Life Sciences Research for Lifelong Health

Publications

The Babraham Institute Publications database contains details of all publications resulting from our research groups and scientific services.

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Title / Authors / Details Open Access Download

Extracellular vesicles : lipids as key components of their biogenesis and functions.
Record M, Silvente-Poirot S, Poirot M, Wakelam MJO

Intercellular communication has been known for decades to involve either direct contact between cells or to operate by spreading molecules such as cytokines, growth factors, or lipid mediators. Through the last decade we have begun to appreciate the increasing importance of intercellular communication mediated by extracellular vesicles released by viable cells either from plasma membrane shedding microvesicles, also named microparticles), or from an intracellular compartment (exosomes). Exosomes and microvesicles circulate in all biological fluids and can trigger biological responses at distance. Their effects include a large variety of biological processes such as immune surveillance, modification of tumor microenvironment, or regulation of inflammation. They carry a large set of active molecules, including lipid mediators such as eicosanoids, proteins and nucleic acids, able to modify the phenotype of receiving cells. This review will highlight the role of the various lipidic pathways involved in the biogenesis and functions of microvesicles and exosomes.

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Journal of lipid research, , 1539-7262, , 2018

PMID: 29764923


Open Access

Allele-specific control of replication timing and genome organization during development.
Rivera-Mulia JC, Dimond A, Vera D, Trevilla-Garcia C, Sasaki T, Zimmerman J, Dupont C, Gribnau J, Fraser P, Gilbert DM

DNA replication occurs in a defined temporal order known as the replication-timing (RT) program. RT is regulated during development in discrete chromosomal units, coordinated with transcriptional activity and 3D genome organization. Here, we derived distinct cell types from F1 hybrid musculus X castaneus mouse crosses and exploited the high single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) density to characterize allelic differences in RT (Repli-seq), genome organization (Hi-C and promoter-capture Hi-C), gene [removed]total nuclear RNA-seq) and chromatin accessibility (ATAC-seq). We also present HARP: a new computational tool for sorting SNPs in phased genomes to efficiently measure allele-specific genome-wide data. Analysis of six different hybrid mESC clones with different genomes (C57BL/6, 129/sv and CAST/Ei), parental configurations and gender revealed significant RT asynchrony between alleles across ~12% of the autosomal genome linked to sub-species genomes but not to parental origin, growth conditions or gender. RT asynchrony in mESCs strongly correlated with changes in Hi-C compartments between alleles but not SNP density, gene expression, imprinting or chromatin accessibility. We then tracked mESC RT asynchronous regions during development by analyzing differentiated cell types including extraembryonic endoderm stem (XEN) cells, 4 male and female primary mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) and neural precursor cells (NPCs) differentiated in vitro from mESCs with opposite parental configurations. We found that RT asynchrony and allelic discordance in Hi-C compartments seen in mESCs was largely lost in all differentiated cell types, coordinated with a more uniform Hi-C compartment arrangement, suggesting that genome organization of homologues converges to similar folding patterns during cell fate commitment.

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Genome research, , 1549-5469, , 2018

PMID: 29735606


Interaction between a MAPT variant causing frontotemporal dementia and mutant APP affects axonal transport.
Adalbert R, Milde S, Durrant C, Ando K, Stygelbout V, Yilmaz Z, Gould S, Brion JP, Coleman MP

In Alzheimer's disease, many indicators point to a central role for poor axonal transport, but the potential for stimulating axonal transport to alleviate the disease remains largely untested. Previously, we reported enhanced anterograde axonal transport of mitochondria in 8- to 11-month-old MAPT knockin mice, a genetic model of frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism-17T. In this study, we further characterized the axonal transport of mitochondria in younger MAPT mice crossed with the familial Alzheimer's disease model, TgCRND8, aiming to test whether boosting axonal transport in young TgCRND8 mice can alleviate axonal swelling. We successfully replicated the enhancement of anterograde axonal transport in young MAPT knockin animals. Surprisingly, we found that in the presence of the amyloid precursor protein mutations, MAPT impaired anterograde axonal transport. The numbers of plaque-associated axonal swellings or amyloid plaques in TgCRND8 brains were unaltered. These findings suggest that amyloid-β promotes an action of mutant tau that impairs axonal transport. As amyloid-β levels increase with age even without amyloid precursor protein mutation, we suggest that this rise could contribute to age-related decline in frontotemporal dementia.

