The Babraham Institute Publications database contains details of all publications resulting from our research groups and scientific facilities. Pre-prints by Institute authors can be viewed on the Institute's bioRxiv channel. We believe that free and open access to the outputs of publicly‐funded research offers significant social and economic benefits, as well as aiding the development of new research. We are working to provide Open Access to as many publications as possible and these can be identified below by the padlock icon. Where this hasn't been possible, subscriptions may be required to view the full text.

Spaan AN, Neehus AL, Laplantine E, Staels F, Ogishi M, Seeleuthner Y, Rapaport F, Lacey KA, Van Nieuwenhove E, Chrabieh M, Hum D, Migaud M, Izmiryan A, Lorenzo L, Kochetkov T, Heesterbeek DAC, Bardoel BW, DuMont AL, Dobbs K, Chardonnet S, Heissel S, Baslan T, Zhang P, Yang R, Bogunovic D, Wunderink HF, Haas PA, Molina H, Van Buggenhout G, Lyonnet S, Notarangelo LD, Seppänen MRJ, Weil R, Seminario G, Gomez-Tello H, Wouters C, Mesdaghi M, Shahrooei M, Bossuyt X, Sag E, Topaloglu R, Ozen S, Leavis HL, van Eijk MMJ, Bezrodnik L, Blancas Galicia L, Hovnanian A, Nassif A, Bader-Meunier B, Neven B, Meyts I, Schrijvers R, Puel A, Bustamante J, Aksentijevich I, Kastner D, Torres VJ, Humblet-Baron S, Liston A, Abel L, Boisson B, Casanova JL Immunology

The molecular basis of interindividual clinical variability upon infection with is unclear. We describe patients with haploinsufficiency for the linear deubiquitinase OTULIN, encoded by a gene on chromosome 5p. Patients present episodes of life-threatening necrosis, typically triggered by infection. The disorder is phenocopied in patients with the 5p- (Cri-du-Chat) chromosomal deletion syndrome. OTULIN haploinsufficiency causes an accumulation of linear ubiquitin in dermal fibroblasts, but TNF-receptor NF-κB-signaling remains intact. Blood leukocyte subsets are unaffected. The OTULIN-dependent accumulation of caveolin-1 in dermal fibroblasts-but not leukocytes-facilitates the cytotoxic damage inflicted by the staphylococcal virulence factor α-toxin. Naturally elicited antibodies against α-toxin contribute to incomplete clinical penetrance. Human OTULIN haploinsufficiency underlies life-threatening staphylococcal disease by disrupting cell-intrinsic immunity to α-toxin in non-leukocytic cells.

+view abstract Science , PMID: 35587511

Yao Y, Du Jiang P, Chao BN, Cagdas D, Kubo S, Balasubramaniyam A, Zhang Y, Shadur B, NaserEddin A, Folio LR, Schwarz B, Bohrnsen E, Zheng L, Lynberg M, Gottlieb S, Leney-Greene MA, Park AY, Tezcan I, Akdogan A, Gocmen R, Onder S, Rosenberg A, Soilleux EJ, Johnson E, Jackson PK, Demeter J, Chauvin SD, Paul F, Selbach M, Bulut H, Clatworthy MR, Tuong ZK, Zhang H, Stewart BJ, Bosio CM, Stepensky P, Clare S, Ganesan S, Pascall JC, Daumke O, Butcher GW, McMichael AJ, Simon AK, Lenardo MJ Signalling

Inborn errors of immunity (IEIs) unveil regulatory pathways of human immunity. We describe a new IEI caused by mutations in the GTPase of the immune-associated protein 6 (GIMAP6) gene in patients with infections, lymphoproliferation, autoimmunity, and multiorgan vasculitis. Patients and Gimap6-/- mice show defects in autophagy, redox regulation, and polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA)-containing lipids. We find that GIMAP6 complexes with GABARAPL2 and GIMAP7 to regulate GTPase activity. Also, GIMAP6 is induced by IFN-γ and plays a critical role in antibacterial immunity. Finally, we observed that Gimap6-/- mice died prematurely from microangiopathic glomerulosclerosis most likely due to GIMAP6 deficiency in kidney endothelial cells.

