Lawson CD, Hornigold K, Pan D, Niewczas I, Andrews S, Clark J, Welch H Signalling, Bioinformatics

P-Rex1 and P-Rex2 are guanine-nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) that activate Rac small GTPases in response to the stimulation of G protein-coupled receptors and phosphoinositide 3-kinase. P-Rex Rac-GEFs regulate the morphology, adhesion and migration of various cell types, as well as reactive oxygen species production and cell cycle progression. P-Rex Rac-GEFs also have pathogenic roles in the initiation, progression or metastasis of several types of cancer. With one exception, all P-Rex functions are known or assumed to be mediated through their catalytic Rac-GEF activity. Thus, inhibitors of P-Rex Rac-GEF activity would be valuable research tools. We have generated a panel of small-molecule P-Rex inhibitors that target the interface between the catalytic DH domain of P-Rex Rac-GEFs and Rac. Our best-characterized compound, P-Rex inhibitor 1 (PREX-in1), blocks the Rac-GEF activity of full-length P-Rex1 and P-Rex2, and of their isolated catalytic domains, at low-micromolar concentration, without affecting the activities of several other Rho-GEFs. PREX-in1 blocks the P-Rex1 dependent spreading of PDGF-stimulated endothelial cells and the production of reactive oxygen species in fMLP-stimulated mouse neutrophils. Structure-function analysis revealed critical structural elements of PREX-in1, allowing us to develop derivatives with increased efficacy, the best with an IC of 2 µM. In summary, we have developed PREX-in1 and derivative small-molecule compounds that will be useful laboratory research tools for the study of P-Rex function. These compounds may also be a good starting point for the future development of more sophisticated drug-like inhibitors aimed at targeting P-Rex Rac-GEFs in cancer.

+view abstract Small GTPases, PMID: 36342857 Jan 2022

Vashishtha K, Gaud C, Andrews S, Krueger C Bioinformatics

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.

+view abstract F1000Research, PMID: 36300036 2022

Channathodiyil P, May K, Segonds-Pichon A, Smith PD, Cook SJ, Houseley J Epigenetics, Signalling, Bioinformatics

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.

+view abstract NAR cancer, PMID: 36267209 Dec 2022

Arez M, Eckersley-Maslin M, Klobučar T, von Gilsa Lopes J, Krueger F, Mupo A, Raposo AC, Oxley D, Mancino S, Gendrel AV, Bernardes de Jesus B, da Rocha ST Epigenetics, Bioinformatics, Mass Spectrometry

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.

+view abstract Nature communications, PMID: 36114205 16 Sep 2022

Hornigold K, Chu JY, Chetwynd SA, Machin PA, Crossland L, Pantarelli C, Anderson KE, Hawkins PT, Segonds-Pichon A, Oxley D, Welch HCE Signalling, Bioinformatics, Mass Spectrometry

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.

+view abstract Frontiers in immunology, PMID: 36090969 2022

Ravichandran M, Rafalski D, Davies CI, Ortega-Recalde O, Nan X, Glanfield CR, Kotter A, Misztal K, Wang AH, Wojciechowski M, Rażew M, Mayyas IM, Kardailsky O, Schwartz U, Zembrzycki K, Morison IM, Helm M, Weichenhan D, Jurkowska RZ, Krueger F, Plass C, Zacharias M, Bochtler M, Hore TA, Jurkowski TP Bioinformatics

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.

+view abstract Science advances, PMID: 36070377 09 Sep 2022

Nunes C, Depestel L, Mus L, Keller KM, Delhaye L, Louwagie A, Rishfi M, Whale A, Kara N, Andrews SR, Dela Cruz F, You D, Siddiquee A, Cologna CT, De Craemer S, Dolman E, Bartenhagen C, De Vloed F, Sanders E, Eggermont A, Bekaert SL, Van Loocke W, Bek JW, Dewyn G, Loontiens S, Van Isterdael G, Decaesteker B, Tilleman L, Van Nieuwerburgh F, Vermeirssen V, Van Neste C, Ghesquiere B, Goossens S, Eyckerman S, De Preter K, Fischer M, Houseley J, Molenaar J, De Wilde B, Roberts SS, Durinck K, Speleman F Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

High-risk neuroblastoma, a pediatric tumor originating from the sympathetic nervous system, has a low mutation load but highly recurrent somatic DNA copy number variants. Previously, segmental gains and/or amplifications allowed identification of drivers for neuroblastoma development. Using this approach, combined with gene dosage impact on expression and survival, we identified ribonucleotide reductase subunit M2 (RRM2) as a candidate dependency factor further supported by growth inhibition upon in vitro knockdown and accelerated tumor formation in a neuroblastoma zebrafish model coexpressing human RRM2 with MYCN. Forced RRM2 induction alleviates excessive replicative stress induced by CHK1 inhibition, while high RRM2 expression in human neuroblastomas correlates with high CHK1 activity. MYCN-driven zebrafish tumors with RRM2 co-overexpression exhibit differentially expressed DNA repair genes in keeping with enhanced ATR-CHK1 signaling activity. In vitro, RRM2 inhibition enhances intrinsic replication stress checkpoint addiction. Last, combinatorial RRM2-CHK1 inhibition acts synergistic in high-risk neuroblastoma cell lines and patient-derived xenograft models, illustrating the therapeutic potential.

+view abstract Science advances, PMID: 35857500 15 Jul 2022

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

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

+view abstract Cell stem cell, PMID: 35439430 05 May 2022

Taubenschmid-Stowers J, Rostovskaya M, Santos F, Ljung S, Argelaguet R, Krueger F, Nichols J, Reik W Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

The activation of the embryonic genome marks the first major wave of transcription in the developing organism. Zygotic genome activation (ZGA) in mouse 2-cell embryos and 8-cell embryos in humans is crucial for development. Here, we report the discovery of human 8-cell-like cells (8CLCs) among naive embryonic stem cells, which transcriptionally resemble the 8-cell human embryo. They express ZGA markers, including ZSCAN4 and LEUTX, and transposable elements, such as HERVL and MLT2A1. 8CLCs show reduced SOX2 levels and can be identified using TPRX1 and H3.Y marker proteins in vitro. Overexpression of the transcription factor DUX4 and spliceosome inhibition increase human ZGA-like transcription. Excitingly, the 8CLC markers TPRX1 and H3.Y are also expressed in ZGA-stage 8-cell human embryos and may thus be relevant in vivo. 8CLCs provide a unique opportunity to characterize human ZGA-like transcription and might provide critical insights into early events in embryogenesis in humans.

+view abstract Cell stem cell, PMID: 35216671 15 Feb 2022

Hanna CW, Huang J, Belton C, Reinhardt S, Dahl A, Andrews S, Stewart AF, Kranz A, Kelsey G Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Histone 3 lysine 4 trimethylation (H3K4me3) is an epigenetic mark found at gene promoters and CpG islands. H3K4me3 is essential for mammalian development, yet mechanisms underlying its genomic targeting are poorly understood. H3K4me3 methyltransferases SETD1B and MLL2 (KMT2B) are essential for oogenesis. We investigated changes in H3K4me3 in Setd1b conditional knockout (cKO) oocytes using ultra-low input ChIP-seq, with comparisons to DNA methylation and gene expression analyses. H3K4me3 was redistributed in Setd1b cKO oocytes showing losses at active gene promoters associated with downregulated gene expression. Remarkably, many regions also gained H3K4me3, in particular those that were DNA hypomethylated, transcriptionally inactive and CpG-rich, which are hallmarks of MLL2 targets. Consequently, loss of SETD1B disrupts the balance between MLL2 and de novo DNA methyltransferases in determining the epigenetic landscape during oogenesis. Our work reveals two distinct, complementary mechanisms of genomic targeting of H3K4me3 in oogenesis, with SETD1B linked to gene expression and MLL2 to CpG content.

+view abstract Nucleic acids research, PMID: 35137160 07 Feb 2022

Suriyalaksh M, Raimondi C, Mains A, Segonds-Pichon A, Mukhtar S, Murdoch S, Aldunate R, Krueger F, Guimerà R, Andrews S, Sales-Pardo M, Casanueva O Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

We design a "wisdom-of-the-crowds" GRN inference pipeline and couple it to complex network analysis to understand the organizational principles governing gene regulation in long-lived /Notch . The GRN has three layers (input, core, and output) and is topologically equivalent to bow-tie/hourglass structures prevalent among metabolic networks. To assess the functional importance of structural layers, we screened 80% of regulators and discovered 50 new aging genes, 86% with human orthologues. Genes essential for longevity-including ones involved in insulin-like signaling (ILS)-are at the core, indicating that GRN's structure is predictive of functionality. We used reporters and a novel functional network covering 5,497 genetic interactions to make mechanistic predictions. We used genetic epistasis to test some of these predictions, uncovering a novel transcriptional regulator, , that works alongside DAF-16/FOXO. We present a framework with predictive power that can accelerate discovery in and potentially humans.

+view abstract iScience, PMID: 35036864 21 Jan 2022

Chauve L, Hodge F, Murdoch S, Masoudzadeh F, Mann HJ, Lopez-Clavijo A, Okkenhaug H, West G, Sousa BC, Segonds-Pichon A, Li C, Wingett S, Kienberger H, Kleigrewe K, De Bono M, Wakelam M, Casanueva O Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

To survive elevated temperatures, ectotherms adjust the fluidity of membranes by fine-tuning lipid desaturation levels in a process previously described to be cell autonomous. We have discovered that, in Caenorhabditis elegans, neuronal heat shock factor 1 (HSF-1), the conserved master regulator of the heat shock response (HSR), causes extensive fat remodeling in peripheral tissues. These changes include a decrease in fat desaturase and acid lipase expression in the intestine and a global shift in the saturation levels of plasma membrane's phospholipids. The observed remodeling of plasma membrane is in line with ectothermic adaptive responses and gives worms a cumulative advantage to warm temperatures. We have determined that at least 6 TAX-2/TAX-4 cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) gated channel expressing sensory neurons, and transforming growth factor ß (TGF-β)/bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) are required for signaling across tissues to modulate fat desaturation. We also find neuronal hsf-1 is not only sufficient but also partially necessary to control the fat remodeling response and for survival at warm temperatures. This is the first study to show that a thermostat-based mechanism can cell nonautonomously coordinate membrane saturation and composition across tissues in a multicellular animal.

+view abstract PLoS biology, PMID: 34723964 01 Nov 2021

Fiancette R, Finlay CM, Willis C, Bevington SL, Soley J, Ng STH, Baker SM, Andrews S, Hepworth MR, Withers DR Bioinformatics

Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) are guardians of mucosal immunity, yet the transcriptional networks that support their function remain poorly understood. We used inducible combinatorial deletion of key transcription factors (TFs) required for ILC development (RORγt, RORα and T-bet) to determine their necessity in maintaining ILC3 identity and function. Both RORγt and RORα were required to preserve optimum effector functions; however, RORα was sufficient to support robust interleukin-22 production among the lymphoid tissue inducer (LTi)-like ILC3 subset, but not natural cytotoxicity receptor (NCR) ILC3s. Lymphoid tissue inducer-like ILC3s persisted with only selective loss of phenotype and effector functions even after the loss of both TFs. In contrast, continued RORγt expression was essential to restrain transcriptional networks associated with type 1 immunity within NCR ILC3s, which coexpress T-bet. Full differentiation to an ILC1-like population required the additional loss of RORα. Together, these data demonstrate how TF networks integrate within mature ILCs after development to sustain effector functions, imprint phenotype and restrict alternative differentiation programs.

+view abstract Nature immunology, PMID: 34556884 23 Sep 2021

Osnato A, Brown S, Krueger C, Andrews S, Collier AJ, Nakanoh S, Quiroga Londoño M, Wesley BT, Muraro D, Brumm AS, Niakan KK, Vallier L, Ortmann D, Rugg-Gunn PJ Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

The signalling pathways that maintain primed human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) have been well characterised, revealing a critical role for TGFβ/Activin/Nodal signalling. In contrast, the signalling requirements of naive human pluripotency have not been fully established. Here, we demonstrate that TGFβ signalling is required to maintain naive hPSCs. The downstream effector proteins - SMAD2/3 - bind common sites in naive and primed hPSCs, including shared pluripotency genes. In naive hPSCs, SMAD2/3 additionally bind to active regulatory regions near to naive pluripotency genes. Inhibiting TGFβ signalling in naive hPSCs causes the downregulation of SMAD2/3-target genes and pluripotency exit. Single-cell analyses reveal that naive and primed hPSCs follow different transcriptional trajectories after inhibition of TGFβ signalling. Primed hPSCs differentiate into neuroectoderm cells, whereas naive hPSCs transition into trophectoderm. These results establish that there is a continuum for TGFβ pathway function in human pluripotency spanning a developmental window from naive to primed states.

+view abstract eLife, PMID: 34463252 31 08 2021

Cao KL, Abadi AJ, Davis-Marcisak EF, Hsu L, Arora A, Coullomb A, Deshpande A, Feng Y, Jeganathan P, Loth M, Meng C, Mu W, Pancaldi V, Sankaran K, Righelli D, Singh A, Sodicoff JS, Stein-O'Brien GL, Subramanian A, Welch JD, You Y, Argelaguet R, Carey VJ, Dries R, Greene CS, Holmes S, Love MI, Ritchie ME, Yuan GC, Culhane AC, Fertig E Bioinformatics


+view abstract Genome biology, PMID: 34433496 25 Aug 2021

Pantarelli C, Pan D, Chetwynd S, Stark AK, Hornigold K, Machin P, Crossland L, Cleary SJ, Baker MJ, Hampson E, Mandel A, Segonds-Pichon A, Walker R, van 't Veer C, Riffo-Vasquez Y, Okkenhaug K, Pitchford S, Welch HCE Signalling, Bioinformatics

Streptococcal pneumonia is a worldwide health problem that kills ∼2 million people each year, particularly young children, the elderly, and immunosuppressed individuals. Alveolar macrophages and neutrophils provide the early innate immune response to clear pneumococcus from infected lungs. However, the level of neutrophil involvement is context dependent, both in humans and in mouse models of the disease, influenced by factors such as bacterial load, age, and coinfections. Here, we show that the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) adaptor protein norbin (neurochondrin, NCDN), which was hitherto known as a regulator of neuronal function, is a suppressor of neutrophil-mediated innate immunity. Myeloid norbin deficiency improved the immunity of mice to pneumococcal infection by increasing the involvement of neutrophils in clearing the bacteria, without affecting neutrophil recruitment or causing autoinflammation. It also improved immunity during Escherichia coli-induced septic peritonitis. It increased the responsiveness of neutrophils to a range of stimuli, promoting their ability to kill bacteria in a reactive oxygen species-dependent manner, enhancing degranulation, phagocytosis, and the production of reactive oxygen species and neutrophil extracellular traps, raising the cell surface levels of selected GPCRs, and increasing GPCR-dependent Rac and Erk signaling. The Rac guanine-nucleotide exchange factor Prex1, a known effector of norbin, was dispensable for most of these effects, which suggested that norbin controls additional downstream targets. We identified the Rac guanine-nucleotide exchange factor Vav as one of these effectors. In summary, our study presents the GPCR adaptor protein norbin as an immune suppressor that limits the ability of neutrophils to clear bacterial infections.

+view abstract Blood advances, PMID: 34402884 24 Aug 2021

Freire-Pritchett P, Ray-Jones H, Della Rosa M, Eijsbouts CQ, Orchard WR, Wingett SW, Wallace C, Cairns J, Spivakov M, Malysheva V Bioinformatics

Capture Hi-C is widely used to obtain high-resolution profiles of chromosomal interactions involving, at least on one end, regions of interest such as gene promoters. Signal detection in Capture Hi-C data is challenging and cannot be adequately accomplished with tools developed for other chromosome conformation capture methods, including standard Hi-C. Capture Hi-C Analysis of Genomic Organization (CHiCAGO) is a computational pipeline developed specifically for Capture Hi-C analysis. It implements a statistical model accounting for biological and technical background components, as well as bespoke normalization and multiple testing procedures for this data type. Here we provide a step-by-step guide to the CHiCAGO workflow that is aimed at users with basic experience of the command line and R. We also describe more advanced strategies for tuning the key parameters for custom experiments and provide guidance on data preprocessing and downstream analysis using companion tools. In a typical experiment, CHiCAGO takes ~2-3 h to run, although pre- and postprocessing steps may take much longer.

+view abstract Nature protocols, PMID: 34373652 09 Aug 2021

Baizan-Edge A, Stubbs BA, Stubbington MJT, Bolland DJ, Tabbada K, Andrews S, Corcoran AE Immunology, Bioinformatics

Generation of the primary antibody repertoire requires V(D)J recombination of hundreds of gene segments in the immunoglobulin heavy chain (Igh) locus. The role of interleukin-7 receptor (IL-7R) signaling in Igh recombination has been difficult to partition from its role in B cell survival and proliferation. With a detailed description of the Igh repertoire in murine IL-7Rα bone marrow B cells, we demonstrate that IL-7R signaling profoundly influences V gene selection during V-to-DJ recombination. We find skewing toward 3' V genes during de novo V-to-DJ recombination more severe than the fetal liver (FL) repertoire and uncover a role for IL-7R signaling in D-to-J recombination. Transcriptome and accessibility analyses suggest reduced expression of B lineage transcription factors (TFs) and targets and loss of D and V antisense transcription in IL-7Rα B cells. Thus, in addition to its roles in survival and proliferation, IL-7R signaling shapes the Igh repertoire by activating underpinning mechanisms.

