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.

Mau KHT, Karimlou D, Barneda D, Brochard V, Royer C, Leeke B, de Souza RA, Pailles M, Percharde M, Srinivas S, Jouneau A, Christian M, Azuara V Signalling

Mammalian pre-implantation embryos accumulate substantial lipids, which are stored in lipid droplets (LDs). Despite the fundamental roles of lipids in many cellular functions, the significance of building-up LDs for the developing embryo remains unclear. Here we report that the accumulation and mobilization of LDs upon implantation are causal in the morphogenesis of the pluripotent epiblast and generation of the pro-amniotic cavity in mouse embryos, a critical step for all subsequent development. We show that the CIDEA protein, found abundantly in adipocytes, enhances lipid storage in blastocysts and pluripotent stem cells by promoting LD enlargement through fusion. The LD-stored lipids are mobilized into lysosomes at the onset of lumenogenesis, but without CIDEA are prematurely degraded by cytosolic lipases. Loss of lipid storage or inactivation of lipophagy leads to the aberrant formation of multiple cavities within disorganised epithelial structures. Thus, our study reveals an unexpected role for LDs in orchestrating tissue remodelling and uncovers underappreciated facets of lipid metabolism in peri-implantation development.

+view abstract Nature communications , PMID: 35790717

Barneda D, Janardan V, Niewczas I, Collins DM, Cosulich S, Clark J, Stephens LR, Hawkins PT Signalling , Biological Chemistry

Phosphoinositides (PIPn) in mammalian tissues are enriched in the stearoyl/arachidonoyl acyl chain species ("C38:4"), but its functional significance is unclear. We have used metabolic tracers (isotopologues of inositol, glucose and water) to study PIPn synthesis in cell lines in which this enrichment is preserved to differing relative extents. We show that PIs synthesised from glucose are initially enriched in shorter/more saturated acyl chains, but then rapidly remodelled towards the C38:4 species. PIs are also synthesised by a distinct 're-cycling pathway', which utilises existing precursors and exhibits substantial selectivity for the synthesis of C38:4-PA and -PI. This re-cycling pathway is rapidly stimulated during receptor activation of phospholipase-C, both allowing the retention of the C38:4 backbone and the close coupling of PIPn consumption to its resynthesis, thus maintaining pool sizes. These results suggest that one property of the specific acyl chain composition of PIPn is that of a molecular code, to facilitate 'metabolic channelling' from PIP2 to PI via pools of intermediates (DG, PA and CDP-DG) common to other lipid metabolic pathways.

+view abstract The EMBO journal , PMID: 35771169

Menon G, Howard M Epigenetics

The maintenance of transcriptional states regulated by histone modifications and controlled switching between these states are fundamental concepts in our understanding of nucleosome-mediated epigenetic memory. Any approach relying on genome-wide bioinformatic analyses alone offers limited scope for dissecting the molecular mechanisms involved in maintenance and switching. Mechanistic mathematical models-describing the dynamics of histone modifications at individual genomic loci-offer an alternative way to investigate these mechanisms. These models, in conjunction with quantitative experimental data-ChIP data, quantification of mRNA levels, and single-cell fluorescence tracking in clonal lineages-can generate predictions that drive more targeted experiments, allowing us to understand mechanisms that would be challenging to unravel by a purely experimental approach. In this chapter, we describe a generic stochastic modeling framework that can be used to capture histone modification dynamics and associated molecular processes-including transcription and read-write feedback by chromatin modifying complexes-at individual genomic loci. Using a specific example-transcriptional silencing by Polycomb-mediated H3K27 methylation-we demonstrate how to construct and simulate a stochastic histone modification model. We provide a step-by-step guide to programming simulations for such a model and discuss how to analyze the simulation output.