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Neurobiology of aging, 68, 1558-1497, 68-75, 2018

PMID: 29729423


Defective germline reprogramming rewires the spermatogonial transcriptome.
Vasiliauskaitė L, Berrens RV, Ivanova I, Carrieri C, Reik W, Enright AJ, O'Carroll D

Defective germline reprogramming in Piwil4 (Miwi2)- and Dnmt3l-deficient mice results in the failure to reestablish transposon silencing, meiotic arrest and progressive loss of spermatogonia. Here we sought to understand the molecular basis for this spermatogonial dysfunction. Through a combination of imaging, conditional genetics and transcriptome analysis, we demonstrate that germ cell elimination in the respective mutants arises as a result of defective de novo genome methylation during reprogramming rather than because of a function for the respective factors within spermatogonia. In both Miwi2 and Dnmt3l spermatogonia, the intracisternal-A particle (IAP) family of endogenous retroviruses is derepressed, but, in contrast to meiotic cells, DNA damage is not observed. Instead, we find that unmethylated IAP promoters rewire the spermatogonial transcriptome by driving expression of neighboring genes. Finally, spermatogonial numbers, proliferation and differentiation are altered in Miwi2 and Dnmt3l mice. In summary, defective reprogramming deregulates the spermatogonial transcriptome and may underlie spermatogonial dysfunction.

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Nature structural & molecular biology, 25, 1545-9985, 394-404, 2018

PMID: 29728652


GIMAP6 is required for T cell maintenance and efficient autophagy in mice.
Pascall JC, Webb LMC, Eskelinen EL, Innocentin S, Attaf-Bouabdallah N, Butcher GW

The GTPases of the immunity-associated proteins (GIMAP) GTPases are a family of proteins expressed strongly in the adaptive immune system. We have previously reported that in human cells one member of this family, GIMAP6, interacts with the ATG8 family member GABARAPL2, and is recruited to autophagosomes upon starvation, suggesting a role for GIMAP6 in the autophagic process. To study this possibility and the function of GIMAP6 in the immune system, we have established a mouse line in which the Gimap6 gene can be inactivated by Cre-mediated recombination. In mice bred to carry the CD2Cre transgene such that the Gimap6 gene was deleted within the T and B cell lineages there was a 50-70% reduction in peripheral CD4+ and CD8+ T cells. Analysis of splenocyte-derived proteins from these mice indicated increased levels of MAP1LC3B, particularly the lipidated LC3-II form, and S405-phosphorylation of SQSTM1. Electron microscopic measurements of Gimap6-/- CD4+ T cells indicated an increased mitochondrial/cytoplasmic volume ratio and increased numbers of autophagosomes. These results are consistent with autophagic disruption in the cells. However, Gimap6-/- T cells were largely normal in character, could be effectively activated in vitro and supported T cell-dependent antibody production. Treatment in vitro of CD4+ splenocytes from GIMAP6fl/flERT2Cre mice with 4-hydroxytamoxifen resulted in the disappearance of GIMAP6 within five days. In parallel, increased phosphorylation of SQSTM1 and TBK1 was observed. These results indicate a requirement for GIMAP6 in the maintenance of a normal peripheral adaptive immune system and a significant role for the protein in normal autophagic processes. Moreover, as GIMAP6 is expressed in a cell-selective manner, this indicates the potential existence of a cell-restricted mode of autophagic regulation.

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PloS one, 13, 1932-6203, e0196504, 2018

PMID: 29718959


Open Access

Community-driven roadmap for integrated disease maps.
Ostaszewski M, Gebel S, Kuperstein I, Mazein A, Zinovyev A, Dogrusoz U, Hasenauer J, Fleming RMT, Le Novère N, Gawron P, Ligon T, Niarakis A, Nickerson D, Weindl D, Balling R, Barillot E, Auffray C, Schneider R

