Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health


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Title / Authors / Details Open Access Download

Ionic immune suppression within the tumour microenvironment limits T cell effector function.
Eil R, Vodnala SK, Clever D, Klebanoff CA, Sukumar M, Pan JH, Palmer DC, Gros A, Yamamoto TN, Patel SJ, Guittard GC, Yu Z, Carbonaro V, Okkenhaug K, Schrump DS, Linehan WM, Roychoudhuri R, Restifo NP

Tumours progress despite being infiltrated by tumour-specific effector T cells. Tumours contain areas of cellular necrosis, which are associated with poor survival in a variety of cancers. Here, we show that necrosis releases intracellular potassium ions into the extracellular fluid of mouse and human tumours, causing profound suppression of T cell effector function. Elevation of the extracellular potassium concentration ([K(+)]e) impairs T cell receptor (TCR)-driven Akt-mTOR phosphorylation and effector programmes. Potassium-mediated suppression of Akt-mTOR signalling and T cell function is dependent upon the activity of the serine/threonine phosphatase PP2A. Although the suppressive effect mediated by elevated [K(+)]e is independent of changes in plasma membrane potential (Vm), it requires an increase in intracellular potassium ([K(+)]i). Accordingly, augmenting potassium efflux in tumour-specific T cells by overexpressing the potassium channel Kv1.3 lowers [K(+)]i and improves effector functions in vitro and in vivo and enhances tumour clearance and survival in melanoma-bearing mice. These results uncover an ionic checkpoint that blocks T cell function in tumours and identify potential new strategies for cancer immunotherapy.

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Nature, 537, 1476-4687, 539-543, 2016

PMID: 27626381

PIKfyve Regulates Vacuole Maturation and Nutrient Recovery following Engulfment.
Krishna S, Palm W, Lee Y, Yang W, Bandyopadhyay U, Xu H, Florey O, Thompson CB, Overholtzer M

The scavenging of extracellular macromolecules by engulfment can sustain cell growth in a nutrient-depleted environment. Engulfed macromolecules are contained within vacuoles that are targeted for lysosome fusion to initiate degradation and nutrient export. We have shown that vacuoles containing engulfed material undergo mTORC1-dependent fission that redistributes degraded cargo back into the endosomal network. Here we identify the lipid kinase PIKfyve as a regulator of an alternative pathway that distributes engulfed contents in support of intracellular macromolecular synthesis during macropinocytosis, entosis, and phagocytosis. We find that PIKfyve regulates vacuole size in part through its downstream effector, the cationic transporter TRPML1. Furthermore, PIKfyve promotes recovery of nutrients from vacuoles, suggesting a potential link between PIKfyve activity and lysosomal nutrient export. During nutrient depletion, PIKfyve activity protects Ras-mutant cells from starvation-induced cell death and supports their proliferation. These data identify PIKfyve as a critical regulator of vacuole maturation and nutrient recovery during engulfment.

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Developmental cell, 38, 1878-1551, 536-47, 2016

PMID: 27623384

PI3Kδ and primary immunodeficiencies.
Lucas CL, Chandra A, Nejentsev S, Condliffe AM, Okkenhaug K

Primary immunodeficiencies are inherited disorders of the immune system, often caused by the mutation of genes required for lymphocyte development and activation. Recently, several studies have identified gain-of-function mutations in the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) genes PIK3CD (which encodes p110δ) and PIK3R1 (which encodes p85α) that cause a combined immunodeficiency syndrome, referred to as activated PI3Kδ syndrome (APDS; also known as p110δ-activating mutation causing senescent T cells, lymphadenopathy and immunodeficiency (PASLI)). Paradoxically, both loss-of-function and gain-of-function mutations that affect these genes lead to immunosuppression, albeit via different mechanisms. Here, we review the roles of PI3Kδ in adaptive immunity, describe the clinical manifestations and mechanisms of disease in APDS and highlight new insights into PI3Kδ gleaned from these patients, as well as implications of these findings for clinical therapy.