+view abstract The Journal of experimental medicine , PMID: 35551368

Parry AJ, Reik W Epigenetics

No abstract available.

+view abstract Nature genetics , PMID: 35534560

Denton AE, Dooley J, Cinti I, Silva-Cayetano A, Fra-Bido S, Innocentin S, Hill DL, Carr EJ, McKenzie ANJ, Liston A, Linterman MA Immunology

The failure to generate enduring humoral immunity after vaccination is a hallmark of advancing age. This can be attributed to a reduction in the germinal center (GC) response, which generates long-lived antibody-secreting cells that protect against (re)infection. Despite intensive investigation, the primary cellular defect underlying impaired GCs in aging has not been identified. Here, we used heterochronic parabiosis to demonstrate that GC formation was dictated by the age of the lymph node (LN) microenvironment rather than the age of the immune cells. Lymphoid stromal cells are a key determinant of the LN microenvironment and are also an essential component underpinning GC structure and function. Using mouse models, we demonstrated that mucosal adressin cell adhesion molecule-1 (MAdCAM-1)-expressing lymphoid stromal cells were among the first cells to respond to NP-KLH + Alum immunization, proliferating and up-regulating cell surface proteins such as podoplanin and cell adhesion molecules. This response was essentially abrogated in aged mice. By targeting TLR4 using adjuvants, we improved the MAdCAM-1 stromal cell response to immunization. This correlated with improved GC responses in both younger adult and aged mice, suggesting a link between stromal cell responses to immunization and GC initiation. Using bone marrow chimeras, we also found that MAdCAM-1 stromal cells could respond directly to TLR4 ligands. Thus, the age-associated defect in GC and stromal cell responses to immunization can be targeted to improve vaccines in older people.

+view abstract Science immunology , PMID: 35522725

Van de Pette M, Dimond A, Galvão AM, Millership SJ, To W, Prodani C, McNamara G, Bruno L, Sardini A, Webster Z, McGinty J, French PMW, Uren AG, Castillo-Fernandez J, Watkinson W, Ferguson-Smith AC, Merkenschlager M, John RM, Kelsey G, Fisher AG Epigenetics

Transmission of epigenetic information between generations occurs in nematodes, flies and plants, mediated by specialised small RNA pathways, modified histones and DNA methylation. Similar processes in mammals can also affect phenotype through intergenerational or trans-generational mechanisms. Here we generate a luciferase knock-in reporter mouse for the imprinted Dlk1 locus to visualise and track epigenetic fidelity across generations. Exposure to high-fat diet in pregnancy provokes sustained re-expression of the normally silent maternal Dlk1 in offspring (loss of imprinting) and increased DNA methylation at the somatic differentially methylated region (sDMR). In the next generation heterogeneous Dlk1 mis-expression is seen exclusively among animals born to F1-exposed females. Oocytes from these females show altered gene and microRNA expression without changes in DNA methylation, and correct imprinting is restored in subsequent generations. Our results illustrate how diet impacts the foetal epigenome, disturbing canonical and non-canonical imprinting mechanisms to modulate the properties of successive generations of offspring.