The Disease Maps Project builds on a network of scientific and clinical groups that exchange best practices, share information and develop systems biomedicine tools. The project aims for an integrated, highly curated and user-friendly platform for disease-related knowledge. The primary focus of disease maps is on interconnected signaling, metabolic and gene regulatory network pathways represented in standard formats. The involvement of domain experts ensures that the key disease hallmarks are covered and relevant, up-to-date knowledge is adequately represented. Expert-curated and computer readable, disease maps may serve as a compendium of knowledge, allow for data-supported hypothesis generation or serve as a scaffold for the generation of predictive mathematical models. This article summarizes the 2nd Disease Maps Community meeting, highlighting its important topics and outcomes. We outline milestones on the roadmap for the future development of disease maps, including creating and maintaining standardized disease maps; sharing parts of maps that encode common human disease mechanisms; providing technical solutions for complexity management of maps; and Web tools for in-depth exploration of such maps. A dedicated discussion was focused on mathematical modeling approaches, as one of the main goals of disease map development is the generation of mathematically interpretable representations to predict disease comorbidity or drug response and to suggest drug repositioning, altogether supporting clinical decisions.

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Briefings in bioinformatics, , 1477-4054, , 2018

PMID: 29688273


Dynamics of the epigenetic landscape during the maternal-to-zygotic transition.
Eckersley-Maslin MA, Alda-Catalinas C, Reik W

A remarkable epigenetic remodelling process occurs shortly after fertilization, which restores totipotency to the zygote. This involves global DNA demethylation, chromatin remodelling, genome spatial reorganization and substantial transcriptional changes. Key to these changes is the transition from the maternal environment of the oocyte to an embryonic-driven developmental expression programme, a process termed the maternal-to-zygotic transition (MZT). Zygotic genome activation occurs predominantly at the two-cell stage in mice and the eight-cell stage in humans, yet the dynamics of its control are still mostly obscure. In recent years, partly due to single-cell and low-cell number epigenomic studies, our understanding of the epigenetic and chromatin landscape of preimplantation development has improved considerably. In this Review, we discuss the latest advances in the study of the MZT, focusing on DNA methylation, histone post-translational modifications, local chromatin structure and higher-order genome organization. We also discuss key mechanistic studies that investigate the mode of action of chromatin regulators, transcription factors and non-coding RNAs during preimplantation development. Finally, we highlight areas requiring additional research, as well as new technological advances that could assist in eventually completing our understanding of the MZT.

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Nature reviews. Molecular cell biology, , 1471-0080, , 2018

PMID: 29686419


Phospholipid signaling in innate immune cells.
O'Donnell VB, Rossjohn J, Wakelam MJ

Phospholipids comprise a large body of lipids that define cells and organelles by forming membrane structures. Importantly, their complex metabolism represents a highly controlled cellular signaling network that is essential for mounting an effective innate immune response. Phospholipids in innate cells are subject to dynamic regulation by enzymes, whose activities are highly responsive to activation status. Along with their metabolic products, they regulate multiple aspects of innate immune cell biology, including shape change, aggregation, blood clotting, and degranulation. Phospholipid hydrolysis provides substrates for cell-cell communication, enables regulation of hemostasis, immunity, thrombosis, and vascular inflammation, and is centrally important in cardiovascular disease and associated comorbidities. Phospholipids themselves are also recognized by innate-like T cells, which are considered essential for recognition of infection or cancer, as well as self-antigens. This Review describes the major phospholipid metabolic pathways present in innate immune cells and summarizes the formation and metabolism of phospholipids as well as their emerging roles in cell biology and disease.

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The Journal of clinical investigation, , 1558-8238, , 2018

PMID: 29683435


Rac-GTPases and Rac-GEFs in neutrophil adhesion, migration and recruitment.
Pantarelli C, Welch HCE

Rac-GTPases and their Rac-GEF activators play important roles in the recruitment and host defense functions of neutrophils. These proteins control the activation of adhesion molecules and the cytoskeletal dynamics that enable the adhesion, migration and tissue recruitment of neutrophils. They also regulate the effector functions that allow neutrophils to kill bacterial and fungal pathogens, and to clear debris. This review focusses on the roles of Rac-GTPases and Rac-GEFs in neutrophil adhesion, migration and recruitment. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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European journal of clinical investigation, , 1365-2362, e12939, 2018

PMID: 29682742


Correction: Epigenetic resetting of human pluripotency (doi:10.1242/dev.146811).
Guo G, von Meyenn F, Rostovskaya M, Clarke J, Dietmann S, Baker D, Sahakyan A, Myers S, Bertone P, Reik W, Plath K, Smith A

