Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

Publications

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

Mice Deficient in Nucleoporin Nup210 Develop Peripheral T Cell Alterations.
van Nieuwenhuijze A, Burton O, Lemaitre P, Denton AE, Cascalho A, Goodchild RE, Malengier-Devlies B, Cauwe B, Linterman MA, Humblet-Baron S, Liston A

The nucleopore is an essential structure of the eukaryotic cell, regulating passage between the nucleus and cytoplasm. While individual functions of core nucleopore proteins have been identified, the role of other components, such as Nup210, are poorly defined. Here, through the use of an unbiased ENU mutagenesis screen for mutations effecting the peripheral T cell compartment, we identified a Nup210 mutation in a mouse strain with altered CD4/CD8 T cell ratios. Through the generation of Nup210 knockout mice we identified Nup210 as having a T cell-intrinsic function in the peripheral homeostasis of T cells. Remarkably, despite the deep evolutionary conservation of this key nucleopore complex member, no other major phenotypes developed, with viable and healthy knockout mice. These results identify Nup210 as an important nucleopore complex component for peripheral T cells, and raise further questions of why this nucleopore component shows deep evolutionary conservation despite seemingly redundant functions in most cell types.

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Frontiers in immunology, 9, 1664-3224, 2234, 2018

PMID: 30323813


Open Access

The Long Non-coding RNA Anticipates Foxp3 Expression in Regulatory T Cells.
Brajic A, Franckaert D, Burton O, Bornschein S, Calvanese AL, Demeyer S, Cools J, Dooley J, Schlenner S, Liston A

Mammalian genomes encode a plethora of long non-coding RNA (lncRNA). These transcripts are thought to regulate gene expression, influencing biological processes from development to pathology. Results from the few lncRNA that have been studied in the context of the immune system have highlighted potentially critical functions as network regulators. Here we explored the nature of the lncRNA transcriptome in regulatory T cells (Tregs), a subset of CD4 T cells required to establish and maintain immunological self-tolerance. The identified Treg lncRNA transcriptome showed distinct differences from that of non-regulatory CD4 T cells, with evidence of direct shaping of the lncRNA transcriptome by Foxp3, the master transcription factor driving the distinct mRNA profile of Tregs. Treg lncRNA changes were disproportionally reversed in the absence of Foxp3, with an enrichment for colocalisation with Foxp3 DNA binding sites, indicating a direct coordination of transcription by Foxp3 independent of the mRNA coordination function. We further identified a novel lncRNA , as a member of the core Treg lncRNA transcriptome. expression anticipates Foxp3 expression during Treg conversion, and -deficient mice show a mild delay in and peripheral Treg induction. These results implicate as part of the upstream cascade leading to Treg conversion, and may provide clues as to the nature of this process.

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Frontiers in immunology, 9, 1664-3224, 1989, 2018

PMID: 30319599


Open Access

Regulation of Placental Development and Its Impact on Fetal Growth-New Insights From Mouse Models.
Woods L, Perez-Garcia V, Hemberger M

The placenta is the chief regulator of nutrient supply to the growing embryo during gestation. As such, adequate placental function is instrumental for developmental progression throughout intrauterine development. One of the most common complications during pregnancy is insufficient growth of the fetus, a problem termed intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) that is most frequently rooted in a malfunctional placenta. Together with conventional gene targeting approaches, recent advances in screening mouse mutants for placental defects, combined with the ability to rapidly induce mutations and by CRISPR-Cas9 technology, has provided new insights into the contribution of the genome to normal placental development. Most importantly, these data have demonstrated that far more genes are required for normal placentation than previously appreciated. Here, we provide a summary of common types of placental defects in established mouse mutants, which will help us gain a better understanding of the genes impacting on human placentation. Based on a recent mouse mutant screen, we then provide examples on how these data can be mined to identify novel molecular hubs that may be critical for placental development. Given the close association between placental defects and abnormal cardiovascular and brain development, these functional nodes may also shed light onto the etiology of birth defects that co-occur with placental malformations. Taken together, recent insights into the regulation of mouse placental development have opened up new avenues for research that will promote the study of human pregnancy conditions, notably those based on defects in placentation that underlie the most common pregnancy pathologies such as IUGR and pre-eclampsia.