+view abstract Cell reports, PMID: 34260907 13 Jul 2021

Furlan-Magaril M, Ando-Kuri M, Arzate-Mejía RG, Morf J, Cairns J, Román-Figueroa A, Tenorio-Hernández L, Poot-Hernández AC, Andrews S, Várnai C, Virk B, Wingett SW, Fraser P Bioinformatics

Circadian gene expression is essential for organisms to adjust their physiology and anticipate daily changes in the environment. The molecular mechanisms controlling circadian gene transcription are still under investigation. In particular, how chromatin conformation at different genomic scales and regulatory elements impact rhythmic gene expression has been poorly characterized.

+view abstract Genome biology, PMID: 34099014 08 Jun 2021

Dolezalova N, Gruszczyk A, Barkan K, Gamble JA, Galvin S, Moreth T, O'Holleran K, Mahbubani KT, Higgins JA, Gribble FM, Reimann F, Surmacki J, Andrews S, Casey JJ, Pampaloni F, Murphy MP, Ladds G, Slater NKH, Saeb-Parsy K Bioinformatics

Cryopreservation offers the potential to increase the availability of pancreatic islets for treatment of diabetic patients. However, current protocols, which use dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO), lead to poor cryosurvival of islets. We demonstrate that equilibration of mouse islets with small molecules in aqueous solutions can be accelerated from > 24 to 6 h by increasing incubation temperature to 37 °C. We utilize this finding to demonstrate that current viability staining protocols are inaccurate and to develop a novel cryopreservation method combining DMSO with trehalose pre-incubation to achieve improved cryosurvival. This protocol resulted in improved ATP/ADP ratios and peptide secretion from β-cells, preserved cAMP response, and a gene expression profile consistent with improved cryoprotection. Our findings have potential to increase the availability of islets for transplantation and to inform the design of cryopreservation protocols for other multicellular aggregates, including organoids and bioengineered tissues.

+view abstract Scientific reports, PMID: 34001961 17 May 2021

Kara N, Krueger F, Rugg-Gunn P, Houseley J Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Faithful replication of the entire genome requires replication forks to copy large contiguous tracts of DNA, and sites of persistent replication fork stalling present a major threat to genome stability. Understanding the distribution of sites at which replication forks stall, and the ensuing fork processing events, requires genome-wide methods that profile replication fork position and the formation of recombinogenic DNA ends. Here, we describe Transferase-Activated End Ligation sequencing (TrAEL-seq), a method that captures single-stranded DNA 3' ends genome-wide and with base pair resolution. TrAEL-seq labels both DNA breaks and replication forks, providing genome-wide maps of replication fork progression and fork stalling sites in yeast and mammalian cells. Replication maps are similar to those obtained by Okazaki fragment sequencing; however, TrAEL-seq is performed on asynchronous populations of wild-type cells without incorporation of labels, cell sorting, or biochemical purification of replication intermediates, rendering TrAEL-seq far simpler and more widely applicable than existing replication fork direction profiling methods. The specificity of TrAEL-seq for DNA 3' ends also allows accurate detection of double-strand break sites after the initiation of DNA end resection, which we demonstrate by genome-wide mapping of meiotic double-strand break hotspots in a dmc1Δ mutant that is competent for end resection but not strand invasion. Overall, TrAEL-seq provides a flexible and robust methodology with high sensitivity and resolution for studying DNA replication and repair, which will be of significant use in determining mechanisms of genome instability.

+view abstract PLoS biology, PMID: 33760805 24 Mar 2021

Gaud C, C Sousa B, Nguyen A, Fedorova M, Ni Z, O Donnell VB, Wakelam MJO, Andrews S, Lopez-Clavijo AF Signalling, Bioinformatics

Lipidomics increasingly describes the quantitation using mass spectrometry of all lipids present in a biological sample.  As the power of lipidomics protocols increase, thousands of lipid molecular species from multiple categories can now be profiled in a single experiment.  Observed changes due to biological differences often encompass large numbers of structurally-related lipids, with these being regulated by enzymes from well-known metabolic pathways.  As lipidomics datasets increase in complexity, the interpretation of their results becomes more challenging.  BioPAN addresses this by enabling the researcher to visualise quantitative lipidomics data in the context of known biosynthetic pathways.  BioPAN provides a list of genes, which could be involved in the activation or suppression of enzymes catalysing lipid metabolism in mammalian tissues.

+view abstract F1000Research, PMID: 33564392 2021

Gaud C, C Sousa B, Nguyen A, Fedorova M, Ni Z, O'Donnell VB, Wakelam MJO, Andrews S, Lopez-Clavijo AF Signalling, Bioinformatics

Lipidomics increasingly describes the quantification using mass spectrometry of all lipids present in a biological sample.  As the power of lipidomics protocols increase, thousands of lipid molecular species from multiple categories can now be profiled in a single experiment.  Observed changes due to biological differences often encompass large numbers of structurally-related lipids, with these being regulated by enzymes from well-known metabolic pathways.  As lipidomics datasets increase in complexity, the interpretation of their results becomes more challenging.  BioPAN addresses this by enabling the researcher to visualise quantitative lipidomics data in the context of known biosynthetic pathways.  BioPAN provides a list of genes, which could be involved in the activation or suppression of enzymes catalysing lipid metabolism in mammalian tissues.

+view abstract F1000Research, PMID: 33564392 2021

Halsall JA, Andrews S, Krueger F, Rutledge CE, Ficz G, Reik W, Turner BM Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Chromatin configuration influences gene expression in eukaryotes at multiple levels, from individual nucleosomes to chromatin domains several Mb long. Post-translational modifications (PTM) of core histones seem to be involved in chromatin structural transitions, but how remains unclear. To explore this, we used ChIP-seq and two cell types, HeLa and lymphoblastoid (LCL), to define how changes in chromatin packaging through the cell cycle influence the distributions of three transcription-associated histone modifications, H3K9ac, H3K4me3 and H3K27me3. We show that chromosome regions (bands) of 10-50 Mb, detectable by immunofluorescence microscopy of metaphase (M) chromosomes, are also present in G and G. They comprise 1-5 Mb sub-bands that differ between HeLa and LCL but remain consistent through the cell cycle. The same sub-bands are defined by H3K9ac and H3K4me3, while H3K27me3 spreads more widely. We found little change between cell cycle phases, whether compared by 5 Kb rolling windows or when analysis was restricted to functional elements such as transcription start sites and topologically associating domains. Only a small number of genes showed cell-cycle related changes: at genes encoding proteins involved in mitosis, H3K9 became highly acetylated in GM, possibly because of ongoing transcription. In conclusion, modified histone isoforms H3K9ac, H3K4me3 and H3K27me3 exhibit a characteristic genomic distribution at resolutions of 1 Mb and below that differs between HeLa and lymphoblastoid cells but remains remarkably consistent through the cell cycle. We suggest that this cell-type-specific chromosomal bar-code is part of a homeostatic mechanism by which cells retain their characteristic gene expression patterns, and hence their identity, through multiple mitoses.

+view abstract Scientific reports, PMID: 33542322 04 Feb 2021

Bevan S, Schoenfelder S, Young RJ, Zhang L, Andrews S, Fraser P, O'Callaghan PM Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell lines are the pillars of a multi-billion dollar biopharmaceutical industry producing recombinant therapeutic proteins. The effects of local chromatin organisation and epigenetic repression within these cell lines result in unpredictable and unstable transgene expression following random integration. Limited knowledge of the CHO genome and its higher-order chromatin organisation has thus far impeded functional genomics approaches required to tackle these issues. Here, we present an integrative three-dimensional (3D) map of genome organisation within the CHOK1SV® 10E9 cell line in conjunction with an improved, less fragmented CHOK1SV® 10E9 genome assembly. Using our high-resolution chromatin conformation datasets, we have assigned ≈ 90% of sequence to a chromosome-scale genome assembly. Our genome-wide 3D map identifies higher-order chromatin structures such as topologically associated domains, incorporates our chromatin accessibility data to enhance the identification of active cis-regulatory elements and importantly links these cis-regulatory elements to target promoters in a 3D promoter interactome. We demonstrate the power of our improved functional annotation by evaluating the 3D landscape of a transgene integration site and two phenotypically different cell lines. Our work opens up further novel genome engineering targets, has the potential to inform vital improvements for industrial biotherapeutic production, and represents a significant advancement for CHO cell line development. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

+view abstract Biotechnology and bioengineering, PMID: 33095445 23 Oct 2020

Alvarez-Jarreta J, Rodrigues PRS, Fahy E, O'Connor A, Price A, Gaud C, Andrews S, Benton P, Siuzdak G, Hawksworth JI, Valdivia-Garcia M, Allen SM, O'Donnell VB Bioinformatics

We present LipidFinder 2.0, incorporating four new modules that apply artefact filters, remove lipid and contaminant stacks, in-source fragments and salt clusters, and a new isotope deletion method which is significantly more sensitive than available open-access alternatives. We also incorporate a novel false discovery rate (FDR) method, utilizing a target-decoy strategy, which allows users to assess data quality. A renewed lipid profiling method is introduced which searches three different databases from LIPID MAPS and returns bulk lipid structures only, and a lipid category scatter plot with color blind friendly pallet. An API interface with XCMS Online is made available on LipidFinder's online version. We show using real data that LipidFinder 2.0 provides a significant improvement over non-lipid metabolite filtering and lipid profiling, compared to available tools.

+view abstract Bioinformatics, PMID: 33027502 07 Oct 2020

Morf J, Wingett SW Bioinformatics

RNA localization is an important regulatory layer of gene expression and cell functioning. The protocol guides through the Proximity RNA-seq method, in which RNA molecules are sequenced in their spatial, cellular context to derive RNA co-localization and transcriptome organization. Transcripts in individual subcellular particles from chemically crosslinked cells are tagged with the same, unique DNA barcode in water-in-oil emulsion droplets. First, single DNA barcodes are PCR amplified and immobilized on single, small magnetic beads in droplets. Subsequently, 3' ends of bead-bound barcode copies are tailed with random pentadecamers. Then beads are encapsulated again into droplets together with crosslinked subcellular particles containing RNA. Reverse transcription using random pentadecamers as primers is performed in droplets, which optimally contain one bead and one particle, in order to tag RNAs co-localized to the same particle. Sequencing such cDNA molecules identifies the RNA molecule and the barcode. Subsequent analysis of transcripts that share the same barcode, i.e., co-barcoding, reveals RNA co-localization and interactions. The technique is not restricted to pairs of RNAs but can as well detect groups of transcripts and estimates local RNA density or connectivity for individual transcripts. We provide here a detailed protocol to perform and analyze Proximity RNA-seq on cell nuclei to study spatial, nuclear RNA organization.

+view abstract Methods in molecular biology, PMID: 32681513 2020

Klobučar T, Kreibich E, Krueger F, Arez M, Pólvora-Brandão D, von Meyenn F, da Rocha ST, Eckersley-Maslin M Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic phenomenon leading to parental allele-specific expression. Dosage of imprinted genes is crucial for normal development and its dysregulation accounts for several human disorders. This unusual expression pattern is mostly dictated by differences in DNA methylation between parental alleles at specific regulatory elements known as imprinting control regions (ICRs). Although several approaches can be used for methylation inspection, we lack an easy and cost-effective method to simultaneously measure DNA methylation at multiple imprinted regions. Here, we present IMPLICON, a high-throughput method measuring DNA methylation levels at imprinted regions with base-pair resolution and over 1000-fold coverage. We adapted amplicon bisulfite-sequencing protocols to design IMPLICON for ICRs in adult tissues of inbred mice, validating it in hybrid mice from reciprocal crosses for which we could discriminate methylation profiles in the two parental alleles. Lastly, we developed a human version of IMPLICON and detected imprinting errors in embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells. We also provide rules and guidelines to adapt this method for investigating the DNA methylation landscape of any set of genomic regions. In summary, IMPLICON is a rapid, cost-effective and scalable method, which could become the gold standard in both imprinting research and diagnostics.

+view abstract Nucleic acids research, PMID: 32621604 04 Jul 2020

Ivanova E, Canovas S, Garcia-Martínez S, Romar R, Lopes JS, Rizos D, Sanchez-Calabuig MJ, Krueger F, Andrews S, Perez-Sanz F, Kelsey G, Coy P Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via the original article.

+view abstract Clinical epigenetics, PMID: 32600441 29 Jun 2020

Glont M, Arankalle C, Tiwari K, Nguyen TVN, Hermjakob H, Malik Sheriff RS Bioinformatics

One of the major bottlenecks in building systems biology models is identification and estimation of model parameters for model calibration. Searching for model parameters from published literature and models is an essential, yet laborious task.

+view abstract Bioinformatics, PMID: 32573648 23 Jun 2020

Eckersley-Maslin MA, Parry A, Blotenburg M, Krueger C, Ito Y, Franklin VNR, Narita M, D'Santos CS, Reik W Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

How the epigenetic landscape is established in development is still being elucidated. Here, we uncover developmental pluripotency associated 2 and 4 (DPPA2/4) as epigenetic priming factors that establish a permissive epigenetic landscape at a subset of developmentally important bivalent promoters characterized by low expression and poised RNA-polymerase. Differentiation assays reveal that Dppa2/4 double knockout mouse embryonic stem cells fail to exit pluripotency and differentiate efficiently. DPPA2/4 bind both H3K4me3-marked and bivalent gene promoters and associate with COMPASS- and Polycomb-bound chromatin. Comparing knockout and inducible knockdown systems, we find that acute depletion of DPPA2/4 results in rapid loss of H3K4me3 from key bivalent genes, while H3K27me3 is initially more stable but lost following extended culture. Consequently, upon DPPA2/4 depletion, these promoters gain DNA methylation and are unable to be activated upon differentiation. Our findings uncover a novel epigenetic priming mechanism at developmental promoters, poising them for future lineage-specific activation.

+view abstract Nature structural & molecular biology, PMID: 32572255 22 Jun 2020

Chauve L, Le Pen J, Hodge F, Todtenhaupt P, Biggins L, Miska EA, Andrews S, Casanueva O Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

This paper presents a high-throughput reverse transcription quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) assay for Caenorhabditis elegans that is fast, robust, and highly sensitive. This protocol obtains precise measurements of gene expression from single worms or from bulk samples. The protocol presented here provides a novel adaptation of existing methods for complementary DNA (cDNA) preparation coupled to a nanofluidic RT-qPCR platform. The first part of this protocol, named 'Worm-to-CT', allows cDNA production directly from nematodes without the need for prior mRNA isolation. It increases experimental throughput by allowing the preparation of cDNA from 96 worms in 3.5 h. The second part of the protocol uses existing nanofluidic technology to run high-throughput RT-qPCR on the cDNA. This paper evaluates two different nanofluidic chips: the first runs 96 samples and 96 targets, resulting in 9,216 reactions in approximately 1.5 days of benchwork. The second chip type consists of six 12 x 12 arrays, resulting in 864 reactions. Here, the Worm-to-CT method is demonstrated by quantifying mRNA levels of genes encoding heat shock proteins from single worms and from bulk samples. Provided is an extensive list of primers designed to amplify processed RNA for the majority of coding genes within the C. elegans genome.

+view abstract Journal of visualized experiments, PMID: 32538915 28 May 2020

Nasrallah R, Imianowski CJ, Bossini-Castillo L, Grant FM, Dogan M, Placek L, Kozhaya L, Kuo P, Sadiyah F, Whiteside SK, Mumbach MR, Glinos D, Vardaka P, Whyte CE, Lozano T, Fujita T, Fujii H, Liston A, Andrews S, Cozzani A, Yang J, Mitra S, Lugli E, Chang HY, Unutmaz D, Trynka G, Roychoudhuri R Immunology, Bioinformatics

Genetic variations underlying susceptibility to complex autoimmune and allergic diseases are concentrated within noncoding regulatory elements termed enhancers. The functions of a large majority of disease-associated enhancers are unknown, in part owing to their distance from the genes they regulate, a lack of understanding of the cell types in which they operate, and our inability to recapitulate the biology of immune diseases in vitro. Here, using shared synteny to guide loss-of-function analysis of homologues of human enhancers in mice, we show that the prominent autoimmune and allergic disease risk locus at chromosome 11q13.5 contains a distal enhancer that is functional in CD4 regulatory T (T) cells and required for T-mediated suppression of colitis. The enhancer recruits the transcription factors STAT5 and NF-κB to mediate signal-driven expression of Lrrc32, which encodes the protein glycoprotein A repetitions predominant (GARP). Whereas disruption of the Lrrc32 gene results in early lethality, mice lacking the enhancer are viable but lack GARP expression in Foxp3 T cells, which are unable to control colitis in a cell-transfer model of the disease. In human T cells, the enhancer forms conformational interactions with the promoter of LRRC32 and enhancer risk variants are associated with reduced histone acetylation and GARP expression. Finally, functional fine-mapping of 11q13.5 using CRISPR-activation (CRISPRa) identifies a CRISPRa-responsive element in the vicinity of risk variant rs11236797 capable of driving GARP expression. These findings provide a mechanistic basis for association of the 11q13.5 risk locus with immune-mediated diseases and identify GARP as a potential target in their therapy.