Development (Cambridge, England), 145, 1477-9129, , 2018

PMID: 29669738


Open Access

A Critical Role of TET1/2 Proteins in Cell-Cycle Progression of Trophoblast Stem Cells.
Chrysanthou S, Senner CE, Woods L, Fineberg E, Okkenhaug H, Burge S, Perez-Garcia V, Hemberger M

The ten-eleven translocation (TET) proteins are well known for their role in maintaining naive pluripotency of embryonic stem cells. Here, we demonstrate that, jointly, TET1 and TET2 also safeguard the self-renewal potential of trophoblast stem cells (TSCs) and have partially redundant roles in maintaining the epithelial integrity of TSCs. For the more abundantly expressed TET1, we show that this is achieved by binding to critical epithelial genes, notably E-cadherin, which becomes hyper-methylated and downregulated in the absence of TET1. The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition phenotype of mutant TSCs is accompanied by centrosome duplication and separation defects. Moreover, we identify a role of TET1 in maintaining cyclin B1 stability, thereby acting as facilitator of mitotic cell-cycle progression. As a result, Tet1/2 mutant TSCs are prone to undergo endoreduplicative cell cycles leading to the formation of polyploid trophoblast giant cells. Taken together, our data reveal essential functions of TET proteins in the trophoblast lineage.

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Stem cell reports, , 2213-6711, , 2018

PMID: 29576538


Open Access

Identifying Human Naïve Pluripotent Stem Cells - Evaluating State-Specific Reporter Lines and Cell-Surface Markers.
Collier AJ, Rugg-Gunn PJ

Recent reports that human pluripotent stem cells can be captured in a spectrum of states with variable properties has prompted a re-evaluation of how pluripotency is acquired and stabilised. The latest additions to the stem cell hierarchy open up opportunities for understanding human development, reprogramming, and cell state transitions more generally. Many of the new cell lines have been collectively termed 'naïve' human pluripotent stem cells to distinguish them from the conventional 'primed' cells. Here, several transcriptional and epigenetic hallmarks of human pluripotent states in the recently described cell lines are reviewed and evaluated. Methods to derive and identify human naïve pluripotent stem cells are also discussed, with a focus on the uses and future developments of state-specific reporter cell lines and cell-surface proteins. Finally, opportunities and uncertainties in naïve stem cell biology are highlighted, and the current limitations of human naïve pluripotent stem cells considered, particularly in the context of differentiation.

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BioEssays : news and reviews in molecular, cellular and developmental biology, , 1521-1878, e1700239, 2018