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Frontiers in endocrinology, 9, 1664-2392, 570, 2018

PMID: 30319550


Open Access

Transgenerational transmission of hedonic behaviors and metabolic phenotypes induced by maternal overnutrition.
Sarker G, Berrens R, von Arx J, Pelczar P, Reik W, Wolfrum C, Peleg-Raibstein D

Maternal overnutrition has been associated with increased susceptibility to develop obesity and neurological disorders later in life. Most epidemiological as well as experimental studies have focused on the metabolic consequences across generations following an early developmental nutritional insult. Recently, it has been shown that maternal high-fat diet (HFD) affects third-generation female body mass via the paternal lineage. We showed here that the offspring born to HFD ancestors displayed addictive-like behaviors as well as obesity and insulin resistance up to the third generation in the absence of any further exposure to HFD. These findings, implicate that the male germ line is a major player in transferring phenotypic traits. These behavioral and physiological alterations were paralleled by reduced striatal dopamine levels and increased dopamine 2 receptor density. Interestingly, by the third generation a clear gender segregation emerged, where females showed addictive-like behaviors while male HFD offspring showed an obesogenic phenotype. However, methylome profiling of F1 and F2 sperm revealed no significant difference between the offspring groups, suggesting that the sperm methylome might not be the major carrier for the transmission of the phenotypes observed in our mouse model. Together, our study for the first time demonstrates that maternal HFD insult causes sustained alterations of the mesolimbic dopaminergic system suggestive of a predisposition to develop obesity and addictive-like behaviors across multiple generations.

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Translational psychiatry, 8, 2158-3188, 195, 2018

PMID: 30315171


Open Access

Divergent wiring of repressive and active chromatin interactions between mouse embryonic and trophoblast lineages.
Schoenfelder S, Mifsud B, Senner CE, Todd CD, Chrysanthou S, Darbo E, Hemberger M, Branco MR

The establishment of the embryonic and trophoblast lineages is a developmental decision underpinned by dramatic differences in the epigenetic landscape of the two compartments. However, it remains unknown how epigenetic information and transcription factor networks map to the 3D arrangement of the genome, which in turn may mediate transcriptional divergence between the two cell lineages. Here, we perform promoter capture Hi-C experiments in mouse trophoblast (TSC) and embryonic (ESC) stem cells to understand how chromatin conformation relates to cell-specific transcriptional programmes. We find that key TSC genes that are kept repressed in ESCs exhibit interactions between H3K27me3-marked regions in ESCs that depend on Polycomb repressive complex 1. Interactions that are prominent in TSCs are enriched for enhancer-gene contacts involving key TSC transcription factors, as well as TET1, which helps to maintain the expression of TSC-relevant genes. Our work shows that the first developmental cell fate decision results in distinct chromatin conformation patterns establishing lineage-specific contexts involving both repressive and active interactions.

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Nature communications, 9, 2041-1723, 4189, 2018

PMID: 30305613


Open Access

Low levels of NMNAT2 compromise axon development and survival.
Gilley J, Mayer P, Yu G, Coleman MP

NMNAT2 is an endogenous axon maintenance factor that preserves axon health by blocking Wallerian-like axon degeneration. Mice lacking NMNAT2 die at birth with severe axon defects in both the PNS and CNS so a complete absence of NMNAT2 in humans is likely to be similarly harmful, but probably rare. However, there is evidence of widespread natural variation in human NMNAT2 mRNA expression so it is important to establish whether reduced levels of NMNAT2 have consequences that impact health. Whilst mice that express reduced levels of NMNAT2, either those heterozygous for a silenced Nmnat2 allele, or compound heterozygous for one silenced and one partially silenced Nmnat2 allele, remain overtly normal into old age, we now report that Nmnat2 compound heterozygote mice present with early and age-dependent peripheral nerve axon defects. Compound heterozygote mice already have reduced numbers of myelinated sensory axons at 1.5 months and lose more axons, likely motor axons, between 18 and 24 months and, crucially, these changes correlate with early temperature insensitivity and a later-onset decline in motor performance. Slower neurite outgrowth and increased sensitivity to axonal stress are also evident in primary cultures of Nmnat2 compound heterozygote superior cervical ganglion neurons. These data reveal that reducing NMNAT2 levels below a particular threshold compromises the development of peripheral axons and increases their vulnerability to stresses. We discuss the implications for human neurological phenotypes where axons are longer and have to be maintained over a much longer lifespan.