+view abstract Nature communications , PMID: 35513363

Hooper KM, Jacquin E, Li T, Goodwin JM, Brumell JH, Durgan J, Florey O Signalling

Non-canonical autophagy is a key cellular pathway in immunity, cancer, and neurodegeneration, characterized by conjugation of ATG8 to endolysosomal single membranes (CASM). CASM is activated by engulfment (endocytosis, phagocytosis), agonists (STING, TRPML1), and infection (influenza), dependent on K490 in the ATG16L1 WD40-domain. However, factors associated with non-canonical ATG16L1 recruitment and CASM induction remain unknown. Here, using pharmacological inhibitors, we investigate a role for V-ATPase during non-canonical autophagy. We report that increased V0-V1 engagement is associated with, and sufficient for, CASM activation. Upon V0-V1 binding, V-ATPase recruits ATG16L1, via K490, during LC3-associated phagocytosis (LAP), STING- and drug-induced CASM, indicating a common mechanism. Furthermore, during LAP, key molecular players, including NADPH oxidase/ROS, converge on V-ATPase. Finally, we show that LAP is sensitive to Salmonella SopF, which disrupts the V-ATPase-ATG16L1 axis and provide evidence that CASM contributes to the Salmonella host response. Together, these data identify V-ATPase as a universal regulator of CASM and indicate that SopF evolved in part to evade non-canonical autophagy.

+view abstract The Journal of cell biology , PMID: 35511089

Barry DJ, Gerri C, Bell DM, D'Antuono R, Niakan KK Epigenetics

The study of cellular and developmental processes in physiologically relevant three-dimensional (3D) systems facilitates an understanding of mechanisms underlying cell fate, disease and injury. While cutting-edge microscopy technologies permit the routine acquisition of 3D datasets, there is currently a limited number of open-source software packages to analyse such images. Here we describe GIANI (General Image Analysis of Nuclei-based Images;, new software for the analysis of 3D images. The design primarily facilitates segmentation of nuclei and cells, followed by quantification of morphology and protein expression. GIANI enables routine and reproducible batch-processing of large numbers of images and comes with scripting and command line tools. We demonstrate the utility of GIANI by quantifying cell morphology and protein expression in confocal images of mouse early embryos and by segmenting nuclei from light sheet microscopy images of the flour beetle embryo. We also validate the performance of the software using simulated data. More generally, we anticipate that GIANI will be a useful tool for researchers in a variety of biomedical fields.

+view abstract Journal of cell science , PMID: 35502739

Walpole GFW, Pacheco J, Chauhan N, Clark J, Anderson KE, Abbas YM, Brabant-Kirwan D, Montaño-Rendón F, Liu Z, Zhu H, Brumell JH, Deiters A, Stephens LR, Hawkins PT, Hammond GRV, Grinstein S, Fairn GD Signalling, Biological Chemistry

Despite their low abundance, phosphoinositides play a central role in membrane traffic and signalling. PtdIns(3,4,5)P and PtdIns(3,4)P are uniquely important, as they promote cell growth, survival and migration. Pathogenic organisms have developed means to subvert phosphoinositide metabolism to promote successful infection and their survival in host organisms. We demonstrate that PtdIns(3,4)P is a major product generated in host cells by the effectors of the enteropathogenic bacteria Salmonella and Shigella. Pharmacological, gene silencing and heterologous expression experiments revealed that, remarkably, the biosynthesis of PtdIns(3,4)P occurs independently of phosphoinositide 3-kinases. Instead, we found that the Salmonella effector SopB, heretofore believed to be a phosphatase, generates PtdIns(3,4)P de novo via a phosphotransferase/phosphoisomerase mechanism. Recombinant SopB is capable of generating PtdIns(3,4,5)P and PtdIns(3,4)P from PtdIns(4,5)P in a cell-free system. Through a remarkable instance of convergent evolution, bacterial effectors acquired the ability to synthesize 3-phosphorylated phosphoinositides by an ATP- and kinase-independent mechanism, thereby subverting host signalling to gain entry and even provoke oncogenic transformation.