+view abstract Nature, PMID: 32499651 13 May 2020

Nützmann HW, Doerr D, Ramírez-Colmenero A, Sotelo-Fonseca JE, Wegel E, Di Stefano M, Wingett SW, Fraser P, Hurst L, Fernandez-Valverde SL, Osbourn A Bioinformatics

While colocalization within a bacterial operon enables coexpression of the constituent genes, the mechanistic logic of clustering of nonhomologous monocistronic genes in eukaryotes is not immediately obvious. Biosynthetic gene clusters that encode pathways for specialized metabolites are an exception to the classical eukaryote rule of random gene location and provide paradigmatic exemplars with which to understand eukaryotic cluster dynamics and regulation. Here, using 3C, Hi-C, and Capture Hi-C (CHi-C) organ-specific chromosome conformation capture techniques along with high-resolution microscopy, we investigate how chromosome topology relates to transcriptional activity of clustered biosynthetic pathway genes in Our analyses reveal that biosynthetic gene clusters are embedded in local hot spots of 3D contacts that segregate cluster regions from the surrounding chromosome environment. The spatial conformation of these cluster-associated domains differs between transcriptionally active and silenced clusters. We further show that silenced clusters associate with heterochromatic chromosomal domains toward the periphery of the nucleus, while transcriptionally active clusters relocate away from the nuclear periphery. Examination of chromosome structure at unrelated clusters in maize, rice, and tomato indicates that integration of clustered pathway genes into distinct topological domains is a common feature in plant genomes. Our results shed light on the potential mechanisms that constrain coexpression within clusters of nonhomologous eukaryotic genes and suggest that gene clustering in the one-dimensional chromosome is accompanied by compartmentalization of the 3D chromosome.

+view abstract PNAS, PMID: 32493747 03 Jun 2020

Ivanova E, Canovas S, Garcia-Martínez S, Romar R, Lopes JS, Rizos D, Sanchez-Calabuig MJ, Krueger F, Andrews S, Perez-Sanz F, Kelsey G, Coy P Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Preimplantation embryos experience profound resetting of epigenetic information inherited from the gametes. Genome-wide analysis at single-base resolution has shown similarities but also species differences between human and mouse preimplantation embryos in DNA methylation patterns and reprogramming. Here, we have extended such analysis to two key livestock species, the pig and the cow. We generated genome-wide DNA methylation and whole-transcriptome datasets from gametes to blastocysts in both species. In oocytes from both species, a distinctive bimodal methylation landscape is present, with hypermethylated domains prevalent over hypomethylated domains, similar to human, while in the mouse the proportions are reversed.An oocyte-like pattern of methylation persists in the cleavage stages, albeit with some reduction in methylation level, persisting to blastocysts in cow, while pig blastocysts have a highly hypomethylated landscape. In the pig, there was evidence of transient de novo methylation at the 8-16 cell stages of domains unmethylated in oocytes, revealing a complex dynamic of methylation reprogramming. The methylation datasets were used to identify germline differentially methylated regions (gDMRs) of known imprinted genes and for the basis of detection of novel imprinted loci. Strikingly in the pig, we detected a consistent reduction in gDMR methylation at the 8-16 cell stages, followed by recovery to the blastocyst stage, suggesting an active period of imprint stabilization in preimplantation embryos. Transcriptome analysis revealed absence of expression in oocytes of both species of ZFP57, a key factor in the mouse for gDMR methylation maintenance, but presence of the alternative imprint regulator ZNF445. In conclusion, our study reveals species differences in DNA methylation reprogramming and suggests that porcine or bovine models may be closer to human in key aspects than in the mouse model.

+view abstract Clinical epigenetics, PMID: 32393379 11 May 2020

Thompson O, von Meyenn F, Hewitt Z, Alexander J, Wood A, Weightman R, Gregory S, Krueger F, Andrews S, Barbaric I, Gokhale PJ, Moore HD, Reik W, Milo M, Nik-Zainal S, Yusa K, Andrews PW Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

The occurrence of repetitive genomic changes that provide a selective growth advantage in pluripotent stem cells is of concern for their clinical application. However, the effect of different culture conditions on the underlying mutation rate is unknown. Here we show that the mutation rate in two human embryonic stem cell lines derived and banked for clinical application is low and not substantially affected by culture with Rho Kinase inhibitor, commonly used in their routine maintenance. However, the mutation rate is reduced by >50% in cells cultured under 5% oxygen, when we also found alterations in imprint methylation and reversible DNA hypomethylation. Mutations are evenly distributed across the chromosomes, except for a slight increase on the X-chromosome, and an elevation in intergenic regions suggesting that chromatin structure may affect mutation rate. Overall the results suggest that pluripotent stem cells are not subject to unusually high rates of genetic or epigenetic alterations.

+view abstract Nature communications, PMID: 32251294 23 Mar 2020

Stebegg M, Bignon A, Hill DL, Silva-Cayetano A, Krueger C, Vanderleyden I, Innocentin S, Boon L, Wang J, Zand MS, Dooley J, Clark J, Liston A, Carr E, Linterman MA Immunology, Bioinformatics

Germinal centres (GCs) are T follicular helper cell (Tfh)-dependent structures that form in response to vaccination, producing long-lived antibody secreting plasma cells and memory B cells that protect against subsequent infection. With advancing age the GC and Tfh cell response declines, resulting in impaired humoral immunity. We sought to discover what underpins the poor Tfh cell response in ageing and whether it is possible to correct it. Here, we demonstrate that older people and aged mice have impaired Tfh cell differentiation upon vaccination. This deficit is preceded by poor activation of conventional dendritic cells type 2 (cDC2) due to reduced type 1 interferon signalling. Importantly, the Tfh and cDC2 cell response can be boosted in aged mice by treatment with a TLR7 agonist. This demonstrates that age-associated defects in the cDC2 and Tfh cell response are not irreversible and can be enhanced to improve vaccine responses in older individuals.

+view abstract eLife, PMID: 32204792 24 Mar 2020

Wingett SW, Andrews S, Fraser P, Morf J Bioinformatics

We have previously developed and described a method for measuring RNA co-locations within cells, called Proximity RNA-seq, which promises insights into RNA expression, processing, storage and translation. Here, we describe transcriptome-wide proximity RNA-seq datasets obtained from human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cell nuclei. To aid future users of this method, we also describe and release our analysis pipeline, CloseCall, which maps cDNA to a custom transcript annotation and allocates cDNA-linked barcodes to barcode groups. CloseCall then performs Monte Carlo simulations on the data to identify pairs of transcripts, which are co-barcoded more frequently than expected by chance. Furthermore, derived co-barcoding frequencies for individual transcripts, dubbed valency, serve as proxies for RNA density or connectivity for that given transcript. We outline how this pipeline was applied to these sequencing datasets and openly share the processed data outputs and access to a virtual machine that runs CloseCall. The resulting data specify the spatial organization of RNAs and builds hypotheses for potential regulatory relationships between RNAs.

+view abstract Scientific data, PMID: 31992717 28 Jan 2020

Demond H, Anvar Z, Jahromi BN, Sparago A, Verma A, Davari M, Calzari L, Russo S, Jahromi MA, Monk D, Andrews S, Riccio A, Kelsey G Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Maternal effect mutations in the components of the subcortical maternal complex (SCMC) of the human oocyte can cause early embryonic failure, gestational abnormalities and recurrent pregnancy loss. Enigmatically, they are also associated with DNA methylation abnormalities at imprinted genes in conceptuses: in the devastating gestational abnormality biparental complete hydatidiform mole (BiCHM) or in multi-locus imprinting disease (MLID). However, the developmental timing, genomic extent and mechanistic basis of these imprinting defects are unknown. The rarity of these disorders and the possibility that methylation defects originate in oocytes have made these questions very challenging to address.

+view abstract Genome medicine, PMID: 31847873 17 12 2019

Gambardella L, McManus SA, Moignard V, Sebukhan D, Delaune A, Andrews S, Bernard WG, Morrison MA, Riley PR, Göttgens B, Gambardella Le Novère N, Sinha S Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

The murine developing epicardium heterogeneously expresses the transcription factors TCF21 and WT1. Here, we show that this cell heterogeneity is conserved in human epicardium, regulated by BNC1 and associated with cell fate and function. Single cell RNA sequencing of epicardium derived from human pluripotent stem cells (hPSC-epi) revealed that distinct epicardial subpopulations are defined by high levels of expression for the transcription factors BNC1 or TCF21. WT1 cells are included in the BNC1 population, which was confirmed in human foetal hearts. THY1 emerged as a membrane marker of the TCF21 population. We show that THY1 cells can differentiate into cardiac fibroblasts (CFs) and smooth muscle cells (SMCs), whereas THY1 cells were predominantly restricted to SMCs. Knocking down BNC1 during the establishment of the epicardial populations resulted in a homogeneous, predominantly TCF21 population. Network inference methods using transcriptomic data from the different cell lineages derived from the hPSC-epi delivered a core transcriptional network organised around WT1, TCF21 and BNC1. This study unveils a list of epicardial regulators and is a step towards engineering subpopulations of epicardial cells with selective biological activities.

+view abstract Development, PMID: 31767620 13 Dec 2019

Hanna CW, Pérez-Palacios R, Gahurova L, Schubert M, Krueger F, Biggins L, Andrews S, Colomé-Tatché M, Bourc'his D, Dean W, Kelsey G Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Genomic imprinting is an epigenetic phenomenon that allows a subset of genes to be expressed mono-allelically based on the parent of origin and is typically regulated by differential DNA methylation inherited from gametes. Imprinting is pervasive in murine extra-embryonic lineages, and uniquely, the imprinting of several genes has been found to be conferred non-canonically through maternally inherited repressive histone modification H3K27me3. However, the underlying regulatory mechanisms of non-canonical imprinting in post-implantation development remain unexplored.

+view abstract Genome biology, PMID: 31665063 2019

Saenz-de-Juano MD, Ivanova E, Romero S, Lolicato F, Sánchez F, Van Ranst H, Krueger F, Segonds-Pichon A, De Vos M, Andrews S, Smitz J, Kelsey G, Anckaert E Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Does imprinted DNA methylation or imprinted gene expression differ between human blastocysts from conventional ovarian stimulation (COS) and an optimized two-step IVM method (CAPA-IVM) in age-matched polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) patients?

+view abstract Human reproduction (Oxford, England), PMID: 31398248 2019

Imanikia S, Özbey NP, Krueger C, Casanueva O, Taylor RC Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

The unfolded protein response of the endoplasmic reticulum (UPR) is a crucial mediator of secretory pathway homeostasis. Expression of the spliced and active form of the UPR transcription factor XBP-1, XBP-1s, in the nervous system triggers activation of the UPR in the intestine of Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) through release of a secreted signal, leading to increased longevity. We find that expression of XBP-1s in the neurons or intestine of the worm strikingly improves proteostasis in multiple tissues, through increased clearance of toxic proteins. To identify the mechanisms behind this enhanced proteostasis, we conducted intestine-specific RNA-seq analysis to identify genes upregulated in the intestine when XBP-1s is expressed in neurons. This revealed that neuronal XBP-1s increases the expression of genes involved in lysosome function. Lysosomes in the intestine of animals expressing neuronal XBP-1s are more acidic, and lysosomal protease activity is higher. Moreover, intestinal lysosome function is necessary for enhanced lifespan and proteostasis. These findings suggest that activation of the UPR in the intestine through neuronal signaling can increase the activity of lysosomes, leading to extended longevity and improved proteostasis across tissues.

+view abstract Current biology : CB, PMID: 31303493 2019

Morf J, Wingett SW, Farabella I, Cairns J, Furlan-Magaril M, Jiménez-García LF, Liu X, Craig FF, Walker S, Segonds-Pichon A, Andrews S, Marti-Renom MA, Fraser P , Bioinformatics

The global, three-dimensional organization of RNA molecules in the nucleus is difficult to determine using existing methods. Here we introduce Proximity RNA-seq, which identifies colocalization preferences for pairs or groups of nascent and fully transcribed RNAs in the nucleus. Proximity RNA-seq is based on massive-throughput RNA barcoding of subnuclear particles in water-in-oil emulsion droplets, followed by cDNA sequencing. Our results show RNAs of varying tissue-specificity of expression, speed of RNA polymerase elongation and extent of alternative splicing positioned at varying distances from nucleoli. The simultaneous detection of multiple RNAs in proximity to each other distinguishes RNA-dense from sparse compartments. Application of Proximity RNA-seq will facilitate study of the spatial organization of transcripts in the nucleus, including non-coding RNAs, and its functional relevance.

+view abstract Nature biotechnology, PMID: 31267103 2019

Arbore G, Henley T, Biggins L, Andrews S, Vigorito E, Turner M, Leyland R Immunology, Bioinformatics

A fast antibody response can be critical to contain rapidly dividing pathogens. This can be achieved by the expansion of antigen-specific B cells in response to T-cell help followed by differentiation into plasmablasts. MicroRNA-155 (miR-155) is required for optimal T-cell-dependent extrafollicular responses via regulation of PU.1, although the cellular processes underlying this defect are largely unknown. Here, we show that miR-155 regulates the early expansion of B-blasts and later on the survival and proliferation of plasmablasts in a B-cell-intrinsic manner, by tracking antigen-specific B cells in vivo since the onset of antigen stimulation. In agreement, comparative analysis of the transcriptome of miR-155-sufficient and miR-155-deficient plasmablasts at the peak of the response showed that the main processes regulated by miR-155 were DNA metabolic process, DNA replication, and cell cycle. Thus, miR-155 controls the extent of the extrafollicular response by regulating the survival and proliferation of B-blasts, plasmablasts and, consequently, antibody production.

+view abstract Life science alliance, PMID: 31097471 2019

Olova N, Krueger F, Andrews S, Oxley D, Berrens RV, Branco MR, Reik W Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Following publication of the original article [1], it was reported that the incorrect "Additional file 3" was published. The correct additional file is given below.

+view abstract Genome biology, PMID: 30795792 2019

Suire S, Baltanas FC, Segonds-Pichon A, Davidson K, Santos E, Hawkins PT, Stephens LR Signalling, Bioinformatics

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

+view abstract Journal of leukocyte biology, PMID: 30720883 2019

Choy MK, Javierre BM, Williams SG, Barss SL, Liu Y, Wingett SW, Akbarov A, Wallace C, Freire-Pritchett P, Rugg-Gunn PJ, Spivakov M, Fraser P, Keavney BD , Bioinformatics

In the original version of the Article, the gene symbol for tissue factor pathway inhibitor was inadvertently given as 'TFP1' instead of 'TFPI'. This has now been corrected in both the PDF and HTML versions of the Article.

+view abstract Nature communications, PMID: 30420621 2018

Cruz C, Della Rosa M, Krueger C, Gao Q, Horkai D, King M, Field L, Houseley J Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

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.

+view abstract eLife, PMID: 30274593 2018

Wingett SW, Andrews S , Bioinformatics

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.

+view abstract F1000Research, PMID: 30254741 2018

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 Signalling, Bioinformatics

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.

+view abstract Genome biology, PMID: 30180872 2018

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 Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

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.

+view abstract Cell systems, PMID: 30031774 2018

Schoenfelder S, Javierre BM, Furlan-Magaril M, Wingett SW, Fraser P Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

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.

+view abstract Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE, PMID: 30010637 2018

Choy MK, Javierre BM, Williams SG, Bar.oss SL, Liu Y, Wingett SW, Akbarov A, Wallace C, Freire-Pritchett P, Rugg-Gunn PJ, Spivakov M, Fraser P, Keavney BD Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Long-range chromosomal interactions bring distal regulatory elements and promoters together to regulate gene expression in biological processes. By performing promoter capture Hi-C (PCHi-C) on human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hESC-CMs), we show that such promoter interactions are a key mechanism by which enhancers contact their target genes after hESC-CM differentiation from hESCs. We also show that the promoter interactome of hESC-CMs is associated with expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) in cardiac left ventricular tissue; captures the dynamic process of genome reorganisation after hESC-CM differentiation; overlaps genome-wide association study (GWAS) regions associated with heart rate; and identifies new candidate genes in such regions. These findings indicate that regulatory elements in hESC-CMs identified by our approach control gene expression involved in ventricular conduction and rhythm of the heart. The study of promoter interactions in other hESC-derived cell types may be of utility in functional investigation of GWAS-associated regions.

+view abstract Nature communications, PMID: 29955040 2018

White MA, Kim E, Duffy A, Adalbert R, Phillips BU, Peters OM, Stephenson J, Yang S, Massenzio F, Lin Z, Andrews S, Segonds-Pichon A, Metterville J, Saksida LM, Mead R, Ribchester RR, Barhomi Y, Serre T, Coleman MP, Fallon JR, Bussey TJ, Brown RH, Sreedharan J , Bioinformatics

In the version of this article initially published, the footnote number 17 was missing from the author list for the two authors who contributed equally. Also, the authors have added a middle initial for author Justin R. Fallon and an acknowledgement to the Babraham Institute Imaging Facility and Sequencing Core Facility. The errors have been corrected in the HTML and PDF versions of the article.

+view abstract Nature neuroscience, PMID: 29872124 2018

White MA, Kim E, Duffy A, Adalbert R, Phillips BU, Peters OM, Stephenson J, Yang S, Massenzio F, Lin Z, Andrews S, Segonds-Pichon A, Metterville J, Saksida LM, Mead R, Ribchester RR, Barhomi Y, Serre T, Coleman MP, Fallon J, Bussey TJ, Brown RH, Sreedharan J Signalling, Bioinformatics

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-frontotemporal dementia (ALS-FTD) constitutes a devastating disease spectrum characterized by 43-kDa TAR DNA-binding protein (TDP-43) pathology. Understanding how TDP-43 contributes to neurodegeneration will help direct therapeutic efforts. Here we have created a TDP-43 knock-in mouse with a human-equivalent mutation in the endogenous mouse Tardbp gene. TDP-43mice demonstrate cognitive dysfunction and a paucity of parvalbumin interneurons. Critically, TDP-43 autoregulation is perturbed, leading to a gain of TDP-43 function and altered splicing of Mapt, another pivotal dementia-associated gene. Furthermore, a new approach to stratify transcriptomic data by phenotype in differentially affected mutant mice revealed 471 changes linked with improved behavior. These changes included downregulation of two known modifiers of neurodegeneration, Atxn2 and Arid4a, and upregulation of myelination and translation genes. With one base change in murine Tardbp, this study identifies TDP-43 misregulation as a pathogenic mechanism that may underpin ALS-FTD and exploits phenotypic heterogeneity to yield candidate suppressors of neurodegenerative disease.

