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Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic process through which genes are expressed in a parent-of-origin specific manner resulting in mono-allelic or strongly biased expression of one allele. For some genes, imprinted expression may be tissue-specific and reliant on CTCF-influenced enhancer-promoter interactions. The imprinting cluster is associated with neurodevelopmental disorders and comprises canonical imprinted genes, which are conserved between mouse and human, as well as brain-specific imprinted genes in mouse. The latter consist of , and , which have a maternal allelic expression bias of ∼75% in brain. Findings of such allelic expression biases on the tissue level raise the question of how they are reflected in individual cells and whether there is variability and mosaicism in allelic expression between individual cells of the tissue. Here we show that and are not imprinted in hippocampus-derived neural stem cells (neurospheres), while retains its strong bias of paternal allele expression. Upon analysis of single neural stem cells and differentiated neurons, we find not uniform, but variable states of allelic expression, especially for and . These ranged from mono-allelic paternal to equal bi-allelic to mono-allelic maternal, including biased bi-allelic transcriptional states. Even expression deviated from its expected paternal allele bias in a small number of cells. Although the cell populations consisted of a mosaic of cells with different allelic expression states, as a whole they reflected bulk tissue data. Furthermore, in an attempt to identify potential brain-specific regulatory elements across the locus, we demonstrate tissue-specific and general silencer activities, which might contribute to the regulation of its imprinted expression bias.
Calcium signaling is essential for lymphocyte activation, with genetic disruptions of store-operated calcium (Ca) entry resulting in severe immunodeficiency. The inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptor (IPR), a homo- or heterotetramer of the IPR1-3 isoforms, amplifies lymphocyte signaling by releasing Ca from endoplasmic reticulum stores following antigen stimulation. Although knockout of all IPR isoforms in mice causes immunodeficiency, the seeming redundancy of the isoforms is thought to explain the absence of variants in human immunodeficiency. In this study, we identified compound heterozygous variants of ITPR3 (a gene encoding IPR subtype 3) in two unrelated Caucasian patients presenting with immunodeficiency. To determine whether ITPR3 variants act in a nonredundant manner and disrupt human immune responses, we characterized the Ca signaling capacity, the lymphocyte response, and the clinical phenotype of these patients. We observed disrupted Ca signaling in patient-derived fibroblasts and immune cells, with abnormal proliferation and activation responses following T-cell receptor stimulation. Reconstitution of IPR3 in IPR knockout cell lines led to the identification of variants as functional hypomorphs that showed reduced ability to discriminate between homeostatic and induced states, validating a genotype-phenotype link. These results demonstrate a functional link between defective endoplasmic reticulum Ca channels and immunodeficiency and identify IPRs as diagnostic targets for patients with specific inborn errors of immunity. These results also extend the known cause of Ca-associated immunodeficiency from store-operated entry to impaired Ca mobilization from the endoplasmic reticulum, revealing a broad sensitivity of lymphocytes to genetic defects in Ca signaling.
Robust analysis of DNA sequencing data needs to include a set of quality control steps to ensure that technical bias is kept to a minimum. A metric easily obtained is the frequency of each of the nucleobases for each position across all sequencing reads. Here, we explore the differences in nucleobase compositions of various library types produced by standard experimental methodologies. Methods: We obtained the compositions of nearly 3000 publicly available datasets and subjected them to Uniform Manifold Approximation and Projection (UMAP) dimensionality reduction for a two-dimensional representation of their composition characteristics. Results: We find that most library types result in a specific composition profile. We use this to give an estimate of how strongly the composition of a test library resembles the profiles of previously published libraries, and how likely the test sample is to be of a particular type. We introduce Librarian, a user-friendly web application and command line tool which enables checking base compositions of test libraries against known library types. Conclusions: Library preparation methods strongly influence the per position nucleobase content. By comparing test libraries to a database of previously published library types we can make predictions regarding the library preparation method. Librarian is a user-friendly tool to access this information for quality assurance purposes as discrepancies can flag potential irregularities very early on.
