embryonic patterning.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The adult lung contains several distinct stem cells, although their properties and full potential are still being sorted out. We previously showed that ectopic Sox2 expression in the developing lung manipulated the fate of differentiating cells. Here, we addressed the question whether fully differentiated cells could be redirected towards another cell type. Therefore, we used transgenic mice to express an inducible Sox2 construct in type II pneumocytes, which are situated in the distal, respiratory areas of the lung. Within three days after the induction of the transgene, the type II cells start to proliferate and form clusters of cuboidal cells. Prolonged Sox2 expression resulted in the reversal of the type II cell towards a more embryonic, precursor-like cell, being positive for the stem cell markers Sca1 and Ssea1. Moreover, the cells started to co-express Spc and Cc10, characteristics of bronchioalveolar stem cells. We demonstrated that Sox2 directly regulates the expression of Sca1. Subsequently, these cells expressed Trp63, a marker for basal cells of the trachea. So, we show that the expression of one transcription factor in fully differentiated, distal lung cells changes their fate towards proximal cells through intermediate cell types. This may have implications for regenerative medicine, and repair of diseased and damaged lungs.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) transplantations from umbilical cord blood or autologous HSCs for gene therapy purposes are hampered by limited number of stem cells. To test the ability to expand HSCs in vitro prior to transplantation, two growth factor cocktails containing stem cell factor, thrombopoietin, fms-related tyrosine kinase-3 ligand (STF) or stem cell factor, thrombopoietin, insulin-like growth factor-2, fibroblast growth factor-1 (STIF) either with or without the addition of angiopoietin-like protein-3 (Angptl3) were used. Culturing HSCs in STF and STIF media for 7 days expanded long-term repopulating stem cells content in vivo by ∼6-fold and ∼10-fold compared to freshly isolated stem cells. Addition of Angptl3 resulted in increased expansion of these populations by ∼17-fold and ∼32-fold, respectively, and was further supported by enforced expression of Angptl3 in HSCs through lentiviral transduction that also promoted HSC expansion. As expansion of highly purified lineage-negative, Sca-1+, c-Kit+ HSCs was less efficient than less pure lineage-negative HSCs, Angptl3 may have a direct effect on HCS but also an indirect effect on accessory cells that support HSC expansion. No evidence for leukemia or toxicity was found during long-term follow up of mice transplanted with ex vivo expanded HSCs or manipulated HSC populations that expressed Angptl3. We conclude that the cytokine combinations used in this study to expand HSCs ex vivo enhances the engraftment in vivo. This has important implications for allogeneic umbilical cord-blood derived HSC transplantations and autologous HSC applications including gene therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neurite extension is regulated by multiple signaling cascades that ultimately converge on the actin and microtubule networks . Rho GTPases, molecular switches that oscillate between an inactive, GDP-bound state and an active, GTP-bound state, play a pivotal role in controlling actin cytoskeleton dynamics in the growth cone , whereas the dynamic behavior and interactions of microtubules are largely regulated by proteins called plus-end-tracking proteins (+TIPs), which associate with the ends of growing microtubules . Here, we show that the +TIP Navigator 1 (NAV1) is important for neurite outgrowth and interacts and colocalizes with TRIO, a Rho guanine nucleotide exchange factor that enables neurite outgrowth by activating the Rho GTPases Rac1 and RhoG [4, 5]. We find that binding of NAV1 enhances the affinity of TRIO for Rac1 and RhoG, and that NAV1 regulates TRIO-mediated Rac1 activation and neurite outgrowth. TRIO is also a +TIP, as it interacts with the core +TIP EB1 and tracks microtubule plus ends via EB1 and NAV1. Strikingly, the EB1-mediated recruitment of TRIO to microtubule ends is required for proper neurite outgrowth, and stabilization of the microtubule network by paclitaxel affects both the TRIO-NAV1 interaction and the accumulation of these proteins in neurite extensions. We propose that EB1-labeled ends of dynamic microtubules facilitate the formation and localization of functional NAV1-TRIO complexes, which in turn regulate neurite outgrowth by selectively activating Rac1. Our data reveal a novel link between dynamic microtubules, actin cytoskeleton remodeling, and neurite extension.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background
Significant efforts have recently been put into the investigation of the spatial organization and the chromatin-interaction networks of genomes. Chromosome conformation capture (3C) technology and its derivatives are important tools used in this effort. However, many of these have limitations, such as being limited to one viewpoint, expensive with moderate to low resolution, and/or requiring a large sequencing effort. Techniques like Hi-C provide a genome-wide analysis. However, it requires massive sequencing effort with considerable costs. Here we describe a new technique termed Targeted Chromatin Capture (T2C), to interrogate large selected regions of the genome. T2C provides an unbiased view of the spatial organization of selected loci at superior resolution (single restriction fragment resolution, from 2 to 6 kbp) at much lower costs than Hi-C due to the lower sequencing effort.