+view abstract Nature neuroscience, PMID: 29556029 2018

Novo CL, Javierre BM, Cairns J, Segonds-Pichon A, Wingett SW, Freire-Pritchett P, Furlan-Magaril M, Schoenfelder S, Fraser P, Rugg-Gunn PJ Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Transcriptional enhancers, including super-enhancers (SEs), form physical interactions with promoters to regulate cell-type-specific gene expression. SEs are characterized by high transcription factor occupancy and large domains of active chromatin, and they are commonly assigned to target promoters using computational predictions. How promoter-SE interactions change upon cell state transitions, and whether transcription factors maintain SE interactions, have not been reported. Here, we used promoter-capture Hi-C to identify promoters that interact with SEs in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs). We found that SEs form complex, spatial networks in which individual SEs contact multiple promoters, and a rewiring of promoter-SE interactions occurs between pluripotent states. We also show that long-range promoter-SE interactions are more prevalent in ESCs than in epiblast stem cells (EpiSCs) or Nanog-deficient ESCs. We conclude that SEs form cell-type-specific interaction networks that are partly dependent on core transcription factors, thereby providing insights into the gene regulatory organization of pluripotent cells.

+view abstract Cell reports, PMID: 29514091 2018

Clark SJ, Argelaguet R, Kapourani CA, Stubbs TM, Lee HJ, Alda-Catalinas C, Krueger F, Sanguinetti G, Kelsey G, Marioni JC, Stegle O, Reik W Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Parallel single-cell sequencing protocols represent powerful methods for investigating regulatory relationships, including epigenome-transcriptome interactions. Here, we report a single-cell method for parallel chromatin accessibility, DNA methylation and transcriptome profiling. scNMT-seq (single-cell nucleosome, methylation and transcription sequencing) uses a GpC methyltransferase to label open chromatin followed by bisulfite and RNA sequencing. We validate scNMT-seq by applying it to differentiating mouse embryonic stem cells, finding links between all three molecular layers and revealing dynamic coupling between epigenomic layers during differentiation.

+view abstract Nature communications, PMID: 29472610 2018

Hanna CW, Taudt A, Huang J, Gahurova L, Kranz A, Andrews S, Dean W, Stewart AF, Colomé-Tatché M, Kelsey G Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Histone 3 K4 trimethylation (depositing H3K4me3 marks) is typically associated with active promoters yet paradoxically occurs at untranscribed domains. Research to delineate the mechanisms of targeting H3K4 methyltransferases is ongoing. The oocyte provides an attractive system to investigate these mechanisms, because extensive H3K4me3 acquisition occurs in nondividing cells. We developed low-input chromatin immunoprecipitation to interrogate H3K4me3, H3K27ac and H3K27me3 marks throughout oogenesis. In nongrowing oocytes, H3K4me3 was restricted to active promoters, but as oogenesis progressed, H3K4me3 accumulated in a transcription-independent manner and was targeted to intergenic regions, putative enhancers and silent H3K27me3-marked promoters. Ablation of the H3K4 methyltransferase gene Mll2 resulted in loss of transcription-independent H3K4 trimethylation but had limited effects on transcription-coupled H3K4 trimethylation or gene expression. Deletion of Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b showed that DNA methylation protects regions from acquiring H3K4me3. Our findings reveal two independent mechanisms of targeting H3K4me3 to genomic elements, with MLL2 recruited to unmethylated CpG-rich regions independently of transcription.

+view abstract Nature structural & molecular biology, PMID: 29323282 2018

Matheson LS, Bolland DJ, Chovanec P, Krueger F, Andrews S, Koohy H, Corcoran AE , Bioinformatics

V(D)J recombination is essential for the generation of diverse antigen receptor (AgR) repertoires. In B cells, immunoglobulin kappa (Igκ) light chain recombination follows immunoglobulin heavy chain (Igh) recombination. We recently developed the DNA-based VDJ-seq assay for the unbiased quantitation of Igh VH and DH repertoires. Integration of VDJ-seq data with genome-wide datasets revealed that two chromatin states at the recombination signal sequence (RSS) of VH genes are highly predictive of recombination in mouse pro-B cells. It is unknown whether local chromatin states contribute to Vκ gene choice during Igκ recombination. Here we adapt VDJ-seq to profile the Igκ VκJκ repertoire and present a comprehensive readout in mouse pre-B cells, revealing highly variable Vκ gene usage. Integration with genome-wide datasets for histone modifications, DNase hypersensitivity, transcription factor binding and germline transcription identified PU.1 binding at the RSS, which was unimportant for Igh, as highly predictive of whether a Vκ gene will recombine or not, suggesting that it plays a binary, all-or-nothing role, priming genes for recombination. Thereafter, the frequency with which these genes recombine was shaped both by the presence and level of enrichment of several other chromatin features, including H3K4 methylation and IKAROS binding. Moreover, in contrast to the Igh locus, the chromatin landscape of the promoter, as well as of the RSS, contributes to Vκ gene recombination. Thus, multiple facets of local chromatin features explain much of the variation in Vκ gene usage. Together, these findings reveal shared and divergent roles for epigenetic features and transcription factors in AgR V(D)J recombination and provide avenues for further investigation of chromatin signatures that may underpin V(D)J-mediated chromosomal translocations.

+view abstract Frontiers in immunology, PMID: 29204143 2017

Glont M, Nguyen TVN, Graesslin M, Hälke R, Ali R, Schramm J, Wimalaratne SM, Kothamachu VB, Rodriguez N, Swat MJ, Eils J, Eils R, Laibe C, Malik-Sheriff RS, Chelliah V, Le Novère N, Hermjakob H Signalling, Bioinformatics

BioModels serves as a central repository of mathematical models representing biological processes. It offers a platform to make mathematical models easily shareable across the systems modelling community, thereby supporting model reuse. To facilitate hosting a broader range of model formats derived from diverse modelling approaches and tools, a new infrastructure for BioModels has been developed that is available at This new system allows submitting and sharing of a wide range of models with improved support for formats other than SBML. It also offers a version-control backed environment in which authors and curators can work collaboratively to curate models. This article summarises the features available in the current system and discusses the potential benefit they offer to the users over the previous system. In summary, the new portal broadens the scope of models accepted in BioModels and supports collaborative model curation which is crucial for model reproducibility and sharing.

+view abstract Nucleic acids research, PMID: 29106614 2017

Berrens RV, Andrews S, Spensberger D, Santos F, Dean W, Gould P, Sharif J, Olova N, Chandra T, Koseki H, von Meyenn F, Reik W Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Erasure of DNA methylation and repressive chromatin marks in the mammalian germline leads to risk of transcriptional activation of transposable elements (TEs). Here, we used mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) to identify an endosiRNA-based mechanism involved in suppression of TE transcription. In ESCs with DNA demethylation induced by acute deletion of Dnmt1, we saw an increase in sense transcription at TEs, resulting in an abundance of sense/antisense transcripts leading to high levels of ARGONAUTE2 (AGO2)-bound small RNAs. Inhibition of Dicer or Ago2 expression revealed that small RNAs are involved in an immediate response to demethylation-induced transposon activation, while the deposition of repressive histone marks follows as a chronic response. In vivo, we also found TE-specific endosiRNAs present during primordial germ cell development. Our results suggest that antisense TE transcription is a "trap" that elicits an endosiRNA response to restrain acute transposon activity during epigenetic reprogramming in the mammalian germline.

+view abstract Cell stem cell, PMID: 29100015 2017

Nagano T, Wingett SW, Fraser P , Bioinformatics

Hi-C is a powerful method to investigate genome-wide, higher-order chromatin and chromosome conformations averaged from a population of cells. To expand the potential of Hi-C for single-cell analysis, we developed single-cell Hi-C. Similar to the existing "ensemble" Hi-C method, single-cell Hi-C detects proximity-dependent ligation events between cross-linked and restriction-digested chromatin fragments in cells. A major difference between the single-cell Hi-C and ensemble Hi-C protocol is that the proximity-dependent ligation is carried out in the nucleus. This allows the isolation of individual cells in which nearly the entire Hi-C procedure has been carried out, enabling the production of a Hi-C library and data from individual cells. With this new method, we studied genome conformations and found evidence for conserved topological domain organization from cell to cell, but highly variable interdomain contacts and chromosome folding genome wide. In addition, we found that the single-cell Hi-C protocol provided cleaner results with less technical noise suggesting it could be used to improve the ensemble Hi-C technique.

+view abstract Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), PMID: 28986784 2017

Vucicevic Boras V, Fucic A, Virag M, Gabric D, Blivajs I, Tomasovic-Loncaric C, Rakusic Z, Bisof V, Le Novere N, Velimir Vrdoljak D Signalling, Bioinformatics

The worldwide annual incidence of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) is over 300,000 cases with a mortality rate of 48%. This cancer type accounts for 90% of all oral cancers, with the highest incidence in men over 50 years of age. A significantly increased risk of developing OSCC exists among smokers and people who consume alcohol daily. OSCC is an aggressive cancer that metastasizes rapidly. Despite the development of new therapies in the treatment of OSCC, no significant increase in 5-year survival has been recorded in the past decades. The latest research suggests focus should be put on examining tumor stroma activation within OSCC, as the stroma may contain cells that can produce signal molecules and a microenvironment crucial for the development of metastases. The aim of this review is to provide an insight into the factors that activate OSCC stroma and hence faciliate neoplastic progression. It is based on the currently available data on the role and interaction between metalloproteinases, cytokines, growth factors, hypoxia factor and extracellular adhesion proteins in the stroma of OSCC and neoplastic cells. Their interplay is additionally presented using the Systems Biology Graphical Notation in order to sublimate the collected knowledge and enable the more efficient recognition of possible new biomarkers in the diagnostics and follow-up of OSCC or in finding new therapeutic targets.

+view abstract Tumori, PMID: 28885677 2017

Burren OS, Rubio García A, Javierre BM, Rainbow DB, Cairns J, Cooper NJ, Lambourne JJ, Schofield E, Castro Dopico X, Ferreira RC, Coulson R, Burden F, Rowlston SP, Downes K, Wingett SW, Frontini M, Ouwehand WH, Fraser P, Spivakov M, Todd JA, Wicker LS, Cutler AJ, Wallace C Immunology, Bioinformatics

Autoimmune disease-associated variants are preferentially found in regulatory regions in immune cells, particularly CD4(+) T cells. Linking such regulatory regions to gene promoters in disease-relevant cell contexts facilitates identification of candidate disease genes.

+view abstract Genome biology, PMID: 28870212 2017

Rubin AJ, Barajas BC, Furlan-Magaril M, Lopez-Pajares V, Mumbach MR, Howard I, Kim DS, Boxer LD, Cairns J, Spivakov M, Wingett SW, Shi M, Zhao Z, Greenleaf WJ, Kundaje A, Snyder M, Chang HY, Fraser P, Khavari PA , Bioinformatics

Chromosome conformation is an important feature of metazoan gene regulation; however, enhancer-promoter contact remodeling during cellular differentiation remains poorly understood. To address this, genome-wide promoter capture Hi-C (CHi-C) was performed during epidermal differentiation. Two classes of enhancer-promoter contacts associated with differentiation-induced genes were identified. The first class ('gained') increased in contact strength during differentiation in concert with enhancer acquisition of the H3K27ac activation mark. The second class ('stable') were pre-established in undifferentiated cells, with enhancers constitutively marked by H3K27ac. The stable class was associated with the canonical conformation regulator cohesin, whereas the gained class was not, implying distinct mechanisms of contact formation and regulation. Analysis of stable enhancers identified a new, essential role for a constitutively expressed, lineage-restricted ETS-family transcription factor, EHF, in epidermal differentiation. Furthermore, neither class of contacts was observed in pluripotent cells, suggesting that lineage-specific chromatin structure is established in tissue progenitor cells and is further remodeled in terminal differentiation.

+view abstract Nature genetics, PMID: 28805829 2017

Harewood L, Kishore K, Eldridge MD, Wingett S, Pearson D, Schoenfelder S, Collins VP, Fraser P , Bioinformatics

Chromosomal rearrangements occur constitutionally in the general population and somatically in the majority of cancers. Detection of balanced rearrangements, such as reciprocal translocations and inversions, is troublesome, which is particularly detrimental in oncology where rearrangements play diagnostic and prognostic roles. Here we describe the use of Hi-C as a tool for detection of both balanced and unbalanced chromosomal rearrangements in primary human tumour samples, with the potential to define chromosome breakpoints to bp resolution. In addition, we show copy number profiles can also be obtained from the same data, all at a significantly lower cost than standard sequencing approaches.

+view abstract Genome biology, PMID: 28655341 2017

Gahurova L, Tomizawa SI, Smallwood SA, Stewart-Morgan KR, Saadeh H, Kim J, Andrews SR, Chen T, Kelsey G Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Gametogenesis in mammals entails profound re-patterning of the epigenome. In the female germline, DNA methylation is acquired late in oogenesis from an essentially unmethylated baseline and is established largely as a consequence of transcription events. Molecular and functional studies have shown that imprinted genes become methylated at different times during oocyte growth; however, little is known about the kinetics of methylation gain genome wide and the reasons for asynchrony in methylation at imprinted loci.

+view abstract Epigenetics & chromatin, PMID: 28507606 2017

Stubbs TM, Bonder MJ, Stark AK, Krueger F, Bolland D, Butcher G, Chandra T, Clark SJ, Corcoran A, Eckersley-Maslin M, Field L, Frising UC, Gilbert C, Guedes J, Hernando-Herraez I, Houseley J, Kemp F, MacQueen A, Okkenhaug K, Rhoades M, Santbergen MJC, Stebegg M, von Meyenn F, Stegle O, Reik W Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

DNA methylation changes at a discrete set of sites in the human genome are predictive of chronological and biological age. However, it is not known whether these changes are causative or a consequence of an underlying ageing process. It has also not been shown whether this epigenetic clock is unique to humans or conserved in the more experimentally tractable mouse.

+view abstract Genome biology, PMID: 28399939 2017

Clark SJ, Smallwood SA, Lee HJ, Krueger F, Reik W, Kelsey G Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

DNA methylation (DNAme) is an important epigenetic mark in diverse species. Our current understanding of DNAme is based on measurements from bulk cell samples, which obscures intercellular differences and prevents analyses of rare cell types. Thus, the ability to measure DNAme in single cells has the potential to make important contributions to the understanding of several key biological processes, such as embryonic development, disease progression and aging. We have recently reported a method for generating genome-wide DNAme maps from single cells, using single-cell bisulfite sequencing (scBS-seq), allowing the quantitative measurement of DNAme at up to 50% of CpG dinucleotides throughout the mouse genome. Here we present a detailed protocol for scBS-seq that includes our most recent developments to optimize recovery of CpGs, mapping efficiency and success rate; reduce hands-on time; and increase sample throughput with the option of using an automated liquid handler. We provide step-by-step instructions for each stage of the method, comprising cell lysis and bisulfite (BS) conversion, preamplification and adaptor tagging, library amplification, sequencing and, lastly, alignment and methylation calling. An individual with relevant molecular biology expertise can complete library preparation within 3 d. Subsequent computational steps require 1-3 d for someone with bioinformatics expertise.

+view abstract Nature protocols, PMID: 28182018 2017

Milagre I, Stubbs TM, King MR, Spindel J, Santos F, Krueger F, Bachman M, Segonds-Pichon A, Balasubramanian S, Andrews SR, Dean W, Reik W Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Global DNA demethylation is an integral part of reprogramming processes in vivo and in vitro, but whether it occurs in the derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) is not known. Here, we show that iPSC reprogramming involves both global and targeted demethylation, which are separable mechanistically and by their biological outcomes. Cells at intermediate-late stages of reprogramming undergo transient genome-wide demethylation, which is more pronounced in female cells. Global demethylation requires activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID)-mediated downregulation of UHRF1 protein, and abolishing demethylation leaves thousands of hypermethylated regions in the iPSC genome. Independently of AID and global demethylation, regulatory regions, particularly ESC enhancers and super-enhancers, are specifically targeted for hypomethylation in association with transcription of the pluripotency network. Our results show that global and targeted DNA demethylation are conserved and distinct reprogramming processes, presumably because of their respective roles in epigenetic memory erasure and in the establishment of cell identity.

+view abstract Cell reports, PMID: 28147265 2017

Canovas S, Ivanova E, Romar R, García-Martínez S, Soriano-Úbeda C, García-Vázquez FA, Saadeh H, Andrews S, Kelsey G, Coy P Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

The number of children born since the origin of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) exceeds 5 million. The majority seem healthy, but a higher frequency of defects has been reported among ART-conceived infants, suggesting an epigenetic cost. We report the first whole-genome DNA methylation datasets from single pig blastocysts showing differences between in vivo and in vitro produced embryos. Blastocysts were produced in vitro either without (C-IVF) or in the presence of natural reproductive fluids (Natur-IVF). Natur-IVF embryos were of higher quality than C-IVF in terms of cell number and hatching ability to. RNA-Seq and DNA methylation analyses showed that Natur-IVF embryos have expression and methylation patterns closer to in vivo blastocysts. Genes involved in reprogramming, imprinting and development were affected by culture, with fewer aberrations in Natur-IVF embryos. Methylation analysis detected methylated changes in C-IVF, but not in Natur-IVF, at genes whose methylation could be critical, such as IGF2R and NNAT.