+view abstract Methods in molecular biology , PMID: 35733026

Idigo NJ, Voigt P Epigenetics

Histone methyltransferases (HMTs) catalyze the methylation of lysine and arginine residues in histone as well as nonhistone substrates. In vitro histone methyltransferase assays have been instrumental in identifying HMTs, and they continue to be invaluable tools for the study of these important enzymes, revealing novel substrates and modes of regulation.Here we describe a universal protocol to examine HMT activity in vitro that can be adapted to a range of HMTs, substrates, and experimental objectives. We provide protocols for the detection of activity based on incorporation of H-labeled methyl groups from S-adenosylmethionine (SAM), methylation-specific antibodies, and quantification of the reaction product S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH).

+view abstract Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) , PMID: 35733009

Novo CL, Wong EV, Hockings C, Poudel C, Sheekey E, Wiese M, Okkenhaug H, Boulton SJ, Basu S, Walker S, Kaminski Schierle GS, Narlikar GJ, Rugg-Gunn PJ

Heterochromatin maintains genome integrity and function, and is organised into distinct nuclear domains. Some of these domains are proposed to form by phase separation through the accumulation of HP1ɑ. Mouse heterochromatin contains noncoding major satellite repeats (MSR), which are highly transcribed in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs). Here, we report that MSR transcripts can drive the formation of HP1ɑ droplets in vitro, and modulate heterochromatin into dynamic condensates in ESCs, contributing to the formation of large nuclear domains that are characteristic of pluripotent cells. Depleting MSR transcripts causes heterochromatin to transition into a more compact and static state. Unexpectedly, changing heterochromatin's biophysical properties has severe consequences for ESCs, including chromosome instability and mitotic defects. These findings uncover an essential role for MSR transcripts in modulating the organisation and properties of heterochromatin to preserve genome stability. They also provide insights into the processes that could regulate phase separation and the functional consequences of disrupting the properties of heterochromatin condensates.

+view abstract Nature communications , PMID: 35725842

Bergmann S, Penfold CA, Slatery E, Siriwardena D, Drummer C, Clark S, Strawbridge SE, Kishimoto K, Vickers A, Tewary M, Kohler TN, Hollfelder F, Reik W, Sasaki E, Behr R, Boroviak TE Epigenetics

Gastrulation controls the emergence of cellular diversity and axis patterning in the early embryo. In mammals, this transformation is orchestrated by dynamic signalling centres at the interface of embryonic and extraembryonic tissues. Elucidating the molecular framework of axis formation in vivo is fundamental for our understanding of human development and to advance stem-cell-based regenerative approaches. Here we illuminate early gastrulation of marmoset embryos in utero using spatial transcriptomics and stem-cell-based embryo models. Gaussian process regression-based 3D transcriptomes delineate the emergence of the anterior visceral endoderm, which is hallmarked by conserved (HHEX, LEFTY2, LHX1) and primate-specific (POSTN, SDC4, FZD5) factors. WNT signalling spatially coordinates the formation of the primitive streak in the embryonic disc and is counteracted by SFRP1 and SFRP2 to sustain pluripotency in the anterior domain. Amnion specification occurs at the boundaries of the embryonic disc through ID1, ID2 and ID3 in response to BMP signalling, providing a developmental rationale for amnion differentiation of primate pluripotent stem cells (PSCs). Spatial identity mapping demonstrates that primed marmoset PSCs exhibit the highest similarity to the anterior embryonic disc, whereas naive PSCs resemble the preimplantation epiblast. Our 3D transcriptome models reveal the molecular code of lineage specification in the primate embryo and provide an in vivo reference to decipher human development.

