Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health


The Babraham Institute Publications database contains details of all publications resulting from our research groups and scientific services.

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Title / Authors / Details Open Access Download

The transcription factor c-Myb regulates CD8 T cell stemness and antitumor immunity.
Gautam S, Fioravanti J, Zhu W, Le Gall JB, Brohawn P, Lacey NE, Hu J, Hocker JD, Hawk NV, Kapoor V, Telford WG, Gurusamy D, Yu Z, Bhandoola A, Xue HH, Roychoudhuri R, Higgs BW, Restifo NP, Bender TP, Ji Y, Gattinoni L

Stem cells are maintained by transcriptional programs that promote self-renewal and repress differentiation. Here, we found that the transcription factor c-Myb was essential for generating and maintaining stem cells in the CD8 T cell memory compartment. Following viral infection, CD8 T cells lacking Myb underwent terminal differentiation and generated fewer stem cell-like central memory cells than did Myb-sufficient T cells. c-Myb acted both as a transcriptional activator of Tcf7 (which encodes the transcription factor Tcf1) to enhance memory development and as a repressor of Zeb2 (which encodes the transcription factor Zeb2) to hinder effector differentiation. Domain-mutagenesis experiments revealed that the transactivation domain of c-Myb was necessary for restraining differentiation, whereas its negative regulatory domain was critical for cell survival. Myb overexpression enhanced CD8 T cell memory formation, polyfunctionality and recall responses that promoted curative antitumor immunity after adoptive transfer. These findings identify c-Myb as a pivotal regulator of CD8 T cell stemness and highlight its therapeutic potential.

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Nature immunology, 20, 1529-2916, 337-349, 2019

PMID: 30778251

A SUV39H1-low chromatin state characterises and promotes migratory properties of cervical cancer cells.
Rodrigues C, Pattabiraman C, Vijaykumar A, Arora R, Narayana SM, Kumar RV, Notani D, Varga-Weisz P, Krishna S

Metastatic progression is a major cause of mortality in cervical cancers, but factors regulating migratory and pre-metastatic cell populations remain poorly understood. Here, we sought to assess whether a SUV39H1-low chromatin state promotes migratory cell populations in cervical cancers, using meta-analysis of data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), immunohistochemistry, genomics and functional assays. Cervical cancer cells sorted based on migratory ability in vitro have low levels of SUV39H1 protein, and SUV39H1 knockdown in vitro enhanced cervical cancer cell migration. Further, TCGA SUV39H1-low tumours correlated with poor clinical outcomes and showed gene expression signatures of cell migration. SUV39H1 expression was examined within biopsies, and SUV39H1 cells within tumours also demonstrated migratory features. Next, to understand genome scale transcriptional and chromatin changes in migratory populations, cell populations sorted based on migration in vitro were examined using RNA-Seq, along with ChIP-Seq for H3K9me3, the histone mark associated with SUV39H1. Migrated populations showed SUV39H1-linked migratory gene expression signatures, along with broad depletion of H3K9me3 across gene promoters. We show for the first time that a SUV39H1-low chromatin state associates with, and promotes, migratory populations in cervical cancers. Our results posit SUV39H1-low cells as key populations for prognosis estimation and as targets for novel therapies.

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Experimental cell research, , 1090-2422, , 2019

PMID: 30772380

Open Access

Targeting PI3Kδ Function For Amelioration of Murine Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease.
Paz K, Flynn R, Du J, Tannheimer S, Johnson AJ, Dong S, Stark AK, Okkenhaug K, Panoskaltsis-Mortari A, Sage PT, Sharpe AH, Luznik L, Ritz J, Soiffer RJ, Cutler CS, Koreth J, Antin JH, Miklos DB, MacDonald KP, Hill GR, Maillard I, Serody JS, Murphy WJ, Munn DH, Feser C, Zaiken M, Vanhaesebroeck B, Turka LA, Byrd JC, Blazar BR

