Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

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The Ageing Brain: Effects on DNA Repair and DNA Methylation in Mice.
Langie SA, Cameron KM, Ficz G, Oxley D, Tomaszewski B, Gorniak JP, Maas LM, Godschalk RW, van Schooten FJ, Reik W, von Zglinicki T, Mathers JC

Base excision repair (BER) may become less effective with ageing resulting in accumulation of DNA lesions, genome instability and altered gene expression that contribute to age-related degenerative diseases. The brain is particularly vulnerable to the accumulation of DNA lesions; hence, proper functioning of DNA repair mechanisms is important for neuronal survival. Although the mechanism of age-related decline in DNA repair capacity is unknown, growing evidence suggests that epigenetic events (e.g., DNA methylation) contribute to the ageing process and may be functionally important through the regulation of the expression of DNA repair genes. We hypothesize that epigenetic mechanisms are involved in mediating the age-related decline in BER in the brain. Brains from male mice were isolated at 3-32 months of age. Pyrosequencing analyses revealed significantly increased Ogg1 methylation with ageing, which correlated inversely with Ogg1 expression. The reduced Ogg1 expression correlated with enhanced expression of methyl-CpG binding protein 2 and ten-eleven translocation enzyme 2. A significant inverse correlation between Neil1 methylation at CpG-site2 and expression was also observed. BER activity was significantly reduced and associated with increased 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2'-deoxyguanosine levels. These data indicate that Ogg1 and Neil1 expression can be epigenetically regulated, which may mediate the effects of ageing on DNA repair in the brain.

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Genes, 8, , , 2017

PMID: 28218666

Open Access

Retinol and ascorbate drive erasure of epigenetic memory and enhance reprogramming to naïve pluripotency by complementary mechanisms.
Hore TA, von Meyenn F, Ravichandran M, Bachman M, Ficz G, Oxley D, Santos F, Balasubramanian S, Jurkowski TP, Reik W

Epigenetic memory, in particular DNA methylation, is established during development in differentiating cells and must be erased to create naïve (induced) pluripotent stem cells. The ten-eleven translocation (TET) enzymes can catalyze the oxidation of 5-methylcytosine (5mC) to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) and further oxidized derivatives, thereby actively removing this memory. Nevertheless, the mechanism by which the TET enzymes are regulated, and the extent to which they can be manipulated, are poorly understood. Here we report that retinoic acid (RA) or retinol (vitamin A) and ascorbate (vitamin C) act as modulators of TET levels and activity. RA or retinol enhances 5hmC production in naïve embryonic stem cells by activation of TET2 and TET3 transcription, whereas ascorbate potentiates TET activity and 5hmC production through enhanced Fe(2+) recycling, and not as a cofactor as reported previously. We find that both ascorbate and RA or retinol promote the derivation of induced pluripotent stem cells synergistically and enhance the erasure of epigenetic memory. This mechanistic insight has significance for the development of cell treatments for regenenerative medicine, and enhances our understanding of how intrinsic and extrinsic signals shape the epigenome.

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, , 1091-6490, , 2016

PMID: 27729528

Open Access

Exosomes bind autotaxin and act as a physiological delivery mechanism to stimulate LPA receptor signalling in cells.
Jethwa SA, Leah EJ, Zhang Q, Bright NA, Oxley D, Bootman MD, Rudge SA, Wakelam MJ

Autotaxin (ATX) the lysophospholipase responsible for generating the lipid receptor agonist lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) is a secreted enzyme. Here we show that once secreted it can bind to the surface of cell secreted exosomes. Exosome-bound ATX is catalytically active and carries generated LPA. Once bound to a cell, through specific integrin interaction, ATX releases the LPA to activate cell surface G-protein coupled LPA receptors; inhibition of signaling by the receptor antagonist Ki1642 suggests these are either LPAR1 or LPAR3. The binding stimulates downstream signaling including AKT and MAPK phosphorylation, the release of intracellular stored calcium and cell migration. We propose that exosomal binding of LPA-loaded ATX provides a means of efficiently delivering the lipid agonist to cell surface receptors to promote signalling. We further propose that this is a means whereby autotaxin-LPA signaling operates physiologically.