+view abstract Nature cell biology , PMID: 35484249

Petkau G, Mitchell TJ, Chakraborty K, Bell SE, D Angeli V, Matheson L, Turner DJ, Saveliev A, Gizlenci O, Salerno F, Katsikis PD, Turner M Immunology

CD8 T cell differentiation into effector cells is initiated early after antigen encounter by signals from the T cell antigen receptor and costimulatory molecules. The molecular mechanisms that establish the timing and rate of differentiation however are not defined. Here we show that the RNA binding proteins (RBP) ZFP36 and ZFP36L1 limit the rate of differentiation of activated naïve CD8 T cells and the potency of the resulting cytotoxic lymphocytes. The RBP function in an early and short temporal window to enforce dependency on costimulation via CD28 for full T cell activation and effector differentiation by directly binding mRNA of NF-κB, Irf8 and Notch1 transcription factors and cytokines, including Il2. Their absence in T cells, or the adoptive transfer of small numbers of CD8 T cells lacking the RBP, promotes resilience to influenza A virus infection without immunopathology. These findings highlight ZFP36 and ZFP36L1 as nodes for the integration of the early T cell activation signals controlling the speed and quality of the CD8 T cell response.

+view abstract Nature communications , PMID: 35477960

Kyriakopoulos C, Nordström K, Kramer PL, Gottfreund JY, Salhab A, Arand J, Müller F, von Meyenn F, Ficz G, Reik W, Wolf V, Walter J, Giehr P Epigenetics

A precise understanding of DNA methylation dynamics is of great importance for a variety of biological processes including cellular reprogramming and differentiation. To date, complex integration of multiple and distinct genome-wide datasets is required to realize this task. We present GwEEP (genome-wide epigenetic efficiency profiling) a versatile approach to infer dynamic efficiencies of DNA modifying enzymes. GwEEP relies on genome-wide hairpin datasets, which are translated by a hidden Markov model into quantitative enzyme efficiencies with reported confidence around the estimates. GwEEP predicts and maintenance methylation efficiencies of Dnmts and furthermore the hydroxylation efficiency of Tets. Its design also allows capturing further oxidation processes given available data. We show that GwEEP predicts accurately the epigenetic changes of ESCs following a Serum-to-2i shift and applied to Tet TKO cells confirms the hypothesized mutual interference between Dnmts and Tets.

+view abstract Cell reports methods , PMID: 35475220

Miller DC, Reuillon T, Molyneux L, Blackburn T, Cook SJ, Edwards N, Endicott JA, Golding BT, Griffin RJ, Hardcastle I, Harnor SJ, Heptinstall A, Lochhead P, Martin MP, Martin NC, Myers S, Newell DR, Noble RA, Phillips N, Rigoreau L, Thomas H, Tucker JA, Wang LZ, Waring MJ, Wong AC, Wedge SR, Noble MEM, Cano C Signalling

The nonclassical extracellular signal-related kinase 5 (ERK5) mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway has been implicated in increased cellular proliferation, migration, survival, and angiogenesis; hence, ERK5 inhibition may be an attractive approach for cancer treatment. However, the development of selective ERK5 inhibitors has been challenging. Previously, we described the development of a pyrrole carboxamide high-throughput screening hit into a selective, submicromolar inhibitor of ERK5 kinase activity. Improvement in the ERK5 potency was necessary for the identification of a tool ERK5 inhibitor for target validation studies. Herein, we describe the optimization of this series to identify nanomolar pyrrole carboxamide inhibitors of ERK5 incorporating a basic center, which suffered from poor oral bioavailability. Parallel optimization of potency and pharmacokinetic parameters led to the identification of a nonbasic pyrazole analogue with an optimal balance of ERK5 inhibition and oral exposure.

+view abstract Journal of medicinal chemistry , PMID: 35468293

D'Angeli V, Monzón-Casanova E, Matheson LS, Gizlenci Ö, Petkau G, Gooding C, Berrens RV, Smith CWJ, Turner M Immunology