+view abstract Nature , PMID: 35709828

Bergmann S, Penfold CA, Slatery E, Siriwardena D, Drummer C, Clark S, Strawbridge SE, Kishimoto K, Vickers A, Tewary M, Kohler TN, Hollfelder F, Reik W, Sasaki E, Behr R, Boroviak TE Epigenetics

Gastrulation controls the emergence of cellular diversity and axis patterning in the early embryo. In mammals, this transformation is orchestrated by dynamic signalling centres at the interface of embryonic and extraembryonic tissues. Elucidating the molecular framework of axis formation in vivo is fundamental for our understanding of human development and to advance stem-cell-based regenerative approaches. Here, we illuminate early gastrulation of marmoset embryos in utero by spatial transcriptomics and stem cell-based embryo models. Gaussian process regression-based 3D-transcriptomes delineate the emergence of the anterior visceral endoderm, which is hallmarked by conserved (HHEX, LEFTY2, LHX1) and primate-specific (POSTN, SDC4, FZD5) factors. WNT signalling spatially coordinates primitive streak formation in the embryonic disc and is counteracted by SFRP1/2 to sustain pluripotency in the anterior domain. Amnion specification occurs at the boundaries of the embryonic disc through ID1/2/3 in response to BMP-signalling, providing a developmental rationale for amnion differentiation of primate pluripotent stem cells (PSCs). Spatial identity mapping demonstrates that primed marmoset PSCs exhibit highest similarity to the anterior embryonic disc, while naïve PSCs resemble the preimplantation epiblast. Our 3D-transcriptome models reveal the molecular code of lineage specification in the primate embryo and provide an in vivo reference to decipher human development.

+view abstract Nature , PMID: 35709828

Christophorou MA Epigenetics

The post-translational modification of proteins expands the regulatory scope of the proteome far beyond what is achievable through genome regulation. The field of protein citrullination has seen significant progress in the last two decades. The small family of peptidylarginine deiminase (PADI or PAD) enzymes, which catalyse citrullination, have been implicated in virtually all facets of molecular and cell biology, from gene transcription and epigenetics to cell signalling and metabolism. We have learned about their association with a remarkable array of disease states and we are beginning to understand how they mediate normal physiological functions. However, while the biochemistry of PADI activation has been worked out in exquisite detail , we still lack a clear mechanistic understanding of the processes that regulate PADIs within cells, under physiological and pathophysiological conditions. This review summarizes and discusses the current knowledge, highlights some of the unanswered questions of immediate importance and gives a perspective on the outlook of the citrullination field.

+view abstract Royal Society open science , PMID: 35706669

Abakir A, Alenezi F, Ruzov A Epigenetics

N6-methyladenosine (mA) is an RNA modification essential for posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression in eukaryotes. We recently demonstrated that mA decorates the RNA components of R-loops, specific nucleic acid structures consisting of an RNA/DNA hybrid and a single strand of non-template DNA, that represent a major source of genetic instability and, at the same time, contribute to regulation of gene expression in mammalian cells. According to growing body of experimental evidence, adenosine methylation affects stability of these structures and potentially influences various aspects of their metabolism. Here, we present two methods for detection and analysis of mA-containing RNA/DNA hybrids: an immunostaining protocol allowing investigation of their spatial distribution in eukaryotic cells and mA-DNA immunoprecipitation (DIP), an antibody-based technique that permits their genome mapping and locus-specific analysis. In addition to the mA-focused studies, these methodologies can also contribute to elucidating the functional roles of other RNA modifications in R-loop biology.

+view abstract Methods in molecular biology , PMID: 35704202

Starczak M, Abakir A, Ruzov A, Gackowski D Epigenetics

R-loops are three-stranded nucleic acid structures consisting of an RNA-DNA hybrid and an unpaired strand of nontemplate DNA that represent a major source of genomic instability and are involved in regulation of several important biological processes in eukaryotic cells. A growing body of experimental evidence suggests that RNA moieties of RNA-DNA hybrids may convey RNA modifications influencing various aspects of R-loop biology. Here we present a protocol for quantitative analysis of RNA modifications on RNA-DNA hybrids using stable-isotope dilution ultraperformance liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (SID-UPLC-MS/MS). Supplemented by other techniques, this method can be instrumental in deciphering the roles of RNA modifications in R-loop metabolism.