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Journal of cell science, , 1477-9137, , 2016

PMID: 27557622

Open Access

Norbin Stimulates the Catalytic Activity and Plasma Membrane Localization of the Guanine-Nucleotide Exchange Factor P-Rex1.
Pan D, Barber MA, Hornigold K, Baker MJ, Toth JM, Oxley D, Welch HC

P-Rex1 is a guanine-nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) that activates the small G protein (GTPase) Rac1 to control Rac1-dependent cytoskeletal dynamics, and thus cell morphology. Three mechanisms of P-Rex1 regulation are currently known: (i) binding of the phosphoinositide second messenger PIP3, (ii) binding of the Gβγ subunits of heterotrimeric G proteins, and (iii) phosphorylation of various serine residues. Using recombinant P-Rex1 protein to search for new binding partners, we isolated the G-protein coupled receptor (GPCR)-adaptor protein Norbin (Neurochondrin, NCDN) from mouse brain fractions. Coimmunoprecipitation confirmed the interaction between overexpressed P-Rex1 and Norbin in COS-7 cells, as well as between endogenous P-Rex1 and Norbin in HEK-293 cells. Binding assays with purified recombinant proteins showed that their interaction is direct, and mutational analysis revealed that the PH domain of P-Rex1 is required. Rac-GEF activity assays with purified recombinant proteins showed that direct interaction with Norbin increases the basal, PIP3- and Gβγ-stimulated Rac-GEF activity of P-Rex1. Pak-CRIB pull-down assays demonstrated that Norbin promotes the P-Rex1 mediated activation of endogenous Rac1 upon stimulation of HEK-293 cells with lysophosphatidic acid. Finally, immunofluorescence microscopy and subcellular fractionation showed that coexpression of P-Rex1 and Norbin induces a robust translocation of both proteins from the cytosol to the plasma membrane, as well as promoting cell spreading, lamellipodia formation and membrane ruffling, cell morphologies generated by active Rac1. In summary, we have identified a novel mechanism of P-Rex1 regulation through the GPCR-adaptor protein Norbin, a direct P-Rex1 interacting protein that promotes the Rac-GEF activity and membrane localization of P-Rex1.

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The Journal of biological chemistry, , 1083-351X, , 2016

PMID: 26792863

Open Access

Elf5-centered transcription factor hub controls trophoblast stem cell self-renewal and differentiation through stoichiometry-sensitive shifts in target gene networks.
Latos PA, Sienerth AR, Murray A, Senner CE, Muto M, Ikawa M, Oxley D, Burge S, Cox BJ, Hemberger M

Elf5 is a transcription factor with pivotal roles in the trophoblast compartment, where it reinforces a trophoblast stem cell (TSC)-specific transcriptional circuit. However, Elf5 is also present in differentiating trophoblast cells that have ceased to express other TSC genes such as Cdx2 and Eomes. In the present study, we aimed to elucidate the context-dependent role of Elf5 at the interface between TSC self-renewal and the onset of differentiation. We demonstrate that precise levels of Elf5 are critical for normal expansion of the TSC compartment and embryonic survival, as Elf5 overexpression triggers precocious trophoblast differentiation. Through integration of protein interactome, transcriptome, and genome-wide chromatin immunoprecipitation data, we reveal that this abundance-dependent function is mediated through a shift in preferred Elf5-binding partners; in TSCs, Elf5 interaction with Eomes recruits Tfap2c to triply occupied sites at TSC-specific genes, driving their expression. In contrast, the Elf5 and Tfap2c interaction becomes predominant as their protein levels increase. This triggers binding to double- and single-occupancy sites that harbor the cognate Tfap2c motif, causing activation of the associated differentiation-promoting genes. These data place Elf5 at the center of a stoichiometry-sensitive transcriptional network, where it acts as a molecular switch governing the balance between TSC proliferation and differentiation.