The RNA-binding protein polypyrimidine tract binding protein 1 (PTBP1) has been found to have roles in CD4 T-cell activation, but its function in CD8 T cells remains untested. We show it is dispensable for the development of naïve mouse CD8 T cells, but is necessary for the optimal expansion and production of effector molecules by antigen-specific CD8 T cells in vivo. PTBP1 has an essential role in regulating the early events following activation of the naïve CD8 T cell leading to IL-2 and TNF production. It is also required to protect activated CD8 T cells from apoptosis. PTBP1 controls alternative splicing of over 400 genes in naïve CD8 T cells in addition to regulating the abundance of ∼200 mRNAs. PTBP1 is required for the nuclear accumulation of c-Fos, NFATc2, and NFATc3, but not NFATc1. This selective effect on NFAT proteins correlates with PTBP1-promoted expression of the shorter Aβ1 isoform and exon 13 skipped Aβ2 isoform of the catalytic A-subunit of calcineurin phosphatase. These findings reveal a crucial role for PTBP1 in regulating CD8 T-cell activation.

+view abstract European journal of immunology , PMID: 35460072

Turner DJ, Saveliev A, Salerno F, Matheson LS, Screen M, Lawson H, Wotherspoon D, Kranc KR, Turner M Immunology

To identify roles of RNA binding proteins (RBPs) in the differentiation or survival of antibody secreting plasma cells we performed a CRISPR/Cas9 knockout screen of 1213 mouse RBPs for their ability to affect proliferation and/or survival, and the abundance of differentiated CD138 + cells in vitro. We validated the binding partners CSDE1 and STRAP as well as the mA binding protein YTHDF2 as promoting the accumulation of CD138 + cells in vitro. We validated the EIF3 subunits EIF3K and EIF3L and components of the CCR4-NOT complex as inhibitors of CD138 + cell accumulation in vitro. In chimeric mouse models YTHDF2-deficient plasma cells failed to accumulate.

+view abstract eLife , PMID: 35451955

Protty MB, Jenkins PV, Collins PW, O'Donnell VB Signalling

Phospholipids (PLs) are found in all cell types and are required for structural support and cell activation signalling pathways. In resting cells, PLs are asymmetrically distributed throughout the plasma membrane with native procoagulant aminophospholipids (aPLs) being actively maintained in the inner leaflet of the membrane. Upon platelet activation, aPLs rapidly externalize to the outer leaflet and are essential for supporting the coagulation cascade by providing binding sites for factors in the cell-based model. More recent work has uncovered a role for enzymatically oxidized PLs (eoxPLs) in facilitating coagulation, working in concert with native aPLs. Despite this, the role of aPLs and eoxPLs in thrombo-inflammatory conditions, such as arterial and venous thrombosis, has not been fully elucidated. In this review, we describe the biochemical structures, distribution and regulation of aPL externalization and summarize the literature on eoxPL generation in circulating blood cells. We focus on the currently understood role of these lipids in mediating coagulation reactions , and in human thrombotic disease. Finally, we highlight gaps in our understanding in how these lipids vary in health and disease, which may place them as future therapeutic targets for the management of thrombo-inflammatory conditions.

+view abstract Open biology , PMID: 35440201

Rostovskaya M, Andrews S, Reik W, Rugg-Gunn PJ Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

In primates, the amnion emerges through cavitation of the epiblast during implantation, whereas in other species it does so later at gastrulation by the folding of the ectoderm. How the mechanisms of amniogenesis diversified during evolution remains unknown. Unexpectedly, single-cell analysis of primate embryos uncovered two transcriptionally and temporally distinct amniogenesis waves. To study this, we employed the naive-to-primed transition of human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) to model peri-implantation epiblast development. Partially primed hPSCs transiently gained the ability to differentiate into cavitating epithelium that transcriptionally and morphologically matched the early amnion, whereas fully primed hPSCs produced cells resembling the late amnion instead, thus recapitulating the two independent differentiation waves. The early wave follows a trophectoderm-like pathway and encompasses cavitation, whereas the late wave resembles an ectoderm-like route during gastrulation. The discovery of two independent waves explains how amniogenesis through cavitation could emerge during evolution via duplication of the pre-existing trophectoderm program.