+view abstract eLife, PMID: 28134613 2017

Collinson A, Collier AJ, Morgan NP, Sienerth AR, Chandra T, Andrews S, Rugg-Gunn PJ Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Through the histone methyltransferase EZH2, the Polycomb complex PRC2 mediates H3K27me3 and is associated with transcriptional repression. PRC2 regulates cell-fate decisions in model organisms; however, its role in regulating cell differentiation during human embryogenesis is unknown. Here, we report the characterization of EZH2-deficient human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). H3K27me3 was lost upon EZH2 deletion, identifying an essential requirement for EZH2 in methylating H3K27 in hESCs, in contrast to its non-essential role in mouse ESCs. Developmental regulators were derepressed in EZH2-deficient hESCs, and single-cell analysis revealed an unexpected acquisition of lineage-restricted transcriptional programs. EZH2-deficient hESCs show strongly reduced self-renewal and proliferation, thereby identifying a more severe phenotype compared to mouse ESCs. EZH2-deficient hESCs can initiate differentiation toward developmental lineages; however, they cannot fully differentiate into mature specialized tissues. Thus, EZH2 is required for stable ESC self-renewal, regulation of transcriptional programs, and for late-stage differentiation in this model of early human development.

+view abstract Cell reports, PMID: 27926872 2016

Stepper P, Kungulovski G, Jurkowska RZ, Chandra T, Krueger F, Reinhardt R, Reik W, Jeltsch A, Jurkowski TP Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

DNA methylation plays a critical role in the regulation and maintenance of cell-type specific transcriptional programs. Targeted epigenome editing is an emerging technology to specifically regulate cellular gene expression in order to modulate cell phenotypes or dissect the epigenetic mechanisms involved in their control. In this work, we employed a DNA methyltransferase Dnmt3a-Dnmt3L construct fused to the nuclease-inactivated dCas9 programmable targeting domain to introduce DNA methylation into the human genome specifically at the EpCAM, CXCR4 and TFRC gene promoters. We show that targeting of these loci with single gRNAs leads to efficient and widespread methylation of the promoters. Multiplexing of several guide RNAs does not increase the efficiency of methylation. Peaks of targeted methylation were observed around 25 bp upstream and 40 bp downstream of the PAM site, while 20-30 bp of the binding site itself are protected against methylation. Potent methylation is dependent on the multimerization of Dnmt3a/Dnmt3L complexes on the DNA. Furthermore, the introduced methylation causes transcriptional repression of the targeted genes. These new programmable epigenetic editors allow unprecedented control of the DNA methylation status in cells and will lead to further advances in the understanding of epigenetic signaling.

+view abstract Nucleic acids research, PMID: 27899645 2016

Javierre BM, Burren OS, Wilder SP, Kreuzhuber R, Hill SM, Sewitz S, Cairns J, Wingett SW, Várnai C, Thiecke MJ, Burden F, Farrow S, Cutler AJ, Rehnström K, Downes K, Grassi L, Kostadima M, Freire-Pritchett P, Wang F, , Stunnenberg HG, Todd JA, Zerbino DR, Stegle O, Ouwehand WH, Frontini M, Wallace C, Spivakov M, Fraser P , Bioinformatics

Long-range interactions between regulatory elements and gene promoters play key roles in transcriptional regulation. The vast majority of interactions are uncharted, constituting a major missing link in understanding genome control. Here, we use promoter capture Hi-C to identify interacting regions of 31,253 promoters in 17 human primary hematopoietic cell types. We show that promoter interactions are highly cell type specific and enriched for links between active promoters and epigenetically marked enhancers. Promoter interactomes reflect lineage relationships of the hematopoietic tree, consistent with dynamic remodeling of nuclear architecture during differentiation. Interacting regions are enriched in genetic variants linked with altered expression of genes they contact, highlighting their functional role. We exploit this rich resource to connect non-coding disease variants to putative target promoters, prioritizing thousands of disease-candidate genes and implicating disease pathways. Our results demonstrate the power of primary cell promoter interactomes to reveal insights into genomic regulatory mechanisms underlying common diseases.

+view abstract Cell, PMID: 27863249 2016

von Meyenn F, Berrens RV, Andrews S, Santos F, Collier AJ, Krueger F, Osorno R, Dean W, Rugg-Gunn PJ, Reik W Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Primordial germ cell (PGC) development is characterized by global epigenetic remodeling, which resets genomic potential and establishes an epigenetic ground state. Here we recapitulate PGC specification in vitro from naive embryonic stem cells and characterize the early events of epigenetic reprogramming during the formation of the human and mouse germline. Following rapid de novo DNA methylation during priming to epiblast-like cells, methylation is globally erased in PGC-like cells. Repressive chromatin marks (H3K9me2/3) and transposable elements are enriched at demethylation-resistant regions, while active chromatin marks (H3K4me3 or H3K27ac) are more prominent at regions that demethylate faster. The dynamics of specification and epigenetic reprogramming show species-specific differences, in particular markedly slower reprogramming kinetics in the human germline. Differences in developmental kinetics may be explained by differential regulation of epigenetic modifiers. Our work establishes a robust and faithful experimental system of the early events of epigenetic reprogramming and regulation in the germline.

+view abstract Developmental cell, PMID: 27728778 2016

Vermeren MM, Zhang Q, Smethurst E, Segonds-Pichon A, Schrewe H, Wakelam MJ Signalling, Bioinformatics

Phospholipase D2 (PLD2) is an enzyme that produces phosphatidic acid (PA), a lipid messenger molecule involved in a number of cellular events including, through its membrane curvature properties, endocytosis. The PLD2 knock out (PLD2KO) mouse has been previously reported to be protected from insult in a model of Alzheimer's disease. We have further analysed a PLD2KO mouse using mass spectrophotometry of its lipids and found significant differences in PA species throughout its brain. We have examined the expression pattern of PLD2 which allowed us to define which region of the brain to analyse for defect, notably PLD2 was not detected in glial-rich regions. The expression pattern lead us to specifically examine the mitral cells of olfactory bulbs, the Cornus Amonis (CA) regions of the hippocampus and the Purkinje cells of the cerebellum. We find that the change to longer PA species correlates with subtle architectural defect in the cerebellum, exemplified by ectopic Purkinje cells and an adult-onset deficit of olfaction. These observations draw parallels to defects in the reelin heterozygote as well as the effect of high fat diet on olfaction.

+view abstract PloS one, PMID: 27658289 0

Wood CD, Veenstra H, Khasnis S, Gunnell A, Webb HM, Shannon-Lowe C, Andrews S, Osborne CS, West MJ , Bioinformatics

Lymphomagenesis in the presence of deregulated MYC requires suppression of MYC-driven apoptosis, often through downregulation of the pro-apoptotic BCL2L11 gene (Bim). Transcription factors (EBNAs) encoded by the lymphoma-associated Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) activate MYC and silence BCL2L11. We show that the EBNA2 transactivator activates multiple MYC enhancers and reconfigures the MYC locus to increase upstream and decrease downstream enhancer-promoter interactions. EBNA2 recruits the BRG1 ATPase of the SWI/SNF remodeller to MYC enhancers and BRG1 is required for enhancer-promoter interactions in EBV-infected cells. At BCL2L11, we identify a haematopoietic enhancer hub that is inactivated by the EBV repressors EBNA3A and EBNA3C through recruitment of the H3K27 methyltransferase EZH2. Reversal of enhancer inactivation using an EZH2 inhibitor upregulates BCL2L11 and induces apoptosis. EBV therefore drives lymphomagenesis by hijacking long-range enhancer hubs and specific cellular co-factors. EBV-driven MYC enhancer activation may contribute to the genesis and localisation of MYC-Immunoglobulin translocation breakpoints in Burkitt's lymphoma.

+view abstract eLife, PMID: 27490482 2016

Krueger F, Andrews SR , Bioinformatics

Sequencing reads overlapping polymorphic sites in diploid mammalian genomes may be assigned to one allele or the other. This holds the potential to detect gene expression, chromatin modifications, DNA methylation or nuclear interactions in an allele-specific fashion. SNPsplit is an allele-specific alignment sorter designed to read files in SAM/BAM format and determine the allelic origin of reads or read-pairs that cover known single nucleotide polymorphic (SNP) positions. For this to work libraries must have been aligned to a genome in which all known SNP positions were masked with the ambiguity base 'N' and aligned using a suitable mapping program such as Bowtie2, TopHat, STAR, HISAT2, HiCUP or Bismark. SNPsplit also provides an automated solution to generate N-masked reference genomes for hybrid mouse strains based on the variant call information provided by the Mouse Genomes Project. The unique ability of SNPsplit to work with various different kinds of sequencing data including RNA-Seq, ChIP-Seq, Bisulfite-Seq or Hi-C opens new avenues for the integrative exploration of allele-specific data.

+view abstract F1000Research, PMID: 27429743 2016

Cairns J, Freire-Pritchett P, Wingett SW, Várnai C, Dimond A, Plagnol V, Zerbino D, Schoenfelder S, Javierre BM, Osborne C, Fraser P, Spivakov M , Bioinformatics

Capture Hi-C (CHi-C) is a method for profiling chromosomal interactions involving targeted regions of interest, such as gene promoters, globally and at high resolution. Signal detection in CHi-C data involves a number of statistical challenges that are not observed when using other Hi-C-like techniques. We present a background model and algorithms for normalisation and multiple testing that are specifically adapted to CHi-C experiments. We implement these procedures in CHiCAGO ( ), an open-source package for robust interaction detection in CHi-C. We validate CHiCAGO by showing that promoter-interacting regions detected with this method are enriched for regulatory features and disease-associated SNPs.

+view abstract Genome biology, PMID: 27306882 2016

Bolland DJ, Koohy H, Wood AL, Matheson LS, Krueger F, Stubbington MJ, Baizan-Edge A, Chovanec P, Stubbs BA, Tabbada K, Andrews SR, Spivakov M, Corcoran AE , Bioinformatics

Variable (V), diversity (D), and joining (J) (V(D)J) recombination is the first determinant of antigen receptor diversity. Understanding how recombination is regulated requires a comprehensive, unbiased readout of V gene usage. We have developed VDJ sequencing (VDJ-seq), a DNA-based next-generation-sequencing technique that quantitatively profiles recombination products. We reveal a 200-fold range of recombination efficiency among recombining V genes in the primary mouse Igh repertoire. We used machine learning to integrate these data with local chromatin profiles to identify combinatorial patterns of epigenetic features that associate with active VH gene recombination. These features localize downstream of VH genes and are excised by recombination, revealing a class of cis-regulatory element that governs recombination, distinct from expression. We detect two mutually exclusive chromatin signatures at these elements, characterized by CTCF/RAD21 and PAX5/IRF4, which segregate with the evolutionary history of associated VH genes. Thus, local chromatin signatures downstream of VH genes provide an essential layer of regulation that determines recombination efficiency.

+view abstract Cell reports, PMID: 27264181 2016

Galloway A, Saveliev A, Łukasiak S, Hodson DJ, Bolland D, Balmanno K, Ahlfors H, Monzón-Casanova E, Mannurita SC, Bell LS, Andrews S, Díaz-Muñoz MD, Cook SJ, Corcoran A, Turner M Immunology, Bioinformatics

Progression through the stages of lymphocyte development requires coordination of the cell cycle. Such coordination ensures genomic integrity while cells somatically rearrange their antigen receptor genes [in a process called variable-diversity-joining (VDJ) recombination] and, upon successful rearrangement, expands the pools of progenitor lymphocytes. Here we show that in developing B lymphocytes, the RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) ZFP36L1 and ZFP36L2 are critical for maintaining quiescence before precursor B cell receptor (pre-BCR) expression and for reestablishing quiescence after pre-BCR-induced expansion. These RBPs suppress an evolutionarily conserved posttranscriptional regulon consisting of messenger RNAs whose protein products cooperatively promote transition into the S phase of the cell cycle. This mechanism promotes VDJ recombination and effective selection of cells expressing immunoglobulin-μ at the pre-BCR checkpoint.

+view abstract Science (New York, N.Y.), PMID: 27102483 2016

Wingett S, Ewels P, Furlan-Magaril M, Nagano T, Schoenfelder S, Fraser P, Andrews S , Bioinformatics

HiCUP is a pipeline for processing sequence data generated by Hi-C and Capture Hi-C (CHi-C) experiments, which are techniques used to investigate three-dimensional genomic organisation. The pipeline maps data to a specified reference genome and removes artefacts that would otherwise hinder subsequent analysis. HiCUP also produces an easy-to-interpret yet detailed quality control (QC) report that assists in refining experimental protocols for future studies. The software is freely available and has already been used for processing Hi-C and CHi-C data in several recently published peer-reviewed studies.

+view abstract F1000Research, PMID: 26835000 2015

Hanna CW, Peñaherrera MS, Saadeh H, Andrews S, McFadden DE, Kelsey G, Robinson WP Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

The maternal and paternal copies of the genome are both required for mammalian development and this is primarily due to imprinted genes, those that are mono-allelically expressed based on parent-of-origin. Typically, this pattern of expression is regulated by differentially methylated regions (DMRs) that are established in the germline and maintained after fertilisation. There are a large number of germline DMRs that have not yet been associated with imprinting and their function in development is unknown. In this study, we developed a genome-wide approach to identify novel imprinted DMRs in the human placenta, and investigated the dynamics of these imprinted DMRs during development in somatic and extra-embryonic tissues. DNA methylation was evaluated using the Illumina HumanMethylation450 array in 134 human tissue samples, publically available reduced representation bisulfite sequencing in the human embryo and germ cells, and targeted bisulfite sequencing in term placentas. 43 known and 101 novel imprinted DMRs were identified in the human placenta, by comparing methylation between diandric and digynic triploid conceptions in addition to female and male gametes. 72 novel DMRs showed a pattern consistent with placental-specific imprinting and this mono-allelic methylation was entirely maternal in origin. Strikingly, these DMRs exhibited polymorphic imprinted methylation between placental samples. These data suggest that imprinting in human development is far more extensive and dynamic than previously reported and that the placenta preferentially maintains maternal germline-derived DNA methylation.

+view abstract Genome research, PMID: 26769960 2016

Angermueller C, Clark SJ, Lee HJ, Macaulay IC, Teng MJ, Hu TX, Krueger F, Smallwood SA, Ponting CP, Voet T, Kelsey G, Stegle O, Reik W Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

We report scM&T-seq, a method for parallel single-cell genome-wide methylome and transcriptome sequencing that allows for the discovery of associations between transcriptional and epigenetic variation. Profiling of 61 mouse embryonic stem cells confirmed known links between DNA methylation and transcription. Notably, the method revealed previously unrecognized associations between heterogeneously methylated distal regulatory elements and transcription of key pluripotency genes.

+view abstract Nature methods, PMID: 26752769 2016

Sandovici I, Hammerle CM, Cooper WN, Smith NH, Tarry-Adkins JL, Dunmore BJ, Bauer J, Andrews SR, Yeo GS, Ozanne SE, Constância M , Bioinformatics

Ageing is a major risk factor for development of metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Identification of the mechanisms underlying this association could help to elucidate the relationship between age-associated progressive loss of metabolic health and development of type 2 diabetes. We aimed to determine molecular signatures during ageing in the endocrine pancreas.

+view abstract Diabetologia, PMID: 26699651 2016

Veselovska L, Smallwood SA, Saadeh H, Stewart KR, Krueger F, Maupetit-Méhouas S, Arnaud P, Tomizawa S, Andrews S, Kelsey G Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

+view abstract Genome biology, PMID: 26635312 2015

Norton L, Lindsay Y, Deladeriere A, Chessa T, Guillou H, Suire S, Lucocq J, Walker S, Andrews S, Segonds-Pichon A, Rausch O, Finan P, Sasaki T, Du CJ, Bretschneider T, Ferguson GJ, Hawkins PT, Stephens L Signalling, Bioinformatics

Class I phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) are important regulators of neutrophil migration in response to a range of chemoattractants. Their primary lipid products PtdIns(3,4,5)P3 and PtdIns(3,4)P2 preferentially accumulate near to the leading edge of migrating cells and are thought to act as an important cue organizing molecular and morphological polarization. We have investigated the distribution and accumulation of these lipids independently in mouse neutrophils using eGFP-PH reportersand electron microscopy (EM). We found that authentic mouse neutrophils rapidly polarized their Class I PI3K signalling, as read-out by eGFP-PH reporters, both at the up-gradient leading edge in response to local stimulation with fMLP as well as spontaneously and randomly in response to uniform stimulation. EM studies revealed these events occurred at the plasma membrane, were dominated by accumulation of PtdIns(3,4,5)P3, but not PtdIns(3,4)P2, and were dependent on PI3Kγ and its upstream activation by both Ras and Gβγs.

+view abstract Advances in biological regulation, PMID: 26596865 2015

Patalano S, Vlasova A, Wyatt C, Ewels P, Camara F, Ferreira PG, Asher CL, Jurkowski TP, Segonds-Pichon A, Bachman M, González-Navarrete I, Minoche AE, Krueger F, Lowy E, Marcet-Houben M, Rodriguez-Ales JL, Nascimento FS, Balasubramanian S, Gabaldon T, Tarver JE, Andrews S, Himmelbauer H, Hughes WO, Guigó R, Reik W, Sumner S Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Phenotypic plasticity is important in adaptation and shapes the evolution of organisms. However, we understand little about what aspects of the genome are important in facilitating plasticity. Eusocial insect societies produce plastic phenotypes from the same genome, as reproductives (queens) and nonreproductives (workers). The greatest plasticity is found in the simple eusocial insect societies in which individuals retain the ability to switch between reproductive and nonreproductive phenotypes as adults. We lack comprehensive data on the molecular basis of plastic phenotypes. Here, we sequenced genomes, microRNAs (miRNAs), and multiple transcriptomes and methylomes from individual brains in a wasp (Polistes canadensis) and an ant (Dinoponera quadriceps) that live in simple eusocial societies. In both species, we found few differences between phenotypes at the transcriptional level, with little functional specialization, and no evidence that phenotype-specific gene expression is driven by DNA methylation or miRNAs. Instead, phenotypic differentiation was defined more subtly by nonrandom transcriptional network organization, with roles in these networks for both conserved and taxon-restricted genes. The general lack of highly methylated regions or methylome patterning in both species may be an important mechanism for achieving plasticity among phenotypes during adulthood. These findings define previously unidentified hypotheses on the genomic processes that facilitate plasticity and suggest that the molecular hallmarks of social behavior are likely to differ with the level of social complexity.