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Genes & development, , 1549-5477, , 2015

PMID: 26584622

Open Access

Fgf and Esrrb integrate epigenetic and transcriptional networks that regulate self-renewal of trophoblast stem cells.
Latos PA, Goncalves A, Oxley D, Mohammed H, Turro E, Hemberger M

Esrrb (oestrogen-related receptor beta) is a transcription factor implicated in embryonic stem (ES) cell self-renewal, yet its knockout causes intrauterine lethality due to defects in trophoblast development. Here we show that in trophoblast stem (TS) cells, Esrrb is a downstream target of fibroblast growth factor (Fgf) signalling and is critical to drive TS cell self-renewal. In contrast to its occupancy of pluripotency-associated loci in ES cells, Esrrb sustains the stemness of TS cells by direct binding and regulation of TS cell-specific transcription factors including Elf5 and Eomes. To elucidate the mechanisms whereby Esrrb controls the expression of its targets, we characterized its TS cell-specific interactome using mass spectrometry. Unlike in ES cells, Esrrb interacts in TS cells with the histone demethylase Lsd1 and with the RNA Polymerase II-associated Integrator complex. Our findings provide new insights into both the general and context-dependent wiring of transcription factor networks in stem cells by master transcription factors.

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Nature communications, 6, 2041-1723, 7776, 2015

PMID: 26206133

Open Access

DYRK1A-mediated Cyclin D1 Degradation in Neural Stem Cells Contributes to the Neurogenic Cortical Defects in Down Syndrome.
Najas S, Arranz J, Lochhead PA, Ashford AL, Oxley D, Delabar JM, Cook SJ, Barallobre MJ, Arbonés ML

Alterations in cerebral cortex connectivity lead to intellectual disability and in Down syndrome, this is associated with a deficit in cortical neurons that arises during prenatal development. However, the pathogenic mechanisms that cause this deficit have not yet been defined. Here we show that the human DYRK1A kinase on chromosome 21 tightly regulates the nuclear levels of Cyclin D1 in embryonic cortical stem (radial glia) cells, and that a modest increase in DYRK1A protein in transgenic embryos lengthens the G1 phase in these progenitors. These alterations promote asymmetric proliferative divisions at the expense of neurogenic divisions, producing a deficit in cortical projection neurons that persists in postnatal stages. Moreover, radial glial progenitors in the Ts65Dn mouse model of Down syndrome have less Cyclin D1, and Dyrk1a is the triplicated gene that causes both early cortical neurogenic defects and decreased nuclear Cyclin D1 levels in this model. These data provide insights into the mechanisms that couple cell cycle regulation and neuron production in cortical neural stem cells, emphasizing that the deleterious effect of DYRK1A triplication in the formation of the cerebral cortex begins at the onset of neurogenesis, which is relevant to the search for early therapeutic interventions in Down syndrome.

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EBioMedicine, 2, 2352-3964, 120-34, 2015

PMID: 26137553

Open Access

Resetting transcription factor control circuitry toward ground-state pluripotency in human.
Takashima Y, Guo G, Loos R, Nichols J, Ficz G, Krueger F, Oxley D, Santos F, Clarke J, Mansfield W, Reik W, Bertone P, Smith A

Current human pluripotent stem cells lack the transcription factor circuitry that governs the ground state of mouse embryonic stem cells (ESC). Here, we report that short-term expression of two components, NANOG and KLF2, is sufficient to ignite other elements of the network and reset the human pluripotent state. Inhibition of ERK and protein kinase C sustains a transgene-independent rewired state. Reset cells self-renew continuously without ERK signaling, are phenotypically stable, and are karyotypically intact. They differentiate in vitro and form teratomas in vivo. Metabolism is reprogrammed with activation of mitochondrial respiration as in ESC. DNA methylation is dramatically reduced and transcriptome state is globally realigned across multiple cell lines. Depletion of ground-state transcription factors, TFCP2L1 or KLF4, has marginal impact on conventional human pluripotent stem cells but collapses the reset state. These findings demonstrate feasibility of installing and propagating functional control circuitry for ground-state pluripotency in human cells.

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Cell, 158, 1097-4172, 1254-69, 2014

PMID: 25215486

Open Access

The nuclear exosome is active and important during budding yeast meiosis.
Frenk S, Oxley D, Houseley J

