Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

Publications simon-andrews

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Deletion of the Polycomb-Group Protein EZH2 Leads to Compromised Self-Renewal and Differentiation Defects in Human Embryonic Stem Cells.
Collinson A, Collier AJ, Morgan NP, Sienerth AR, Chandra T, Andrews S, Rugg-Gunn PJ

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.

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Cell reports, 17, 2211-1247, 2700-2714, 2016

PMID: 27926872

Open Access

Comparative Principles of DNA Methylation Reprogramming during Human and Mouse In Vitro Primordial Germ Cell Specification.
von Meyenn F, Berrens RV, Andrews S, Santos F, Collier AJ, Krueger F, Osorno R, Dean W, Rugg-Gunn PJ, Reik W

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.

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Developmental cell, 39, 1878-1551, 104-115, 2016

PMID: 27728778

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

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

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

RNA-binding proteins ZFP36L1 and ZFP36L2 promote cell quiescence.
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

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.

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Science (New York, N.Y.), 352, 1095-9203, 453-9, 2016

PMID: 27102483

HiCUP: pipeline for mapping and processing Hi-C data.
Wingett S, Ewels P, Furlan-Magaril M, Nagano T, Schoenfelder S, Fraser P, Andrews S

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.

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F1000Research, 4, 2046-1402, 1310, 2015

PMID: 26835000

Open Access

Pervasive polymorphic imprinted methylation in the human placenta.
Hanna CW, Peñaherrera MS, Saadeh H, Andrews S, McFadden DE, Kelsey G, Robinson WP

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.

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Genome research, , 1549-5469, , 2016

PMID: 26769960

Open Access

Ageing is associated with molecular signatures of inflammation and type 2 diabetes in rat pancreatic islets.
Sandovici I, Hammerle CM, Cooper WN, Smith NH, Tarry-Adkins JL, Dunmore BJ, Bauer J, Andrews SR, Yeo GS, Ozanne SE, Constância M

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.

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Diabetologia, 59, 1432-0428, 502-11, 2016

PMID: 26699651

Open Access

Erratum to: Deep sequencing and de novo assembly of the mouse occyte transcriptome define the contribution of transcription to the DNA methylation landscape.
Veselovska L, Smallwood SA, Saadeh H, Stewart KR, Krueger F, Maupetit-Méhouas S, Arnaud P, Tomizawa S, Andrews S, Kelsey G

Genome biology, 16, 1474-760X, 271, 2015

PMID: 26635312

Localizing the lipid products of PI3Kγ in neutrophils.
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

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.

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Advances in biological regulation, , 2212-4934, , 2015

PMID: 26596865

Open Access

Molecular signatures of plastic phenotypes in two eusocial insect species with simple societies.
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

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.

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, , 1091-6490, , 2015

PMID: 26483466

Open Access

Deep sequencing and de novo assembly of the mouse oocyte transcriptome define the contribution of transcription to the DNA methylation landscape.
Veselovska L, Smallwood SA, Saadeh H, Stewart KR, Krueger F, Maupetit-Méhouas S, Arnaud P, Tomizawa SI, Andrews S, Kelsey G

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.

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Genome biology, 16, 1474-760X, 209, 0

PMID: 26408185

Open Access

ACF chromatin-remodeling complex mediates stress-induced depressive-like behavior.
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

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.

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Nature medicine, , 1546-170X, , 2015

PMID: 26390241

Polycomb repressive complex PRC1 spatially constrains the mouse embryonic stem cell genome.
Schoenfelder S, Sugar R, Dimond A, Javierre BM, Armstrong H, Mifsud B, Dimitrova E, Matheson L, Tavares-Cadete F, Furlan-Magaril M, Segonds-Pichon A, Jurkowski W, Wingett SW, Tabbada K, Andrews S, Herman B, LeProust E, Osborne CS, Koseki H, Fraser P, Luscombe NM, Elderkin S