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Nature reviews. Immunology, , 1474-1741, , 2016

PMID: 27616589

The health care and life sciences community profile for dataset descriptions.
Dumontier M, Gray AJ, Marshall MS, Alexiev V, Ansell P, Bader G, Baran J, Bolleman JT, Callahan A, Cruz-Toledo J, Gaudet P, Gombocz EA, Gonzalez-Beltran AN, Groth P, Haendel M, Ito M, Jupp S, Juty N, Katayama T, Kobayashi N, Krishnaswami K, Laibe C, Le Novère N, Lin S, Malone J, Miller M, Mungall CJ, Rietveld L, Wimalaratne SM, Yamaguchi A

Access to consistent, high-quality metadata is critical to finding, understanding, and reusing scientific data. However, while there are many relevant vocabularies for the annotation of a dataset, none sufficiently captures all the necessary metadata. This prevents uniform indexing and querying of dataset repositories. Towards providing a practical guide for producing a high quality description of biomedical datasets, the W3C Semantic Web for Health Care and the Life Sciences Interest Group (HCLSIG) identified Resource Description Framework (RDF) vocabularies that could be used to specify common metadata elements and their value sets. The resulting guideline covers elements of description, identification, attribution, versioning, provenance, and content summarization. This guideline reuses existing vocabularies, and is intended to meet key functional requirements including indexing, discovery, exchange, query, and retrieval of datasets, thereby enabling the publication of FAIR data. The resulting metadata profile is generic and could be used by other domains with an interest in providing machine readable descriptions of versioned datasets.

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PeerJ, 4, 2167-8359, e2331, 2016

PMID: 27602295

Open Access

In B cells, phosphatidylinositol 5-phosphate 4-kinase-α synthesizes PI(4,5)P2 to impact mTORC2 and Akt signaling.
Bulley SJ, Droubi A, Clarke JH, Anderson KE, Stephens LR, Hawkins PT, Irvine RF

Phosphatidylinositol 5-phosphate 4-kinases (PI5P4Ks) are enigmatic lipid kinases with physiological functions that are incompletely understood, not the least because genetic deletion and cell transfection have led to contradictory data. Here, we used the genetic tractability of DT40 cells to create cell lines in which endogenous PI5P4Kα was removed, either stably by genetic deletion or transiently (within 1 h) by tagging the endogenous protein genomically with the auxin degron. In both cases, removal impacted Akt phosphorylation, and by leaving one PI5P4Kα allele present but mutating it to be kinase-dead or have PI4P 5-kinase activity, we show that all of the effects on Akt phosphorylation were dependent on the ability of PI5P4Kα to synthesize phosphatidylinositol (4,5)-bisphosphate [PI(4,5)P2] rather than to remove PI5P. Although stable removal of PI5P4Kα resulted in a pronounced decrease in Akt phosphorylation at Thr308 and Ser473, in part because of reduced plasma membrane PIP3, its acute removal led to an increase in Akt phosphorylation only at Ser473. This process invokes activation primarily of mammalian target of rapamycin complex 2 (mTORC2), which was confirmed by increased phosphorylation of other mTORC2 substrates. These findings establish PI5P4Kα as a kinase that synthesizes a physiologically relevant pool of PI(4,5)P2 and as a regulator of mTORC2, and show a phenomenon similar to the "butterfly effect" described for phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase Iα [Hart JR, et al. (2015) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112(4):1131-1136], whereby through apparently the same underlying mechanism, the removal of a protein's activity from a cell can have widely divergent effects depending on the time course of that removal.