Chronic graft-versus-host disease is a leading cause of morbidity and mortality following allotransplant. Activated donor effector T-cells can differentiate into pathogenic T helper (Th)-17 cells and germinal center -promoting Tfollicular helper cells, resulting in cGVHD. Phosphoinositide-3-kinase-δ, a lipid kinase, is critical for activated T-cell survival, proliferation, differentiation, and metabolism. We demonstrate PI3Kδ activity in donor T-cells that become Tfhs is required for cGVHD in a non-sclerodermatous multi-organ system disease model that includes bronchiolitis obliterans, dependent upon GC B-cells, Tfhs, and counterbalanced by Tfollicular regulatory cells, each requiring PI3Kδ signaling for function and survival. Although B-cells rely on PI3Kδ pathway signaling and GC formation is disrupted resulting in a substantial decrease in Ig production, PI3Kδ kinase-dead mutant donor bone marrow derived GC B-cells still supported BO cGVHD generation. A PI3Kδ-specific inhibitor, compound GS-649443 that has superior potency to idelalisib while maintaining selectivity, reduced cGVHD in mice with active disease. In a Th1-dependent and Th17-associated scleroderma model, GS-649443 effectively treated mice with active cGVHD. These data provide a foundation for clinical trials of FDA-approved PI3Kδ inhibitors for cGVHD therapy in patients. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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American journal of transplantation : official journal of the American Society of Transplantation and the American Society of Transplant Surgeons, , 1600-6143, , 2019

PMID: 30748099

Combined single-cell profiling of expression and DNA methylation reveals splicing regulation and heterogeneity.
Linker SM, Urban L, Clark SJ, Chhatriwala M, Amatya S, McCarthy DJ, Ebersberger I, Vallier L, Reik W, Stegle O, Bonder MJ

Alternative splicing is a key regulatory mechanism in eukaryotic cells and increases the effective number of functionally distinct gene products. Using bulk RNA sequencing, splicing variation has been studied across human tissues and in genetically diverse populations. This has identified disease-relevant splicing events, as well as associations between splicing and genomic features, including sequence composition and conservation. However, variability in splicing between single cells from the same tissue or cell type and its determinants remains poorly understood.

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Genome biology, 20, 1474-760X, 30, 2019

PMID: 30744673

Open Access

Relative Frequencies of Alloantigen-Specific Helper CD4 T Cells and B Cells Determine Mode of Antibody-Mediated Allograft Rejection.
Alsughayyir J, Chhabra M, Qureshi MS, Mallik M, Ali JM, Gamper I, Moseley EL, Peacock S, Kosmoliaptsis V, Goddard MJ, Linterman MA, Motallebzadeh R, Pettigrew GJ

Humoral alloimmunity is now recognized as a major determinant of transplant outcome. MHC glycoprotein is considered a typical T-dependent antigen, but the nature of the T cell alloresponse that underpins alloantibody generation remains poorly understood. Here, we examine how the relative frequencies of alloantigen-specific B cells and helper CD4 T cells influence the humoral alloimmune response and how this relates to antibody-mediated rejection (AMR). An MHC-mismatched murine model of cardiac AMR was developed, in which T cell help for alloantibody responses in T cell deficient () C57BL/6 recipients against donor H-2K MHC class I alloantigen was provided by adoptively transferred "TCR75" CD4 T cells that recognize processed H-2K allopeptide via the indirect-pathway. Transfer of large numbers (5 × 10) of TCR75 CD4 T cells was associated with rapid development of robust class-switched anti-H-2K humoral alloimmunity and BALB/c heart grafts were rejected promptly (MST 9 days). Grafts were not rejected in T and B cell deficient recipients that were reconstituted with TCR75 CD4 T cells or in control (non-reconstituted) recipients, suggesting that the transferred TCR75 CD4 T cells were mediating graft rejection principally by providing help for effector alloantibody responses. In support, acutely rejecting BALB/c heart grafts exhibited hallmark features of acute AMR, with widespread complement C4d deposition, whereas cellular rejection was not evident. In addition, passive transfer of immune serum from rejecting mice to recipients resulted in eventual BALB/c heart allograft rejection (MST 20 days). Despite being long-lived, the alloantibody responses observed at rejection of the BALB/c heart grafts were predominantly generated by extrafollicular foci: splenic germinal center (GC) activity had not yet developed; IgG secreting cells were confined to the splenic red pulp and bridging channels; and, most convincingly, rapid graft rejection still occurred when recipients were reconstituted with similar numbers of TCR75 CD4 T cells that are genetically incapable of providing T follicular helper cell function for generating GC alloimmunity. Similarly, alloantibody responses generated in recipients reconstituted with smaller number of wild-type TCR75 CD4 T cells (10), although long-lasting, did not have a discernible extrafollicular component, and grafts were rejected much more slowly (MST 50 days). By modeling antibody responses to Hen Egg Lysozyme protein, we confirm that a high ratio of antigen-specific helper T cells to B cells favors development of the extrafollicular response, whereas GC activity is favored by a relatively high ratio of B cells. In summary, a relative abundance of helper CD4 T cells favors development of strong extrafollicular alloantibody responses that mediate acute humoral rejection, without requirement for GC activity. This work is composed of two parts, of which this is Part I. Please read also Part II: Chhabra et al., 2019.