+view abstract Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, PMID: 26483466 2015

Veselovska L, Smallwood SA, Saadeh H, Stewart KR, Krueger F, Maupetit-Méhouas S, Arnaud P, Tomizawa SI, Andrews S, Kelsey G Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Previously, a role was demonstrated for transcription in the acquisition of DNA methylation at imprinted control regions in oocytes. Definition of the oocyte DNA methylome by whole genome approaches revealed that the majority of methylated CpG islands are intragenic and gene bodies are hypermethylated. Yet, the mechanisms by which transcription regulates DNA methylation in oocytes remain unclear. Here, we systematically test the link between transcription and the methylome.

+view abstract Genome biology, PMID: 26408185 0

Sun H, Damez-Werno DM, Scobie KN, Shao NY, Dias C, Rabkin J, Koo JW, Korb E, Bagot RC, Ahn FH, Cahill ME, Labonté B, Mouzon E, Heller EA, Cates H, Golden SA, Gleason K, Russo SJ, Andrews S, Neve R, Kennedy PJ, Maze I, Dietz DM, Allis CD, Turecki G, Varga-Weisz P, Tamminga C, Shen L, Nestler EJ , Bioinformatics

Improved treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD) remains elusive because of the limited understanding of its underlying biological mechanisms. It is likely that stress-induced maladaptive transcriptional regulation in limbic neural circuits contributes to the development of MDD, possibly through epigenetic factors that regulate chromatin structure. We establish that persistent upregulation of the ACF (ATP-utilizing chromatin assembly and remodeling factor) ATP-dependent chromatin-remodeling complex, occurring in the nucleus accumbens of stress-susceptible mice and depressed humans, is necessary for stress-induced depressive-like behaviors. We found that altered ACF binding after chronic stress was correlated with altered nucleosome positioning, particularly around the transcription start sites of affected genes. These alterations in ACF binding and nucleosome positioning were associated with repressed expression of genes implicated in susceptibility to stress. Together, our findings identify the ACF chromatin-remodeling complex as a critical component in the development of susceptibility to depression and in regulating stress-related behaviors.

+view abstract Nature medicine, PMID: 26390241 2015

Strogantsev R, Krueger F, Yamazawa K, Shi H, Gould P, Goldman-Roberts M, McEwen K, Sun B, Pedersen R, Ferguson-Smith AC , Bioinformatics

Selective maintenance of genomic epigenetic imprints during pre-implantation development is required for parental origin-specific expression of imprinted genes. The Kruppel-like zinc finger protein ZFP57 acts as a factor necessary for maintaining the DNA methylation memory at multiple imprinting control regions in early mouse embryos and embryonic stem (ES) cells. Maternal-zygotic deletion of ZFP57 in mice presents a highly penetrant phenotype with no animals surviving to birth. Additionally, several cases of human transient neonatal diabetes are associated with somatic mutations in the ZFP57 coding sequence.

+view abstract Genome biology, PMID: 26025256 2015

Mifsud B, Tavares-Cadete F, Young AN, Sugar R, Schoenfelder S, Ferreira L, Wingett SW, Andrews S, Grey W, Ewels PA, Herman B, Happe S, Higgs A, LeProust E, Follows GA, Fraser P, Luscombe NM, Osborne CS , Bioinformatics

Transcriptional control in large genomes often requires looping interactions between distal DNA elements, such as enhancers and target promoters. Current chromosome conformation capture techniques do not offer sufficiently high resolution to interrogate these regulatory interactions on a genomic scale. Here we use Capture Hi-C (CHi-C), an adapted genome conformation assay, to examine the long-range interactions of almost 22,000 promoters in 2 human blood cell types. We identify over 1.6 million shared and cell type-restricted interactions spanning hundreds of kilobases between promoters and distal loci. Transcriptionally active genes contact enhancer-like elements, whereas transcriptionally inactive genes interact with previously uncharacterized elements marked by repressive features that may act as long-range silencers. Finally, we show that interacting loci are enriched for disease-associated SNPs, suggesting how distal mutations may disrupt the regulation of relevant genes. This study provides new insights and accessible tools to dissect the regulatory interactions that underlie normal and aberrant gene regulation.

+view abstract Nature genetics, PMID: 25938943 2015

Uribe-Lewis S, Stark R, Carroll T, Dunning MJ, Bachman M, Ito Y, Stojic L, Halim S, Vowler SL, Lynch AG, Delatte B, de Bony EJ, Colin L, Defrance M, Krueger F, Silva AL, Ten Hoopen R, Ibrahim AE, Fuks F, Murrell A , Bioinformatics

The discovery of cytosine hydroxymethylation (5hmC) as a mechanism that potentially controls DNA methylation changes typical of neoplasia prompted us to investigate its behaviour in colon cancer. 5hmC is globally reduced in proliferating cells such as colon tumours and the gut crypt progenitors, from which tumours can arise.

+view abstract Genome biology, PMID: 25853800 2015

Schoenfelder S, Furlan-Magaril M, Mifsud B, Tavares-Cadete F, Sugar R, Javierre BM, Nagano T, Katsman Y, Sakthidevi M, Wingett SW, Dimitrova E, Dimond A, Edelman LB, Elderkin S, Tabbada K, Darbo E, Andrews S, Herman B, Higgs A, LeProust E, Osborne CS, Mitchell JA, Luscombe NM, Fraser P , Bioinformatics

The mammalian genome harbors up to one million regulatory elements often located at great distances from their target genes. Long-range elements control genes through physical contact with promoters and can be recognized by the presence of specific histone modifications and transcription factor binding. Linking regulatory elements to specific promoters genome-wide is currently impeded by the limited resolution of high-throughput chromatin interaction assays. Here we apply a sequence capture approach to enrich Hi-C libraries for >22,000 annotated mouse promoters to identify statistically significant, long-range interactions at restriction fragment resolution, assigning long-range interacting elements to their target genes genome-wide in embryonic stem cells and fetal liver cells. The distal sites contacting active genes are enriched in active histone modifications and transcription factor occupancy, whereas inactive genes contact distal sites with repressive histone marks, demonstrating the regulatory potential of the distal elements identified. Furthermore, we find that coregulated genes cluster nonrandomly in spatial interaction networks correlated with their biological function and expression level. Interestingly, we find the strongest gene clustering in ES cells between transcription factor genes that control key developmental processes in embryogenesis. The results provide the first genome-wide catalog linking gene promoters to their long-range interacting elements and highlight the complex spatial regulatory circuitry controlling mammalian gene expression.

+view abstract Genome research, PMID: 25752748 2015

Cini A, Patalano S, Segonds-Pichon A, Busby GB, Cervo R, Sumner S , Bioinformatics

Contrasting phenotypes arise from similar genomes through a combination of losses, gains, co-option and modifications of inherited genomic material. Understanding the molecular basis of this phenotypic diversity is a fundamental challenge in modern evolutionary biology. Comparisons of the genes and their expression patterns underlying traits in closely related species offer an unrivaled opportunity to evaluate the extent to which genomic material is reorganized to produce novel traits. Advances in molecular methods now allow us to dissect the molecular machinery underlying phenotypic diversity in almost any organism, from single-celled entities to the most complex vertebrates. Here we discuss how comparisons of social parasites and their free-living hosts may provide unique insights into the molecular basis of phenotypic evolution. Social parasites evolve from a eusocial ancestor and are specialized to exploit the socially acquired resources of their closely-related eusocial host. Molecular comparisons of such species pairs can reveal how genomic material is re-organized in the loss of ancestral traits (i.e., of free-living traits in the parasites) and the gain of new ones (i.e., specialist traits required for a parasitic lifestyle). We define hypotheses on the molecular basis of phenotypes in the evolution of social parasitism and discuss their wider application in our understanding of the molecular basis of phenotypic diversity within the theoretical framework of phenotypic plasticity and shifting reaction norms. Currently there are no data available to test these hypotheses, and so we also provide some proof of concept data using the paper wasp social parasite/host system (Polistes sulcifer-Polistes dominula). This conceptual framework and first empirical data provide a spring-board for directing future genomic analyses on exploiting social parasites as a route to understanding the evolution of phenotypic specialization.

+view abstract Frontiers in genetics, PMID: 25741361 2015

Diaz-Muñoz MD, Bell SE, Fairfax K, Monzon-Casanova E, Cunningham AF, Gonzalez-Porta M, Andrews SR, Bunik VI, Zarnack K, Curk T, Heggermont WA, Heymans S, Gibson GE, Kontoyiannis DL, Ule J, Turner M Immunology, Bioinformatics

Post-transcriptional regulation of mRNA by the RNA-binding protein HuR (encoded by Elavl1) is required in B cells for the germinal center reaction and for the production of class-switched antibodies in response to thymus-independent antigens. Transcriptome-wide examination of RNA isoforms and their abundance and translation in HuR-deficient B cells, together with direct measurements of HuR-RNA interactions, revealed that HuR-dependent splicing of mRNA affected hundreds of transcripts, including that encoding dihydrolipoamide S-succinyltransferase (Dlst), a subunit of the 2-oxoglutarate dehydrogenase (α-KGDH) complex. In the absence of HuR, defective mitochondrial metabolism resulted in large amounts of reactive oxygen species and B cell death. Our study shows how post-transcriptional processes control the balance of energy metabolism required for the proliferation and differentiation of B cells.

+view abstract Nature immunology, PMID: 25706746 2015

Chandra T, Ewels PA, Schoenfelder S, Furlan-Magaril M, Wingett SW, Kirschner K, Thuret JY, Andrews S, Fraser P, Reik W Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Cellular senescence has been implicated in tumor suppression, development, and aging and is accompanied by large-scale chromatin rearrangements, forming senescence-associated heterochromatic foci (SAHF). However, how the chromatin is reorganized during SAHF formation is poorly understood. Furthermore, heterochromatin formation in senescence appears to contrast with loss of heterochromatin in Hutchinson-Gilford progeria. We mapped architectural changes in genome organization in cellular senescence using Hi-C. Unexpectedly, we find a dramatic sequence- and lamin-dependent loss of local interactions in heterochromatin. This change in local connectivity resolves the paradox of opposing chromatin changes in senescence and progeria. In addition, we observe a senescence-specific spatial clustering of heterochromatic regions, suggesting a unique second step required for SAHF formation. Comparison of embryonic stem cells (ESCs), somatic cells, and senescent cells shows a unidirectional loss in local chromatin connectivity, suggesting that senescence is an endpoint of the continuous nuclear remodelling process during differentiation.

+view abstract Cell reports, PMID: 25640177 2015

Deans AR, Lewis SE, Huala E, Anzaldo SS, Ashburner M, Balhoff JP, Blackburn DC, Blake JA, Burleigh JG, Chanet B, Cooper LD, Courtot M, Csösz S, Cui H, Dahdul W, Das S, Dececchi TA, Dettai A, Diogo R, Druzinsky RE, Dumontier M, Franz NM, Friedrich F, Gkoutos GV, Haendel M, Harmon LJ, Hayamizu TF, He Y, Hines HM, Ibrahim N, Jackson LM, Jaiswal P, James-Zorn C, Köhler S, Lecointre G, Lapp H, Lawrence CJ, Le Novère N, Lundberg JG, Macklin J, Mast AR, Midford PE, Mikó I, Mungall CJ, Oellrich A, Osumi-Sutherland D, Parkinson H, Ramírez MJ, Richter S, Robinson PN, Ruttenberg A, Schulz KS, Segerdell E, Seltmann KC, Sharkey MJ, Smith AD, Smith B, Specht CD, Squires RB, Thacker RW, Thessen A, Fernandez-Triana J, Vihinen M, Vize PD, Vogt L, Wall CE, Walls RL, Westerfeld M, Wharton RA, Wirkner CS, Woolley JB, Yoder MJ, Zorn AM, Mabee P Signalling, Bioinformatics

Despite a large and multifaceted effort to understand the vast landscape of phenotypic data, their current form inhibits productive data analysis. The lack of a community-wide, consensus-based, human- and machine-interpretable language for describing phenotypes and their genomic and environmental contexts is perhaps the most pressing scientific bottleneck to integration across many key fields in biology, including genomics, systems biology, development, medicine, evolution, ecology, and systematics. Here we survey the current phenomics landscape, including data resources and handling, and the progress that has been made to accurately capture relevant data descriptions for phenotypes. We present an example of the kind of integration across domains that computable phenotypes would enable, and we call upon the broader biology community, publishers, and relevant funding agencies to support efforts to surmount today's data barriers and facilitate analytical reproducibility.

+view abstract PLoS Biology, PMID: 25562316 2015

Peat JR, Dean W, Clark SJ, Krueger F, Smallwood SA, Ficz G, Kim JK, Marioni JC, Hore TA, Reik W Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Fertilization triggers global erasure of paternal 5-methylcytosine as part of epigenetic reprogramming during the transition from gametic specialization to totipotency. This involves oxidation by TET3, but our understanding of its targets and the wider context of demethylation is limited to a small fraction of the genome. We employed an optimized bisulfite strategy to generate genome-wide methylation profiles of control and TET3-deficient zygotes, using SNPs to access paternal alleles. This revealed that in addition to pervasive removal from intergenic sequences and most retrotransposons, gene bodies constitute a major target of zygotic demethylation. Methylation loss is associated with zygotic genome activation and at gene bodies is also linked to increased transcriptional noise in early development. Our data map the primary contribution of oxidative demethylation to a subset of gene bodies and intergenic sequences and implicate redundant pathways at many loci. Unexpectedly, we demonstrate that TET3 activity also protects certain CpG islands against methylation buildup.

+view abstract Cell reports, PMID: 25497087 2014

F Cambuli, A Murray, W Dean, D Dudzinska, F Krueger, S Andrews, CE Senner, S Cook, M Hemberger Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Embryonic (ES) and trophoblast (TS) stem cells reflect the first, irrevocable cell fate decision in development that is reinforced by distinct epigenetic lineage barriers. Nonetheless, ES cells can seemingly acquire TS-like characteristics upon manipulation of lineage-determining transcription factors or activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (Erk1/2) pathway. Here we have interrogated the progression of reprogramming in ES cell models with regulatable Oct4 and Cdx2 transgenes or conditional Erk1/2 activation. Although trans-differentiation into TS-like cells is initiated, lineage conversion remains incomplete in all models, underpinned by the failure to demethylate a small group of TS cell genes. Forced expression of these non-reprogrammed genes improves trans-differentiation efficiency, but still fails to confer a stable TS cell phenotype. Thus, even ES cells in ground-state pluripotency cannot fully overcome the boundaries that separate the first cell lineages but retain an epigenetic memory of their ES cell origin.

+view abstract Nat Commun., PMID: 25423963 2014

Lu D, Nakagawa R, Lazzaro S, Staudacher P, Abreu-Goodger C, Henley T, Boiani S, Leyland R, Galloway A, Andrews S, Butcher G, Nutt SL, Turner M, Vigorito E Immunology, Bioinformatics

A single microRNA (miRNA) can regulate the expression of many genes, though the level of repression imparted on any given target is generally low. How then is the selective pressure for a single miRNA/target interaction maintained across long evolutionary distances? We addressed this problem by disrupting in vivo the interaction between miR-155 and PU.1 in mice. Remarkably, this interaction proved to be key to promoting optimal T cell-dependent B cell responses, a previously unrecognized role for PU.1. Mechanistically, miR-155 inhibits PU.1 expression, leading to Pax5 down-regulation and the initiation of the plasma cell differentiation pathway. Additional PU.1 targets include a network of genes whose products are involved in adhesion, with direct links to B-T cell interactions. We conclude that the evolutionary adaptive selection of the miR-155-PU.1 interaction is exercised through the effectiveness of terminal B cell differentiation.

+view abstract The Journal of experimental medicine, PMID: 25288398 2014

Nicol AU, Segonds-Pichon A, Magnusson MS , Bioinformatics

T-pattern analysis is a procedure developed for detecting non-randomly recurring hierarchical and multiordinal real-time sequential patterns (T-patterns).

+view abstract Journal of neuroscience methods, PMID: 25256643 2015

Dryden NH, Broome LR, Dudbridge F, Johnson N, Orr N, Schoenfelder S, Nagano T, Andrews S, Wingett S, Kozarewa I, Assiotis I, Fenwick K, Maguire SL, Campbell J, Natrajan R, Lambros M, Perrakis E, Ashworth A, Fraser P, Fletcher O , Bioinformatics

Genome-wide association studies have identified more than 70 common variants that are associated with breast cancer risk. Most of these variants map to non-protein-coding regions and several map to gene deserts, regions of several hundred kilobases lacking protein-coding genes. We hypothesized that gene deserts harbor long-range regulatory elements that can physically interact with target genes to influence their expression. To test this, we developed Capture Hi-C (CHi-C), which, by incorporating a sequence capture step into a Hi-C protocol, allows high-resolution analysis of targeted regions of the genome. We used CHi-C to investigate long-range interactions at three breast cancer gene deserts mapping to 2q35, 8q24.21, and 9q31.2. We identified interaction peaks between putative regulatory elements ("bait fragments") within the captured regions and "targets" that included both protein-coding genes and long noncoding (lnc) RNAs over distances of 6.6 kb to 2.6 Mb. Target protein-coding genes were IGFBP5, KLF4, NSMCE2, and MYC; and target lncRNAs included DIRC3, PVT1, and CCDC26. For one gene desert, we were able to define two SNPs (rs12613955 and rs4442975) that were highly correlated with the published risk variant and that mapped within the bait end of an interaction peak. In vivo ChIP-qPCR data show that one of these, rs4442975, affects the binding of FOXA1 and implicate this SNP as a putative functional variant.