The Polycomb repressive complexes PRC1 and PRC2 maintain embryonic stem cell (ESC) pluripotency by silencing lineage-specifying developmental regulator genes. Emerging evidence suggests that Polycomb complexes act through controlling spatial genome organization. We show that PRC1 functions as a master regulator of mouse ESC genome architecture by organizing genes in three-dimensional interaction networks. The strongest spatial network is composed of the four Hox gene clusters and early developmental transcription factor genes, the majority of which contact poised enhancers. Removal of Polycomb repression leads to disruption of promoter-promoter contacts in the Hox gene network. In contrast, promoter-enhancer contacts are maintained in the absence of Polycomb repression, with accompanying widespread acquisition of active chromatin signatures at network enhancers and pronounced transcriptional upregulation of network genes. Thus, PRC1 physically constrains developmental transcription factor genes and their enhancers in a silenced but poised spatial network. We propose that the selective release of genes from this spatial network underlies cell fate specification during early embryonic development.

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Nature genetics, , 1546-1718, , 2015

PMID: 26323060

Open Access

Mapping long-range promoter contacts in human cells with high-resolution capture Hi-C.
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

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.

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Nature genetics, , 1546-1718, , 2015

PMID: 25938943

Open Access

The pluripotent regulatory circuitry connecting promoters to their long-range interacting elements.
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

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.

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Genome research, 25, 1549-5469, 582-97, 2015

PMID: 25752748

Open Access

The RNA-binding protein HuR is essential for the B cell antibody response.
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

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.

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Nature immunology, 16, 1529-2916, 415-25, 2015

PMID: 25706746

Open Access

Global Reorganization of the Nuclear Landscape in Senescent Cells.
Chandra T, Ewels PA, Schoenfelder S, Furlan-Magaril M, Wingett SW, Kirschner K, Thuret JY, Andrews S, Fraser P, Reik W

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.

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Cell reports, , 2211-1247, , 2015

PMID: 25640177

Open Access

Epigenetic memory of the first cell fate decision prevents complete ES cell reprogramming into trophoblast.
F Cambuli, A Murray, W Dean, D Dudzinska, F Krueger, S Andrews, CE Senner, S Cook, M Hemberger

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.

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Nat Commun., 26, 5, 5538, 2014

PMID: 25423963

Open Access

An integrated model of transcription factor diffusion shows the importance of intersegmental transfer and quaternary protein structure for target site finding.
Schmidt HG, Sewitz S, Andrews SS, Lipkow K

We present a computational model of transcription factor motion that explains both the observed rapid target finding of transcription factors, and how this motion influences protein and genome structure. Using the Smoldyn software, we modelled transcription factor motion arising from a combination of unrestricted 3D diffusion in the nucleoplasm, sliding along the DNA filament, and transferring directly between filament sections by intersegmental transfer. This presents a fine-grain picture of the way in which transcription factors find their targets two orders of magnitude faster than 3D diffusion alone allows. Eukaryotic genomes contain sections of nucleosome free regions (NFRs) around the promoters; our model shows that the presence and size of these NFRs can be explained as their acting as antennas on which transcription factors slide to reach their targets. Additionally, our model shows that intersegmental transfer may have shaped the quaternary structure of transcription factors: sequence specific DNA binding proteins are unusually enriched in dimers and tetramers, perhaps because these allow intersegmental transfer, which accelerates target site finding. Finally, our model shows that a 'hopping' motion can emerge from 3D diffusion on small scales. This explains the apparently long sliding lengths that have been observed for some DNA binding proteins observed in vitro. Together, these results suggest that transcription factor diffusion dynamics help drive the evolution of protein and genome structure.

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PloS one, 9, 1932-6203, e108575, 2014

PMID: 25333780

Open Access

The miR-155-PU.1 axis acts on Pax5 to enable efficient terminal B cell differentiation.
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

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.

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The Journal of experimental medicine, 211, 1540-9538, 2183-98, 2014

PMID: 25288398

Open Access

Unbiased analysis of potential targets of breast cancer susceptibility loci by Capture Hi-C.
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

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.

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Genome research, 24, 1549-5469, 1854-68, 2014

PMID: 25122612

Open Access

Single-cell genome-wide bisulfite sequencing for assessing epigenetic heterogeneity.
Smallwood SA,Lee HJ,Angermueller C,Krueger F,Saadeh H,Peat J,Andrews SR,Stegle O,Reik W,Kelsey G

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.

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Nature methods, 11, 1548-7105, 817-20, 2014

PMID: 25042786

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