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Frontiers in immunology, 9, 1664-3224, 3039, 2018

PMID: 30740108

Open Access

Germinal Center Alloantibody Responses Mediate Progression of Chronic Allograft Injury.
Chhabra M, Alsughayyir J, Qureshi MS, Mallik M, Ali JM, Gamper I, Moseley EL, Peacock S, Kosmoliaptsis V, Goddard MJ, Linterman MA, Motallebzadeh R, Pettigrew GJ

Different profiles of alloantibody responses are observed in the clinic, with those that persist, often despite targeted treatment, associated with poorer long-term transplant outcomes. Although such responses would suggest an underlying germinal center (GC) response, the relationship to cellular events within the allospecific B cell population is unclear. Here we examine the contribution of germinal center (GC) humoral alloimmunity to chronic antibody mediated rejection (AMR). A murine model of chronic AMR was developed in which T cell deficient () C57BL/6 recipients were challenged with MHC-mismatched BALB/c heart allografts and T cell help provided by reconstituting with 10 "TCR75" CD4 T cells that recognize self-restricted allopeptide derived from the H-2K MHC class I alloantigen. Reconstituted recipients developed Ig-switched anti-K alloantibody responses that were slow to develop, but long-lived, with confocal immunofluorescence and flow cytometric characterization of responding H-2K-allospecific B cells confirming persistent splenic GC activity. This was associated with T follicular helper (T) cell differentiation of the transferred TCR75 CD4 T cells. Heart grafts developed progressive allograft vasculopathy, and were rejected chronically (MST 50 days), with explanted allografts displaying features of humoral vascular rejection. Critically, late alloantibody responses were abolished, and heart grafts survived indefinitely, in recipients reconstituted with TCR75 CD4 T cells that were genetically incapable of providing T cell function. The GC response was associated with affinity maturation of the anti-K alloantibody response, and its contribution to progression of allograft vasculopathy related principally to secretion of alloantibody, rather than to enhanced alloreactive T cell priming, because grafts survived long-term when B cells could present alloantigen, but not secrete alloantibody. Similarly, sera sampled at late time points from chronically-rejecting recipients induced more vigorous donor endothelial responses than sera sampled earlier after transplantation. In summary, our results suggest that chronic AMR and progression of allograft vasculopathy is dependent upon allospecific GC activity, with critical help provided by T cells. Clinical strategies that target the T cell subset may hold therapeutic potential. This work is composed of two parts, of which this is Part II. Please read also Part I: Alsughayyir et al., 2019.

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Frontiers in immunology, 9, 1664-3224, 3038, 2018

PMID: 30728823

Open Access

Type I interferon induces CXCL13 to support ectopic germinal center formation.
Denton AE, Innocentin S, Carr EJ, Bradford BM, Lafouresse F, Mabbott NA, Mörbe U, Ludewig B, Groom JR, Good-Jacobson KL, Linterman MA

Ectopic lymphoid structures form in a wide range of inflammatory conditions, including infection, autoimmune disease, and cancer. In the context of infection, this response can be beneficial for the host: influenza A virus infection-induced pulmonary ectopic germinal centers give rise to more broadly cross-reactive antibody responses, thereby generating cross-strain protection. However, despite the ubiquity of ectopic lymphoid structures and their role in both health and disease, little is known about the mechanisms by which inflammation is able to convert a peripheral tissue into one that resembles a secondary lymphoid organ. Here, we show that type I IFN produced after viral infection can induce CXCL13 expression in a phenotypically distinct population of lung fibroblasts, driving CXCR5-dependent recruitment of B cells and initiating ectopic germinal center formation. This identifies type I IFN as a novel inducer of CXCL13, which, in combination with other stimuli, can promote lung remodeling, converting a nonlymphoid tissue into one permissive to functional tertiary lymphoid structure formation.