+view abstract Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) , PMID: 35704189

Whyte CE, Singh K, Burton OT, Aloulou M, Kouser L, Veiga RV, Dashwood A, Okkenhaug H, Benadda S, Moudra A, Bricard O, Lienart S, Bielefeld P, Roca CP, Naranjo-Galindo FJ, Lombard-Vadnais F, Junius S, Bending D, Hochepied T, Halim TYF, Schlenner S, Lesage S, Dooley J, Liston A Immunology

Interleukin 2 (IL-2) is a key homeostatic cytokine, with therapeutic applications in both immunogenic and tolerogenic immune modulation. Clinical use has been hampered by pleiotropic functionality and widespread receptor expression, with unexpected adverse events. Here, we developed a novel mouse strain to divert IL-2 production, allowing identification of contextual outcomes. Network analysis identified priority access for Tregs and a competitive fitness cost of IL-2 production among both Tregs and conventional CD4 T cells. CD8 T and NK cells, by contrast, exhibited a preference for autocrine IL-2 production. IL-2 sourced from dendritic cells amplified Tregs, whereas IL-2 produced by B cells induced two context-dependent circuits: dramatic expansion of CD8+ Tregs and ILC2 cells, the latter driving a downstream, IL-5-mediated, eosinophilic circuit. The source-specific effects demonstrate the contextual influence of IL-2 function and potentially explain adverse effects observed during clinical trials. Targeted IL-2 production therefore has the potential to amplify or quench particular circuits in the IL-2 network, based on clinical desirability.

+view abstract The Journal of experimental medicine , PMID: 35699942

Zijlmans DW, Talon I, Verhelst S, Bendall A, Van Nerum K, Javali A, Malcolm AA, van Knippenberg SSFA, Biggins L, To SK, Janiszewski A, Admiraal D, Knops R, Corthout N, Balaton BP, Georgolopoulos G, Panda A, Bhanu NV, Collier AJ, Fabian C, Allsop RN, Chappell J, Pham TXA, Oberhuemer M, Ertekin C, Vanheer L, Athanasouli P, Lluis F, Deforce D, Jansen JH, Garcia BA, Vermeulen M, Rivron N, Dhaenens M, Marks H, Rugg-Gunn PJ, Pasque V

Human naive pluripotent stem cells have unrestricted lineage potential. Underpinning this property, naive cells are thought to lack chromatin-based lineage barriers. However, this assumption has not been tested. Here we define the chromatin-associated proteome, histone post-translational modifications and transcriptome of human naive and primed pluripotent stem cells. Our integrated analysis reveals differences in the relative abundance and activities of distinct chromatin modules. We identify a strong enrichment of polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2)-associated H3K27me3 in the chromatin of naive pluripotent stem cells and H3K27me3 enrichment at promoters of lineage-determining genes, including trophoblast regulators. PRC2 activity acts as a chromatin barrier restricting the differentiation of naive cells towards the trophoblast lineage, whereas inhibition of PRC2 promotes trophoblast-fate induction and cavity formation in human blastoids. Together, our results establish that human naive pluripotent stem cells are not epigenetically unrestricted, but instead possess chromatin mechanisms that oppose the induction of alternative cell fates.

+view abstract Nature cell biology , PMID: 35697783

Liston A, Dooley J, Yshii L Immunology

Regulatory T cells (Tregs) control inflammation and maintain immune homeostasis. The well-characterised circulatory population of CD4Foxp3 Tregs is effective at preventing autoimmunity and constraining the immune response, through direct and indirect restraint of conventional T cell activation. Recent advances in Treg cell biology have identified tissue-resident Tregs, with tissue-specific functions that contribute to the maintenance of tissue homeostasis and repair. A population of brain-resident Tregs, characterised as CD69, has recently been identified in the healthy brain of mice and humans, with rapid population expansion observed under a number of neuroinflammatory conditions. During neuroinflammation, brain-resident Tregs have been proposed to control astrogliosis through the production of amphiregulin, polarize microglia into neuroprotective states, and restrain inflammatory responses by releasing IL-10. While protective effects for Tregs have been demonstrated in a number of neuroinflammatory pathologies, a clear demarcation between the role of circulatory and brain-resident Tregs has been difficult to achieve. Here we review the state-of-the-art for brain-resident Treg population, and describe their potential utilization as a therapeutic target across different neuroinflammatory conditions.