PMID: 29574793


Open Access

Genome-wide Analyses Identify KIF5A as a Novel ALS Gene.
Nicolas A, Kenna KP, Renton AE, Ticozzi N, Faghri F, Chia R, Dominov JA, Kenna BJ, Nalls MA, Keagle P, Rivera AM, van Rheenen W, Murphy NA, van Vugt JJFA, Geiger JT, Van der Spek RA, Pliner HA, Shankaracharya , Smith BN, Marangi G, Topp SD, Abramzon Y, Gkazi AS, Eicher JD, Kenna A, , Mora G, Calvo A, Mazzini L, Riva N, Mandrioli J, Caponnetto C, Battistini S, Volanti P, La Bella V, Conforti FL, Borghero G, Messina S, Simone IL, Trojsi F, Salvi F, Logullo FO, D'Alfonso S, Corrado L, Capasso M, Ferrucci L, , Moreno CAM, Kamalakaran S, Goldstein DB, , Gitler AD, Harris T, Myers RM, , Phatnani H, Musunuri RL, Evani US, Abhyankar A, Zody MC, , Kaye J, Finkbeiner S, Wyman SK, LeNail A, Lima L, Fraenkel E, Svendsen CN, Thompson LM, Van Eyk JE, Berry JD, Miller TM, Kolb SJ, Cudkowicz M, Baxi E, , Benatar M, Taylor JP, Rampersaud E, Wu G, Wuu J, , Lauria G, Verde F, Fogh I, Tiloca C, Comi GP, Sorarù G, Cereda C, , Corcia P, Laaksovirta H, Myllykangas L, Jansson L, Valori M, Ealing J, Hamdalla H, Rollinson S, Pickering-Brown S, Orrell RW, Sidle KC, Malaspina A, Hardy J, Singleton AB, Johnson JO, Arepalli S, Sapp PC, McKenna-Yasek D, Polak M, Asress S, Al-Sarraj S, King A, Troakes C, Vance C, de Belleroche J, Baas F, Ten Asbroek ALMA, Muñoz-Blanco JL, Hernandez DG, Ding J, Gibbs JR, Scholz SW, Floeter MK, Campbell RH, Landi F, Bowser R, Pulst SM, Ravits JM, MacGowan DJL, Kirby J, Pioro EP, Pamphlett R, Broach J, Gerhard G, Dunckley TL, Brady CB, Kowall NW, Troncoso JC, Le Ber I, Mouzat K, Lumbroso S, Heiman-Patterson TD, Kamel F, Van Den Bosch L, Baloh RH, Strom TM, Meitinger T, Shatunov A, Van Eijk KR, de Carvalho M, Kooyman M, Middelkoop B, Moisse M, McLaughlin RL, Van Es MA, Weber M, Boylan KB, Van Blitterswijk M, Rademakers R, Morrison KE, Basak AN, Mora JS, Drory VE, Shaw PJ, Turner MR, Talbot K, Hardiman O, Williams KL, Fifita JA, Nicholson GA, Blair IP, Rouleau GA, Esteban-Pérez J, García-Redondo A, Al-Chalabi A, , Rogaeva E, Zinman L, Ostrow LW, Maragakis NJ, Rothstein JD, Simmons Z, Cooper-Knock J, Brice A, Goutman SA, Feldman EL, Gibson SB, Taroni F, Ratti A, Gellera C, Van Damme P, Robberecht W, Fratta P, Sabatelli M, Lunetta C, Ludolph AC, Andersen PM, Weishaupt JH, Camu W, Trojanowski JQ, Van Deerlin VM, Brown RH, van den Berg LH, Veldink JH, Harms MB, Glass JD, Stone DJ, Tienari P, Silani V, Chiò A, Shaw CE, Traynor BJ, Landers JE

To identify novel genes associated with ALS, we undertook two lines of investigation. We carried out a genome-wide association study comparing 20,806 ALS cases and 59,804 controls. Independently, we performed a rare variant burden analysis comparing 1,138 index familial ALS cases and 19,494 controls. Through both approaches, we identified kinesin family member 5A (KIF5A) as a novel gene associated with ALS. Interestingly, mutations predominantly in the N-terminal motor domain of KIF5A are causative for two neurodegenerative diseases: hereditary spastic paraplegia (SPG10) and Charcot-Marie-Tooth type 2 (CMT2). In contrast, ALS-associated mutations are primarily located at the C-terminal cargo-binding tail domain and patients harboring loss-of-function mutations displayed an extended survival relative to typical ALS cases. Taken together, these results broaden the phenotype spectrum resulting from mutations in KIF5A and strengthen the role of cytoskeletal defects in the pathogenesis of ALS.

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Neuron, 97, 1097-4199, 1268-1283.e6, 2018

PMID: 29566793


TDP-43 gains function due to perturbed autoregulation in a Tardbp knock-in mouse model of ALS-FTD.
White MA, Kim E, Duffy A, Adalbert R, Phillips BU, Peters OM, Stephenson J, Yang S, Massenzio F, Lin Z, Andrews S, Segonds-Pichon A, Metterville J, Saksida LM, Mead R, Ribchester RR, Barhomi Y, Serre T, Coleman MP, Fallon J, Bussey TJ, Brown RH, Sreedharan J

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

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Nature neuroscience, , 1546-1726, , 2018

PMID: 29556029


Simulation Experiment Description Markup Language (SED-ML) Level 1 Version 3 (L1V3).
Bergmann FT, Cooper J, König M, Moraru I, Nickerson D, Le Novère N, Olivier BG, Sahle S, Smith L, Waltemath D

The creation of computational simulation experiments to inform modern biological research poses challenges to reproduce, annotate, archive, and share such experiments. Efforts such as SBML or CellML standardize the formal representation of computational models in various areas of biology. The Simulation Experiment Description Markup Language (SED-ML) describes what procedures the models are subjected to, and the details of those procedures. These standards, together with further COMBINE standards, describe models sufficiently well for the reproduction of simulation studies among users and software tools. The Simulation Experiment Description Markup Language (SED-ML) is an XML-based format that encodes, for a given simulation experiment, (i) which models to use; (ii) which modifications to apply to models before simulation; (iii) which simulation procedures to run on each model; (iv) how to post-process the data; and (v) how these results should be plotted and reported. SED-ML Level 1 Version 1 (L1V1) implemented support for the encoding of basic time course simulations. SED-ML L1V2 added support for more complex types of simulations, specifically repeated tasks and chained simulation procedures. SED-ML L1V3 extends L1V2 by means to describe which datasets and subsets thereof to use within a simulation experiment.