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The Journal of experimental medicine, , 1540-9538, , 2019

PMID: 30723095

Frontline Science: TNF-α and GM-CSF1 priming augments the role of SOS1/2 in driving activation of Ras, PI3K-γ, and neutrophil proinflammatory responses.
Suire S, Baltanas FC, Segonds-Pichon A, Davidson K, Santos E, Hawkins PT, Stephens LR

Circulating neutrophils are, by necessity, quiescent and relatively unresponsive to acute stimuli. In regions of inflammation, mediators can prime neutrophils to react to acute stimuli with stronger proinflammatory, pathogen-killing responses. In neutrophils G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR)-driven proinflammatory responses, such as reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation and accumulation of the key intracellular messenger phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-trisphosphate (PIP ), are highly dependent on PI3K-γ, a Ras-GTP, and Gβγ coincidence detector. In unprimed cells, the major GPCR-triggered activator of Ras is the Ras guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF), Ras guanine nucleotide releasing protein 4 (RasGRP4). Although priming is known to increase GPCR-PIP signaling, the mechanisms underlying this augmentation remain unclear. We used genetically modified mice to address the role of the 2 RasGEFs, RasGRP4 and son of sevenless (SOS)1/2, in neutrophil priming. We found that following GM-CSF/TNFα priming, RasGRP4 had only a minor role in the enhanced responses. In contrast, SOS1/2 acquired a substantial role in ROS formation, PIP accumulation, and ERK activation in primed cells. These results suggest that SOS1/2 signaling plays a key role in determining the responsiveness of neutrophils in regions of inflammation.

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Journal of leukocyte biology, , 1938-3673, , 2019

PMID: 30720883

Open Access

The PI3K p110δ Isoform Inhibitor Idelalisib Preferentially Inhibits Human Regulatory T Cell Function.
Chellappa S, Kushekhar K, Munthe LA, Tjønnfjord GE, Aandahl EM, Okkenhaug K, Taskén K

In chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), signaling through several prosurvival B cell surface receptors activates the PI3K signaling pathway. Idelalisib is a highly selective PI3K (PI3Kδ) isoform-specific inhibitor effective in relapsed/refractory CLL and follicular lymphoma. However, severe autoimmune adverse effects in association with the use of idelalisib in the treatment of CLL, particularly as a first-line therapy, gave indications that idelalisib may preferentially target the suppressive function of regulatory T cells (Tregs). On this background, we examined the effect of idelalisib on the function of human Tregs ex vivo with respect to proliferation, TCR signaling, phenotype, and suppressive function. Our results show that human Tregs are highly susceptible to PI3Kδ inactivation using idelalisib compared with CD4 and CD8 effector T cells (Teffs) as evident from effects on anti-CD3/CD28/CD2-induced proliferation (order of susceptibility [IC]: Treg [.5 μM] > CD4 Teff [2.0 μM] > CD8 Teff [6.5 μM]) and acting at the level of AKT and NF-κB phosphorylation. Moreover, idelalisib treatment of Tregs altered their phenotype and reduced their suppressive function against CD4 and CD8 Teffs. Phenotyping Tregs from CLL patients treated with idelalisib supported our in vitro findings. Collectively, our data show that human Tregs are more dependent on PI3Kδ-mediated signaling compared with CD4 and CD8 Teffs. This Treg-preferential effect could explain why idelalisib produces adverse autoimmune effects by breaking Treg-mediated tolerance. However, balancing effects on Treg sensitivity versus CD8 Teff insensitivity to idelalisib could still potentially be exploited to enhance inherent antitumor immune responses in patients.

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Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), , 1550-6606, , 2019

PMID: 30692213

Dppa2 and Dppa4 directly regulate the Dux-driven zygotic transcriptional program.
Eckersley-Maslin M, Alda-Catalinas C, Blotenburg M, Kreibich E, Krueger C, Reik W

The molecular regulation of zygotic genome activation (ZGA) in mammals remains an exciting area of research. Primed mouse embryonic stem cells contain a rare subset of "2C-like" cells that are epigenetically and transcriptionally similar to the two-cell embryo and thus represent an in vitro approximation for studying ZGA transcription regulation. Recently, the transcription factor Dux, expressed in the minor wave of ZGA, was described to activate many downstream ZGA transcripts. However, it remains unknown what upstream maternal factors initiate ZGA in either a Dux-dependent or Dux-independent manner. Here we performed a candidate-based overexpression screen, identifying, among others, developmental pluripotency-associated 2 (Dppa2) and Dppa4 as positive regulators of 2C-like cells and transcription of ZGA genes. In the germline, promoter DNA demethylation coincides with expression of Dppa2 and Dppa4, which remain expressed until embryonic day 7.5 (E7.5), when their promoters are remethylated. Furthermore, Dppa2 and Dppa4 are also expressed during induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) reprogramming at the time that 2C-like transcription transiently peaks. Through a combination of overexpression, knockdown, knockout, and rescue experiments together with transcriptional analyses, we show that Dppa2 and Dppa4 directly regulate the 2C-like cell population and associated transcripts, including Dux and the Zscan4 cluster. Importantly, we teased apart the molecular hierarchy in which the 2C-like transcriptional program is initiated and stabilized. Dppa2 and Dppa4 require Dux to initiate 2C-like transcription, suggesting that they act upstream by directly regulating Dux. Supporting this, ChIP-seq (chromatin immunoprecipitation [ChIP] combined with high-throughput sequencing) analysis revealed that Dppa2 and Dppa4 bind to the Dux promoter and gene body and drive its expression. Zscan4c is also able to induce 2C-like cells in wild-type cells but, in contrast to Dux, can no longer do so in Dppa2/4 double-knockout cells, suggesting that it may act to stabilize rather than drive the transcriptional network. Our findings suggest a model in which Dppa2/4 binding to the Dux promoter leads to Dux up-regulation and activation of the 2C-like transcriptional program, which is subsequently reinforced by Zscan4c.