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Human molecular genetics, , 1460-2083, , 2018

PMID: 30304512


Enzymatic Assays of Histone Decrotonylation on Recombinant Histones.
Fellows R, Varga-Weisz P

Class I histone deacetylases (HDACs) are efficient histone decrotonylases, broadening the enzymatic spectrum of these important (epi-)genome regulators and drug targets. Here, we describe an approach to assaying class I HDACs with different acyl-histone substrates, including crotonylated histones and expand this to examine the effect of inhibitors and estimate kinetic constants.

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Bio-protocol, 8, 2331-8325, , 2018

PMID: 30283810


Open Access

Tri-methylation of histone H3 lysine 4 facilitates gene expression in ageing cells.
Cruz C, Della Rosa M, Krueger C, Gao Q, Horkai D, King M, Field L, Houseley J

Transcription of protein coding genes is accompanied by recruitment of COMPASS to promoter-proximal chromatin, which methylates histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4) to form H3K4me1, H3K4me2 and H3K4me3. Here, we determine the importance of COMPASS in maintaining gene expression across lifespan in budding yeast. We find that COMPASS mutations reduce replicative lifespan and cause expression defects in almost 500 genes. Although H3K4 methylation is reported to act primarily in gene repression, particularly in yeast, repressive functions are progressively lost with age while hundreds of genes become dependent on H3K4me3 for full expression. Basal and inducible expression of these genes is also impaired in young cells lacking COMPASS components Swd1 or Spp1. Gene induction during ageing is associated with increasing promoter H3K4me3, but H3K4me3 also accumulates in non-promoter regions and the ribosomal DNA. Our results provide clear evidence that H3K4me3 is required to maintain normal expression of many genes across organismal lifespan.

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eLife, 7, 2050-084X, , 2018

PMID: 30274593


Open Access

Insufficient IL-10 Production as a Mechanism Underlying the Pathogenesis of Systemic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.
Imbrechts M, Avau A, Vandenhaute J, Malengier-Devlies B, Put K, Mitera T, Berghmans N, Burton O, Junius S, Liston A, de Somer L, Wouters C, Matthys P

Systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA) is a childhood-onset immune disorder of unknown cause. One of the concepts is that the disease results from an inappropriate control of immune responses to an initially harmless trigger. In the current study, we investigated whether sJIA may be caused by defects in IL-10, a key cytokine in controlling inflammation. We used a translational approach, with an sJIA-like mouse model and sJIA patient samples. The sJIA mouse model relies on injection of CFA in IFN-γ-deficient BALB/c mice; corresponding wild type (WT) mice only develop a subtle and transient inflammatory reaction. Diseased IFN-γ-deficient mice showed a defective IL-10 production in CD4 regulatory T cells, CD19 B cells, and CD3CD122CD49b NK cells, with B cells as the major source of IL-10. In addition, neutralization of IL-10 in WT mice resulted in a chronic immune inflammatory disorder clinically and hematologically reminiscent of sJIA. In sJIA patients, IL-10 plasma levels were strikingly low as compared with proinflammatory mediators. Furthermore, CD19 B cells from sJIA patients showed a decreased IL-10 production, both ex vivo and after in vitro stimulation. In conclusion, IL-10 neutralization in CFA-challenged WT mice converts a transient inflammatory reaction into a chronic disease and represents an alternative model for sJIA in IFN-γ-competent mice. Cell-specific IL-10 defects were observed in sJIA mice and patients, together with an insufficient IL-10 production to counterbalance their proinflammatory cytokines. Our data indicate that a defective IL-10 production contributes to the pathogenesis of sJIA.