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

PMID: 27601656

Phosphoproteomic Analyses of Interleukin 2 Signaling Reveal Integrated JAK Kinase-Dependent and -Independent Networks in CD8(+) T Cells.
Ross SH, Rollings C, Anderson KE, Hawkins PT, Stephens LR, Cantrell DA

Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a fundamental cytokine that controls proliferation and differentiation of T cells. Here, we used high-resolution mass spectrometry to generate a comprehensive and detailed map of IL-2 protein phosphorylations in cytotoxic T cells (CTL). The data revealed that Janus kinases (JAKs) couple IL-2 receptors to the coordinated phosphorylation of transcription factors, regulators of chromatin, mRNA translation, GTPases, vesicle trafficking, and the actin and microtubule cytoskeleton. We identified an IL-2-JAK-independent SRC family Tyr-kinase-controlled signaling network that regulates ∼10% of the CTL phosphoproteome, the production of phosphatidylinositol (3,4,5)-trisphosphate (PIP3), and the activity of the serine/threonine kinase AKT. These data reveal a signaling framework wherein IL-2-JAK-controlled pathways coordinate with IL-2-independent networks of kinase activity and provide a resource toward the further understanding of the networks of protein phosphorylation that program CTL fate.

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Immunity, , 1097-4180, , 2016

PMID: 27566939

Open Access

The RNA-Binding Proteins Zfp36l1 and Zfp36l2 Enforce the Thymic β-Selection Checkpoint by Limiting DNA Damage Response Signaling and Cell Cycle Progression.
Vogel KU, Bell LS, Galloway A, Ahlfors H, Turner M

The RNA-binding proteins Zfp36l1 and Zfp36l2 act redundantly to enforce the β-selection checkpoint during thymopoiesis, yet their molecular targets remain largely unknown. In this study, we identify these targets on a genome-wide scale in primary mouse thymocytes and show that Zfp36l1/l2 regulate DNA damage response and cell cycle transcripts to ensure proper β-selection. Double-negative 3 thymocytes lacking Zfp36l1/l2 share a gene expression profile with postselected double-negative 3b cells despite the absence of intracellular TCRβ and reduced IL-7 signaling. Our findings show that in addition to controlling the timing of proliferation at β-selection, posttranscriptional control by Zfp36l1/l2 limits DNA damage responses, which are known to promote thymocyte differentiation. Zfp36l1/l2 therefore act as posttranscriptional safeguards against chromosomal instability and replication stress by integrating pre-TCR and IL-7 signaling with DNA damage and cell cycle control.

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Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), , 1550-6606, , 2016

PMID: 27566829

Oxygen Sensing by T Cells Establishes an Immunologically Tolerant Metastatic Niche.
Clever D, Roychoudhuri R, Constantinides MG, Askenase MH, Sukumar M, Klebanoff CA, Eil RL, Hickman HD, Yu Z, Pan JH, Palmer DC, Phan AT, Goulding J, Gattinoni L, Goldrath AW, Belkaid Y, Restifo NP

Cancer cells must evade immune responses at distant sites to establish metastases. The lung is a frequent site for metastasis. We hypothesized that lung-specific immunoregulatory mechanisms create an immunologically permissive environment for tumor colonization. We found that T-cell-intrinsic expression of the oxygen-sensing prolyl-hydroxylase (PHD) proteins is required to maintain local tolerance against innocuous antigens in the lung but powerfully licenses colonization by circulating tumor cells. PHD proteins limit pulmonary type helper (Th)-1 responses, promote CD4(+)-regulatory T (Treg) cell induction, and restrain CD8(+) T cell effector function. Tumor colonization is accompanied by PHD-protein-dependent induction of pulmonary Treg cells and suppression of IFN-γ-dependent tumor clearance. T-cell-intrinsic deletion or pharmacological inhibition of PHD proteins limits tumor colonization of the lung and improves the efficacy of adoptive cell transfer immunotherapy. Collectively, PHD proteins function in T cells to coordinate distinct immunoregulatory programs within the lung that are permissive to cancer metastasis. PAPERCLIP.