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Genes & development, 33, 1549-5477, 194-208, 2019

PMID: 30692203

Open Access

Transcriptional Heterogeneity in Naive and Primed Human Pluripotent Stem Cells at Single-Cell Resolution.
Messmer T, von Meyenn F, Savino A, Santos F, Mohammed H, Lun ATL, Marioni JC, Reik W

Conventional human embryonic stem cells are considered to be primed pluripotent but can be induced to enter a naive state. However, the transcriptional features associated with naive and primed pluripotency are still not fully understood. Here we used single-cell RNA sequencing to characterize the differences between these conditions. We observed that both naive and primed populations were mostly homogeneous with no clear lineage-related structure and identified an intermediate subpopulation of naive cells with primed-like expression. We found that the naive-primed pluripotency axis is preserved across species, although the timing of the transition to a primed state is species specific. We also identified markers for distinguishing human naive and primed pluripotency as well as strong co-regulatory relationships between lineage markers and epigenetic regulators that were exclusive to naive cells. Our data provide valuable insights into the transcriptional landscape of human pluripotency at a cellular and genome-wide resolution.

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Cell reports, 26, 2211-1247, 815-824.e4, 2019

PMID: 30673604

Data regarding transplant induced germinal center humoral autoimmunity.
Qureshi MS, Alsughayyir J, Chhabra M, Ali JM, Goddard MJ, Devine C, Conlon TM, Linterman MA, Motallebzadeh R, Pettigrew GJ

This data is related to the research article entitled "Germinal center humoral autoimmunity independently mediates progression of allograft vasculopathy" (Harper et al., 2016) [2]. The data presented here focuses on the humoral autoimmune response triggered by transferred allogeneic CD4 T cells and includes details on: (a) the recipient splenic germinal center (GC) response; (b) augmentation of humoral autoimmunity and accelerated heart allograft rejection following transplantation from donors primed against recipient; (c) flow cytometric analysis of donor and recipient CD4 T cells for signature markers of T follicular helper cell differentiation; (d) donor endothelial cell migration in response to column purified autoantibody from recipient sera; (e) analysis of development of humoral responses in recipients following adoptive transfer of donor CD4 T cells and; (f) the development of humoral autoimmunity in mixed haematopoietic chimeric mice.

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Data in brief, 22, 2352-3409, 647-657, 2019

PMID: 30671513

Open Access

The circadian clock components BMAL1 and REV-ERBα regulate flavivirus replication.
Zhuang X, Magri A, Hill M, Lai AG, Kumar A, Rambhatla SB, Donald CL, Lopez-Clavijo AF, Rudge S, Pinnick K, Chang WH, Wing PAC, Brown R, Qin X, Simmonds P, Baumert TF, Ray D, Loudon A, Balfe P, Wakelam M, Butterworth S, Kohl A, Jopling CL, Zitzmann N, McKeating JA

The circadian clock regulates immune responses to microbes and affects pathogen replication, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are not well understood. Here we demonstrate that the circadian components BMAL1 and REV-ERBα influence several steps in the hepatitis C virus (HCV) life cycle, including particle entry into hepatocytes and RNA genome replication. Genetic knock out of Bmal1 and over-expression or activation of REV-ERB with synthetic agonists inhibits the replication of HCV and the related flaviruses dengue and Zika via perturbation of lipid signaling pathways. This study highlights a role for the circadian clock component REV-ERBα in regulating flavivirus replication.

