Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

Mikhail Spivakov

Research Summary

Cells in the body share their genetic code, but look and function differently. This is largely because many genes are only active in specific cell types and under certain environmental conditions.

Gene regulation converges at DNA regulatory modules – molecular "switches" that are encoded on the DNA alongside protein-coding genes. These modules recruit combinations of proteins and establish three-dimensional interactions required for gene activity or repression.

In contrast to the striking simplicity of the genetic code at protein-coding regions, the logic underlying the organisation of DNA regulatory modules still remains to be fully understood.

It is important to learn more about it, particularly because we now know that many healthy and pathological traits are associated with genetic variation at regulatory (rather than protein-coding) regions.

Latest Publications

Chromosome contacts in activated T cells identify autoimmune disease candidate genes.
Burren OS, Rubio García A, Javierre BM, Rainbow DB, Cairns J, Cooper NJ, Lambourne JJ, Schofield E, Castro Dopico X, Ferreira RC, Coulson R, Burden F, Rowlston SP, Downes K, Wingett SW, Frontini M, Ouwehand WH, Fraser P, Spivakov M, Todd JA, Wicker LS, Cutler AJ, Wallace C

Autoimmune disease-associated variants are preferentially found in regulatory regions in immune cells, particularly CD4(+) T cells. Linking such regulatory regions to gene promoters in disease-relevant cell contexts facilitates identification of candidate disease genes.

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Genome biology, 18, 1474-760X, 165, 2017

PMID: 28870212

Lineage-specific dynamic and pre-established enhancer-promoter contacts cooperate in terminal differentiation.
Rubin AJ, Barajas BC, Furlan-Magaril M, Lopez-Pajares V, Mumbach MR, Howard I, Kim DS, Boxer LD, Cairns J, Spivakov M, Wingett SW, Shi M, Zhao Z, Greenleaf WJ, Kundaje A, Snyder M, Chang HY, Fraser P, Khavari PA

Chromosome conformation is an important feature of metazoan gene regulation; however, enhancer-promoter contact remodeling during cellular differentiation remains poorly understood. To address this, genome-wide promoter capture Hi-C (CHi-C) was performed during epidermal differentiation. Two classes of enhancer-promoter contacts associated with differentiation-induced genes were identified. The first class ('gained') increased in contact strength during differentiation in concert with enhancer acquisition of the H3K27ac activation mark. The second class ('stable') were pre-established in undifferentiated cells, with enhancers constitutively marked by H3K27ac. The stable class was associated with the canonical conformation regulator cohesin, whereas the gained class was not, implying distinct mechanisms of contact formation and regulation. Analysis of stable enhancers identified a new, essential role for a constitutively expressed, lineage-restricted ETS-family transcription factor, EHF, in epidermal differentiation. Furthermore, neither class of contacts was observed in pluripotent cells, suggesting that lineage-specific chromatin structure is established in tissue progenitor cells and is further remodeled in terminal differentiation.

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Nature genetics, , 1546-1718, , 2017

PMID: 28805829

Platelet function is modified by common sequence variation in megakaryocyte super enhancers.
Petersen R, Lambourne JJ, Javierre BM, Grassi L, Kreuzhuber R, Ruklisa D, Rosa IM, Tomé AR, Elding H, van Geffen JP, Jiang T, Farrow S, Cairns J, Al-Subaie AM, Ashford S, Attwood A, Batista J, Bouman H, Burden F, Choudry FA, Clarke L, Flicek P, Garner SF, Haimel M, Kempster C, Ladopoulos V, Lenaerts AS, Materek PM, McKinney H, Meacham S, Mead D, Nagy M, Penkett CJ, Rendon A, Seyres D, Sun B, Tuna S, van der Weide ME, Wingett SW, Martens JH, Stegle O, Richardson S, Vallier L, Roberts DJ, Freson K, Wernisch L, Stunnenberg HG, Danesh J, Fraser P, Soranzo N, Butterworth AS, Heemskerk JW, Turro E, Spivakov M, Ouwehand WH, Astle WJ, Downes K, Kostadima M, Frontini M

Linking non-coding genetic variants associated with the risk of diseases or disease-relevant traits to target genes is a crucial step to realize GWAS potential in the introduction of precision medicine. Here we set out to determine the mechanisms underpinning variant association with platelet quantitative traits using cell type-matched epigenomic data and promoter long-range interactions. We identify potential regulatory functions for 423 of 565 (75%) non-coding variants associated with platelet traits and we demonstrate, through ex vivo and proof of principle genome editing validation, that variants in super enhancers play an important role in controlling archetypical platelet functions.

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Nature communications, 8, 2041-1723, 16058, 2017

PMID: 28703137

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Keywords

computational biology
gene regulation
genomics
regulatory dna sequence

Group Members

Latest Publications

Chromosome contacts in activated T cells identify autoimmune disease candidate genes.

Burren OS, Rubio García A, Javierre BM

Genome biology
18 1474-760X:165 (2017)

PMID: 28870212

Lineage-specific dynamic and pre-established enhancer-promoter contacts cooperate in terminal differentiation.

Rubin AJ, Barajas BC, Furlan-Magaril M

Nature genetics
1546-1718: (2017)

PMID: 28805829

Platelet function is modified by common sequence variation in megakaryocyte super enhancers.

Petersen R, Lambourne JJ, Javierre BM

Nature communications
8 2041-1723:16058 (2017)

PMID: 28703137

Dynamic Rewiring of Promoter-Anchored Chromatin Loops during Adipocyte Differentiation.

Siersbæk R, Madsen JGS, Javierre BM

Molecular cell
66 1097-4164:420-435.e5 (2017)

PMID: 28475875

Global reorganisation of cis-regulatory units upon lineage commitment of human embryonic stem cells.

Freire-Pritchett P, Schoenfelder S, Várnai C

eLife
6 2050-084X: (2017)

PMID: 28332981

Lineage-Specific Genome Architecture Links Enhancers and Non-coding Disease Variants to Target Gene Promoters.

Javierre BM, Burren OS, Wilder SP

Cell
167 1097-4172:1369-1384.e19 (2016)

PMID: 27863249

Defining cell type with chromatin profiling.

Spivakov M, Fraser P

Nature biotechnology
34 1546-1696:1126-1128 (2016)

PMID: 27824844

Integrating epigenomic data and 3D genomic structure with a new measure of chromatin assortativity.

Pancaldi V, Carrillo-de-Santa-Pau E, Javierre BM

Genome biology
17 1474-760X:152 (0)

PMID: 27391817

CHiCAGO: robust detection of DNA looping interactions in Capture Hi-C data.

Cairns J, Freire-Pritchett P, Wingett SW

Genome biology
17 1474-760X:127 (2016)

PMID: 27306882

Two Mutually Exclusive Local Chromatin States Drive Efficient V(D)J Recombination.

Bolland DJ, Koohy H, Wood AL

Cell reports
15 2211-1247:2475-87 (2016)

PMID: 27264181

CHiCP: a web-based tool for the integrative and interactive visualization of promoter capture Hi-C datasets.

Schofield EC, Carver T, Achuthan P

Bioinformatics (Oxford, England)
32 1367-4811:2511-3 (2016)

PMID: 27153610