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Cell, 166, 1097-4172, 1117-1131.e14, 2016

PMID: 27565342

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

Clinical spectrum and features of activated phosphoinositide 3-kinase δ syndrome: A large patient cohort study.
Coulter TI, Chandra A, Bacon CM, Babar J, Curtis J, Screaton N, Goodlad JR, Farmer G, Steele CL, Leahy TR, Doffinger R, Baxendale H, Bernatoniene J, Edgar JD, Longhurst HJ, Ehl S, Speckmann C, Grimbacher B, Sediva A, Milota T, Faust SN, Williams AP, Hayman G, Kucuk ZY, Hague R, French P, Brooker R, Forsyth P, Herriot R, Cancrini C, Palma P, Ariganello P, Conlon N, Feighery C, Gavin PJ, Jones A, Imai K, Ibrahim MA, Markelj G, Abinun M, Rieux-Laucat F, Latour S, Pellier I, Fischer A, Touzot F, Casanova JL, Durandy A, Burns SO, Savic S, Kumararatne DS, Moshous D, Kracker S, Vanhaesebroeck B, Okkenhaug K, Picard C, Nejentsev S, Condliffe AM, Cant AJ

Activated phosphoinositide 3-kinase δ syndrome (APDS) is a recently described combined immunodeficiency resulting from gain-of-function mutations in PIK3CD, the gene encoding the catalytic subunit of phosphoinositide 3-kinase δ (PI3Kδ).

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The Journal of allergy and clinical immunology, , 1097-6825, , 2016

PMID: 27555459

Open Access

Identification of novel regulators of developmental hematopoiesis using endoglin regulatory elements as molecular probes.
Nasrallah R, Fast EM, Solaimani P, Knezevic K, Eliades A, Patel R, Thambyrajah R, Unnikrishnan A, Thoms J, Beck D, Vink CS, Smith A, Wong J, Shepherd M, Kent D, Roychoudhuri R, Paul F, Klippert J, Hammes A, Willnow T, Göttgens B, Dzierzak E, Zon LI, Lacaud G, Kouskoff V, Pimanda JE

Enhancers are the primary determinants of cell identity and specific promoter/enhancer combinations of Endoglin (ENG) have been shown to target blood and endothelium in the embryo. Here, we generated a series of embryonic stem cell lines, each targeted with reporter constructs driven by specific promoter/enhancer combinations of ENG, to evaluate their discriminative potential and value as molecular probes of the corresponding transcriptome. The Eng promoter (P) in combination with the -8/+7/+9kb enhancers, targeted cells in FLK1 mesoderm that were enriched for blast colony forming potential, whereas the P/-8kb enhancer targeted TIE2+/c-KIT+/CD41- endothelial cells that were enriched for hematopoietic potential. These fractions were isolated using reporter expression and their transcriptomes profiled by RNA-seq. There was high concordance between our signatures and those from embryos with defects at corresponding stages of hematopoiesis. Of the six genes that were up-regulated in both hemogenic mesoderm and hemogenic endothelial fractions targeted by the reporters, LRP2, a multiligand receptor, was the only gene that had not previously been associated with hematopoiesis. We show that LRP2 is indeed involved in definitive hematopoiesis and by doing so validate the use of reporter gene coupled enhancers as probes to gain insights into transcriptional changes that facilitate cell fate transitions.

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Blood, , 1528-0020, , 2016

PMID: 27554085

Coincident signals from GPCRs and receptor tyrosine kinases are uniquely transduced by PI3Kβ in myeloid cells.
Houslay DM, Anderson KE, Chessa T, Kulkarni S, Fritsch R, Downward J, Backer JM, Stephens LR, Hawkins PT