We applied T2C on well-known model regions, the mouse β-globin locus and the human H19/IGF2 locus. In both cases we identified all known chromatin interactions. Furthermore, we compared the human H19/IGF2 locus data obtained from different chromatin conformation capturing methods with T2C data. We observed the same compartmentalization of the locus, but at a much higher resolution (single restriction fragments vs. the common 40 kbp bins) and higher coverage. Moreover, we compared the β-globin locus in two different biological samples (mouse primary erythroid cells and mouse fetal brain), where it is either actively transcribed or not, to identify possible transcriptional dependent interactions. We identified the known interactions in the β-globin locus and the same topological domains in both mouse primary erythroid cells and in mouse fetal brain with the latter having fewer interactions probably due to the inactivity of the locus. Furthermore, we show that interactions due to the important chromatin proteins, Ldb1 and Ctcf, in both tissues can be analyzed easily to reveal their role on transcriptional interactions and genome folding.
T2C is an efficient, easy, and affordable with high (restriction fragment) resolution tool to address both genome compartmentalization and chromatin-interaction networks for specific genomic regions at high resolution for both clinical and non-clinical research.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Epigenetics & Chromatin
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In this issue of Cell Stem Cell, Palii et al. reveal that TAL1 is a master regulator of adhesion and migration networks in human endothelial progenitors and that ex vivo treatment with the histone deacetylase inhibitor TSA enables their faster vascularization after ischemic injury.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genetic studies have identified common variants within the intergenic region (HBS1L-MYB) between GTP-binding elongation factor HBS1L and myeloblastosis oncogene MYB on chromosome 6q that are associated with elevated fetal hemoglobin (HbF) levels and alterations of other clinically important human erythroid traits. It is unclear how these noncoding sequence variants affect multiple erythrocyte characteristics. Here, we determined that several HBS1L-MYB intergenic variants affect regulatory elements that are occupied by key erythroid transcription factors within this region. These elements interact with MYB, a critical regulator of erythroid development and HbF levels. We found that several HBS1L-MYB intergenic variants reduce transcription factor binding, affecting long-range interactions with MYB and MYB expression levels. These data provide a functional explanation for the genetic association of HBS1L-MYB intergenic polymorphisms with human erythroid traits and HbF levels. Our results further designate MYB as a target for therapeutic induction of HbF to ameliorate sickle cell and β-thalassemia disease severity.
Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · The Journal of clinical investigation
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Author Summary
B lymphocyte development involves the generation of a functional antigen receptor, comprising two heavy chains and two light chains arranged in a characteristic “Y” shape. To do this, the receptor genes must first be assembled by ordered genomic recombination events, starting with the immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) gene segments. On successful rearrangement, the resulting IgH μ protein is presented on the cell surface as part of a preliminary version of the B cell receptor—the “pre-BCR.” Pre-BCR signaling then redirects recombination activity to the immunoglobulin κ light chain gene. The activity of two regulatory κ enhancer elements is known to be crucial for opening up the gene, but it remains largely unknown how the hundred or so Variable (V) segments in the κ locus gain access to the recombination system. Here, we studied a panel of pre-B cells from mice lacking specific signaling molecules, reflecting absent, partial, or complete pre-BCR signaling. We identify gene regulatory changes that are dependent on pre-BCR signaling and occur via long-range chromatin interactions between the κ enhancers and the V segments. Surprisingly the light chain gene initially contracts, but the interactions then become more functionally redistributed when pre-BCR signaling occurs. Interestingly, we find that the two enhancers play distinct roles in the process of coordinating chromatin interactions towards the V segments. Our study combines chromatin conformation techniques with data on transcription factor binding to gain unique insights into the functional role of chromatin dynamics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mutations within the OCA2 gene or the complete absence of the OCA2 protein leads to Oculocutaneous Albinism type 2. The OCA2 protein plays a central role in melanosome biogenesis, and it is a strong determinant of the eumelanin content in melanocytes. Transcript levels of the OCA2 gene are strongly correlated to pigmentation intensities. Recent studies demonstrated that the transcriptional level of OCA2 is to a large extent determined by the non-coding SNP rs12913832 located 21.5 kb upstream of the OCA2 gene promoter. In this review, we discuss current hypotheses and the available data on the mechanism of OCA2 transcriptional regulation and how this is influenced by genetic variation. Finally, we will explore how future epigenetic studies can be used to advance our insight into the functional biology that connects genetic variation to human pigmentation.