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Journal of integrative bioinformatics, , 1613-4516, , 2018

PMID: 29550789


Synthetic Biology Open Language Visual (SBOL Visual) Version 2.0.
Cox RS, Madsen C, McLaughlin J, Nguyen T, Roehner N, Bartley B, Bhatia S, Bissell M, Clancy K, Gorochowski T, Grünberg R, Luna A, Le Novère N, Pocock M, Sauro H, Sexton JT, Stan GB, Tabor JJ, Voigt CA, Zundel Z, Myers C, Beal J, Wipat A

People who are engineering biological organisms often find it useful to communicate in diagrams, both about the structure of the nucleic acid sequences that they are engineering and about the functional relationships between sequence features and other molecular species. Some typical practices and conventions have begun to emerge for such diagrams. The Synthetic Biology Open Language Visual (SBOL Visual) has been developed as a standard for organizing and systematizing such conventions in order to produce a coherent language for expressing the structure and function of genetic designs. This document details version 2.0 of SBOL Visual, which builds on the prior SBOL Visual 1.0 standard by expanding diagram syntax to include functional interactions and molecular species, making the relationship between diagrams and the SBOL data model explicit, supporting families of symbol variants, clarifying a number of requirements and best practices, and significantly expanding the collection of diagram glyphs.

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Journal of integrative bioinformatics, , 1613-4516, , 2018

PMID: 29549707


Comparison of whole-genome bisulfite sequencing library preparation strategies identifies sources of biases affecting DNA methylation data.
Olova N, Krueger F, Andrews S, Oxley D, Berrens RV, Branco MR, Reik W

Whole-genome bisulfite sequencing (WGBS) is becoming an increasingly accessible technique, used widely for both fundamental and disease-oriented research. Library preparation methods benefit from a variety of available kits, polymerases and bisulfite conversion protocols. Although some steps in the procedure, such as PCR amplification, are known to introduce biases, a systematic evaluation of biases in WGBS strategies is missing.

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Genome biology, 19, 1474-760X, 33, 2018

PMID: 29544553


Open Access

Bach2 Promotes B Cell Receptor-Induced Proliferation of B Lymphocytes and Represses Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitors.
Miura Y, Morooka M, Sax N, Roychoudhuri R, Itoh-Nakadai A, Brydun A, Funayama R, Nakayama K, Satomi S, Matsumoto M, Igarashi K, Muto A

BTB and CNC homology 2 (Bach2) is a transcriptional repressor that is required for the formation of the germinal center (GC) and reactions, including class switch recombination and somatic hypermutation of Ig genes in B cells, within the GC. Although BCR-induced proliferation is essential for GC reactions, the function of Bach2 in regulating B cell proliferation has not been elucidated. In this study, we demonstrate that Bach2 is required to sustain high levels of B cell proliferation in response to BCR signaling. Following BCR engagement in vitro, B cells from-deficient () mice showed lower incorporation of BrdU and reduced cell cycle progression compared with wild-type cells.B cells also underwent increased apoptosis, as evidenced by an elevated frequency of sub-Gcells and early apoptotic cells. Transcriptome analysis of BCR-engaged B cells frommice revealed reduced expression of the antiapoptotic geneencoding Bcl-xand elevated expression of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor (CKI) family genes, including,, andReconstitution of Bcl-xexpression partially rescued the proliferation defect ofB cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments showed that Bach2 bound to the CKI family genes, indicating that these genes are direct repression targets of Bach2. These findings identify Bach2 as a requisite factor for sustaining high levels of BCR-induced proliferation, survival, and cell cycle progression, and it promotes expression of Bcl-xand repression of CKI genes. BCR-induced proliferation defects may contribute to the impaired GC formation observed inmice.