+view abstract Genome research, PMID: 25122612 2014

Smallwood SA,Lee HJ,Angermueller C,Krueger F,Saadeh H,Peat J,Andrews SR,Stegle O,Reik W,Kelsey G Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

We report a single-cell bisulfite sequencing (scBS-seq) method that can be used to accurately measure DNA methylation at up to 48.4% of CpG sites. Embryonic stem cells grown in serum or in 2i medium displayed epigenetic heterogeneity, with '2i-like' cells present in serum culture. Integration of 12 individual mouse oocyte datasets largely recapitulated the whole DNA methylome, which makes scBS-seq a versatile tool to explore DNA methylation in rare cells and heterogeneous populations.

+view abstract Nature methods, PMID: 25042786 2014

Nicol AU, Sanchez-Andrade G, Collado P, Segonds-Pichon A, Kendrick KM , Bioinformatics

Neural plasticity changes within the olfactory bulb are important for olfactory learning, although how neural encoding changes support new associations with specific odors and whether they can be investigated under anesthesia, remain unclear. Using the social transmission of food preference olfactory learning paradigm in mice in conjunction with in vivo microdialysis sampling we have shown firstly that a learned preference for a scented food odor smelled on the breath of a demonstrator animal occurs under isofluorane anesthesia. Furthermore, subsequent exposure to this cued odor under anesthesia promotes the same pattern of increased release of glutamate and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the olfactory bulb as previously found in conscious animals following olfactory learning, and evoked GABA release was positively correlated with the amount of scented food eaten. In a second experiment, multiarray (24 electrodes) electrophysiological recordings were made from olfactory bulb mitral cells under isofluorane anesthesia before, during and after a novel scented food odor was paired with carbon disulfide. Results showed significant increases in overall firing frequency to the cued-odor during and after learning and decreases in response to an uncued odor. Analysis of patterns of changes in individual neurons revealed that a substantial proportion (>50%) of them significantly changed their response profiles during and after learning with most of those previously inhibited becoming excited. A large number of cells exhibiting no response to the odors prior to learning were either excited or inhibited afterwards. With the uncued odor many previously responsive cells became unresponsive or inhibited. Learning associated changes only occurred in the posterior part of the olfactory bulb. Thus olfactory learning under anesthesia promotes extensive, but spatially distinct, changes in mitral cell networks to both cued and uncued odors as well as in evoked glutamate and GABA release.

+view abstract Frontiers in behavioral neuroscience, PMID: 24926241 2014

AK Johnsson, Y Dai, M Nobis, MJ Baker, EJ McGhee, S Walker, JP Schwarz, S Kadir, JP Morton, KB Myant, DJ Huels, A Segonds-Pichon, OJ Sansom, KI Anderson, P Timpson, HC Welch Signalling, Bioinformatics

The small G protein family Rac has numerous regulators that integrate extracellular signals into tight spatiotemporal maps of its activity to promote specific cell morphologies and responses. Here, we have generated a mouse strain, Rac-FRET, which ubiquitously expresses the Raichu-Rac biosensor. It enables FRET imaging and quantification of Rac activity in live tissues and primary cells without affecting cell properties and responses. We assessed Rac activity in chemotaxing Rac-FRET neutrophils and found enrichment in leading-edge protrusions and unexpected longitudinal shifts and oscillations during protruding and stalling phases of migration. We monitored Rac activity in normal or disease states of intestinal, liver, mammary, pancreatic, and skin tissue, in response to stimulation or inhibition and upon genetic manipulation of upstream regulators, revealing unexpected insights into Rac signaling during disease development. The Rac-FRET strain is a resource that promises to fundamentally advance our understanding of Rac-dependent responses in primary cells and native environments.

+view abstract Cell reports, PMID: 24630994 2014

Iurlaro M, Ficz G, Oxley D, Raiber EA, Bachman M, Booth MJ, Andrews S, Balasubramanian S, Reik W Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

DNA methylation (5mC) plays important roles in epigenetic regulation of genome function. Recently, TET hydroxylases have been found to oxidise 5mC to hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), formylcytosine (5fC) and carboxylcytosine (5caC) in DNA. These derivatives have a role in demethylation of DNA but in addition may have epigenetic signaling functions in their own right. A recent study identified proteins which showed preferential binding to 5-methylcytosine (5mC) and its oxidised forms, where readers for 5mC and 5hmC showed little overlap, and proteins bound to further oxidation forms were enriched for repair proteins and transcription regulators. We extend this study by using promoter sequences as baits and compare protein binding patterns to unmodified or modified cytosine using DNA from mouse embryonic stem cell extracts.

+view abstract Genome biology, PMID: 24156278 2013

G Ficz, TA Hore, F Santos, HJ Lee, W Dean, J Arand, F Krueger, D Oxley, YL Paul, J Walter, SJ Cook, S Andrews, MR Branco, W Reik Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Genome-wide erasure of DNA methylation takes place in primordial germ cells (PGCs) and early embryos and is linked with pluripotency. Inhibition of Erk1/2 and Gsk3β signaling in mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) by small-molecule inhibitors (called 2i) has recently been shown to induce hypomethylation. We show by whole-genome bisulphite sequencing that 2i induces rapid and genome-wide demethylation on a scale and pattern similar to that in migratory PGCs and early embryos. Major satellites, intracisternal A particles (IAPs), and imprinted genes remain relatively resistant to erasure. Demethylation involves oxidation of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), impaired maintenance of 5mC and 5hmC, and repression of the de novo methyltransferases (Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b) and Dnmt3L. We identify a Prdm14- and Nanog-binding cis-acting regulatory region in Dnmt3b that is highly responsive to signaling. These insights provide a framework for understanding how signaling pathways regulate reprogramming to an epigenetic ground state of pluripotency.

+view abstract Cell stem cell, PMID: 23850245 2013

Conte N, Varela I, Grove C, Manes N, Yusa K, Moreno T, Segonds-Pichon A, Bench A, Gudgin E, Herman B, Bolli N, Ellis P, Haddad D, Costeas P, Rad R, Scott M, Huntly B, Bradley A, Vassiliou GS , Bioinformatics

Advances in sequencing technologies are giving unprecedented insights into the spectrum of somatic mutations underlying acute myeloid leukaemia with a normal karyotype (AML-NK). It is clear that the prognosis of individual patients is strongly influenced by the combination of mutations in their leukaemia and that many leukaemias are composed of multiple subclones, with differential susceptibilities to treatment. Here, we describe a method, employing targeted capture coupled with next-generation sequencing and tailored bioinformatic analysis, for the simultaneous study of 24 genes recurrently mutated in AML-NK. Mutational analysis was performed using open source software and an in-house script (Mutation Identification and Analysis Software), which identified dominant clone mutations with 100% specificity. In each of seven cases of AML-NK studied, we identified and verified mutations in 2-4 genes in the main leukaemic clone. Additionally, high sequencing depth enabled us to identify putative subclonal mutations and detect leukaemia-specific mutations in DNA from remission marrow. Finally, we used normalised read depths to detect copy number changes and identified and subsequently verified a tandem duplication of exons 2-9 of MLL and at least one deletion involving PTEN. This methodology reliably detects sequence and copy number mutations, and can thus greatly facilitate the classification, clinical research, diagnosis and management of AML-NK.

+view abstract Leukemia, PMID: 23702683 2013

Chandra A, van Maldegem F, Andrews S, Neuberger MS, Rada C , Bioinformatics

CTNNBL1 is an armadillo-repeat protein that associates with the CDC5L/Prp19 complex of the spliceosome. Unlike the majority of spliceosomal proteins (and despite having no obvious homologs), CTNNBL1 is inessential for cell viability as revealed by studies in both vertebrate B cell lines and in fission yeast. Here, however, we show that ablation of CTNNBL1 in the mouse germline results in mid-gestation embryonic lethality but that lineage-specific CTNNBL1 ablation in early B cell precursors does not affect the production and abundance of mature B lymphocytes. However, CTNNBL1-deficient resting B lymphocytes show sluggish exit from quiescence on cell activation, although once entry into cycle has initiated, proliferation and differentiation in response to mitogenic stimuli continue largely unaffected. A similar sluggish exit from quiescence is also observed on reprovision of nutrients to nitrogen-starved CTNNBL1-deficient yeast. The results indicate that, whereas other RNA splicing-associated factors have been connected to cell cycle progression, CTNNBL1 plays no essential role in cycling cells but does fulfill an evolutionarily conserved function in helping cells to undergo efficient exit from quiescence following activation.

+view abstract Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.), PMID: 23343763 2013

Kreck B, Richter J, Ammerpohl O, Barann M, Esser D, Petersen BS, Vater I, Murga Penas EM, Bormann Chung CA, Seisenberger S, Lee Boyd V, Smallwood S, Drexler HG, Macleod RA, Hummel M, Krueger F, Häsler R, Schreiber S, Rosenstiel P, Franke A, Siebert R Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

+view abstract Leukemia, PMID: 23307032 2013

CE Senner, F Krueger, D Oxley, S Andrews, M Hemberger Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Embryonic (ES) and epiblast (EpiSC) stem cells are pluripotent but committed to an embryonic lineage fate. Conversely, trophoblast (TS) and extraembryonic endoderm (XEN) stem cells contribute predominantly to tissues of the placenta and yolk sac, respectively. Here we show that each of these four stem cell types is defined by a unique DNA methylation profile. Despite their distinct developmental origin, TS and XEN cells share key epigenomic hallmarks, chiefly characterized by robust DNA methylation of embryo-specific developmental regulators, as well as a subordinate role of 5-hydroxymethylation. We also observe a substantial methylation reinforcement of pre-existing epigenetic repressive marks that specifically occurs in extraembryonic stem cells compared to in vivo tissue, presumably due to continued high Dnmt3b expression levels. These differences establish a major epigenetic barrier between the embryonic and extraembryonic stem cell types. In addition, epigenetic lineage boundaries also separate the two extraembryonic stem cell types by mutual repression of key lineage-specific transcription factors. Thus, global DNA methylation patterns are a defining feature of each stem cell type that underpin lineage commitment and differentiative potency of early embryo-derived stem cells. Our detailed methylation profiles identify a cohort of developmentally regulated sequence elements, such as orphan CpG islands, that will be most valuable to uncover novel transcriptional regulators and pivotal "gatekeeper" genes in pluripotency and lineage differentiation.

+view abstract Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio), PMID: 23034951 2012

F Krueger, SR Andrews, CS Osborne , Bioinformatics

Massively parallel DNA sequencing is capable of sequencing tens of millions of DNA fragments at the same time. However, sequence bias in the initial cycles, which are used to determine the coordinates of individual clusters, causes a loss of fidelity in cluster identification on Illumina Genome Analysers. This can result in a significant reduction in the numbers of clusters that can be analysed. Such low sample diversity is an intrinsic problem of sequencing libraries that are generated by restriction enzyme digestion, such as e4C-seq or reduced-representation libraries. Similarly, this problem can also arise through the combined sequencing of barcoded, multiplexed libraries. We describe a procedure to defer the mapping of cluster coordinates until low-diversity sequences have been passed. This simple procedure can recover substantial amounts of next generation sequencing data that would otherwise be lost.

+view abstract PloS one, PMID: 21305042 2011

CS Osborne, PA Ewels, AN Young , Bioinformatics

The eukaryotic cell nucleus displays a high degree of spatial organization, with discrete functional subcompartments that provide microenvironments where specialized processes take place. Concordantly, the genome also adopts defined conformations that, in part, enable specific genomic regions to interface with these functional centers. Yet the roles of many subcompartments and the genomic regions that contact them have not been explored fully. More fundamentally, it is not entirely clear how genome organization impacts function, and vice versa. The past decade has witnessed the development of a new breed of methods that are capable of assessing the spatial organization of the genome. These stand to further our understanding of the relationship between genome structure and function, and potentially assign function to various nuclear subcompartments. Here, we review the principal techniques used for analyzing genomic interactions, the functional insights they have afforded and discuss the outlook for future advances in nuclear structure and function dynamics.

+view abstract Briefings in functional genomics, PMID: 21258046 2011

S Tomizawa, H Kobayashi, T Watanabe, S Andrews, K Hata, G Kelsey, H Sasaki , Bioinformatics

Mammalian imprinted genes are associated with differentially methylated regions (DMRs) that are CpG methylated on one of the two parental chromosomes. In mice, at least 21 DMRs acquire differential methylation in the germline and many of them act as imprint centres. We previously reported the physical extents of differential methylation at 15 DMRs in mouse embryos at 12.5 days postcoitum. To reveal the ontogeny of differential methylation, we determined and compared methylation patterns of the corresponding regions in sperm and oocytes. We found that the extent of the gametic DMRs differs significantly from that of the embryonic DMRs, especially in the case of paternal gametic DMRs. These results suggest that the gametic DMR sequences should be used to extract the features specifying methylation imprint establishment in the germline: from this analysis, we noted that the maternal gametic DMRs appear as unmethylated islands in male germ cells, which suggests a novel component in the mechanism of gamete-specific marking. Analysis of selected DMRs in blastocysts revealed dynamic changes in allelic methylation in early development, indicating that DMRs are not fully protected from the major epigenetic reprogramming events occurring during preimplantation development. Furthermore, we observed non-CpG methylation in oocytes, but not in sperm, which disappeared by the blastocyst stage. Non-CpG methylation was frequently found at maternally methylated DMRs as well as non-DMR regions, suggesting its prevalence in the oocyte genome. These results provide evidence for a unique methylation profile in oocytes and reveal the surprisingly dynamic nature of DMRs in the early embryo.

+view abstract Development (Cambridge, England), PMID: 21247965 2011

L Gambardella, M Hemberger, B Hughes, E Zudaire, S Andrews, S Vermeren Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

One function of phosphoinositide 3-kinase α (PI3Kα), which generates the lipid second messenger phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate [PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3)], is its regulation of angiogenesis in the developing embryo and in pathological situations. ARAP3 is a PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3)- and Rap-activated guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase)-activating protein (GAP) for the small GTPases RhoA and Arf6. Here, we show that deleting Arap3 in the mouse caused embryonic death in mid-gestation due to an endothelial cell-autonomous defect in sprouting angiogenesis. Explants taken at a developmental stage at which no defect was yet present reproduced this phenotype ex vivo, demonstrating that the defect was not secondary to hypoxia, placental defects, or organ failure. In addition, knock-in mice expressing an ARAP3 point mutant that cannot be activated by PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3) had angiogenesis defects similar to those of Arap3(-/-) embryos. Our work delineates a previously unknown signaling pathway that controls angiogenesis immediately downstream of PI3Kα through ARAP3 to the Rho and Arf family of small GTPases.

+view abstract Science signaling, PMID: 20978237 2010

NT Ktistakis, S Andrews, J Long Signalling, Bioinformatics

We have recently proposed that some autophagosomes are formed within omegasomes, membrane sites connected to the endoplasmic reticulum and enriched in phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate. In order to understand if there is any biological advantage to having such a precursor in autophagosome biogenesis, we generated a simple computer program that simulates omegasome and autophagosome formation under a variety of conditions. We concluded from running this simulation that having a transient precursor permits a bigger dynamic range of the autophagic response and allows a more efficient approach to steady state after autophagy stimulation.

+view abstract Autophagy, PMID: 20935487 2011

S Andrews, J Gilley, MP Coleman Signalling, Bioinformatics

Studies of axonal transport are critical, not only to understand its normal regulation, but also to determine the roles of transport impairment in disease. Exciting new resources have recently become available allowing live imaging of axonal transport in physiologically relevant settings, such as mammalian nerves. Thus the effects of disease, ageing and therapies can now be assessed directly in nervous system tissue. However, these imaging studies present new challenges. Manual or semi-automated analysis of the range of transport parameters required for a suitably complete evaluation is very time-consuming and can be subjective due to the complexity of the particle movements in axons in ex vivo explants or in vivo. We have developed Difference Tracker, a program combining two new plugins for the ImageJ image-analysis freeware, to provide fast, fully automated and objective analysis of a number of relevant measures of trafficking of fluorescently labeled particles so that axonal transport in different situations can be easily compared. We confirm that Difference Tracker can accurately track moving particles in highly simplified, artificial simulations. It can also identify and track multiple motile fluorescently labeled mitochondria simultaneously in time-lapse image stacks from live imaging of tibial nerve axons, reporting values for a number of parameters that are comparable to those obtained through manual analysis of the same axons. Difference Tracker therefore represents a useful free resource for the comparative analysis of axonal transport under different conditions, and could potentially be used and developed further in many other studies requiring quantification of particle movements.

+view abstract Journal of neuroscience methods, PMID: 20869987 2010

DJ Hodson, ML Janas, A Galloway, SE Bell, S Andrews, CM Li, R Pannell, CW Siebel, HR MacDonald, K De Keersmaecker, AA Ferrando, G Grutz, M Turner Immunology, Bioinformatics

ZFP36L1 and ZFP36L2 are RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) that interact with AU-rich elements in the 3' untranslated region of mRNA, which leads to mRNA degradation and translational repression. Here we show that mice that lacked ZFP36L1 and ZFP36L2 during thymopoiesis developed a T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) dependent on the oncogenic transcription factor Notch1. Before the onset of T-ALL, thymic development was perturbed, with accumulation of cells that had passed through the beta-selection checkpoint without first expressing the T cell antigen receptor beta-chain (TCRbeta). Notch1 expression was higher in untransformed thymocytes in the absence of ZFP36L1 and ZFP36L2. Both RBPs interacted with evolutionarily conserved AU-rich elements in the 3' untranslated region of Notch1 and suppressed its expression. Our data establish a role for ZFP36L1 and ZFP36L2 during thymocyte development and in the prevention of malignant transformation.