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Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 201, 1550-6606, 2654-2663, 2018

PMID: 30266771


CD151 regulates expression of FGFR2 in breast cancer cells via PKC-dependent pathways.
Sadej R, Lu X, Turczyk L, Novitskaya V, Lopez-Clavijo AF, Kordek R, Potemski P, Wakelam MJO, Romanska H, Berditchevski F

Expression of the tetraspanin CD151 is frequently upregulated in epithelial malignancies and correlates with poor prognosis. Here we report that CD151 is involved in regulation of the expression of fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2). Depletion of CD151 in breast cancer cells resulted in an increased level of FGFR2. Accordingly, an inverse correlation between CD151 and FGFR2 was observed in breast cancer tissues. CD151-dependent regulation of the FGFR2 expression relies on post-transcriptional mechanisms involving HuR/ELAVL1, a multifunctional RNA binding protein, and the assembly of processing bodies (P-bodies). Depletion of CD151 correlated with inhibition of PKC, a well-established downstream target of CD151. Accordingly, the levels of dialcylglycerol species were decreased in CD151-negative cells, and inhibition of PKC resulted in the increased expression of FGFR2. Whilst expression of FGFR2 itself did not correlate with any of the clinicopathological data, the FGFR2-/CD151+ patients are more likely to develop lymph node metastasis. Conversely, FGFR2-/CD151- patients demonstrated better overall survival. These results illustrate functional interdependency between CD151 complexes and FGFR2 and suggest a previously unsuspected role of CD151 in breast tumourigenesis.

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Journal of cell science, , 1477-9137, , 2018

PMID: 30257985


FastQ Screen: A tool for multi-genome mapping and quality control.
Wingett SW, Andrews S

DNA sequencing analysis typically involves mapping reads to just one reference genome. Mapping against multiple genomes is necessary, however, when the genome of origin requires confirmation. Mapping against multiple genomes is also advisable for detecting contamination or for identifying sample swaps which, if left undetected, may lead to incorrect experimental conclusions. Consequently, we present FastQ Screen, a tool to validate the origin of DNA samples by quantifying the proportion of reads that map to a panel of reference genomes. FastQ Screen is intended to be used routinely as a quality control measure and for analysing samples in which the origin of the DNA is uncertain or has multiple sources.

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F1000Research, 7, 2046-1402, 1338, 2018

PMID: 30254741


Open Access

Genome organization and chromatin analysis identify transcriptional downregulation of insulin-like growth factor signaling as a hallmark of aging in developing B cells.
Koohy H, Bolland DJ, Matheson LS, Schoenfelder S, Stellato C, Dimond A, Várnai C, Chovanec P, Chessa T, Denizot J, Manzano Garcia R, Wingett SW, Freire-Pritchett P, Nagano T, Hawkins P, Stephens L, Elderkin S, Spivakov M, Fraser P, Corcoran AE, Varga-Weisz PD

Aging is characterized by loss of function of the adaptive immune system, but the underlying causes are poorly understood. To assess the molecular effects of aging on B cell development, we profiled gene expression and chromatin features genome-wide, including histone modifications and chromosome conformation, in bone marrow pro-B and pre-B cells from young and aged mice.

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Genome biology, 19, 1474-760X, 126, 2018

PMID: 30180872


Open Access

Genetic regulation of antibody responsiveness to immunization in substrains of BALB/c mice.
Poyntz HC, Jones A, Jauregui R, Young W, Gestin A, Mooney A, Lamiable O, Altermann E, Schmidt A, Gasser O, Weyrich L, Jolly CJ, Linterman MA, Le Gros G, Hawkins ED, Forbes-Blom E

Antibody-mediated immunity is highly protective against disease. The majority of current vaccines confer protection through humoral immunity, but there is high variability in responsiveness across populations. Identifying immune mechanisms that mediate low antibody responsiveness may provide potential strategies to boost vaccine efficacy. Here, we report diverse antibody responsiveness to unadjuvanted as well as adjuvanted immunization in substrains of BALB/c mice, resulting in high and low antibody response phenotypes. Furthermore, these antibody phenotypes were not affected by changes in environmental factors such as the gut microbiota composition. Antigen-specific B cells following immunization had a marked difference in capability to class-switch, resulting in perturbed IgG isotype antibody production. In vitro, a B cell intrinsic defect in the regulation of class-switch recombination was identified in mice with low IgG antibody production. Whole genome sequencing identified polymorphisms associated with the magnitude of antibody produced, and we propose candidate genes that may regulate isotype class-switching capability. This study highlights that mice sourced from different vendors can have significantly altered humoral immune response profiles, and provides a resource to interrogate genetic regulators of antibody responsiveness. Together these results further our understanding of immune heterogeneity and suggest additional research on the genetic influences of adjuvanted vaccine strategies is warranted for enhancing vaccine efficacy. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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Immunology and cell biology, , 1440-1711, , 2018

