Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

Publications anne-corcoran

Title / Authors / Details Open Access Download

Diverse Human V antibody fragments with bio-therapeutic properties from the Crescendo Mouse.
Teng Y, Young JL, Edwards B, Hayes P, Thompson L, Johnston C, Edwards C, Sanders Y, Writer M, Pinto D, Zhang Y, Roode M, Chovanec P, Matheson L, Corcoran AE, Fernandez A, Montoliu L, Rossi B, Tosato V, Gjuracic K, Nikitin D, Bruschi C, McGuinness B, Sandal T, Romanos M

We describe the 'Crescendo Mouse', a human V transgenic platform combining an engineered heavy chain locus with diverse human heavy chain V, D and J genes, a modified mouse Cγ1 gene and complete 3' regulatory region, in a triple knock-out (TKO) mouse background devoid of endogenous immunoglobulin expression. The addition of the engineered heavy chain locus to the TKO mouse restored B cell development, giving rise to functional B cells that responded to immunization with a diverse response that comprised entirely 'heavy chain only' antibodies. Heavy chain variable (V) domain libraries were rapidly mined using phage display technology, yielding diverse high-affinity human V that had undergone somatic hypermutation, lacked aggregation and showed enhanced expression in E. coli. The Crescendo Mouse produces human V fragments, or Humabody® V, with excellent bio-therapeutic potential, as exemplified here by the generation of antagonistic Humabody® V specific for human IL17A and IL17RA.

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New biotechnology, , 1876-4347, , 2019

PMID: 31600579

IL-7R is essential for leukemia-initiating cell activity and pathogenesis of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
González-García S, Mosquera M, Fuentes P, Palumbo T, Escudero A, Pérez-Martínez A, Ramírez M, Corcoran AE, Toribio ML

T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) is an aggressive hematological malignancy resulting from the dysregulation of signaling pathways that control intrathymic T-cell development. Relapse rates are still significant and prognosis is particularly bleak for relapsed patients. Therefore, development of novel therapies specifically targeting pathways controlling leukemia-initiating cell (LIC) activity is mandatory for fighting refractory T-ALL. The interleukin-7 receptor (IL-7R) is a crucial T-cell developmental pathway commonly expressed in T-ALL, which has been implicated in leukemia progression. However, the significance of IL-7R/IL-7 signaling in T-ALL pathogenesis and its contribution to disease relapse remain unknown. To directly explore whether IL-7R targeting may be therapeutically efficient against T-ALL relapse, we focused here on a known Notch1-induced T-ALL model, since a majority of T-ALL patients harbor activating mutations in , which is a transcriptional regulator of IL-7R expression. Using loss-of-function approaches, we show that -deficient, but not wild type, mouse hematopoietic progenitors transduced with constitutively active Notch1 failed to generate leukemia upon transplantation into immunodeficient mice, thus providing formal evidence that IL-7R function is essential for Notch1-induced T-cell leukemogenesis. Moreover, we demonstrate that IL-7R expression is an early functional biomarker of T-ALL cells with LIC potential, and demonstrate that impaired IL-7R signaling hampers engraftment and progression of patient-derived T-ALL xenografts. Notably, we show that IL-7R-dependent LIC activity and leukemia progression can be extended to human B-ALL. These results have important therapeutic implications, highlighting the relevance that targeting normal IL-7R signaling may have in future therapeutic interventions, particularly for preventing T-ALL (and B-ALL) relapse.

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Blood, , 1528-0020, , 2019

PMID: 31530562

The murine IgH locus contains a distinct DNA sequence motif for the chromatin regulatory factor CTCF.
Ciccone DN, Namiki Y, Chen C, Morshead KB, Wood AL, Johnston CM, Morris JW, Wang Y, Sadreyev R, Corcoran AE, Matthews AGW, Oettinger MA