In type 1 diabetes, dysfunctional glucose regulation occurs due to the death of insulin-producing beta-cells in the pancreatic islets. Initiation of this process is caused by the inheritance of an adaptive immune system that is predisposed to responding to beta-cell antigens, most notably to insulin itself, coupled with unknown environmental insults priming the autoimmune reaction. While autoimmunity is a primary driver in beta-cell death, there is growing evidence that cellular stress participates in the loss of beta-cells. In the beta-cell fragility model, partial loss of islet mass requires compensatory upregulation of insulin production in the remaining islets, driving a cellular stress capable of triggering apoptosis in the remaining cells. The Glis3-Manf axis has been identified as being pivotal to the relative fragility or robustness of stressed islets, potentially operating in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Here, we have used an AAV-based gene delivery system to enhance the expression of the anti-apoptotic protein Manf in the beta-cells of NOD mice. Gene delivery substantially lowered the rate of diabetes development in treated mice. Manf-treated mice demonstrated minimal insulitis and superior preservation of insulin production. Our results demonstrating the therapeutic potential of Manf delivery to enhance beta-cell robustness and avert clinical diabetes.
Peroxisome biogenesis disorders (due to gene mutations) are associated with symptoms that range in severity and can lead to early childhood death, but a common feature is hearing impairment. In this study, mice carrying mutations were found to show normal auditory development followed by an early-onset progressive increase in auditory response thresholds. The only structural defect detected in the cochlea at four weeks old was the disruption of synapses below inner hair cells. A conditional approach was used to establish that expression is required locally within the cochlea for normal hearing, rather than hearing loss being due to systemic effects. A lipidomics analysis of the inner ear revealed a local reduction in plasmalogens in the mouse mutants, comparable to the systemic plasmalogen reduction reported in human peroxisome biogenesis disorders. Thus, mice with mutations may be a useful tool to understand the physiological basis of peroxisome biogenesis disorders.
Autophagy is a fundamental catabolic process coordinated by a network of autophagy-related (ATG) proteins. These ATG proteins also perform an important parallel role in "noncanonical" autophagy, a lysosome-associated signaling pathway with key functions in immunity, inflammation, cancer, and neurodegeneration. While the noncanonical autophagy pathway shares the common ATG machinery, it bears key mechanistic and functional distinctions, and is characterized by conjugation of ATG8 to single membranes (CASM). Here, we review the diverse, and still expanding, collection of stimuli and processes now known to harness the noncanonical autophagy pathway, including engulfment processes, drug treatments, TRPML1 and STING signaling, viral infection, and other pathogenic factors. We discuss the multiple associated routes to CASM and assess their shared and distinctive molecular features. By integrating these findings, we propose an updated and unifying mechanism for noncanonical autophagy, centered on ATG16L1 and V-ATPase.
Loss of innervation is a key driver of age associated muscle atrophy and weakness (sarcopenia). Our laboratory has previously shown that denervation induced atrophy is associated with the generation of mitochondrial hydroperoxides and lipid mediators produced downstream of cPLA and 12/15 lipoxygenase (12/15-LOX). To define the pathological impact of lipid hydroperoxides generated in denervation-induced atrophy in vivo, we treated mice with liproxstatin-1, a lipid hydroperoxide scavenger. We treated adult male mice with 5 mg/kg liproxstain-1 or vehicle one day prior to sciatic nerve transection and daily for 7 days post-denervation before tissue analysis. Liproxstatin-1 treatment protected gastrocnemius mass and fiber cross sectional area (∼40% less atrophy post-denervation in treated versus untreated mice). Mitochondrial hydroperoxide generation was reduced 80% in vitro and by over 65% in vivo by liproxstatin-1 treatment in denervated permeabilized muscle fibers and decreased the content of 4-HNE by ∼25% post-denervation. Lipidomic analysis revealed detectable levels of 25 oxylipins in denervated gastrocnemius muscle and significantly increased levels for eight oxylipins that are generated by metabolism of fatty acids through 12/15-LOX. Liproxstatin-1 treatment reduced the level of three of the eight denervation-induced oxylipins, specifically 15-HEPE, 13-HOTrE and 17-HDOHE. Denervation elevated protein degradation rates in muscle and treatment with liproxstatin-1 reduced rates of protein breakdown in denervated muscle. In contrast, protein synthesis rates were unchanged by denervation. Targeted proteomics revealed a number of proteins with altered expression after denervation but no effect of liproxstain-1. Transcriptomic analysis revealed 203 differentially expressed genes in denervated muscle from vehicle or liproxstatin-1 treated mice, including ER stress, nitric oxide signaling, Gαi signaling, glucocorticoid receptor signaling, and other pathways. Overall, these data suggest lipid hydroperoxides and oxylipins are key drivers of increased protein breakdown and muscle loss associated with denervation induced atrophy and a potential target for sarcopenia intervention.