Nuclear RNA degradation pathways are highly conserved across eukaryotes and play important roles in RNA quality control. Key substrates for exosomal degradation include aberrant functional RNAs and cryptic unstable transcripts (CUTs). It has recently been reported that the nuclear exosome is inactivated during meiosis in budding yeast through degradation of the subunit Rrp6, leading to the stabilisation of a subset of meiotic unannotated transcripts (MUTs) of unknown function. We have analysed the activity of the nuclear exosome during meiosis by deletion of TRF4, which encodes a key component of the exosome targeting complex TRAMP. We find that TRAMP mutants produce high levels of CUTs during meiosis that are undetectable in wild-type cells, showing that the nuclear exosome remains functional for CUT degradation, and we further report that the meiotic exosome complex contains Rrp6. Indeed Rrp6 over-expression is insufficient to suppress MUT transcripts, showing that the reduced amount of Rrp6 in meiotic cells does not directly cause MUT accumulation. Lack of TRAMP activity stabilises ∼ 1600 CUTs in meiotic cells, which occupy 40% of the binding capacity of the nuclear cap binding complex (CBC). CBC mutants display defects in the formation of meiotic double strand breaks (DSBs), and we see similar defects in TRAMP mutants, suggesting that a key function of the nuclear exosome is to prevent saturation of the CBC complex by CUTs. Together, our results show that the nuclear exosome remains active in meiosis and has an important role in facilitating meiotic recombination.

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PloS one, 9, 1932-6203, e107648, 2014

PMID: 25210768

Open Access

Dictyostelium uses ether-linked inositol phospholipids for intracellular signalling.
Clark J,Kay RR,Kielkowska A,Niewczas I,Fets L,Oxley D,Stephens LR,Hawkins PT

Inositol phospholipids are critical regulators of membrane biology throughout eukaryotes. The general principle by which they perform these roles is conserved across species and involves binding of differentially phosphorylated inositol head groups to specific protein domains. This interaction serves to both recruit and regulate the activity of several different classes of protein which act on membrane surfaces. In mammalian cells, these phosphorylated inositol head groups are predominantly borne by a C38:4 diacylglycerol backbone. We show here that the inositol phospholipids of Dictyostelium are different, being highly enriched in an unusual C34:1e lipid backbone, 1-hexadecyl-2-(11Z-octadecenoyl)-sn-glycero-3-phospho-(1'-myo-inositol), in which the sn-1 position contains an ether-linked C16:0 chain; they are thus plasmanylinositols. These plasmanylinositols respond acutely to stimulation of cells with chemoattractants, and their levels are regulated by PIPKs, PI3Ks and PTEN. In mammals and now in Dictyostelium, the hydrocarbon chains of inositol phospholipids are a highly selected subset of those available to other phospholipids, suggesting that different molecular selectors are at play in these organisms but serve a common, evolutionarily conserved purpose.

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The EMBO journal, , 1460-2075, , 2014

PMID: 25180230

Open Access

The immune system GTPase GIMAP6 interacts with the Atg8 homologue GABARAPL2 and is recruited to autophagosomes.
Pascall JC, Rotondo S, Mukadam AS, Oxley D, Webster J, Walker SA, Piron J, Carter C, Ktistakis NT, Butcher GW

The GIMAPs (GTPases of the immunity-associated proteins) are a family of small GTPases expressed prominently in the immune systems of mammals and other vertebrates. In mammals, studies of mutant or genetically-modified rodents have indicated important roles for the GIMAP GTPases in the development and survival of lymphocytes. No clear picture has yet emerged, however, of the molecular mechanisms by which they perform their function(s). Using biotin tag-affinity purification we identified a major, and highly specific, interaction between the human cytosolic family member GIMAP6 and GABARAPL2, one of the mammalian homologues of the yeast autophagy protein Atg8. Chemical cross-linking studies performed on Jurkat T cells, which express both GIMAP6 and GABARAPL2 endogenously, indicated that the two proteins in these cells readily associate with one another in the cytosol under normal conditions. The GIMAP6-GABARAPL2 interaction was disrupted by deletion of the last 10 amino acids of GIMAP6. The N-terminal region of GIMAP6, however, which includes a putative Atg8-family interacting motif, was not required. Over-expression of GIMAP6 resulted in increased levels of endogenous GABARAPL2 in cells. After culture of cells in starvation medium, GIMAP6 was found to localise in punctate structures with both GABARAPL2 and the autophagosomal marker MAP1LC3B, indicating that GIMAP6 re-locates to autophagosomes on starvation. Consistent with this finding, we have demonstrated that starvation of Jurkat T cells results in the degradation of GIMAP6. Whilst these findings raise the possibility that the GIMAPs play roles in the regulation of autophagy, we have been unable to demonstrate an effect of GIMAP6 over-expression on autophagic flux.