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Pigment Cell & Melanoma Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The spinal cord contains neuronal circuits termed Central Pattern Generators (CPGs) that coordinate rhythmic motor activities. CPG circuits consist of motor neurons and multiple interneuron cell types, many of which are derived from four distinct cardinal classes of ventral interneurons, called V0, V1, V2 and V3. While significant progress has been made on elucidating the molecular and genetic mechanisms that control ventral interneuron differentiation, little is known about their distribution along the antero-posterior axis of the spinal cord and their diversification. Here, we report that V0, V1 and V2 interneurons exhibit distinct organizational patterns at brachial, thoracic and lumbar levels of the developing spinal cord. In addition, we demonstrate that each cardinal class of ventral interneurons can be subdivided into several subsets according to the combinatorial expression of different sets of transcription factors, and that these subsets are differentially distributed along the rostrocaudal axis of the spinal cord. This comprehensive molecular profiling of ventral interneurons provides an important resource for investigating neuronal diversification in the developing spinal cord and for understanding the contribution of specific interneuron subsets on CPG circuits and motor control.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Here, we show that transcription factors bound to regulatory sequences can be identified by purifying these unique sequences directly from mammalian cells in vivo. Using targeted chromatin purification (TChP), a double-pull-down strategy with a tetracycline-sensitive "hook" bound to a specific promoter, we identify transcription factors bound to the repressed γ-globin gene-associated regulatory regions. After validation of the binding, we show that, in human primary erythroid cells, knockdown of a number of these transcription factors induces γ-globin gene expression. Reactivation of γ-globin gene expression ameliorates the symptoms of β-thalassemia and sickle cell disease, and these factors provide potential targets for the development of therapeutics for treating these patients.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: β-Thalassaemia is one of the most common autosomal recessive single-gene disorder worldwide, with a carrier frequency of 12% in Cyprus. Prenatal tests for at risk pregnancies use invasive methods and development of a non-invasive prenatal diagnostic (NIPD) method is of paramount importance to prevent unnecessary risks inherent to invasive methods. Here, we describe such a method by assessing a modified version of next generation sequencing (NGS) using the Illumina platform, called 'targeted sequencing', based on the detection of paternally inherited fetal alleles in maternal plasma. We selected four single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located in the β-globin locus with a high degree of heterozygosity in the Cypriot population. Spiked genomic samples were used to determine the specificity of the platform. We could detect the minor alleles in the expected ratio, showing the specificity of the platform. We then developed a multiplexed format for the selected SNPs and analysed ten maternal plasma samples from pregnancies at risk. The presence or absence of the paternal mutant allele was correctly determined in 27 out of 34 samples analysed. With haplotype analysis, NIPD was possible on eight out of ten families. This is the first study carried out for the NIPD of β-thalassaemia using targeted NGS and haplotype analysis. Preliminary results show that NGS is effective in detecting paternally inherited alleles in the maternal plasma.European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication, 10 April 2013; doi:10.1038/ejhg.2013.47.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2013 · European journal of human genetics: EJHG
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activation of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway synergizes with leukemia inhibitory factor (LIF) to maintain pluripotency of mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs). However, in the absence of LIF, Wnt signaling is unable to maintain ES cells in the undifferentiated state. To investigate the role of canonical Wnt signaling in pluripotency and lineage specification, we expressed Wnt3a in mESCs and characterized them in growth and differentiation. We found that activated canonical Wnt signaling induced the formation of a reversible metastable primitive endoderm state in mESC. Upon subsequent differentiation, Wnt3a stimulated mESCs gave rise to large quantities of visceral endoderm. Furthermore, we determined that the ability of canonical Wnt signaling to induce a metastable primitive endoderm state was mediated by Tbx3. Our data demonstrates a specific role for canonical Wnt signaling in promoting pluripotency while at the same time priming cells for subsequent differentiation into the primitive endoderm lineage.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The functional organization of eukaryotic genomes correlates with specific patterns of histone methylations. Regulatory regions in genomes such as enhancers and promoters differ in their extent of methylation of histone H3 at lysine-4 (H3K4), but it is largely unknown how the different methylation states are specified and controlled. Here, we show that the Kdm5c/Jarid1c/SMCX member of the Kdm5 family of H3K4 demethylases can be recruited to both enhancer and promoter elements in mouse embryonic stem cells and in neuronal progenitor cells. Knockdown of Kdm5c deregulates transcription via local increases in H3K4me3. Our data indicate that by restricting H3K4me3 modification at core promoters, Kdm5c dampens transcription, but at enhancers Kdm5c stimulates their activity. Remarkably, an impaired enhancer function activates the intrinsic promoter activity of Kdm5c-bound distal elements. Our results demonstrate that the Kdm5c demethylase plays a crucial and dynamic role in the functional discrimination between enhancers and core promoters.