PMID: 30152893


Targeting IKKβ in Cancer: Challenges and Opportunities for the Therapeutic Utilisation of IKKβ Inhibitors.
Prescott JA, Cook SJ

Deregulated NF-κB signalling is implicated in the pathogenesis of numerous human inflammatory disorders and malignancies. Consequently, the NF-κB pathway has attracted attention as an attractive therapeutic target for drug discovery. As the primary, druggable mediator of canonical NF-κB signalling the IKKβ protein kinase has been the historical focus of drug development pipelines. Thousands of compounds with activity against IKKβ have been characterised, with many demonstrating promising efficacy in pre-clinical models of cancer and inflammatory disease. However, severe on-target toxicities and other safety concerns associated with systemic IKKβ inhibition have thus far prevented the clinical approval of any IKKβ inhibitors. This review will discuss the potential reasons for the lack of clinical success of IKKβ inhibitors to date, the challenges associated with their therapeutic use, realistic opportunities for their future utilisation, and the alternative strategies to inhibit NF-κB signalling that may overcome some of the limitations associated with IKKβ inhibition.

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Cells, 7, 2073-4409, , 2018

PMID: 30142927


Open Access

ADA2 Deficiency Mimicking Idiopathic Multicentric Castleman Disease.
Van Nieuwenhove E, Humblet-Baron S, Van Eyck L, De Somer L, Dooley J, Tousseyn T, Hershfield M, Liston A, Wouters C

Multicentric Castleman disease (MCD) is a rare entity that, unlike unicentric Castleman disease, involves generalized polyclonal lymphoproliferation, systemic inflammation, and multiple-organ system failure resulting from proinflammatory hypercytokinemia, including, in particular, interleukin-6. A subset of MCD is caused by human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8), although the etiology for HHV-8-negative, idiopathic MCD (iMCD) cases is unknown at present. Recently, a consensus was reached on the diagnostic criteria for iMCD to aid in diagnosis, recognize mimics, and initiate prompt treatment. Pediatric iMCD remains particularly rare, and differentiation from MCD mimics in children presenting with systemic inflammation and lymphoproliferation is a challenge. We report on a young boy who presented with a HHV-8-negative, iMCD-like phenotype and was found to suffer from the monogenic disorder deficiency of adenosine deaminase 2 (DADA2), which is caused by loss-of-function mutations in DADA2 prototypic features include early-onset ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes, livedoid rash, systemic inflammation, and polyarteritis nodosa vasculopathy, but marked clinical heterogeneity has been observed. Our patient's presentation remains unique, with predominant systemic inflammation, lymphoproliferation, and polyclonal hypergammaglobulinemia but without apparent immunodeficiency. On the basis of the iMCD-like phenotype with elevated interleukin-6 expression, treatment with tocilizumab was initiated, resulting in immediate normalization of clinical and biochemical parameters. In conclusion, iMCD and DADA2 should be considered in the differential diagnosis of children presenting with systemic inflammation and lymphoproliferation. We describe the first case of DADA2 that mimics the clinicopathologic features of iMCD, and our report extends the clinical spectrum of DADA2 to include predominant immune activation and lymphoproliferation.

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Pediatrics, 142, 1098-4275, , 2018

PMID: 30139808


Paths to expansion: Differential requirements of IRF4 in CD8 T-cell expansion driven by antigen and homeostatic cytokines.
Lugli E, Brummelman J, Pilipow K, Roychoudhuri R

Interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4) regulates the clonal expansion and metabolic activity of activated T cells, but the precise context and mechanisms of its function in these processes are unclear. In this issue of the European Journal of Immunology, Miyakoda et al. [Eur. J. Immunol. 2018. 48: 1319-1328] show that IRF4 is required for activation and expansion of naïve and memory CD8 T cells driven by T-cell receptor (TCR) signaling, but dispensable for memory CD8 T-cell maintenance and homeostatic proliferation driven by homeostatic cytokines. The authors show that the function of IRF4 in CD8 T-cell expansion is partially dependent upon activation of the PI3K/AKT pathway through direct or indirect attenuation of PTEN expression. These data shed light upon the differential intracellular pathways required for naïve and memory T cells to respond to self-antigens and/or homeostatic cytokines, and highlight the potential translational relevance of these findings in the context of immune reconstitution such as following allogeneic stem cell transplantation.