+view abstract Cell stem cell , PMID: 35439430

Saud Z, Tyrrell VJ, Zaragkoulias A, Protty MB, Statkute E, Rubina A, Bentley K, White DA, Rodrigues PDS, Murphy RC, Köfeler H, Griffiths WJ, Alvarez-Jarreta J, Brown RW, Newcombe RG, Heyman J, Pritchard M, Mcleod RW, Arya A, Lynch CA, Owens D, Jenkins PV, Buurma NJ, O'Donnell VB, Thomas DW, Stanton RJ Signalling

The lipid envelope of SARS-CoV-2 is an essential component of the virus; however, its molecular composition is undetermined. Addressing this knowledge gap could support the design of anti-viral agents, as well as further our understanding of viral-host protein interactions, infectivity, pathogenicity, and innate immune system clearance. Using lipidomics analyses, we revealed that the virus envelope comprised mainly phospholipids (PL), with little cholesterol or sphingolipids, indicating significant differences from the composition of host membranes. Unlike cellular membranes, procoagulant aminophospholipids were present on the external side of the viral envelope at levels exceeding those on activated platelets. As a result, virions directly promoted blood coagulation. To investigate whether these differences could enable selective targeting of the viral envelope in vivo, we tested whether oral rinses containing lipid-disrupting chemicals could reduce viral infectivity. Products containing PL-disrupting surfactants (such as cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC)) met European virucidal standards in vitro; however, components that altered the critical micelle concentration reduced efficacy, and products containing essential oils, PVP-I, or Chlorhexidine were ineffective. This result was recapitulated in vivo, where a 30-second oral rinse with CPC mouthwash eliminated live virus in the oral cavity of COVID-19 patients for at least one hour, while PVP-Iodine and saline mouthwashes were found ineffective. We conclude the SARS-CoV-2 lipid envelope (i) is distinct from the host plasma membrane, which may enable design of selective anti-viral approaches; (ii) contains exposed PE and PS, which may influence thrombosis, pathogenicity, and inflammation; and (iii) can be selectively targeted in vivo by specific oral rinses.

+view abstract Journal of lipid research , PMID: 35436499

Gill D, Parry A, Santos F, Okkenhaug H, Todd CD, Hernando-Herraez I, Stubbs TM, Milagre I, Reik W Epigenetics, Imaging

Ageing is the gradual decline in organismal fitness that occurs over time leading to tissue dysfunction and disease. At the cellular level, ageing is associated with reduced function, altered gene expression and a perturbed epigenome. Recent work has demonstrated that the epigenome is already rejuvenated by the maturation phase of somatic cell reprogramming, which suggests full reprogramming is not required to reverse ageing of somatic cells. Here we have developed the first "maturation phase transient reprogramming" (MPTR) method, where reprogramming factors are selectively expressed until this rejuvenation point then withdrawn. Applying MPTR to dermal fibroblasts from middle-aged donors, we found that cells temporarily lose and then reacquire their fibroblast identity, possibly as a result of epigenetic memory at enhancers and/or persistent expression of some fibroblast genes. Excitingly, our method substantially rejuvenated multiple cellular attributes including the transcriptome, which was rejuvenated by around 30 years as measured by a novel transcriptome clock. The epigenome was rejuvenated to a similar extent, including H3K9me3 levels and the DNA methylation ageing clock. The magnitude of rejuvenation instigated by MPTR appears substantially greater than that achieved in previous transient reprogramming protocols. In addition, MPTR fibroblasts produced youthful levels of collagen proteins, and showed partial functional rejuvenation of their migration speed. Finally, our work suggests that optimal time windows exist for rejuvenating the transcriptome and the epigenome. Overall, we demonstrate that it is possible to separate rejuvenation from complete pluripotency reprogramming, which should facilitate the discovery of novel anti-ageing genes and therapies.