Mutations and gene amplifications that confer drug resistance emerge frequently during chemotherapy, but their mechanism and timing are poorly understood. Here, we investigate amplification events that underlie resistance to the MEK inhibitor selumetinib (AZD6244/ARRY-142886) in COLO205 cells, a well-characterized model for reproducible emergence of drug resistance, and show that amplifications acquired are the primary cause of resistance. Selumetinib causes long-term G1 arrest accompanied by reduced expression of DNA replication and repair genes, but cells stochastically re-enter the cell cycle during treatment despite continued repression of pERK1/2. Most DNA replication and repair genes are re-expressed as cells enter S and G2; however, mRNAs encoding a subset of factors important for error-free replication and chromosome segregation, including TIPIN, PLK2 and PLK3, remain at low abundance. This suggests that DNA replication following escape from G1 arrest in drug is more error prone and provides a potential explanation for the DNA damage observed under long-term RAF-MEK-ERK1/2 pathway inhibition. To test the hypothesis that escape from G1 arrest in drug promotes amplification, we exploited the combination of palbociclib and selumetinib. Combined treatment with selumetinib and a dose of palbociclib sufficient to reinforce G1 arrest in selumetinib-sensitive cells, but not to impair proliferation of resistant cells, delays the emergence of resistant colonies, meaning that escape from G1 arrest is critical in the formation of resistant clones. Our findings demonstrate that acquisition of MEK inhibitor resistance often occurs through gene amplification and can be suppressed by impeding cell cycle entry in drug.
Nucleotide composition is suggested to infer gene functionality and ecological adaptation of species to distinct environments. However, the underlying biological function of nucleotide composition dictating environmental adaptations is largely unknown. Here, we systematically analyze the nucleotide composition of transcriptomes across 1000 plants (1KP) and their corresponding habitats. Intriguingly, we find that plants growing in cold climates have guanine (G)-enriched transcriptomes, which are prone to forming RNA G-quadruplex structures. Both immunofluorescence detection and in vivo structure profiling reveal that RNA G-quadruplex formation in plants is globally enhanced in response to cold. Cold-responsive RNA G-quadruplexes strongly enhanced mRNA stability, rather than affecting translation. Disruption of individual RNA G-quadruplex promotes mRNA decay in the cold, leading to impaired plant cold response. Therefore, we propose that plants adopted RNA G-quadruplex structure as a molecular signature to facilitate their adaptation to the cold during evolution.
Protein tyrosine phosphatase receptor-type kappa (PTPRK) is a transmembrane receptor that links extracellular homophilic interactions to intracellular catalytic activity. Previously we showed that PTPRK promotes cell-cell adhesion by selectively dephosphorylating several cell junction regulators including the protein Afadin (Fearnley et al, 2019). Here, we demonstrate that Afadin is recruited for dephosphorylation by directly binding to the PTPRK D2 pseudophosphatase domain. We mapped this interaction to a putative coiled coil (CC) domain in Afadin that is separated by more than 100 amino acids from the substrate pTyr residue. We identify the residues that define PTP specificity, explaining how Afadin is selectively dephosphorylated by PTPRK yet not by the closely related receptor tyrosine phosphatase PTPRM. Our work demonstrates that PTP substrate specificity can be determined by protein-protein interactions distal to the active site. This explains how PTPRK and other PTPs achieve substrate specificity despite a lack of specific sequence context at the substrate pTyr. Furthermore, by demonstrating that these interactions are phosphorylation-independent and mediated via binding to a non-catalytic domain, we highlight how receptor PTPs could function as intracellular scaffolds in addition to catalyzing protein dephosphorylation.