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European journal of immunology, 48, 1521-4141, 1281-1284, 2018

PMID: 30133745


MS-based lipidomics of human blood plasma - a community-initiated position paper to develop accepted guidelines.
Burla B, Arita M, Arita M, Bendt AK, Cazenave-Gassiot A, Dennis EA, Ekroos K, Han X, Ikeda K, Liebisch G, Lin MK, Loh TP, Meikle PJ, Orešič M, Quehenberger O, Shevchenko A, Torta F, Wakelam MJO, Wheelock CE, Wenk MR

Human blood is a self-regenerating, lipid-rich biologic fluid that is routinely collected in hospital settings. The inventory of lipid molecules found in blood plasma (plasma lipidome) offers insights into individual metabolism and physiology in health and disease. Disturbances in lipid metabolism also occur in conditions that are not directly linked to lipid metabolism; therefore, plasma lipidomics based on mass spectrometry (MS) is an emerging tool in an array of clinical diagnostics and disease management. However, challenges exist in the translation of such lipidomic data to clinical applications. These relate to the reproducibility, accuracy, and precision of lipid quantitation, study design, sample handling, and data sharing. This position paper emerged from a workshop that initiated a community-led process to elaborate and define a set of generally accepted guidelines for quantitative MS-based lipidomics of blood plasma or serum, with harmonization of data acquired on different instrumentation platforms in independent laboratories across laboratories as an ultimate goal. We hope that other fields may benefit from and follow such a precedent.

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Journal of lipid research, , 1539-7262, , 2018

PMID: 30115755


Open Access

Transcriptome analysis of infected and bystander type 2 alveolar epithelial cells during influenza A virus infection reveals Wnt pathway downregulation.
Hancock AS, Stairiker CJ, Boesteanu AC, Monzón-Casanova E, Lukasiak S, Mueller YM, Stubbs AP, Garcia-Sastre A, Turner M, Katsikis PD

Influenza virus outbreaks remain a serious threat to public health. Greater understanding of how cells targeted by the virus respond to the infection can provide insight into the pathogenesis of disease. Here we examined the transcriptional profile of infected and uninfected type 2 alveolar epithelial cells (AEC) in the lungs of influenza virus infected mice. We show for the first time the unique gene expression profiles induced by the infection of AEC as well as the transcriptional response of uninfected bystander cells. This work allows us to distinguish the direct and indirect effects of infection at the cellular level. Transcriptome analysis revealed that although directly infected and bystander AEC from infected animals shared many transcriptome changes when compared to AEC from uninfected animals, directly infected cells compared to bystander uninfected AEC produce more interferon and express lower Wnt signaling associated transcripts, while concurrently expressing more transcripts associated with cell death pathways. The Wnt signaling pathway was downregulated in both infected AEC and infected human lung epithelial A549 cells. Wnt signaling did not affect type I and III interferon production by infected A549 cells. Our results reveal unique transcriptional changes that occur within infected AEC and show that influenza virus downregulates Wnt signaling. In light of recent findings that Wnt signaling is essential for lung epithelial stem cells, our findings reveal a mechanism by which influenza virus may affect host lung repair. Influenza virus infection remains a major public health problem. Utilizing a recombinant green fluorescent protein expressing influenza virus we compared the in vivo transcriptomes of directly infected and uninfected bystander cells from infected mouse lungs and discovered many pathways uniquely regulated in each population. The Wnt signaling pathway was downregulated in directly infected cells and was shown to affect virus but not interferon production. Our study is the first to discern the in vivo transcriptome changes induced by direct viral infection as compared to mere exposure to the lung inflammatory milieu and highlight the downregulation of Wnt signaling. This downregulation has important implications for understanding influenza virus pathogenesis as Wnt signaling is critical for lung epithelial stem cells and lung epithelial cell differentiation. Our findings reveal a mechanism by which influenza virus may affect host lung repair and suggest interventions that prevent damage or accelerate recovery of the lung.