+view abstract eLife , PMID: 35390271

Willemsen M, Van Nieuwenhove E, Seyed Tabib NS, Staels F, Schrijvers R, De Somer L, Liston A, Humblet-Baron S, Wouters C Immunology

No abstract available

+view abstract Rheumatology advances in practice , PMID: 35368972

Rodríguez-Ubreva J, Arutyunyan A, Bonder MJ, Del Pino-Molina L, Clark SJ, de la Calle-Fabregat C, Garcia-Alonso L, Handfield LF, Ciudad L, Andrés-León E, Krueger F, Català-Moll F, Rodríguez-Cortez VC, Polanski K, Mamanova L, van Dongen S, Kiselev VY, Martínez-Saavedra MT, Heyn H, Martín J, Warnatz K, López-Granados E, Rodríguez-Gallego C, Stegle O, Kelsey G, Vento-Tormo R, Ballestar E Epigenetics

Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID), the most prevalent symptomatic primary immunodeficiency, displays impaired terminal B-cell differentiation and defective antibody responses. Incomplete genetic penetrance and ample phenotypic expressivity in CVID suggest the participation of additional pathogenic mechanisms. Monozygotic (MZ) twins discordant for CVID are uniquely valuable for studying the contribution of epigenetics to the disease. Here, we generate a single-cell epigenomics and transcriptomics census of naïve-to-memory B cell differentiation in a CVID-discordant MZ twin pair. Our analysis identifies DNA methylation, chromatin accessibility and transcriptional defects in memory B-cells mirroring defective cell-cell communication upon activation. These findings are validated in a cohort of CVID patients and healthy donors. Our findings provide a comprehensive multi-omics map of alterations in naïve-to-memory B-cell transition in CVID and indicate links between the epigenome and immune cell cross-talk. Our resource, publicly available at the Human Cell Atlas, gives insight into future diagnosis and treatments of CVID patients.

+view abstract Nature communications , PMID: 35365635

Marino M, Zhou L, Rincon MY, Callaerts-Vegh Z, Verhaert J, Wahis J, Creemers E, Yshii L, Wierda K, Saito T, Marneffe C, Voytyuk I, Wouters Y, Dewilde M, Duqué SI, Vincke C, Levites Y, Golde TE, Saido TC, Muyldermans S, Liston A, De Strooper B, Holt MG Immunology

Single domain antibodies (VHHs) are potentially disruptive therapeutics, with important biological value for treatment of several diseases, including neurological disorders. However, VHHs have not been widely used in the central nervous system (CNS), largely because of their restricted blood-brain barrier (BBB) penetration. Here, we propose a gene transfer strategy based on BBB-crossing adeno-associated virus (AAV)-based vectors to deliver VHH directly into the CNS. As a proof-of-concept, we explored the potential of AAV-delivered VHH to inhibit BACE1, a well-characterized target in Alzheimer's disease. First, we generated a panel of VHHs targeting BACE1, one of which, VHH-B9, shows high selectivity for BACE1 and efficacy in lowering BACE1 activity in vitro. We further demonstrate that a single systemic dose of AAV-VHH-B9 produces positive long-term (12 months plus) effects on amyloid load, neuroinflammation, synaptic function, and cognitive performance, in the App Alzheimer's mouse model. These results constitute a novel therapeutic approach for neurodegenerative diseases, which is applicable to a range of CNS disease targets.

+view abstract EMBO molecular medicine , PMID: 35352880

Collier AJ, Bendall A, Fabian C, Malcolm AA, Tilgner K, Semprich CI, Wojdyla K, Nisi PS, Kishore K, Roamio Franklin VN, Mirshekar-Syahkal B, D'Santos C, Plath K, Yusa K, Rugg-Gunn PJ Epigenetics