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PloS one, 8, 1932-6203, e77782, 2013

PMID: 24204963

Open Access

A screen for hydroxymethylcytosine and formylcytosine binding proteins suggests functions in transcription and chromatin regulation.
Iurlaro M, Ficz G, Oxley D, Raiber EA, Bachman M, Booth MJ, Andrews S, Balasubramanian S, Reik W

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.

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Genome biology, 14, 1465-6914, R119, 2013

PMID: 24156278

Open Access

A novel DYRK1B inhibitor AZ191 demonstrates that DYRK1B acts independently of GSK3β to phosphorylate cyclin D1 at Thr(286), not Thr(288).
AL Ashford, D Oxley, J Kettle, K Hudson, S Guichard, SJ Cook, PA Lochhead

DYRK1B (dual-specificity tyrosine phosphorylation-regulated kinase 1B) is amplified in certain cancers and may be an oncogene; however, our knowledge of DYRK1B has been limited by the lack of selective inhibitors. In the present study we describe AZ191, a potent small molecule inhibitor that selectively inhibits DYRK1B in vitro and in cells. CCND1 (cyclin D1), a key regulator of the mammalian G1-S-phase transition, is phosphorylated on Thr(286) by GSK3β (glycogen synthase kinase 3β) to promote its degradation. DYRK1B has also been proposed to promote CCND1 turnover, but was reported to phosphorylate Thr(288) rather than Thr(286). Using in vitro kinase assays, phospho-specific immunoblot analysis and MS in conjunction with AZ191 we now show that DYRK1B phosphorylates CCND1 at Thr(286), not Thr(288), in vitro and in cells. In HEK (human embryonic kidney)-293 and PANC-1 cells (which exhibit DYRK1B amplification) DYRK1B drives Thr(286) phosphorylation and proteasome-dependent turnover of CCND1 and this is abolished by AZ191 or DYRK1B RNAi, but not by GSK3β inhibitors or GSK3β RNAi. DYRK1B expression causes a G1-phase cell-cycle arrest, but overexpression of CCND1 (wild-type or T286A) fails to overcome this; indeed, DYRK1B also promotes the expression of p21CIP1 (21 kDa CDK-interacting protein 1) and p27KIP1 (CDK-inhibitory protein 1). The results of the present study demonstrate for the first time that DYRK1B is a novel Thr(286)-CCND1 kinase that acts independently of GSK3β to promote CCND1 degradation. Furthermore, we anticipate that AZ191 may prove useful in defining further substrates and biological functions of DYRK1B.

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The Biochemical journal, 457, 1, 43-56, 2014

PMID: 24134204
DOI: 10.1042/BJ20130461

Differential isolation and identification of PI(3)P and PI(3,5)P2 binding proteins from Arabidopsis thaliana using an agarose-phosphatidylinositol-phosphate affinity chromatography.
D Oxley, N Ktistakis, T Farmaki

A phosphatidylinositol-phosphate affinity chromatographic approach combined with mass spectrometry was used in order to identify novel PI(3)P and PI(3,5)P2 binding proteins from Arabidopsis thaliana suspension cell extracts. Most of the phosphatidylinositol-phosphate interacting candidates identified from this differential screening are characterized by lysine/arginine rich patches. Direct phosphoinositide binding was identified for important membrane trafficking regulators as well as protein quality control proteins such as the ATG18p orthologue involved in autophagosome formation and the lipid Sec14p like transfer protein. A pentatricopeptide repeat (PPR) containing protein was shown to directly bind to PI(3,5)P2 but not to PI(3)P. PIP chromatography performed using extracts obtained from high salt (0.4M and 1M NaCl) pretreated suspensions showed that the association of an S5-1 40S ribosomal protein with both PI(3)P and PI(3,5)P2 was abolished under salt stress whereas salinity stress induced an increase in the phosphoinositide association of the DUF538 domain containing protein SVB, associated with trichome size. Additional interacting candidates were co-purified with the phosphoinositide bound proteins. Binding of the COP9 signalosome, the heat shock proteins, and the identified 26S proteasomal subunits, is suggested as an indirect effect of their interaction with other proteins directly bound to the PI(3)P and the PI(3,5)P2 phosphoinositides.

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Journal of proteomics, , , , 2013

PMID: 24007659
DOI: 10.1016/j.jprot.2013.08.020

FGF Signaling Inhibition in ESCs Drives Rapid Genome-wide Demethylation to the Epigenetic Ground State of Pluripotency.
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

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.