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Journal of virology, , 1098-5514, , 2018

PMID: 30111569


C. elegans Eats Its Own Intestine to Make Yolk Leading to Multiple Senescent Pathologies.
Ezcurra M, Benedetto A, Sornda T, Gilliat AF, Au C, Zhang Q, van Schelt S, Petrache AL, Wang H, de la Guardia Y, Bar-Nun S, Tyler E, Wakelam MJ, Gems D

Aging (senescence) is characterized by the development of numerous pathologies, some of which limit lifespan. Key to understanding aging is discovery of the mechanisms (etiologies) that cause senescent pathology. In C. elegans, a major senescent pathology of unknown etiology is atrophy of its principal metabolic organ, the intestine. Here we identify a cause of not only this pathology but also of yolky lipid accumulation and redistribution (a form of senescent obesity): autophagy-mediated conversion of intestinal biomass into yolk. Inhibiting intestinal autophagy or vitellogenesis rescues both visceral pathologies and can also extend lifespan. This defines a disease syndrome leading to multimorbidity and contributing to late-life mortality. Activation of gut-to-yolk biomass conversion by insulin/IGF-1 signaling (IIS) promotes reproduction and senescence. This illustrates how major, IIS-promoted senescent pathologies in C. elegans can originate not from damage accumulation but from direct effects of futile, continued action of a wild-type biological program (vitellogenesis).

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Current biology : CB, , 1879-0445, , 2018

PMID: 30100339


Open Access

An avian foundation for dominant tolerance.
Liston A

Nature reviews. Immunology, 18, 1474-1741, 601, 2018

PMID: 30097638


PI3Kδ hyper-activation promotes development of B cells that exacerbate Streptococcus pneumoniae infection in an antibody-independent manner.
Stark AK, Chandra A, Chakraborty K, Alam R, Carbonaro V, Clark J, Sriskantharajah S, Bradley G, Richter AG, Banham-Hall E, Clatworthy MR, Nejentsev S, Hamblin JN, Hessel EM, Condliffe AM, Okkenhaug K

Streptococcus pneumoniae is a major cause of pneumonia and a leading cause of death world-wide. Antibody-mediated immune responses can confer protection against repeated exposure to S. pneumoniae, yet vaccines offer only partial protection. Patients with Activated PI3Kδ Syndrome (APDS) are highly susceptible to S. pneumoniae. We generated a conditional knock-in mouse model of this disease and identify a CD19B220 B cell subset that is induced by PI3Kδ signaling, resides in the lungs, and is correlated with increased susceptibility to S. pneumoniae during early phases of infection via an antibody-independent mechanism. We show that an inhaled PI3Kδ inhibitor improves survival rates following S. pneumoniae infection in wild-type mice and in mice with activated PI3Kδ. These results suggest that a subset of B cells in the lung can promote the severity of S. pneumoniae infection, representing a potential therapeutic target.

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Nature communications, 9, 2041-1723, 3174, 2018

PMID: 30093657


Open Access

Genome-Scale Oscillations in DNA Methylation during Exit from Pluripotency.
Rulands S, Lee HJ, Clark SJ, Angermueller C, Smallwood SA, Krueger F, Mohammed H, Dean W, Nichols J, Rugg-Gunn P, Kelsey G, Stegle O, Simons BD, Reik W

Pluripotency is accompanied by the erasure of parental epigenetic memory, with naïve pluripotent cells exhibiting global DNA hypomethylation both in vitro and in vivo. Exit from pluripotency and priming for differentiation into somatic lineages is associated with genome-wide de novo DNA methylation. We show that during this phase, co-expression of enzymes required for DNA methylation turnover, DNMT3s and TETs, promotes cell-to-cell variability in this epigenetic mark. Using a combination of single-cell sequencing and quantitative biophysical modeling, we show that this variability is associated with coherent, genome-scale oscillations in DNA methylation with an amplitude dependent on CpG density. Analysis of parallel single-cell transcriptional and epigenetic profiling provides evidence for oscillatory dynamics both in vitro and in vivo. These observations provide insights into the emergence of epigenetic heterogeneity during early embryo development, indicating that dynamic changes in DNA methylation might influence early cell fate decisions.