Antigen receptor assembly in lymphocytes involves stringently regulated coordination of specific DNA rearrangement events across several large chromosomal domains. Previous studies indicate that transcription factors such as paired box 5 (PAX5), Yin Yang 1 (YY1), and CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) play a role in regulating the accessibility of the antigen receptor loci to the V(D)J recombinase, which is required for these rearrangements. To gain clues about the role of CTCF binding at the murine immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) locus, we utilized a computational approach that identified 144 putative CTCF-binding sites within this locus. We found that these CTCF sites share a consensus motif distinct from other CTCF sites in the mouse genome. Additionally, we could divide these CTCF sites into three categories: intergenic sites remote from any coding element, upstream sites present within 8 kb of the VH-leader exon, and recombination signal sequence (RSS)-associated sites characteristically located at a fixed distance (~18 bp) downstream of the RSS. We noted that the intergenic and upstream sites are located in the distal portion of the VH locus, whereas the RSS-associated sites are located in the DH-proximal region. Computational analysis indicated that the prevalence of CTCF-binding sites at the IgH locus is evolutionarily conserved. In all species analyzed, these sites exhibit a striking strand-orientation bias, with > 98% of the murine sites being present in one orientation with respect to VH gene transcription. Electrophoretic mobility shift and enhancer-blocking assays and ChIP-chip analysis confirmed CTCF binding to these sites both in vitro and in vivo.

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The Journal of biological chemistry, , 1083-351X, , 2019

PMID: 31285261

Open Access

The adjuvant GLA-SE promotes human Tfh cell expansion and emergence of public TCRβ clonotypes.
Hill DL, Pierson W, Bolland DJ, Mkindi C, Carr EJ, Wang J, Houard S, Wingett SW, Audran R, Wallin EF, Jongo SA, Kamaka K, Zand M, Spertini F, Daubenberger C, Corcoran AE, Linterman MA

The generation of protective humoral immunity after vaccination relies on the productive interaction between antigen-specific B cells and T follicular helper (Tfh) cells. Despite the central role of Tfh cells in vaccine responses, there is currently no validated way to enhance their differentiation in humans. From paired human lymph node and blood samples, we identify a population of circulating Tfh cells that are transcriptionally and clonally similar to germinal center Tfh cells. In a clinical trial of vaccine formulations, circulating Tfh cells were expanded in Tanzanian volunteers when an experimental malaria vaccine was adjuvanted in GLA-SE but not when formulated in Alum. The GLA-SE-formulated peptide was associated with an increase in the extrafollicular antibody response, long-lived antibody production, and the emergence of public TCRβ clonotypes in circulating Tfh cells. We demonstrate that altering vaccine adjuvants is a rational approach for enhancing Tfh cells in humans, thereby supporting the long-lived humoral immunity that is required for effective vaccines.

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The Journal of experimental medicine, , 1540-9538, , 2019

PMID: 31175140

Open Access

Genome organization and chromatin analysis identify transcriptional downregulation of insulin-like growth factor signaling as a hallmark of aging in developing B cells.
Koohy H, Bolland DJ, Matheson LS, Schoenfelder S, Stellato C, Dimond A, Várnai C, Chovanec P, Chessa T, Denizot J, Manzano Garcia R, Wingett SW, Freire-Pritchett P, Nagano T, Hawkins P, Stephens L, Elderkin S, Spivakov M, Fraser P, Corcoran AE, Varga-Weisz PD

Aging is characterized by loss of function of the adaptive immune system, but the underlying causes are poorly understood. To assess the molecular effects of aging on B cell development, we profiled gene expression and chromatin features genome-wide, including histone modifications and chromosome conformation, in bone marrow pro-B and pre-B cells from young and aged mice.

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Genome biology, 19, 1474-760X, 126, 2018

PMID: 30180872

Open Access

Local Chromatin Features Including PU.1 and IKAROS Binding and H3K4 Methylation Shape the Repertoire of Immunoglobulin Kappa Genes Chosen for V(D)J Recombination.
Matheson LS, Bolland DJ, Chovanec P, Krueger F, Andrews S, Koohy H, Corcoran AE

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

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Frontiers in immunology, 8, 1664-3224, 1550, 2017

PMID: 29204143

Open Access

Clonally stable Vκ allelic choice instructs Igκ repertoire.
Levin-Klein R, Fraenkel S, Lichtenstein M, Matheson LS, Bartok O, Nevo Y, Kadener S, Corcoran AE, Cedar H, Bergman Y