RNA G-quadruplex (rG4) is a vital RNA tertiary structure motif that involves the base pairs on both Hoogsteen and Watson-Crick faces of guanines. rG4 is of great importance in the post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression. Experimental technologies have advanced to identify in vitro and in vivo rG4s across diverse transcriptomes. Building on these recent advances, here we present G4Atlas, the first transcriptome-wide G-quadruplex database, in which we have collated, classified, and visualized transcriptome rG4 experimental data, generated from rG4-seq, chemical profiling and ligand-binding methods. Our comprehensive database includes transcriptome-wide rG4s generated from 82 experimental treatments and 238 samples across ten species. In addition, we have also included RNA secondary structure prediction information across both experimentally identified and unidentified rG4s to enable users to display any potential competitive folding between rG4 and RNA secondary structures. As such, G4Atlas will enable users to explore the general functions of rG4s in diverse biological processes. In addition, G4Atlas lays the foundation for further data-driven deep learning algorithms to examine rG4 structural features.
Autophagosome biogenesis occurs in the transient subdomains of the endoplasmic reticulum that are called omegasomes, which, in fluorescence microscopy, appear as small puncta, which then grow in diameter and finally shrink and disappear once the autophagosome is complete. Autophagosomes are formed by phagophores, which are membrane cisterns that elongate and close to form the double membrane that limits autophagosomes. Earlier electron-microscopy studies showed that, during elongation, phagophores are lined by the endoplasmic reticulum on both sides. However, the morphology of the very early phagophore precursors has not been studied at the electron-microscopy level. We used live-cell imaging of cells expressing markers of phagophore biogenesis combined with correlative light-electron microscopy, as well as electron tomography of ATG2A/B-double-deficient cells, to reveal the high-resolution morphology of phagophore precursors in three dimensions. We showed that phagophores are closed or nearly closed into autophagosomes already at the stage when the omegasome diameter is still large. We further observed that phagophore precursors emerge next to the endoplasmic reticulum as bud-like highly curved membrane cisterns with a small opening to the cytosol. The phagophore precursors then open to form more flat cisterns that elongate and curve to form the classically described crescent-shaped phagophores.
Immunology Futures is a new articles series for Immunology & Cell Biology. Immunology Futures is designed as a forum to promote dialog with the immunology research community, in particular early-career researchers. The series aims to be a platform for career advice and to elevate the voices of diverse immunologists to provide multiple perspectives on a successful career in immunology.
NFKB1 haploinsufficiengcy was first described in 2015 in three families with common variable immunodeficiency (CVID), presenting heterogeneously with symptoms of increased infectious susceptibility, skin lesions, malignant lymphoproliferation and autoimmunity. The described mutations all led to a rapid degradation of the mutant protein, resulting in a p50 haploinsufficient state. Since then, more than 50 other mutations have been reported, located throughout different domains of NFKB1 with the majority situated in the N-terminal Rel homology domain (RHD). The clinical spectrum has also expanded with possible disease manifestations in almost any organ system. In silico prediction tools are often used to estimate the pathogenicity of NFKB1 variants but to prove causality between disease and genetic findings, further downstream functional validation is required. In this report, we studied 2 families with CVID and two novel variants in (c.1638-2A>G and c.787G>C). Both mutations affected mRNA and/or protein expression of NFKB1 and resulted in excessive NLRP3 inflammasome activation in patient macrophages and upregulated interferon stimulated gene expression. Protein-protein interaction analysis demonstrated a loss of interaction with NFKB1 interaction partners for the p.V263L mutation. In conclusion, we proved pathogenicity of two novel variants in in two families with CVID characterized by variable and incomplete penetrance.