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Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), , 1550-6606, , 2018

PMID: 29540581


A niche of trophoblast progenitor cells identified by integrin α2 is present in first trimester human placentas.
Lee CQE, Turco M, Gardner L, Simons B, Hemberger M, Moffett A

During pregnancy the trophoblast cells of the placenta are the only fetal cells in direct contact with maternal blood and decidua. Their functions include transport of nutrients and oxygen, secretion of pregnancy hormones, remodelling the uterine arteries, and communicating with maternal cells. Despite the importance of trophoblast cells in placental development and successful pregnancy, little is known about the identity, location and differentiation of human trophoblast progenitors. We identify a proliferative trophoblast niche at the base of the cytotrophoblast cell columns in first trimester placentas that is characterised by integrin α2 (ITGA2) expression. Pulse-chase experiments with 5-Iodo-2'-deoxyuridine (IdU) imply that these cells can contribute to both villous (VCT) and extravillous (EVT) lineages. These proliferating trophoblast cells can be isolated using ITGA2 as a marker by flow cytometry and express genes from both VCT and EVT. Microarray expression analysis shows that ITAG2cells display a unique transcriptional signature including NOTCH signalling and a combination of epithelial and mesenchymal characteristics. ITGA2 thus marks a niche allowing the study of pure populations of trophoblast progenitor cells.

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Development (Cambridge, England), , 1477-9129, , 2018

PMID: 29540503


Placentation defects are highly prevalent in embryonic lethal mouse mutants.
Perez-Garcia V, Fineberg E, Wilson R, Murray A, Mazzeo CI, Tudor C, Sienerth A, White JK, Tuck E, Ryder EJ, Gleeson D, Siragher E, Wardle-Jones H, Staudt N, Wali N, Collins J, Geyer S, Busch-Nentwich EM, Galli A, Smith JC, Robertson E, Adams DJ, Weninger WJ, Mohun T, Hemberger M

Large-scale phenotyping efforts have demonstrated that approximately 25-30% of mouse gene knockouts cause intrauterine lethality. Analysis of these mutants has largely focused on the embryo and not the placenta, despite the crucial role of this extraembryonic organ for developmental progression. Here we screened 103 embryonic lethal and sub-viable mouse knockout lines from the Deciphering the Mechanisms of Developmental Disorders program for placental phenotypes. We found that 68% of knockout lines that are lethal at or after mid-gestation exhibited placental dysmorphologies. Early lethality (embryonic days 9.5-14.5) is almost always associated with severe placental malformations. Placental defects correlate strongly with abnormal brain, heart and vascular development. Analysis of mutant trophoblast stem cells and conditional knockouts suggests that a considerable number of factors that cause embryonic lethality when ablated have primary gene function in trophoblast cells. Our data highlight the hugely under-appreciated importance of placental defects in contributing to abnormal embryo development and suggest key molecular nodes that govern placenta formation.

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Nature, , 1476-4687, , 2018

PMID: 29539633


Long-Range Enhancer Interactions Are Prevalent in Mouse Embryonic Stem Cells and Are Reorganized upon Pluripotent State Transition.
Novo CL, Javierre BM, Cairns J, Segonds-Pichon A, Wingett SW, Freire-Pritchett P, Furlan-Magaril M, Schoenfelder S, Fraser P, Rugg-Gunn PJ

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

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Cell reports, 22, 2211-1247, 2615-2627, 2018

PMID: 29514091


Open Access

Molecular profiling of aged neural progenitors identifies Dbx2 as a candidate regulator of age-associated neurogenic decline.
Lupo G, Nisi PS, Esteve P, Paul YL, Novo CL, Sidders B, Khan MA, Biagioni S, Liu HK, Bovolenta P, Cacci E, Rugg-Gunn PJ