Although much has been done to understand how rearrangement of the Igκ locus is regulated during B-cell development, little is known about the way the variable (V) segments themselves are selected. Here we show, using B6/Cast hybrid pre-B-cell clones, that a limited number of V segments on each allele is stochastically activated as characterized by the appearance of non-coding RNA and histone modifications. The activation states are clonally distinct, stable across cell division and developmentally important in directing the Ig repertoire upon differentiation. Using a new approach of allelic ATAC-seq, we demonstrate that the Igκ V alleles have differential chromatin accessibility, which may serve as the underlying basis of clonal maintenance at this locus, as well as other instances of monoallelic expression throughout the genome. These findings highlight a new level of immune system regulation that optimizes gene diversity.

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Nature communications, 8, 2041-1723, 15575, 2017

PMID: 28555639

Open Access

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

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

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Genome biology, 18, 1474-760X, 68, 2017

PMID: 28399939

Open Access

Comprehensive Cell Surface Protein Profiling Identifies Specific Markers of Human Naive and Primed Pluripotent States.
Collier AJ, Panula SP, Schell JP, Chovanec P, Plaza Reyes A, Petropoulos S, Corcoran AE, Walker R, Douagi I, Lanner F, Rugg-Gunn PJ

Human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) exist in naive and primed states and provide important models to investigate the earliest stages of human development. Naive cells can be obtained through primed-to-naive resetting, but there are no reliable methods to prospectively isolate unmodified naive cells during this process. Here we report comprehensive profiling of cell surface proteins by flow cytometry in naive and primed human PSCs. Several naive-specific, but not primed-specific, proteins were also expressed by pluripotent cells in the human preimplantation embryo. The upregulation of naive-specific cell surface proteins during primed-to-naive resetting enabled the isolation and characterization of live naive cells and intermediate cell populations. This analysis revealed distinct transcriptional and X chromosome inactivation changes associated with the early and late stages of naive cell formation. Thus, identification of state-specific proteins provides a robust set of molecular markers to define the human PSC state and allows new insights into the molecular events leading to naive cell resetting.

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Cell stem cell, , 1875-9777, , 2017

PMID: 28343983

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

Shared Ageing Research Models (ShARM): a new facility to support ageing research.
AL Duran, P Potter, S Wells, T Kirkwood, T von Zglinicki, A McArdle, C Scudamore, QJ Meng, G de Haan, A Corcoran, I Bellantuono

In order to manage the rise in life expectancy and the concomitant increased occurrence of age-related diseases, research into ageing has become a strategic priority. Mouse models are commonly utilised as they share high homology with humans and show many similar signs and diseases of ageing. However, the time and cost needed to rear aged cohorts can limit research opportunities. Sharing of resources can provide an ethically and economically superior framework to overcome some of these issues but requires dedicated infrastructure. Shared Ageing Research Models (ShARM) ( ) is a new, not-for-profit organisation funded by Wellcome Trust, open to all investigators. It collects, stores and distributes flash frozen tissues from aged murine models through its biorepository and provides a database of live ageing mouse colonies available in the UK and abroad. It also has an online environment (MICEspace) for collation and analysis of data from communal models and discussion boards on subjects such as the welfare of ageing animals and common endpoints for intervention studies. Since launching in July 2012, thanks to the generosity of researchers in UK and Europe, ShARM has collected more than 2,500 tissues and has in excess of 2,000 mice registered in live ageing colonies. By providing the appropriate support, ShARM has been able to bring together the knowledge and experience of investigators in the UK and Europe to maximise research outputs with little additional cost and minimising animal use in order to facilitate progress in ageing research.

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Biogerontology, , , , 2013

PMID: 24085518
DOI: 10.1007/s10522-013-9457-0

Open Access

Robust 3D DNA FISH using directly labeled probes.
DJ Bolland, MR King, W Reik, AE Corcoran, C Krueger

3D DNA FISH has become a major tool for analyzing three-dimensional organization of the nucleus, and several variations of the technique have been published. In this article we describe a protocol which has been optimized for robustness, reproducibility, and ease of use. Brightly fluorescent directly labeled probes are generated by nick-translation with amino-allyldUTP followed by chemical coupling of the dye. 3D DNA FISH is performed using a freeze-thaw step for cell permeabilization and a heating step for simultaneous denaturation of probe and nuclear DNA. The protocol is applicable to a range of cell types and a variety of probes (BACs, plasmids, fosmids, or Whole Chromosome Paints) and allows for high-throughput automated imaging. With this method we routinely investigate nuclear localization of up to three chromosomal regions.