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Cell systems, , 2405-4712, , 2018

PMID: 30031774


Open Access

Promoter Capture Hi-C: High-resolution, Genome-wide Profiling of Promoter Interactions.
Schoenfelder S, Javierre BM, Furlan-Magaril M, Wingett SW, Fraser P

The three-dimensional organization of the genome is linked to its function. For example, regulatory elements such as transcriptional enhancers control the spatio-temporal expression of their target genes through physical contact, often bridging considerable (in some cases hundreds of kilobases) genomic distances and bypassing nearby genes. The human genome harbors an estimated one million enhancers, the vast majority of which have unknown gene targets. Assigning distal regulatory regions to their target genes is thus crucial to understand gene expression control. We developed Promoter Capture Hi-C (PCHi-C) to enable the genome-wide detection of distal promoter-interacting regions (PIRs), for all promoters in a single experiment. In PCHi-C, highly complex Hi-C libraries are specifically enriched for promoter sequences through in-solution hybrid selection with thousands of biotinylated RNA baits complementary to the ends of all promoter-containing restriction fragments. The aim is to then pull-down promoter sequences and their frequent interaction partners such as enhancers and other potential regulatory elements. After high-throughput paired-end sequencing, a statistical test is applied to each promoter-ligated restriction fragment to identify significant PIRs at the restriction fragment level. We have used PCHi-C to generate an atlas of long-range promoter interactions in dozens of human and mouse cell types. These promoter interactome maps have contributed to a greater understanding of mammalian gene expression control by assigning putative regulatory regions to their target genes and revealing preferential spatial promoter-promoter interaction networks. This information also has high relevance to understanding human genetic disease and the identification of potential disease genes, by linking non-coding disease-associated sequence variants in or near control sequences to their target genes.

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Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE, , 1940-087X, , 2018

PMID: 30010637


Open Access

Epigenetic regulation in development: is the mouse a good model for the human?
Hanna CW, Demond H, Kelsey G

Over the past few years, advances in molecular technologies have allowed unprecedented mapping of epigenetic modifications in gametes and during early embryonic development. This work is allowing a detailed genomic analysis, which for the first time can answer long-standing questions about epigenetic regulation and reprogramming, and highlights differences between mouse and human, the implications of which are only beginning to be explored.

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Human reproduction update, , 1460-2369, , 2018

PMID: 29992283


Open Access

Phenotype molding of stromal cells in the lung tumor microenvironment.
Lambrechts D, Wauters E, Boeckx B, Aibar S, Nittner D, Burton O, Bassez A, Decaluwé H, Pircher A, Van den Eynde K, Weynand B, Verbeken E, De Leyn P, Liston A, Vansteenkiste J, Carmeliet P, Aerts S, Thienpont B

Cancer cells are embedded in the tumor microenvironment (TME), a complex ecosystem of stromal cells. Here, we present a 52,698-cell catalog of the TME transcriptome in human lung tumors at single-cell resolution, validated in independent samples where 40,250 additional cells were sequenced. By comparing with matching non-malignant lung samples, we reveal a highly complex TME that profoundly molds stromal cells. We identify 52 stromal cell subtypes, including novel subpopulations in cell types hitherto considered to be homogeneous, as well as transcription factors underlying their heterogeneity. For instance, we discover fibroblasts expressing different collagen sets, endothelial cells downregulating immune cell homing and genes coregulated with established immune checkpoint transcripts and correlating with T-cell activity. By assessing marker genes for these cell subtypes in bulk RNA-sequencing data from 1,572 patients, we illustrate how these correlate with survival, while immunohistochemistry for selected markers validates them as separate cellular entities in an independent series of lung tumors. Hence, in providing a comprehensive catalog of stromal cells types and by characterizing their phenotype and co-optive behavior, this resource provides deeper insights into lung cancer biology that will be helpful in advancing lung cancer diagnosis and therapy.

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Nature medicine, 24, 1546-170X, 1277-1289, 2018

PMID: 29988129