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Cell stem cell, 13, 3, 351-9, 2013

PMID: 23850245
DOI: 10.1016/j.stem.2013.06.004

Open Access

Regulation of lineage specific DNA hypomethylation in mouse trophectoderm.
Oda M, Oxley D, Dean W, Reik W

DNA methylation is reprogrammed during early embryogenesis by active and passive mechanisms in advance of the first differentiation event producing the embryonic and extraembryonic lineage cells which contribute to the future embryo proper and to the placenta respectively. Embryonic lineage cells re-acquire a highly methylated genome dependent on the DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b that are required for de novo methylation. By contrast, extraembryonic lineage cells remain globally hypomethylated but the mechanisms that underlie this hypomethylation remain unknown.

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PloS one, 8, 1932-6203, e68846, 2013

PMID: 23825703

Open Access

Maternal folate depletion and high-fat feeding from weaning affects DNA methylation and DNA repair in brain of adult offspring.
Langie SA, Achterfeldt S, Gorniak JP, Halley-Hogg KJ, Oxley D, van Schooten FJ, Godschalk RW, McKay JA, Mathers JC

The mechanisms through which environmental and dietary factors modulate DNA repair are still unclear but may include dysregulation of gene expression due to altered epigenetic markings. In a mouse model, we investigated the effect of maternal folate depletion during pregnancy and lactation, and high-fat feeding from weaning, on base excision repair (BER) and DNA methylation and expression of selected BER-related genes in the brain of adult offspring. While folate depletion did not affect BER activity of the mothers, BER increased in the offspring at weaning (P=0.052). In the long term, as observed in 6-mo-old offspring, the double insult, i.e., maternal low-folate supply and high-fat feeding from weaning, decreased BER activity significantly in the cortex, cerebellum, hippocampus, and subcortical regions (P≤0.017). This fall in BER activity was associated with small changes in methylation or expression of BER-related genes. Maternal folate depletion led to slightly increased oxidative DNA damage levels in subcortical regions of adult offspring, which may increase sensitivity to oxidative stress and predispose to neurological disorders. In summary, our data suggest that low-folate supply during early life may leave an epigenetic mark that can predispose the offspring to further dietary insults, causing adverse effects during adult life.

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FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, 27, 1530-6860, 3323-34, 2013

PMID: 23603834

p38α MAPK regulates adult muscle stem cell fate by restricting progenitor proliferation during postnatal growth and repair.
Brien P, Pugazhendhi D, Woodhouse S, Oxley D, Pell JM

Stem cell function is essential for the maintenance of adult tissue homeostasis. Controlling the balance between self-renewal and differentiation is crucial to maintain a receptive satellite cell pool capable of responding to growth and regeneration cues. The mitogen-activated protein kinase p38α has been implicated in the regulation of these processes but its influence in adult muscle remains unknown. Using conditional satellite cell p38α knockout mice we have demonstrated that p38α restricts excess proliferation in the postnatal growth phase while promoting timely myoblast differentiation. Differentiation was still able to occur in the p38α-null satellite cells, however, but was delayed. An absence of p38α resulted in a postnatal growth defect along with the persistence of an increased reservoir of satellite cells into adulthood. This population was still capable of responding to cardiotoxin-induced injury, resulting in complete, albeit delayed, regeneration, with further enhancement of the satellite cell population. Increased p38γ phosphorylation accompanied the absence of p38α, and inhibition of p38γ ex vivo substantially decreased the myogenic defect. We have used genome-wide transcriptome analysis to characterize the changes in expression that occur between resting and regenerating muscle, and the influence p38α has on these expression profiles. This study provides novel evidence for the fundamental role of p38α in adult muscle homeostasis in vivo.