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Journal of visualized experiments : JoVE, , 78, , 2013

PMID: 23978815
DOI: 10.3791/50587

Open Access

Non-coding transcription and large-scale nuclear organisation of immunoglobulin recombination.
MJ Stubbington, AE Corcoran

The enormous antigen receptor loci in lymphocytes are a paradigm of dynamic nuclear organisation, which is integral to their need to move extensively in 3D space to achieve distal gene synapse for V(D)J recombination and allelic exclusion. The loci undergo extensive 3D looping to bring distal genes together, controlled by several tissue-specific and ubiquitous factors, but how these factors achieve looping, synapsis and V(D)J recombination has been a mystery. Now several studies provide evidence that non-coding transcription, often proposed to play a role, is indeed an important driver, and furthermore has a specific nuclear destination for recombination. Both local transcription-independent looping and longer range factor-mediated transcription-dependent looping play separate roles in altering AgR architecture to enable V(D)J recombination.

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Current opinion in genetics & development, 23, 2, 81-8, 2013

PMID: 23434028
DOI: 10.1016/j.gde.2013.01.001

Highly restricted usage of Ig H chain VH14 family gene segments in Slp65-deficient pre-B cell leukemia in mice.
VB Ta, MJ de Bruijn, L Matheson, M Zoller, MP Bach, H Wardemann, H Jumaa, A Corcoran, RW Hendriks

Mice deficient for the adapter protein Slp65 (also known as Blnk), a key component in precursor-BCR (pre-BCR) signaling, spontaneously develop pre-B cell leukemia. In these leukemias, proliferation is thought to be driven by constitutive Jak3/Stat5 signaling, mostly due to autocrine production of IL-7, together with high surface expression of the pre-BCR. In this study, we investigated whether particular IgH specificities would predispose Slp65-deficient pre-B cells to malignant transformation. Whereas V(H)-D-J(H) junctions were diverse, we found highly restricted Ig V(H) gene usage: 55 out of 60 (~92%) leukemias used a V(H)14/SM7-family gene, mainly V(H)14-1 and V(H)14-2. When combined with surrogate or conventional L chains, these V(H)14 IgH chains did not provide increased proliferative signals or exhibit enhanced poly- or autoreactivity. We therefore conclude that pre-BCR specificity per se did not contribute to oncogenic transformation. Remarkably, in a high proportion of Slp65-deficient leukemias, the nonexpressed IgH allele also harbored a V(H)14-family rearrangement (10 out of 50) or was in the germline configuration (10 out of 50). V(H)14-1 and V(H)14-2 gene regions differed from their neighboring V(H) genes in that they showed active H3K4me3 histone modification marks and germline transcription at the pro-B cell stage in Rag1-deficient mice. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that in Slp65-deficient mice, malignant transformation is largely limited to particular pre-B cells that originate from pro-B cells that had restricted IgH V(H) region accessibility at the time of V(H)-to D-J(H) recombination.

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Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 189, 10, 4842-51, 2012

PMID: 23066158
DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.1201440

Open Access

Editorial overview. Lymphocyte development.
AE Corcoran, AJ Feeney

Current opinion in immunology, 24, 2, 129-31, 2012

PMID: 22440337
DOI: 10.1016/j.coi.2012.03.003

Local and global epigenetic regulation of V(D)J recombination.
LS Matheson, AE Corcoran

Despite using the same Rag recombinase machinery expressed in both lymphocyte lineages, V(D)J recombination of immunoglobulins only occurs in B cells and T cell receptor recombination is confined to T cells. This vital segregation of recombination targets is governed by the coordinated efforts of several epigenetic mechanisms that control both the general chromatin accessibility of these loci to the Rag recombinase, and the movement and synapsis of distal gene segments in these enormous multigene AgR loci, in a lineage and developmental stage-specific manner. These mechanisms operate both locally at individual gene segments and AgR domains, and globally over large distances in the nucleus. Here we will discuss the roles of several epigenetic components that regulate V(D)J recombination of the immunoglobulin heavy chain locus in B cells, both in the context of the locus itself, and of its 3D nuclear organization, focusing in particular on non-coding RNA transcription. We will also speculate about how several newly described epigenetic mechanisms might impact on AgR regulation.