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Nature communications, 10, 2041-1723, 377, 2019

PMID: 30670689

Open Access

Prospective study evaluating immune-mediated mechanisms and predisposing factors underlying persistent postinfectious abdominal complaints.
Florens MV, Van Wanrooy S, Dooley J, Aguilera-Lizarraga J, Vanbrabant W, Wouters MM, Van Oudenhove L, Peetermans WE, Liston A, Boeckxstaens GE

The role of persistent immune activation in postinfectious irritable bowel syndrome (PI-IBS) remains controversial. Here, we prospectively studied healthy subjects traveling to destinations with a high-risk to develop infectious gastroenteritis (IGE) in order to identify immune-mediated mechanisms and risk factors of PI-IBS.

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Neurogastroenterology and motility : the official journal of the European Gastrointestinal Motility Society, 31, 1365-2982, e13542, 2019

PMID: 30657233

LIPID MAPS: Serving the next generation of lipid researchers with tools, resources, data, and training.
O'Donnell VB, Dennis EA, Wakelam MJO, Subramaniam S

Lipids are increasingly recognized as dynamic, critical metabolites affecting human physiology and pathophysiology. LIPID MAPS is a free resource dedicated to serving the lipid research community.

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Science signaling, 12, 1937-9145, , 2019

PMID: 30622195

Imaging Noncanonical Autophagy and LC3-Associated Phagocytosis in Cultured Cells.
Jacquin E, Fletcher K, Florey O

Monitoring of ATG8 proteins by western blotting and immunofluorescence microscopy are the most common methods to monitor the autophagy pathway. However, it has recently been shown that ATG8 proteins can be lipidated to non-autophagosome, single-membrane compartments through a noncanonical autophagy pathway. This is commonly found to occur during macro-endocytic processes such as phagocytosis, where it has been termed LC3-associated phagocytosis, and upon lysosomotropic drug treatment. Therefore, care is required when interpreting data based on ATG8 in order to conclude whether a signal relates to the canonical or noncanonical pathway. Here we provide methods to monitor noncanonical autophagy through fluorescence microscopy.

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Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 1880, 1940-6029, 295-303, 2019

PMID: 30610705

The non-canonical SMC protein SmcHD1 antagonises TAD formation and compartmentalisation on the inactive X chromosome.
Gdula MR, Nesterova TB, Pintacuda G, Godwin J, Zhan Y, Ozadam H, McClellan M, Moralli D, Krueger F, Green CM, Reik W, Kriaucionis S, Heard E, Dekker J, Brockdorff N

The inactive X chromosome (Xi) in female mammals adopts an atypical higher-order chromatin structure, manifested as a global loss of local topologically associated domains (TADs), A/B compartments and formation of two mega-domains. Here we demonstrate that the non-canonical SMC family protein, SmcHD1, which is important for gene silencing on Xi, contributes to this unique chromosome architecture. Specifically, allelic mapping of the transcriptome and epigenome in SmcHD1 mutant cells reveals the appearance of sub-megabase domains defined by gene activation, CpG hypermethylation and depletion of Polycomb-mediated H3K27me3. These domains, which correlate with sites of SmcHD1 enrichment on Xi in wild-type cells, additionally adopt features of active X chromosome higher-order chromosome architecture, including A/B compartments and partial restoration of TAD boundaries. Xi chromosome architecture changes also occurred following SmcHD1 knockout in a somatic cell model, but in this case, independent of Xi gene derepression. We conclude that SmcHD1 is a key factor in defining the unique chromosome architecture of Xi.

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Nature communications, 10, 2041-1723, 30, 2019

PMID: 30604745

Over-expressed, N-terminally truncated BRAF is detected in the nucleus of cells with nuclear phosphorylated MEK and ERK.
Hey F, Andreadi C, Noble C, Patel B, Jin H, Kamata T, Straatman K, Luo J, Balmanno K, Jones DTW, Collins VP, Cook SJ, Caunt CJ, Pritchard C