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Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio), 31, 1549-4918, 1597-610, 2013

PMID: 23592450

The Arabidopsis thaliana immunophilin ROF1 directly interacts with PI(3)P and PI(3,5)P2 and affects germination under osmotic stress.
D Karali, D Oxley, J Runions, N Ktistakis, T Farmaki

A direct interaction of the Arabidopsis thaliana immunophilin ROF1 with phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate and phosphatidylinositol-3,5-bisphosphate was identified using a phosphatidylinositol-phosphate affinity chromatography of cell suspension extracts, combined with a mass spectrometry (nano LC ESI-MS/MS) analysis. The first FK506 binding domain was shown sufficient to bind to both phosphatidylinositol-phosphate stereoisomers. GFP-tagged ROF1 under the control of a 35S promoter was localised in the cytoplasm and the cell periphery of Nicotiana tabacum leaf explants. Immunofluorescence microscopy of Arabidopsis thaliana root tips verified its cytoplasmic localization and membrane association and showed ROF1 localization in the elongation zone which was expanded to the meristematic zone in plants grown on high salt media. Endogenous ROF1 was shown to accumulate in response to high salt treatment in Arabidopsis thaliana young leaves as well as in seedlings germinated on high salt media (0.15 and 0.2 M NaCl) at both an mRNA and protein level. Plants over-expressing ROF1, (WSROF1OE), exhibited enhanced germination under salinity stress which was significantly reduced in the rof1(-) knock out mutants and abolished in the double mutants of ROF1 and of its interacting homologue ROF2 (WSrof1(-)/2(-)). Our results show that ROF1 plays an important role in the osmotic/salt stress responses of germinating Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings and suggest its involvement in salinity stress responses through a phosphatidylinositol-phosphate related protein quality control pathway.

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PloS one, 7, 11, e48241, 2012

PMID: 23133621
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0048241

Open Access

DNA methylation profiles define stem cell identity and reveal a tight embryonic-extraembryonic lineage boundary.
CE Senner, F Krueger, D Oxley, S Andrews, M Hemberger

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.

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Stem cells (Dayton, Ohio), 30, 12, 2732-45, 2012

PMID: 23034951
DOI: 10.1002/stem.1249

Open Access

Quantitative sequencing of 5-methylcytosine and 5-hydroxymethylcytosine at single-base resolution.
MJ Booth, MR Branco, G Ficz, D Oxley, F Krueger, W Reik, S Balasubramanian

5-Methylcytosine can be converted to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) in mammalian DNA by the ten-eleven translocation (TET) enzymes. We introduce oxidative bisulfite sequencing (oxBS-Seq), the first method for quantitative mapping of 5hmC in genomic DNA at single-nucleotide resolution. Selective chemical oxidation of 5hmC to 5-formylcytosine (5fC) enables bisulfite conversion of 5fC to uracil. We demonstrate the utility of oxBS-Seq to map and quantify 5hmC at CpG islands (CGIs) in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells and identify 800 5hmC-containing CGIs that have on average 3.3% hydroxymethylation. High levels of 5hmC were found in CGIs associated with transcriptional regulators and in long interspersed nuclear elements, suggesting that these regions might undergo epigenetic reprogramming in ES cells. Our results open new questions on 5hmC dynamics and sequence-specific targeting by TETs.

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Science (New York, N.Y.), 336, 6083, 934-7, 2012

PMID: 22539555
DOI: 10.1126/science.1220671

Open Access

RYBP-PRC1 complexes mediate H2A ubiquitylation at polycomb target sites independently of PRC2 and H3K27me3.
L Tavares, E Dimitrova, D Oxley, J Webster, R Poot, J Demmers, K Bezstarosti, S Taylor, H Ura, H Koide, A Wutz, M Vidal, S Elderkin, N Brockdorff

Polycomb-repressive complex 1 (PRC1) has a central role in the regulation of heritable gene silencing during differentiation and development. PRC1 recruitment is generally attributed to interaction of the chromodomain of the core protein Polycomb with trimethyl histone H3K27 (H3K27me3), catalyzed by a second complex, PRC2. Unexpectedly we find that RING1B, the catalytic subunit of PRC1, and associated monoubiquitylation of histone H2A are targeted to closely overlapping sites in wild-type and PRC2-deficient mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs), demonstrating an H3K27me3-independent pathway for recruitment of PRC1 activity. We show that this pathway is mediated by RYBP-PRC1, a complex comprising catalytic subunits of PRC1 and the protein RYBP. RYBP-PRC1 is recruited to target loci in mESCs and is also involved in Xist RNA-mediated silencing, the latter suggesting a wider role in Polycomb silencing. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding recruitment and function of Polycomb repressors.