+view abstract Nature immunology, PMID: 20622884 2010

E Ktistaki, A Garefalaki, A Williams, SR Andrews, DM Bell, KE Foster, CG Spilianakis, RA Flavell, N Kosyakova, V Trifonov, T Liehr, D Kioussis , Bioinformatics

Nuclear architecture and chromatin reorganization have recently been shown to orchestrate gene expression and act as key players in developmental pathways. To investigate how regulatory elements in the mouse CD8 gene locus are arranged in space and in relation to each other, three-dimensional fluorescence in situ hybridization and chromosome conformation capture techniques were employed to monitor the repositioning of the locus in relation to its subchromosomal territory and to identify long-range interactions between the different elements during development. Our data demonstrate that CD8 gene expression in murine lymphocytes is accompanied by the relocation of the locus outside its subchromosomal territory. Similar observations in the CD4 locus point to a rather general phenomenon during T cell development. Furthermore, we show that this relocation of the CD8 gene locus is associated with a clustering of regulatory elements forming a tight active chromatin hub in CD8-expressing cells. In contrast, in nonexpressing cells, the gene remains close to the main body of its chromosomal domain and the regulatory elements appear not to interact with each other.

+view abstract Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), PMID: 20404270 2010

C Popp, W Dean, S Feng, SJ Cokus, S Andrews, M Pellegrini, SE Jacobsen, W Reik Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

Epigenetic reprogramming including demethylation of DNA occurs in mammalian primordial germ cells (PGCs) and in early embryos, and is important for the erasure of imprints and epimutations, and the return to pluripotency. The extent of this reprogramming and its molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. We previously showed that the cytidine deaminases AID and APOBEC1 can deaminate 5-methylcytosine in vitro and in Escherichia coli, and in the mouse are expressed in tissues in which demethylation occurs. Here we profiled DNA methylation throughout the genome by unbiased bisulphite next generation sequencing in wild-type and AID-deficient mouse PGCs at embryonic day (E)13.5. Wild-type PGCs revealed marked genome-wide erasure of methylation to a level below that of methylation deficient (Np95(-/-), also called Uhrf1(-/-)) embryonic stem cells, with female PGCs being less methylated than male ones. By contrast, AID-deficient PGCs were up to three times more methylated than wild-type ones; this substantial difference occurred throughout the genome, with introns, intergenic regions and transposons being relatively more methylated than exons. Relative hypermethylation in AID-deficient PGCs was confirmed by analysis of individual loci in the genome. Our results reveal that erasure of DNA methylation in the germ line is a global process, hence limiting the potential for transgenerational epigenetic inheritance. AID deficiency interferes with genome-wide erasure of DNA methylation patterns, indicating that AID has a critical function in epigenetic reprogramming and potentially in restricting the inheritance of epimutations in mammals.

+view abstract Nature, PMID: 20098412 2010

S Schoenfelder, T Sexton, L Chakalova, NF Cope, A Horton, S Andrews, S Kurukuti, JA Mitchell, D Umlauf, DS Dimitrova, CH Eskiw, Y Luo, CL Wei, Y Ruan, JJ Bieker, P Fraser , Bioinformatics

The discovery of interchromosomal interactions in higher eukaryotes points to a functional interplay between genome architecture and gene expression, challenging the view of transcription as a one-dimensional process. However, the extent of interchromosomal interactions and the underlying mechanisms are unknown. Here we present the first genome-wide analysis of transcriptional interactions using the mouse globin genes in erythroid tissues. Our results show that the active globin genes associate with hundreds of other transcribed genes, revealing extensive and preferential intra- and interchromosomal transcription interactomes. We show that the transcription factor Klf1 mediates preferential co-associations of Klf1-regulated genes at a limited number of specialized transcription factories. Our results establish a new gene expression paradigm, implying that active co-regulated genes and their regulatory factors cooperate to create specialized nuclear hot spots optimized for efficient and coordinated transcriptional control.

+view abstract Nature genetics, PMID: 20010836 2010

HE Craig, J Coadwell, H Guillou, S Vermeren , Bioinformatics

Pleckstrin homology (PH) domains are modules characterised by a conserved three-dimensional protein fold. Several PH domains bind phosphoinositides with high affinity and specificity whilst most others do not. ARAP3 is a dual GTPase activating protein for Arf6 and RhoA which was identified in a screen for phosphatidylinositol-(3,4,5)-trisphophate (PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3)) binding proteins. It is a regulator of cell shape and adhesion, and is itself regulated by PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3,) which acts to recruit ARAP3 to the plasma membrane and to catalytically activate it. We show here that ARAP3 binds to PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3) in an unusual, PH domain-dependent manner. None of the five PH domains are sufficient to bind PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3) in isolation. Instead, the minimal PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3) binding fragment comprises ARAP3's N-terminal tandem PH domains, and an N-terminal linker region. For substantial binding, the N-terminal sterile alpha motif (SAM) domain is also required. Site-directed mutagenesis of either of the two N-terminal PH domains within the fragment greatly reduces binding to PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3), however, in the context of the full-length protein, point mutations in the second PH domain have a lesser effect on binding, whilst deletion of any one of the five PH domains abolishes PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3) binding. We propose a mechanism by which basic residues from the N-terminal tandem PH domains, and from elsewhere in the protein synergise to mediate strong, specific PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3) binding.

+view abstract Cellular signalling, PMID: 19786092 2010

LS Matheson, MJ Osborn, JA Smith, D Corcos, M Hamon, R Chaouaf, J Coadwell, G Morgan, D Oxley, M Brüggemann , Bioinformatics

Recently, we identified that diverse heavy chain (H-chain)-only IgG is spontaneously produced in light chain (L-chain)-deficient mice (L(-/-) with silenced kappa and lambda loci) despite a block in B cell development. In murine H-chain IgG, the first Cgamma exon, C(H)1, is removed after DNA rearrangement and secreted polypeptides are comparable with camelid-type H-chain IgG. Here we show that L(-/-) mice generate a novel class of H-chain Ig with covalently linked alpha chains, not identified in any other healthy mammal. Surprisingly, diverse H-chain-only IgA can be released from B cells at levels similar to conventional IgA and is found in serum and sometimes in milk and saliva. Surface IgA without L-chain is expressed in B220(+) spleen cells, which exhibited a novel B cell receptor, suggesting that associated conventional differentiation events occur. To facilitate the cellular transport and release of H-chain-only IgA, chaperoning via BiP association seems to be prevented as only alpha chains lacking C(H)1 are released from the cell. This appears to be accomplished by imprecise class-switch recombination (CSR) from Smu into the alpha constant region, which removes all or part of the Calpha1 exon at the genomic level.

+view abstract International immunology, PMID: 19561045 2009

P Raghu, M Manifava, J Coadwell, NT Ktistakis Signalling, Bioinformatics

Phospholipase D (PLD) catalyses the hydrolysis of phosphatidylcholine to generate phosphatidic acid and choline. Historically, much PLD work has been conducted in mammalian settings although genes encoding enzymes of this family have been identified in all eukaryotic organisms. Recently, important insights on PLD function are emerging from work in yeast, but much less is known about PLD in other organisms. In this review we will summarize what is known about phospholipase D in several model organisms, including C. elegans, D. discoideum, D. rerio and D. melanogaster. In the cases where knockouts are available (C. elegans, Dictyostelium and Drosophila) the PLD gene(s) appear not to be essential for viability, but several studies are beginning to identify pathways where this activity has a role. Given that the proteins in model organisms are very similar to their mammalian counterparts, we expect that future studies in model organisms will complement and extend ongoing work in mammalian settings. At the end of this review we will also provide a short update on phosphatidic acid targets, a topic last reviewed in 2006.

+view abstract Biochimica et biophysica acta, PMID: 19345277 2009

CR Farthing, G Ficz, RK Ng, CF Chan, S Andrews, W Dean, M Hemberger, W Reik Epigenetics, Bioinformatics

DNA methylation patterns are reprogrammed in primordial germ cells and in preimplantation embryos by demethylation and subsequent de novo methylation. It has been suggested that epigenetic reprogramming may be necessary for the embryonic genome to return to a pluripotent state. We have carried out a genome-wide promoter analysis of DNA methylation in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells, embryonic germ (EG) cells, sperm, trophoblast stem (TS) cells, and primary embryonic fibroblasts (pMEFs). Global clustering analysis shows that methylation patterns of ES cells, EG cells, and sperm are surprisingly similar, suggesting that while the sperm is a highly specialized cell type, its promoter epigenome is already largely reprogrammed and resembles a pluripotent state. Comparisons between pluripotent tissues and pMEFs reveal that a number of pluripotency related genes, including Nanog, Lefty1 and Tdgf1, as well as the nucleosome remodeller Smarcd1, are hypomethylated in stem cells and hypermethylated in differentiated cells. Differences in promoter methylation are associated with significant differences in transcription levels in more than 60% of genes analysed. Our comparative approach to promoter methylation thus identifies gene candidates for the regulation of pluripotency and epigenetic reprogramming. While the sperm genome is, overall, similarly methylated to that of ES and EG cells, there are some key exceptions, including Nanog and Lefty1, that are highly methylated in sperm. Nanog promoter methylation is erased by active and passive demethylation after fertilisation before expression commences in the morula. In ES cells the normally active Nanog promoter is silenced when targeted by de novo methylation. Our study suggests that reprogramming of promoter methylation is one of the key determinants of the epigenetic regulation of pluripotency genes. Epigenetic reprogramming in the germline prior to fertilisation and the reprogramming of key pluripotency genes in the early embryo is thus crucial for transmission of pluripotency.

+view abstract PLoS genetics, PMID: 18584034 2008

E Walters, A Segonds-Pichon, AU Nicol , Bioinformatics

We present a statistical approach to the identification of correlated activity in multineuron spike data, based on the value of the correlation determinant. This approach is not compromised by the lack of independence often encountered in this kind of data. We illustrate our method by applying it both to simulated data and to data recorded from neurons in a forebrain region (intermediate medial mesopallium, IMM) of the behaving domestic chick and simultaneously from the corresponding contralateral region. There is no direct anatomical connection between the two sites, and the validity of this technique is strongly supported by the observation that when the test indicates significantly correlated activity for neurons within either hemisphere, this correlation is greatly reduced, and ultimately obliterated, by serial incorporation of activity from neurons in the opposite hemisphere. Since the value of individual correlation coefficients allied to the Bonferroni correction is often used as a diagnostic tool, we also present comparisons of that approach with our correlation determinant approach.

+view abstract Journal of neuroscience methods, PMID: 18499264 2008

S Donald, T Humby, I Fyfe, A Segonds-Pichon, SA Walker, SR Andrews, WJ Coadwell, P Emson, LS Wilkinson, HC Welch Signalling, Bioinformatics

The small GTPase Rac controls cell morphology, gene expression, and reactive oxygen species formation. Manipulations of Rac activity levels in the cerebellum result in motor coordination defects, but activators of Rac in the cerebellum are unknown. P-Rex family guanine-nucleotide exchange factors activate Rac. We show here that, whereas P-Rex1 expression within the brain is widespread, P-Rex2 is specifically expressed in the Purkinje neurons of the cerebellum. We have generated P-Rex2(-/-) and P-Rex1(-/-)/P-Rex2(-/-) mice, analyzed their Purkinje cell morphology, and assessed their motor functions in behavior tests. The main dendrite is thinned in Purkinje cells of P-Rex2(-/-) pups and dendrite structure appears disordered in Purkinje cells of adult P-Rex2(-/-) and P-Rex1(-/-)/P-Rex2(-/-) mice. P-Rex2(-/-) mice show a mild motor coordination defect that progressively worsens with age and is more pronounced in females than in males. P-Rex1(-/-)/P-Rex2(-/-) mice are ataxic, with reduced basic motor activity and abnormal posture and gait, as well as impaired motor coordination even at a young age. We conclude that P-Rex1 and P-Rex2 are important regulators of Purkinje cell morphology and cerebellar function.

+view abstract Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, PMID: 18334636 2008

S Andrews, L Stephens, P Hawkins Signalling, Bioinformatics

Activation of G(i)-coupled receptors in neutrophils stimulates class IB phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) (also known as PI3Kgamma) through the combined actions of Gbetagamma subunits and the small guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) Ras, resulting in the production of phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate [PI(3,4,5)P3] and phosphatidylinositol 3,4-bisphosphate [PI(3,4)P2] in the plasma membrane. In most cases, the effectors of this pathway possess a pleckstrin homology (PH) domain that mediates the interaction with and regulation by these two lipid messengers. These direct effectors sit within a complex regulatory network that includes several other signaling pathways and that is responsible for the control of important neutrophil functions, including adhesion, chemotaxis, secretion, and the "respiratory burst" [activation of the nicotinamide adenosine diphosphate (NADPH) oxidase]. Although the molecular details that link the direct effectors of class IB PI3K to these complex cell responses are still largely unknown, these responses involve complex regulation of small GTPases of the Rac, Rho, and Arf families.

+view abstract Science's STKE : signal transduction knowledge environment, PMID: 17925574 2007

Andrews S, Stephens LR, Hawkins PT Signalling, Bioinformatics

Class I phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) are well-established signal transduction enzymes that play an important role in the mechanisms by which a wide variety of cell surface receptors control several cellular functions, including cellular growth, division, survival, and movement. Class IB PI3K (also known as PI3Kgamma) allows fast-acting, heterotrimeric GTP-binding protein-coupled receptors to access this pathway. Activation of class IB PI3K results in the rapid synthesis of phosphatidylinositol-3,4,5-trisphosphate [PI(3,4,5)P3] and its dephosphorylation product, PI(3,4)P2, in the plasma membrane. These two lipid messengers bind to multiple, pleckstrin homology (PH) domain-containing effectors, which together regulate a complex signaling web downstream of receptor activation. This pathway regulates the activity of protein kinases and small guanosine triphosphatases that control cellular movement, adhesion, contraction, and secretion. Most of the ligands that have been established to activate class IB PI3K are involved in coordinating the body's response to injury and infection through the regulation of multiple cell types in the immune system and vascular lining. Mice lacking the catalytic subunit of class IB PI3K are remarkably resistant to the development of several inflammatory pathologies in mouse models of human inflammatory disease. These results suggest small molecule inhibitors of class IB PI3K may represent a novel class of therapeutic agents that may complement existing anti-inflammatory treatments.

+view abstract Science's STKE : signal transduction knowledge environment, PMID: 17925573 2007

GJ Ferguson, L Milne, S Kulkarni, T Sasaki, S Walker, S Andrews, T Crabbe, P Finan, G Jones, S Jackson, M Camps, C Rommel, M Wymann, E Hirsch, P Hawkins, L Stephens Signalling, Bioinformatics

The directional movement of cells in a gradient of external stimulus is termed chemotaxis and is important in many aspects of development and differentiated cell function. Phophoinositide 3-kinases (PI(3)Ks) are thought to have critical roles within the gradient-sensing machinery of a variety of highly motile cells, such as mammalian phagocytes, allowing these cells to respond quickly and efficiently to shallow gradients of soluble stimuli. Our analysis of mammalian neutrophil migration towards ligands such as fMLP shows that, although PtdIns(3,4)P(2) and PtdIns(3,4,5)P(3) accumulate in a PI(3)Kgamma-dependent fashion at the up-gradient leading-edge, this signal is not required for efficient gradient-sensing and gradient-biased movement. PI(3)Kgamma activity is however, a critical determinant of the proportion of cells that can move, that is, respond chemokinetically, in reaction to fMLP. Furthermore, this dependence of chemokinesis on PI(3)Kgamma activity is context dependent, both with respect to the state of priming of the neutrophils and the type of surface on which they are migrating. We propose this effect of PI(3)Kgamma is through roles in the regulation of some aspects of neutrophil polarization that are relevant to movement, such as integrin-based adhesion and the accumulation of polymerized (F)-actin at the leading-edge.

+view abstract Nature cell biology, PMID: 17173040 2007

Welch HC, Condliffe AM, Milne LJ, Ferguson GJ, Hill K, Webb LM, Okkenhaug K, Coadwell WJ, Andrews SR, Thelen M, Jones GE, Hawkins PT, Stephens LR Immunology, Bioinformatics

Rac GTPases regulate cytoskeletal structure, gene expression, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Rac2-deficient neutrophils cannot chemotax, produce ROS, or degranulate upon G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) activation. Deficiency in PI3Kgamma, an upstream regulator of Rac, causes a similar phenotype. P-Rex1, a guanine-nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) for Rac, is believed to link GPCRs and PI3Kgamma to Rac-dependent neutrophil responses. We have investigated the functional importance of P-Rex1 by generating a P-Rex1(-/-) mouse. P-Rex1(-/-) mice are viable and healthy, with apparently normal leukocyte development, but with mild neutrophilia. In neutrophils from P-Rex1(-/-) mice, GPCR-dependent Rac2 activation is impaired, whereas Rac1 activation is less compromised. GPCR-dependent ROS formation is absent in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-primed P-Rex1(-/-) neutrophils, but less affected in unprimed or TNFalpha-primed cells. Recruitment of P-Rex1(-/-) neutrophils to inflammatory sites is impaired. Surprisingly, chemotaxis of isolated neutrophils is only slightly reduced, with a mild defect in cell speed, but normal polarization and directionality. Secretion of azurophil granules is unaffected. In conclusion, P-Rex1 is an important regulator of neutrophil function by mediating a subset of Rac-dependent neutrophil responses. However, P-Rex1 is not an essential regulator of neutrophil chemotaxis and degranulation.

+view abstract Current biology : CB, PMID: 16243035 2005