BRAF is a cytoplasmic protein kinase, which activates the MEK-ERK signalling pathway. Deregulation of the pathway is associated with the presence of mutations in human cancer, the most common being , although structural rearrangements, which remove N-terminal regulatory sequences, have also been reported. RAF-MEK-ERK signalling is normally thought to occur in the cytoplasm of the cell. However, in an investigation of BRAF localisation using fluorescence microscopy combined with subcellular fractionation of Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP)-tagged proteins expressed in NIH3T3 cells, surprisingly, we detected N-terminally truncated BRAF (ΔBRAF) in both nuclear and cytoplasmic compartments. In contrast, ΔCRAF and full-length, wild-type BRAF (BRAF) were detected at lower levels in the nucleus while full-length BRAF was virtually excluded from this compartment. Similar results were obtained using ΔBRAF tagged with the hormone-binding domain of the oestrogen receptor (hbER) and with the KIAA1549-ΔBRAF translocation mutant found in human pilocytic astrocytomas. Here we show that GFP-ΔBRAF nuclear translocation does not involve a canonical Nuclear Localisation Signal (NLS), but is suppressed by N-terminal sequences. Nuclear GFP-ΔBRAF retains MEK/ERK activating potential and is associated with the accumulation of phosphorylated MEK and ERK in the nucleus. In contrast, full-length GFP-BRAF and GFP-BRAF are associated with the accumulation of phosphorylated ERK but not phosphorylated MEK in the nucleus. These data have implications for cancers bearing single nucleotide variants or N-terminal deleted structural variants of .

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Heliyon, 4, 2405-8440, e01065, 2018

PMID: 30603699

Identifying cis Elements for Spatiotemporal Control of Mammalian DNA Replication.
Sima J, Chakraborty A, Dileep V, Michalski M, Klein KN, Holcomb NP, Turner JL, Paulsen MT, Rivera-Mulia JC, Trevilla-Garcia C, Bartlett DA, Zhao PA, Washburn BK, Nora EP, Kraft K, Mundlos S, Bruneau BG, Ljungman M, Fraser P, Ay F, Gilbert DM

The temporal order of DNA replication (replication timing [RT]) is highly coupled with genome architecture, but cis-elements regulating either remain elusive. We created a series of CRISPR-mediated deletions and inversions of a pluripotency-associated topologically associating domain (TAD) in mouse ESCs. CTCF-associated domain boundaries were dispensable for RT. CTCF protein depletion weakened most TAD boundaries but had no effect on RT or A/B compartmentalization genome-wide. By contrast, deletion of three intra-TAD CTCF-independent 3D contact sites caused a domain-wide early-to-late RT shift, an A-to-B compartment switch, weakening of TAD architecture, and loss of transcription. The dispensability of TAD boundaries and the necessity of these "early replication control elements" (ERCEs) was validated by deletions and inversions at additional domains. Our results demonstrate that discrete cis-regulatory elements orchestrate domain-wide RT, A/B compartmentalization, TAD architecture, and transcription, revealing fundamental principles linking genome structure and function.

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Cell, , 1097-4172, , 2018

PMID: 30595451

IFN-γ and CD25 drive distinct pathologic features during hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis.
Humblet-Baron S, Franckaert D, Dooley J, Ailal F, Bousfiha A, Deswarte C, Oleaga-Quintas C, Casanova JL, Bustamante J, Liston A

Inflammatory activation of CD8 T cells can, when left unchecked, drive severe immunopathology. Hyperstimulation of CD8 T cells through a broad set of triggering signals can precipitate hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH), a life-threatening systemic inflammatory disorder.

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The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, , 1097-6825, , 2018

PMID: 30578871

NFIL3 mutations alter immune homeostasis and sensitise for arthritis pathology.
Schlenner S, Pasciuto E, Lagou V, Burton O, Prezzemolo T, Junius S, Roca CP, Seillet C, Louis C, Dooley J, Luong K, Van Nieuwenhove E, Wicks IP, Belz G, Humblet-Baron S, Wouters C, Liston A

is a key immunological transcription factor, with knockout mice studies identifying functional roles in multiple immune cell types. Despite the importance of NFIL3, little is known about its function in humans.

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Annals of the rheumatic diseases, 78, 1468-2060, 342-349, 2019

PMID: 30552177

Open Access

A robust pipeline with high replication rate for detection of somatic variants in the adaptive immune system as a source of common genetic variation in autoimmune disease.
Van Horebeek L, Hilven K, Mallants K, Van Nieuwenhuijze A, Kelkka T, Savola P, Mustjoki S, Schlenner SM, Liston A, Dubois B, Goris A