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Current topics in microbiology and immunology, 356, , 65-89, 2012

PMID: 21695632
DOI: 10.1007/82_2011_137

Modeling the evolution of ETV6-RUNX1-induced B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia in mice.
L van der Weyden, G Giotopoulos, AG Rust, LS Matheson, FW van Delft, J Kong, AE Corcoran, MF Greaves, CG Mullighan, BJ Huntly, DJ Adams

The t(12;21) translocation that generates the ETV6-RUNX1 (TEL-AML1) fusion gene, is the most common chromosomal rearrangement in childhood cancer and is exclusively associated with B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia (BCP-ALL). The translocation arises in utero and is necessary but insufficient for the development of leukemia. Single-nucleotide polymorphism array analysis of ETV6-RUNX1 patient samples has identified multiple additional genetic alterations; however, the role of these lesions in leukemogenesis remains undetermined. Moreover, murine models of ETV6-RUNX1 ALL that faithfully recapitulate the human disease are lacking. To identify novel genes that cooperate with ETV6-RUNX1 in leukemogenesis, we generated a mouse model that uses the endogenous Etv6 locus to coexpress the Etv6-RUNX1 fusion and Sleeping Beauty transposase. An insertional mutagenesis screen was performed by intercrossing these mice with those carrying a Sleeping Beauty transposon array. In contrast to previous models, a substantial proportion (20%) of the offspring developed BCP-ALL. Isolation of the transposon insertion sites identified genes known to be associated with BCP-ALL, including Ebf1 and Epor, in addition to other novel candidates. This is the first mouse model of ETV6-RUNX1 to develop BCP-ALL and provides important insight into the cooperating genetic alterations in ETV6-RUNX1 leukemia.

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Blood, 118, 4, 1041-51, 2011

PMID: 21628403
DOI: 10.1182/blood-2011-02-338848

Open Access

ATMIN is required for maintenance of genomic stability and suppression of B cell lymphoma.
JI Loizou, R Sancho, N Kanu, DJ Bolland, F Yang, C Rada, AE Corcoran, A Behrens

Defective V(D)J rearrangement of immunoglobulin heavy or light chain (IgH or IgL) or class switch recombination (CSR) can initiate chromosomal translocations. The DNA-damage kinase ATM is required for the suppression of chromosomal translocations but ATM regulation is incompletely understood. Here, we show that mice lacking the ATM cofactor ATMIN in B cells (ATMIN(ΔB/ΔB)) have impaired ATM signaling and develop B cell lymphomas. Notably, ATMIN(ΔB/ΔB) cells exhibited defective peripheral V(D)J rearrangement and CSR, resulting in translocations involving the Igh and Igl loci, indicating that ATMIN is required for efficient repair of DNA breaks generated during somatic recombination. Thus, our results identify a role for ATMIN in regulating the maintenance of genomic stability and tumor suppression in B cells.

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Cancer cell, 19, 5, 587-600, 2011

PMID: 21575860
DOI: 10.1016/j.ccr.2011.03.022

Open Access

RUNX transcription factor-mediated association of Cd4 and Cd8 enables coordinate gene regulation.
A Collins, SL Hewitt, J Chaumeil, M Sellars, M Micsinai, J Allinne, F Parisi, EP Nora, DJ Bolland, AE Corcoran, Y Kluger, R Bosselut, W Ellmeier, MM Chong, DR Littman, JA Skok

T cell fate is associated with mutually exclusive expression of CD4 or CD8 in helper and cytotoxic T cells, respectively. How expression of one locus is temporally coordinated with repression of the other has been a long-standing enigma, though we know RUNX transcription factors activate the Cd8 locus, silence the Cd4 locus, and repress the Zbtb7b locus (encoding the transcription factor ThPOK), which is required for CD4 expression. Here we found that nuclear organization was altered by interplay among members of this transcription factor circuitry: RUNX binding mediated association of Cd4 and Cd8 whereas ThPOK binding kept the loci apart. Moreover, targeted deletions within Cd4 modulated CD8 expression and pericentromeric repositioning of Cd8. Communication between Cd4 and Cd8 thus appears to enable long-range epigenetic regulation to ensure that expression of one excludes the other in mature CD4 or CD8 single-positive (SP) cells.