Natural killer (NK) cells are critical to immune surveillance against infections and cancer. Their role in immune surveillance requires that NK cells are present within tissues in a quiescent state. Mechanisms by which NK cells remain quiescent in tissues are incompletely elucidated. The transcriptional repressor BACH2 plays a critical role within the adaptive immune system, but its function within innate lymphocytes has been unclear. Here, we show that BACH2 acts as an intrinsic negative regulator of NK cell maturation and function. BACH2 is expressed within developing and mature NK cells and promotes the maintenance of immature NK cells by restricting their maturation in the presence of weak stimulatory signals. Loss of BACH2 within NK cells results in accumulation of activated NK cells with unrestrained cytotoxic function within tissues, which mediate augmented immune surveillance to pulmonary cancer metastasis. These findings establish a critical function of BACH2 as a global negative regulator of innate cytotoxic function and tumor immune surveillance by NK cells.
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) that express the transcription factor Foxp3 have a critical role in limiting inflammatory processes and tissue damage. Whether Tregs are functional in maintaining epithelial barriers and in control of tight junction expression has not yet been explored. In this study, we investigated the effect of Treg deficiency on the airway epithelial barrier in an experimental murine model in which diphtheria toxin was repeatedly injected in Foxp3-diphtheria toxin receptor (DTR) mice to deplete Tregs. This resulted in spontaneous peribronchial inflammation and led to a systemic and local increase of IL-4, IL-5, CCL3, IFN-γ, and IL-10 and a local (lung) increase of IL-6 and IL-33 and decreased amphiregulin levels. Moreover, Treg depletion increased airway permeability and decreased epithelial tight junction (protein and mRNA) expression. CTLA4-Ig treatment of Treg-depleted mice almost completely prevented barrier dysfunction together with suppression of lung inflammation and cytokine secretion. Treatment with anti-IL-4 partly reversed the effects of Treg depletion on tight junction expression, whereas neutralization of IL-6 of IFN-γ had either no effect or only a limited effect. We conclude that Tregs are essential to protect the epithelial barrier at the level of tight junctions by restricting spontaneous T cell activation and uncontrolled secretion of cytokines, in particular IL-4, in the bronchi.
Perturbation of DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) and of the active DNA demethylation pathway via ten-eleven translocation (TET) methylcytosine dioxygenases results in severe developmental defects and embryonic lethality. Dynamic control of DNA methylation is therefore vital for embryogenesis, yet the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood.
Reprogramming of somatic cells into induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs) is a major leap towards personalised approaches to disease modelling and cell-replacement therapies. However, we still lack the ability to fully control the epigenetic status of iPSCs, which is a major hurdle for their downstream applications. Epigenetic fidelity can be tracked by genomic imprinting, a phenomenon dependent on DNA methylation, which is frequently perturbed in iPSCs by yet unknown reasons. To try to understand the causes underlying these defects, we conducted a thorough imprinting analysis using IMPLICON, a high-throughput method measuring DNA methylation levels, in multiple female and male murine iPSC lines generated under different experimental conditions. Our results show that imprinting defects are remarkably common in iPSCs, but their nature depends on the sex of donor cells and their response to culture conditions. Imprints in female iPSCs resist the initial genome-wide DNA demethylation wave during reprogramming, but ultimately cells accumulate hypomethylation defects irrespective of culture medium formulations. In contrast, imprinting defects on male iPSCs depends on the experimental conditions and arise during reprogramming, being mitigated by the addition of vitamin C (VitC). Our findings are fundamental to further optimise reprogramming strategies and generate iPSCs with a stable epigenome.
Host defense against bacterial and fungal infections diminishes with age. In humans, impaired neutrophil responses are thought to contribute to this decline. However, it remains unclear whether neutrophil responses are also impaired in old mice. Here, we investigated neutrophil function in old mice, focusing on responses primed by lipopolysaccharide (LPS), an endotoxin released by gram-negative bacteria like , which signals through toll-like receptor (TLR) 4. We show that old mice have a reduced capacity to clear pathogenic during septic peritonitis. Neutrophil recruitment was elevated during LPS-induced but not aseptic peritonitis. Neutrophils from old mice showed reduced killing of . Their reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was impaired upon priming with LPS but not with GM-CSF/TNFα. Phagocytosis and degranulation were reduced in a partially LPS-dependent manner, whereas impairment of NET release in response to was independent of LPS. Unexpectedly, chemotaxis was normal, as were Rac1 and Rac2 GTPase activities. LPS-primed activation of Erk and p38 Mapk was defective. PIP production was reduced upon priming with LPS but not with GM-CSF/TNFα, whereas PIP levels were constitutively low. The expression of 5% of neutrophil proteins was dysregulated in old age. Granule proteins, particularly cathepsins and serpins, as well as TLR-pathway proteins and membrane receptors were upregulated, whereas chromatin and RNA regulators were downregulated. The upregulation of CD180 and downregulation of MyD88 likely contribute to the impaired LPS signaling. In summary, all major neutrophil responses except chemotaxis decline with age in mice, particularly upon LPS priming. This LPS/TLR4 pathway dependence resolves previous controversy regarding effects of age on murine neutrophils and confirms that mice are an appropriate model for the decline in human neutrophil function.