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Cell, 148, 4, 664-78, 2012

PMID: 22325148
DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2011.12.029

Open Access

The guanine-nucleotide-exchange factor P-Rex1 is activated by protein phosphatase 1α.
MA Barber, A Hendrickx, M Beullens, H Ceulemans, D Oxley, S Thelen, M Thelen, M Bollen, HC Welch

P-Rex1 is a GEF (guanine-nucleotide-exchange factor) for the small G-protein Rac that is activated by PIP3 (phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate) and Gβγ subunits and inhibited by PKA (protein kinase A). In the present study we show that PP1α (protein phosphatase 1α) binds P-Rex1 through an RVxF-type docking motif. PP1α activates P-Rex1 directly in vitro, both independently of and additively to PIP3 and Gβγ. PP1α also substantially activates P-Rex1 in vivo, both in basal and PDGF (platelet-derived growth factor)- or LPA (lysophosphatidic acid)-stimulated cells. The phosphatase activity of PP1α is required for P-Rex1 activation. PP1β, a close homologue of PP1α, is also able to activate P-Rex1, but less effectively. PP1α stimulates P-Rex1-mediated Rac-dependent changes in endothelial cell morphology. MS analysis of wild-type P-Rex1 and a PP1α-binding-deficient mutant revealed that endogenous PP1α dephosphorylates P-Rex1 on at least three residues, Ser834, Ser1001 and Ser1165. Site-directed mutagenesis of Ser1165 to alanine caused activation of P-Rex1 to a similar degree as did PP1α, confirming Ser1165 as a dephosphorylation site important in regulating P-Rex1 Rac-GEF activity. In summary, we have identified a novel mechanism for direct activation of P-Rex1 through PP1α-dependent dephosphorylation.

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The Biochemical journal, 443, 1, 173-83, 2012

PMID: 22242915
DOI: 10.1042/BJ20112078

Open Access

Protein identification by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry.
Webster J, Oxley D

MALDI-TOF mass spectrometers are now commonplace and their relative ease of use means that most non-specialist labs can readily access the technology for the rapid and sensitive analysis of biomolecules. One of the main uses of MALDI-TOF-MS is in the identification of proteins, by peptide mass fingerprinting (PMF). Here we describe a simple protocol that can be performed in a standard biochemistry laboratory, whereby proteins separated by 1D or 2D gel electrophoresis can be identified at femtomole levels. The procedure involves excision of the spot or band from the gel, washing and destaining, reduction and alkylation, in-gel trypsin digestion, MALDI-TOF-MS of the tryptic peptides and database searching of the PMF data. Up to 96 protein samples can easily be manually processed at one time by this method.

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Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 800, 1940-6029, 227-40, 2012

PMID: 21964792

CDK1, not ERK1/2 or ERK5, is required for mitotic phosphorylation of BIMEL.
R Gilley, PA Lochhead, K Balmanno, D Oxley, J Clark, SJ Cook

The pro-apoptotic BH3 only protein BIM(EL) is phosphorylated by ERK1/2 and this targets it for proteasome-dependent degradation. A recent study has shown that ERK5, an ERK1/2-related MAPK, is activated during mitosis and phosphorylates BIM(EL) to promote cell survival. Here we show that treatment of cells with nocodazole or paclitaxel does cause phosphorylation of BIM(EL), which is independent of ERK1/2. However, this was not due to ERK5-catalysed phosphorylation, since it was not reversed by the MEK5 inhibitor BIX02189 and proceeded normally in ERK5-/- fibroblasts. Indeed, although ERK5 is phosphorylated at multiple sites in the C-terminal transactivation region during mitosis, these do not include the activation-loop and ERK5 kinase activity does not increase. Mitotic phosphorylation of BIM(EL) occurred at proline-directed phospho-acceptor sites and was abolished by selective inhibition of CDK1. Furthermore, cyclin B1 was able to interact with BIM and cyclin B1/CDK1 complexes could phosphorylate BIM in vitro. Finally, we show that CDK1-dependent phosphorylation of BIM(EL) drives its polyubiquitylation and proteasome-dependent degradation to protect cells during mitotic arrest. These results provide new insights into the regulation of BIM(EL) and may be relevant to the therapeutic use of agents such as paclitaxel.

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Cellular signalling, 24, 1, 170-80, 2012

PMID: 21924351
DOI: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2011.08.018