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Immunity, 34, 3, 303-14, 2011

PMID: 21435585
DOI: 10.1016/j.immuni.2011.03.004

Open Access

The epigenetic role of non-coding RNA transcription and nuclear organization in immunoglobulin repertoire generation.
AE Corcoran

Within the lymphocyte lineages, restriction of immunoglobulin V(D)J recombination to B cells and T cell receptor (TCR) recombination to T cells is governed by a myriad of epigenetic mechanisms that control the chromatin accessibility of these loci to the Rag recombinase machinery in a lineage and developmental stage-specific manner. These mechanisms operate both locally at individual gene segments, and globally over large chromatin domains in these enormous multigene loci. In this review we will explore the established and emerging roles of three aspects of epigenetic regulation that contribute to large-scale control of the immunoglobulin heavy chain locus in B cells: non-coding RNA transcription, regulatory elements, and nuclear organization. Recent conceptual and technological advances have produced a paradigm shift in our thinking about how these components regulate gene expression in general and V(D)J recombination in particular.

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Seminars in immunology, 22, 6, 353-61, 2010

PMID: 20863715
DOI: 10.1016/j.smim.2010.08.001

The PI3K isoforms p110alpha and p110delta are essential for pre-B cell receptor signaling and B cell development.
F Ramadani, DJ Bolland, F Garcon, JL Emery, B Vanhaesebroeck, AE Corcoran, K Okkenhaug

B cell development is controlled by a series of checkpoints that ensure that the immunoglobulin (Ig)-encoding genes produce a functional B cell receptor (BCR) and antibodies. As part of this process, recombination-activating gene (Rag) proteins regulate the in-frame assembly of the Ig-encoding genes. The BCR consists of Ig proteins in complex with the immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM)-containing Igalpha and Igbeta chains. Whereas the activation of the tyrosine kinases Src and Syk is essential for BCR signaling, the pathways that act downstream of these kinases are incompletely defined. Previous work has revealed a key role for the p110delta isoform of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) in agonist-induced BCR signaling; however, early B cell development and mature B cell survival, which depend on agonist-independent or "tonic" BCR signaling, are not substantially affected by a deficiency in p110delta. Here, we show that p110alpha, but not p110beta, compensated in the absence of p110delta to promote early B cell development in the bone marrow and B cell survival in the spleen. In the absence of both p110alpha and p110delta activities, pre-BCR signaling failed to suppress the production of Rag proteins and to promote developmental progression of B cell progenitors. Unlike p110delta, however, p110alpha did not contribute to agonist-induced BCR signaling. These studies indicate that either p110alpha or p110delta can mediate tonic signaling from the BCR, but only p110delta can contribute to antigen-dependent activation of B cells.

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Science signaling, 3, 134, ra60, 2010

PMID: 20699475
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2001104

Open Access

The mouse immunoglobulin heavy chain V-D intergenic sequence contains insulators that may regulate ordered V(D)J recombination.
K Featherstone, AL Wood, AJ Bowen, AE Corcoran

During immunoglobulin heavy chain (Igh) V(D)J recombination, D to J precedes V to DJ recombination in an ordered manner, controlled by differential chromatin accessibility of the V and DJ regions and essential for correct antibody assembly. However, with the exception of the intronic enhancer Emu, which regulates D to J recombination, cis-acting regulatory elements have not been identified. We have assembled the sequence of a strategically located 96-kb V-D intergenic region in the mouse Igh and analyzed its activity during lymphocyte development. We show that Emu-dependent D antisense transcription, proposed to open chromatin before D to J recombination, extends into the V-D region for more than 30 kb in B cells before, during, and after V(D)J recombination and in T cells but terminates 40 kb from the first V gene. Thus, subsequent V antisense transcription before V to DJ recombination is actively prevented and must be independently activated. To find cis-acting elements that regulate this differential chromatin opening, we identified six DNase I-hypersensitive sites (HSs) in the V-D region. One conserved HS upstream of the first D gene locally regulates D genes. Two further conserved HSs near the D region mark a sharp decrease in antisense transcription, and both HSs bind CTCF in vivo. Further, they both possess enhancer-blocking activity in vivo. Thus, we propose that they are enhancer-blocking insulators preventing Emu-dependent chromatin opening extending into the V region. Thus, they are the first elements identified that may control ordered V(D)J recombination and correct assembly of antibody genes.