Class I phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) catalyze production of the lipid messenger phosphatidylinositol 3,4,5-trisphosphate (PIP3), which plays a central role in a complex signaling network regulating cell growth, survival, and movement. This network is overactivated in cancer and inflammation, and there is interest in determining the PI3K catalytic subunit (p110α, p110β, p110γ, or p110δ) that should be targeted in different therapeutic contexts. Previous studies have defined unique regulatory inputs for p110β, including direct interaction with Gβγ subunits, Rac, and Rab5. We generated mice with knock-in mutations of p110β that selectively blocked the interaction with Gβγ and investigated its contribution to the PI3K isoform dependency of receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) and G protein (heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide-binding protein)-coupled receptor (GPCR) responses in primary macrophages and neutrophils. We discovered a unique role for p110β in supporting synergistic PIP3 formation in response to the coactivation of macrophages by macrophage colony-stimulating factor (M-CSF) and the complement protein C5a. In contrast, we found partially redundant roles for p110α, p110β, and p110δ downstream of M-CSF alone and a nonredundant role for p110γ downstream of C5a alone. This role for p110β completely depended on direct interaction with Gβγ, suggesting that p110β transduces GPCR signals in the context of coincident activation by an RTK. The p110β-Gβγ interaction was also required for neutrophils to generate reactive oxygen species in response to the Fcγ receptor-dependent recognition of immune complexes and for their β2 integrin-mediated adhesion to fibrinogen or poly-RGD+, directly implicating heterotrimeric G proteins in these two responses.

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Science signaling, 9, 1937-9145, ra82, 2016

PMID: 27531651

Open Access

Autophagy initiation by ULK complex assembly on ER tubulovesicular regions marked by ATG9 vesicles.
Karanasios E, Walker SA, Okkenhaug H, Manifava M, Hummel E, Zimmermann H, Ahmed Q, Domart MC, Collinson L, Ktistakis NT

Autophagosome formation requires sequential translocation of autophagy-specific proteins to membranes enriched in PI3P and connected to the ER. Preceding this, the earliest autophagy-specific structure forming de novo is a small punctum of the ULK1 complex. The provenance of this structure and its mode of formation are unknown. We show that the ULK1 structure emerges from regions, where ATG9 vesicles align with the ER and its formation requires ER exit and coatomer function. Super-resolution microscopy reveals that the ULK1 compartment consists of regularly assembled punctate elements that cluster in progressively larger spherical structures and associates uniquely with the early autophagy machinery. Correlative electron microscopy after live imaging shows tubulovesicular membranes present at the locus of this structure. We propose that the nucleation of autophagosomes occurs in regions, where the ULK1 complex coalesces with ER and the ATG9 compartment.

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Nature communications, 7, 2041-1723, 12420, 2016

PMID: 27510922

Open Access

MYC activation and BCL2L11 silencing by a tumour virus through the large-scale reconfiguration of enhancer-promoter hubs.
Wood CD, Veenstra H, Khasnis S, Gunnell A, Webb HM, Shannon-Lowe C, Andrews S, Osborne CS, West MJ

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.

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eLife, 5, 2050-084X, , 2016

PMID: 27490482

Open Access

KIF1A mediates axonal transport of BACE1 and identification of independently moving cargoes in living SCG neurons.
Hung CO, Coleman MP

Neurons rely heavily on axonal transport to deliver materials from the sites of synthesis to the axon terminals over distances that can be many centimetres long. KIF1A is the neuron-specific kinesin with the fastest reported anterograde motor activity. Previous studies have shown that KIF1A transports a subset of synaptic proteins, neurofilaments and dense-core vesicles. Using two-colour live imaging, we showed that BACE1-mCherry moves together with KIF1A-GFP in both the anterograde and retrograde directions in SCG neurons. We confirmed that KIF1A is functionally required for BACE1 transport by using KIF1A siRNA and a KIF1A mutant construct (KIF1A-T312M) to impair its motor activity. We further identified several cargoes that have little or no co-migration with KIF1A-GFP and also move independently from BACE1-mCherry. Together, these findings support a primary role for KIF1A in the anterograde transport of BACE1 and suggest that axonally transported cargoes are sorted into different classes of carrier vesicles in the cell body and are transported by cargo-specific motor proteins through the axon.