+view abstract Immunology letters , PMID: 35697195

Yshii L, Pasciuto E, Bielefeld P, Mascali L, Lemaitre P, Marino M, Dooley J, Kouser L, Verschoren S, Lagou V, Kemps H, Gervois P, de Boer A, Burton OT, Wahis J, Verhaert J, Tareen SHK, Roca CP, Singh K, Whyte CE, Kerstens A, Callaerts-Vegh Z, Poovathingal S, Prezzemolo T, Wierda K, Dashwood A, Xie J, Van Wonterghem E, Creemers E, Aloulou M, Gsell W, Abiega O, Munck S, Vandenbroucke RE, Bronckaers A, Lemmens R, De Strooper B, Van Den Bosch L, Himmelreich U, Fitzsimons CP, Holt MG, Liston A Immunology

The ability of immune-modulating biologics to prevent and reverse pathology has transformed recent clinical practice. Full utility in the neuroinflammation space, however, requires identification of both effective targets for local immune modulation and a delivery system capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. The recent identification and characterization of a small population of regulatory T (T) cells resident in the brain presents one such potential therapeutic target. Here, we identified brain interleukin 2 (IL-2) levels as a limiting factor for brain-resident T cells. We developed a gene-delivery approach for astrocytes, with a small-molecule on-switch to allow temporal control, and enhanced production in reactive astrocytes to spatially direct delivery to inflammatory sites. Mice with brain-specific IL-2 delivery were protected in traumatic brain injury, stroke and multiple sclerosis models, without impacting the peripheral immune system. These results validate brain-specific IL-2 gene delivery as effective protection against neuroinflammation, and provide a versatile platform for delivery of diverse biologics to neuroinflammatory patients.

+view abstract Nature immunology , PMID: 35618831

Liston A, Aloulou M Immunology

CD4Foxp3 Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are essential for maintaining self-tolerance and are increasingly recognised to have important roles in tissue homeostasis and repair. In the CD8 compartment an analogous Foxp3 population is present, which shares phenotypic aspects with the more common CD4Foxp3 Treg population. While oft neglected for their low frequency, there is increasing evidence that these CD8Foxp3 cells are bona fide regulatory cells, with both shared and distinct characteristics from their CD4 analogue. Here we focus on the evidence for a regulatory function of CD8Foxp3 cells, and the potential unique role this neglected lineage may play in immune homeostasis and disease prevention.

+view abstract Immunology letters , PMID: 35609830

Young C, Russell JR, Van De Lagemaat LN, Lawson H, Mapperley C, Kranc KR, Christophorou MA Epigenetics

Peptidylarginine deiminases (PADIs) are strongly associated with the development of autoimmunity, neurodegeneration and cancer but their physiological roles are ill-defined. The nuclear deiminase PADI4 regulates pluripotency in the mammalian pre-implantation embryo but its function in tissue development is unknown. PADI4 is primarily expressed in the bone marrow, as part of a self-renewal-associated gene signature. It has been shown to regulate the proliferation of multipotent haematopoietic progenitors and proposed to impact on the differentiation of haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), suggesting that it controls haematopoietic development or regeneration. Using conditional in vivo models of steady state and acute Padi4 ablation, we examined the role of PADI4 in the development and function of the haematopoietic system. We found that PADI4 loss does not significantly affect HSC self-renewal or differentiation potential upon injury or serial transplantation, nor does it lead to HSC exhaustion or premature ageing. Thus PADI4 is dispensable for cell-autonomous HSC maintenance, differentiation and haematopoietic regeneration. This work represents the first study of PADI4 in tissue development and indicates that pharmacological PADI4 inhibition may be tolerated without adverse effects.

+view abstract Biology Open , PMID: 35603697

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