Bach2 codes for a transcriptional regulator exerting major influences on T cell mediated immune regulation. Effector CTLs derived from in vitro activation of murine CD8 T cells showed increased proliferative and cytolytic capacity in the absence of BACH2. Before activation, BACH2-deficient splenic CD8 T cells had a higher abundance of memory and reduced abundance of naïve cells compared to wild-type. CTLs derived from central memory T cells were more potently cytotoxic than those derived from naïve T cells, but even within separated subsets, BACH2-deficiency conferred a cytotoxic advantage. Immunofluorescence and electron microscopy revealed larger granules in BACH2-deficient compared to wild-type CTLs, and proteomic analysis showed an increase in granule content, including perforin and granzymes. Thus, the enhanced cytotoxicity observed in effector CTLs lacking BACH2 arises not only from differences in their initial differentiation state but also inherent production of enlarged cytolytic granules. These results demonstrate how a single gene deletion can produce a CTL super-killer. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
TET (ten-eleven translocation) enzymes catalyze the oxidation of 5-methylcytosine bases in DNA, thus driving active and passive DNA demethylation. Here, we report that the catalytic domain of mammalian TET enzymes favor CGs embedded within basic helix-loop-helix and basic leucine zipper domain transcription factor-binding sites, with up to 250-fold preference in vitro. Crystal structures and molecular dynamics calculations show that sequence preference is caused by intrasubstrate interactions and CG flanking sequence indirectly affecting enzyme conformation. TET sequence preferences are physiologically relevant as they explain the rates of DNA demethylation in TET-rescue experiments in culture and in vivo within the zygote and germ line. Most and least favorable TET motifs represent DNA sites that are bound by methylation-sensitive immediate-early transcription factors and octamer-binding transcription factor 4 (OCT4), respectively, illuminating TET function in transcriptional responses and pluripotency support.
Biological systems have the capacity to not only build and robustly maintain complex structures but also to rapidly break up and rebuild such structures. Here, using primitive societies of Polistes wasps, we show that both robust specialization and rapid plasticity are emergent properties of multi-scale dynamics. We combine theory with experiments that, after perturbing the social structure by removing the queen, correlate time-resolved multi-omics with video recordings. We show that the queen-worker dimorphism relies on the balance between the development of a molecular queen phenotype in all insects and colony-scale inhibition of this phenotype via asymmetric interactions. This allows Polistes to be stable against intrinsic perturbations of molecular states while reacting plastically to extrinsic cues affecting the whole society. Long-term stability of the social structure is reinforced by dynamic DNA methylation. Our study provides a general principle of how both specialization and plasticity can be achieved in biological systems. A record of this paper's transparent peer review process is included in the supplemental information.
T cells are key effectors of our immune response against tumors and exert their antitumor effects upon recognizing a variety of tumor-specific peptides presented by HLA molecules on the surface of tumor cells. The identification of the tumor-specific antigens of a given tumor is not required for immune checkpoint therapy, which mainly reactivates existing tumor-specific T cells together with T cells of unknown specificities. To decrease the activation of non tumor-specific T cells, active or passive immunizations against tumor-specific antigens are considered. These immunizations require the identification of at least some of the tumor-specific antigens displayed on the tumor cells of a patient. While this has become an easy task for tumors with a large number of mutations generating neoantigens, it remains difficult for the remainder. Here, we review both some facts about human tumor-specific or tumor-associated antigens, as well as some hopes for their future use in cancer immunotherapy.