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Traffic (Copenhagen, Denmark), , 1600-0854, , 2016

PMID: 27484852

C13orf31 (FAMIN) is a central regulator of immunometabolic function.
Cader MZ, Boroviak K, Zhang Q, Assadi G, Kempster SL, Sewell GW, Saveljeva S, Ashcroft JW, Clare S, Mukhopadhyay S, Brown KP, Tschurtschenthaler M, Raine T, Doe B, Chilvers ER, Griffin JL, Kaneider NC, Floto RA, D'Amato M, Bradley A, Wakelam MJ, Dougan G, Kaser A

Single-nucleotide variations in C13orf31 (LACC1) that encode p.C284R and p.I254V in a protein of unknown function (called 'FAMIN' here) are associated with increased risk for systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis, leprosy and Crohn's disease. Here we set out to identify the biological mechanism affected by these coding variations. FAMIN formed a complex with fatty acid synthase (FASN) on peroxisomes and promoted flux through de novo lipogenesis to concomitantly drive high levels of fatty-acid oxidation (FAO) and glycolysis and, consequently, ATP regeneration. FAMIN-dependent FAO controlled inflammasome activation, mitochondrial and NADPH-oxidase-dependent production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and the bactericidal activity of macrophages. As p.I254V and p.C284R resulted in diminished function and loss of function, respectively, FAMIN determined resilience to endotoxin shock. Thus, we have identified a central regulator of the metabolic function and bioenergetic state of macrophages that is under evolutionary selection and determines the risk of inflammatory and infectious disease.

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Nature immunology, , 1529-2916, , 2016

PMID: 27478939

3D correlative light and electron microscopy of cultured cells using serial blockface scanning electron microscopy.
Russell MR, Lerner TR, Burden JJ, Nkwe DO, Pelchen-Matthews A, Domart MC, Durgan J, Weston A, Jones ML, Peddie CJ, Carzaniga R, Florey O, Marsh M, Gutierrez MG, Collinson LM

The processes of life take place in multiple dimensions, but imaging these processes in even three dimensions is challenging. Here we describe a workflow for 3D correlative light and electron microscopy (CLEM) of cell monolayers using fluorescence microscopy to identify and follow biological events, combined with serial blockface scanning electron microscopy to analyse the underlying ultrastructure. The workflow encompasses all steps from cell culture to sample processing, imaging strategy and 3D image processing/analysis. We demonstrate successful application of the workflow to three studies, each aiming to better understand complex and dynamic biological processes, including bacterial and viral infections of cultured cells and formation of entotic cell-in-cell structures commonly observed in tumours. Our workflow revealed new insight into the replicative niche of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in primary human lymphatic endothelial cells, HIV-1 in human monocyte-derived macrophages, and the composition of the entotic vacuole. The broad application of this 3D CLEM technique will make it a useful addition to the correlative imaging toolbox for biomedical research.

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

PMID: 27445312

Open Access

SNPsplit: Allele-specific splitting of alignments between genomes with known SNP genotypes.
Krueger F, Andrews SR

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.

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F1000Research, 5, , 1479, 2016

PMID: 27429743

Open Access

Integrating epigenomic data and 3D genomic structure with a new measure of chromatin assortativity.
Pancaldi V, Carrillo-de-Santa-Pau E, Javierre BM, Juan D, Fraser P, Spivakov M, Valencia A, Rico D

Network analysis is a powerful way of modeling chromatin interactions. Assortativity is a network property used in social sciences to identify factors affecting how people establish social ties. We propose a new approach, using chromatin assortativity, to integrate the epigenomic landscape of a specific cell type with its chromatin interaction network and thus investigate which proteins or chromatin marks mediate genomic contacts.

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Genome biology, 17, 1474-760X, 152, 0

PMID: 27391817

Open Access

In vivo genome-wide profiling reveals a tissue-specific role for 5-formylcytosine.
Iurlaro M, McInroy GR, Burgess HE, Dean W, Raiber EA, Bachman M, Beraldi D, Balasubramanian S, Reik W

Genome-wide methylation of cytosine can be modulated in the presence of TET and thymine DNA glycosylase (TDG) enzymes. TET is able to oxidise 5-methylcytosine (5mC) to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC), 5-formylcytosine (5fC) and 5-carboxylcytosine (5caC). TDG can excise the oxidative products 5fC and 5caC, initiating base excision repair. These modified bases are stable and detectable in the genome, suggesting that they could have epigenetic functions in their own right. However, functional investigation of the genome-wide distribution of 5fC has been restricted to cell culture-based systems, while its in vivo profile remains unknown.