The role of somatic variants in diseases beyond cancer is increasingly being recognized, with potential roles in autoinflammatory and autoimmune diseases. However, as mutation rates and allele fractions are lower, studies in these diseases are substantially less tolerant of false positives and bio-informatics algorithms require high replication rates. We developed a pipeline combining two variant callers, MuTect2 and VarScan2, with technical filtering and prioritization. Our pipeline detects somatic variants with allele fractions as low as 0.5% and achieves a replication rate >55%. Validation in an independent dataset demonstrates excellent performance (sensitivity >57%, specificity >98%, replication rate >80%). We applied this pipeline to the autoimmune disease multiple sclerosis (MS) as a proof-of-principle. We demonstrate that 60% of MS patients carry 2-10 exonic somatic variants in their peripheral blood T and B cells, with the vast majority (80%) occurring in T cells and variants persisting over time. Synonymous variants significantly co-occur with nonsynonymous variants. Systematic characterization indicates somatic variants are enriched for being novel or very rare in public databases of germline variants and trend towards being more damaging and conserved, as reflected by higher CADD and GERP scores. Our pipeline and proof-of-principle now warrant further investigation of common somatic genetic variation on top of inherited genetic variation in the context of autoimmune disease, where it may offer subtle survival advantages to immune cells and contribute to the capacity of these cells to participate in the autoimmune reaction.

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Human molecular genetics, , 1460-2083, , 2018

PMID: 30541027

Germinal center humoral autoimmunity independently mediates progression of allograft vasculopathy.
Qureshi MS, Alsughayyir J, Chhabra M, Ali JM, Goddard MJ, Devine C, Conlon TM, Linterman MA, Motallebzadeh R, Pettigrew GJ

The development of humoral autoimmunity following organ transplantation is increasingly recognised, but of uncertain significance. We examine whether autoimmunity contributes independently to allograft rejection. In a MHC class II-mismatched murine model of chronic humoral rejection, we report that effector antinuclear autoantibody responses were initiated upon graft-versus-host allorecognition of recipient B cells by donor CD4 T-cells transferred within heart allografts. Consequently, grafts were rejected more rapidly, and with markedly augmented autoantibody responses, upon transplantation of hearts from donors previously primed against recipient. Nevertheless, rejection was dependent upon recipient T follicular helper (T) cell differentiation and provision of cognate (peptide-specific) help for maintenance as long-lived GC reactions, which diversified to encompass responses against vimentin autoantigen. Heart grafts transplanted into stable donor/recipient mixed haematopoietic chimeras, or from parental strain donors into F1 recipients (neither of which can trigger host adaptive alloimmune responses), nevertheless provoked GC autoimmunity and were rejected chronically, with rejection similarly dependent upon host T cell differentiation. Thus, autoantibody responses contribute independently of host adaptive alloimmunity to graft rejection, but require host T cell differentiation to maintain long-lived GC responses. The demonstration that one population of helper CD4 T-cells initiates humoral autoimmunity, but that a second population of T cells is required for its maintenance as a GC reaction, has important implications for how autoimmune-related phenomena manifest.

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Journal of autoimmunity, , 1095-9157, , 2018

PMID: 30528910

The RNA-binding proteins Zfp36l1 and Zfp36l2 act redundantly in myogenesis.
Bye-A-Jee H, Pugazhendhi D, Woodhouse S, Brien P, Watson R, Turner M, Pell J

Members of the ZFP36 family of RNA-binding proteins regulate gene expression post-transcriptionally by binding to AU-rich elements in the 3'UTR of mRNA and stimulating mRNA degradation. The proteins within this family target different transcripts in different tissues. In particular, ZFP36 targets myogenic transcripts and may have a role in adult muscle stem cell quiescence. Our study examined the requirement of ZFP36L1 and ZFP36L2 in adult muscle cell fate regulation.

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Skeletal muscle, 8, 2044-5040, 37, 2018

PMID: 30526691

Open Access

Biosynthesis of histone messenger RNA employs a specific 3' end endonuclease.
Pettinati I, Grzechnik P, Ribeiro de Almeida C, Brem J, McDonough MA, Dhir S, Proudfoot NJ, Schofield CJ

Replication-dependent (RD) core histone mRNA produced during S-phase is the only known metazoan protein-coding mRNA presenting a 3' stem-loop instead of the otherwise universal polyA tail. A metallo β-lactamase (MBL) fold enzyme, cleavage and polyadenylation specificity factor 73 (CPSF73), is proposed to be the sole endonuclease responsible for 3' end processing of both mRNA classes. We report cellular, genetic, biochemical, substrate selectivity, and crystallographic studies providing evidence that an additional endoribonuclease, MBL domain containing protein 1 (MBLAC1), is selective for 3' processing of RD histone pre-mRNA during the S-phase of the cell cycle. Depletion of MBLAC1 in cells significantly affects cell cycle progression thus identifying MBLAC1 as a new type of S-phase-specific cancer target.

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eLife, 7, 2050-084X, , 2018

PMID: 30507380

Open Access