Uncovering the mechanisms that establish naïve pluripotency in humans is crucial for the future applications of pluripotent stem cells including the production of human blastoids. However, the regulatory pathways that control the establishment of naïve pluripotency by reprogramming are largely unknown. Here, we use genome-wide screening to identify essential regulators as well as major impediments of human primed to naïve pluripotent stem cell reprogramming. We discover that factors essential for cell state change do not typically undergo changes at the level of gene expression but rather are repurposed with new functions. Mechanistically, we establish that the variant Polycomb complex PRC1.3 and PRDM14 jointly repress developmental and gene regulatory factors to ensure naïve cell reprogramming. In addition, small-molecule inhibitors of reprogramming impediments improve naïve cell reprogramming beyond current methods. Collectively, this work defines the principles controlling the establishment of human naïve pluripotency and also provides new insights into mechanisms that destabilize and reconfigure cell identity during cell state transitions.

+view abstract Science advances , PMID: 35333572

Schebb NH, Kühn H, Kahnt AS, Rund KM, O'Donnell VB, Flamand N, Peters-Golden M, Jakobsson PJ, Weylandt KH, Rohwer N, Murphy RC, Geisslinger G, FitzGerald GA, Hanson J, Dahlgren C, Alnouri MW, Offermanns S, Steinhilber D Signalling

Formation of specialized pro-resolving lipid mediators (SPMs) such as lipoxins or resolvins usually involves arachidonic acid 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO, ALOX5) and different types of arachidonic acid 12- and 15-lipoxygenating paralogues (15-LO1, ALOX15; 15-LO2, ALOX15B; 12-LO, ALOX12). Typically, SPMs are thought to be formed via consecutive steps of oxidation of polyenoic fatty acids such as arachidonic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid or docosahexaenoic acid. One hallmark of SPM formation is that reported levels of these lipid mediators are much lower than typical pro-inflammatory mediators including the monohydroxylated fatty acid derivatives (e.g., 5-HETE), leukotrienes or certain cyclooxygenase-derived prostaglandins. Thus, reliable detection and quantification of these metabolites is challenging. This paper is aimed at critically evaluating i) the proposed biosynthetic pathways of SPM formation, ii) the current knowledge on SPM receptors and their signaling cascades and iii) the analytical methods used to quantify these pro-resolving mediators in the context of their instability and their low concentrations. Based on current literature it can be concluded that i) there is at most, a low biosynthetic capacity for SPMs in human leukocytes. ii) The identity and the signaling of the proposed G-protein-coupled SPM receptors have not been supported by studies in knock-out mice and remain to be validated. iii) In humans, SPM levels were neither related to dietary supplementation with their ω-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid precursors nor were they formed during the resolution phase of an evoked inflammatory response. iv) The reported low SPM levels cannot be reliably quantified by means of the most commonly reported methodology. Overall, these questions regarding formation, signaling and occurrence of SPMs challenge their role as endogenous mediators of the resolution of inflammation.

+view abstract Frontiers in pharmacology , PMID: 35308198

Davarinejad H, Huang YC, Mermaz B, LeBlanc C, Poulet A, Thomson G, Joly V, Muñoz M, Arvanitis-Vigneault A, Valsakumar D, Villarino G, Ross A, Rotstein BH, Alarcon EI, Brunzelle JS, Voigt P, Dong J, Couture JF, Jacob Y Epigenetics

The tail of replication-dependent histone H3.1 varies from that of replication-independent H3.3 at the amino acid located at position 31 in plants and animals, but no function has been assigned to this residue to demonstrate a unique and conserved role for H3.1 during replication. We found that TONSOKU (TSK/TONSL), which rescues broken replication forks, specifically interacts with H3.1 via recognition of alanine 31 by its tetratricopeptide repeat domain. Our results indicate that genomic instability in the absence of ATXR5/ATXR6-catalyzed histone H3 lysine 27 monomethylation in plants depends on H3.1, TSK, and DNA polymerase theta (Pol θ). This work reveals an H3.1-specific function during replication and a common strategy used in multicellular eukaryotes for regulating post-replicative chromatin maturation and TSK, which relies on histone monomethyltransferases and reading of the H3.1 variant.

+view abstract Science , PMID: 35298257