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Genome biology, 17, 1474-760X, 141, 2016

PMID: 27356509

Open Access

CHiCAGO: robust detection of DNA looping interactions in Capture Hi-C data.
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

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.

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Genome biology, 17, 1474-760X, 127, 2016

PMID: 27306882

Open Access

Synaptophysin depletion and intraneuronal Aβ in organotypic hippocampal slice cultures from huAPP transgenic mice.
Harwell CS, Coleman MP

To date, there are no effective disease-modifying treatments for Alzheimer's disease (AD). In order to develop new therapeutics for stages where they are most likely to be effective, it is important to identify the first pathological alterations in the disease cascade. Changes in Aβ concentration have long been reported as one of the first steps, but understanding the source, and earliest consequences, of pathology requires a model system that represents all major CNS cell types, is amenable to repeated observation and sampling, and can be readily manipulated. In this regard, long term organotypic hippocampal slice cultures (OHSCs) from neonatal amyloid mice offer an excellent compromise between in vivo and primary culture studies, largely retaining the cellular composition and neuronal architecture of the in vivo hippocampus, but with the in vitro advantages of accessibility to live imaging, sampling and intervention.

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Molecular neurodegeneration, 11, 1750-1326, 44, 2016

PMID: 27287430

Systems Biology Approaches for Understanding Genome Architecture.
Sewitz S, Lipkow K

The linear and three-dimensional arrangement and composition of chromatin in eukaryotic genomes underlies the mechanisms directing gene regulation. Understanding this organization requires the integration of many data types and experimental results. Here we describe the approach of integrating genome-wide protein-DNA binding data to determine chromatin states. To investigate spatial aspects of genome organization, we present a detailed description of how to run stochastic simulations of protein movements within a simulated nucleus in 3D. This systems level approach enables the development of novel questions aimed at understanding the basic mechanisms that regulate genome dynamics.

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Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 1431, 1940-6029, 109-26, 2016

PMID: 27283305

Two Mutually Exclusive Local Chromatin States Drive Efficient V(D)J Recombination.
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

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.

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Cell reports, 15, 2211-1247, 2475-87, 2016

PMID: 27264181

Open Access

Impairment of DNA Methylation Maintenance Is the Main Cause of Global Demethylation in Naive Embryonic Stem Cells.
von Meyenn F, Iurlaro M, Habibi E, Liu NQ, Salehzadeh-Yazdi A, Santos F, Petrini E, Milagre I, Yu M, Xie Z, Kroeze LI, Nesterova TB, Jansen JH, Xie H, He C, Reik W, Stunnenberg HG

Global demethylation is part of a conserved program of epigenetic reprogramming to naive pluripotency. The transition from primed hypermethylated embryonic stem cells (ESCs) to naive hypomethylated ones (serum-to-2i) is a valuable model system for epigenetic reprogramming. We present a mathematical model, which accurately predicts global DNA demethylation kinetics. Experimentally, we show that the main drivers of global demethylation are neither active mechanisms (Aicda, Tdg, and Tet1-3) nor the reduction of de novo methylation. UHRF1 protein, the essential targeting factor for DNMT1, is reduced upon transition to 2i, and so is recruitment of the maintenance methylation machinery to replication foci. Concurrently, there is global loss of H3K9me2, which is needed for chromatin binding of UHRF1. These mechanisms synergistically enforce global DNA hypomethylation in a replication-coupled fashion. Our observations establish the molecular mechanism for global demethylation in naive ESCs, which has key parallels with those operating in primordial germ cells and early embryos.

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Molecular cell, , 1097-4164, , 2016

PMID: 27237052

Open Access