Adult neurogenesis declines with aging due to the depletion and functional impairment of neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs). An improved understanding of the underlying mechanisms that drive age-associated neurogenic deficiency could lead to the development of strategies to alleviate cognitive impairment and facilitate neuroregeneration. An essential step towards this aim is to investigate the molecular changes that occur in NSPC aging on a genomewide scale. In this study, we compare the transcriptional, histone methylation and DNA methylation signatures of NSPCs derived from the subventricular zone (SVZ) of young adult (3 months old) and aged (18 months old) mice. Surprisingly, the transcriptional and epigenomic profiles of SVZ-derived NSPCs are largely unchanged in aged cells. Despite the global similarities, we detect robust age-dependent changes at several hundred genes and regulatory elements, thereby identifying putative regulators of neurogenic decline. Within this list, the homeobox gene Dbx2 is upregulated in vitro and in vivo, and its promoter region has altered histone and DNA methylation levels, in aged NSPCs. Using functional in vitro assays, we show that elevated Dbx2 expression in young adult NSPCs promotes age-related phenotypes, including the reduced proliferation of NSPC cultures and the altered transcript levels of age-associated regulators of NSPC proliferation and differentiation. Depleting Dbx2 in aged NSPCs caused the reverse gene expression changes. Taken together, these results provide new insights into the molecular programmes that are affected during mouse NSPC aging, and uncover a new functional role for Dbx2 in promoting age-related neurogenic decline.

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Aging cell, , 1474-9726, , 2018

PMID: 29504228


Open Access

Gene expression hallmarks of cellular ageing.
Frenk S, Houseley J

Ageing leads to dramatic changes in the physiology of many different tissues resulting in a spectrum of pathology. Nonetheless, many lines of evidence suggest that ageing is driven by highly conserved cell intrinsic processes, and a set of unifying hallmarks of ageing has been defined. Here, we survey reports of age-linked changes in basal gene expression across eukaryotes from yeast to human and identify six gene expression hallmarks of cellular ageing: downregulation of genes encoding mitochondrial proteins; downregulation of the protein synthesis machinery; dysregulation of immune system genes; reduced growth factor signalling; constitutive responses to stress and DNA damage; dysregulation of gene expression and mRNA processing. These encompass widely reported features of ageing such as increased senescence and inflammation, reduced electron transport chain activity and reduced ribosome synthesis, but also reveal a surprising lack of gene expression responses to known age-linked cellular stresses. We discuss how the existence of conserved transcriptomic hallmarks relates to genome-wide epigenetic differences underlying ageing clocks, and how the changing transcriptome results in proteomic alterations where data is available and to variations in cell physiology characteristic of ageing. Identification of gene expression events that occur during ageing across distant organisms should be informative as to conserved underlying mechanisms of ageing, and provide additional biomarkers to assess the effects of diet and other environmental factors on the rate of ageing.

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Biogerontology, , 1573-6768, , 2018

PMID: 29492790


Neuronal Cell Death.
Fricker M, Tolkovsky AM, Borutaite V, Coleman M, Brown GC

Neuronal cell death occurs extensively during development and pathology, where it is especially important because of the limited capacity of adult neurons to proliferate or be replaced. The concept of cell death used to be simple as there were just two or three types, so we just had to work out which type was involved in our particular pathology and then block it. However, we now know that there are at least a dozen ways for neurons to die, that blocking a particular mechanism of cell death may not prevent the cell from dying, and that non-neuronal cells also contribute to neuronal death. We review here the mechanisms of neuronal death by intrinsic and extrinsic apoptosis, oncosis, necroptosis, parthanatos, ferroptosis, sarmoptosis, autophagic cell death, autosis, autolysis, paraptosis, pyroptosis, phagoptosis, and mitochondrial permeability transition. We next explore the mechanisms of neuronal death during development, and those induced by axotomy, aberrant cell-cycle reentry, glutamate (excitoxicity and oxytosis), loss of connected neurons, aggregated proteins and the unfolded protein response, oxidants, inflammation, and microglia. We then reassess which forms of cell death occur in stroke and Alzheimer's disease, two of the most important pathologies involving neuronal cell death. We also discuss why it has been so difficult to pinpoint the type of neuronal death involved, if and why the mechanism of neuronal death matters, the molecular overlap and interplay between death subroutines, and the therapeutic implications of these multiple overlapping forms of neuronal death.

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Physiological reviews, 98, 1522-1210, 813-880, 2018

PMID: 29488822


scNMT-seq enables joint profiling of chromatin accessibility DNA methylation and transcription in single cells.
Clark SJ, Argelaguet R, Kapourani CA, Stubbs TM, Lee HJ, Alda-Catalinas C, Krueger F, Sanguinetti G, Kelsey G, Marioni JC, Stegle O, Reik W

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

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Nature communications, 9, 2041-1723, 781, 2018

PMID: 29472610