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The Journal of biological chemistry, 285, 13, 9327-38, 2010

PMID: 20100833
DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M109.098251

Open Access

Large-scale chromatin remodeling at the immunoglobulin heavy chain locus: a paradigm for multigene regulation.
DJ Bolland, AL Wood, AE Corcoran

V(D)J recombination in lymphocytes is the cutting and pasting together of antigen receptor genes in cis to generate the enormous variety of coding sequences required to produce diverse antigen receptor proteins. It is the key role of the adaptive immune response, which must potentially combat millions of different foreign antigens. Most antigen receptor loci have evolved to be extremely large and contain multiple individual V, D and J genes. The immunoglobulin heavy chain (Igh) and immunoglobulin kappa light chain (Igk) loci are the largest multigene loci in the mammalian genome and V(D)J recombination is one of the most complicated genetic processes in the nucleus. The challenge for the appropriate lymphocyte is one of macro-management-to make all of the antigen receptor genes in a particular locus available for recombination at the appropriate developmental time-point. Conversely, these large loci must be kept closed in lymphocytes in which they do not normally recombine, to guard against genomic instability generated by the DNA double strand breaks inherent to the V(D)J recombination process. To manage all of these demanding criteria, V(D)J recombination is regulated at numerous levels. It is restricted to lymphocytes since the Rag genes which control the DNA double-strand break step of recombination are only expressed in these cells. Within the lymphocyte lineage, immunoglobulin recombination is restricted to B-lymphocytes and TCR recombination to T-lymphocytes by regulation of locus accessibility, which occurs at multiple levels. Accessibility of recombination signal sequences (RSSs) flanking individual V, D and J genes at the nucleosomal level is the key micro-management mechanism, which is discussed in greater detail in other chapters. This chapter will explore how the antigen receptor loci are regulated as a whole, focussing on the Igh locus as a paradigm for the mechanisms involved. Numerous recent studies have begun to unravel the complex and complementary processes involved in this large-scale locus organisation. We will examine the structure of the Igh locus and the large-scale and higher-order chromatin remodelling processes associated with V(D)J recombination, at the level of the locus itself, its conformational changes and its dynamic localisation within the nucleus.

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Advances in experimental medicine and biology, 650, , 59-72, 2009

PMID: 19731801

AID is required for the chromosomal breaks in c-myc that lead to c-myc/IgH translocations.
DF Robbiani, A Bothmer, E Callen, B Reina-San-Martin, Y Dorsett, S Difilippantonio, DJ Bolland, HT Chen, AE Corcoran, A Nussenzweig, MC Nussenzweig

Chromosomal translocation requires formation of paired double-strand DNA breaks (DSBs) on heterologous chromosomes. One of the most well characterized oncogenic translocations juxtaposes c-myc and the immunoglobulin heavy-chain locus (IgH) and is found in Burkitt's lymphomas in humans and plasmacytomas in mice. DNA breaks in IgH leading to c-myc/IgH translocations are created by activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) during antibody class switch recombination or somatic hypermutation. However, the source of DNA breaks at c-myc is not known. Here, we provide evidence for the c-myc promoter region being required in targeting AID-mediated DNA damage to produce DSBs in c-myc that lead to c-myc/IgH translocations in primary B lymphocytes. Thus, in addition to producing somatic mutations and DNA breaks in antibody genes, AID is also responsible for the DNA lesions in oncogenes that are required for their translocation.

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Cell, 135, 6, 1028-38, 2008

PMID: 19070574
DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.09.062

Open Access