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

Expression patterns of the novel imprinted genes Nap1l5 and Peg13 and their non-imprinted host genes in the adult mouse brain.
Davies W, Smith RJ, Kelsey G, Wilkinson LS

Recent work has implicated imprinted gene functioning in neurodevelopment and behaviour and defining the expression patterns of these genes in brain tissue has become a key prerequisite to establishing function. In this work we report on the expression patterns of two novel imprinted loci, Nap1l5 and Peg13, in adult mouse brain using in situ hybridisation methods. Nap1l5 and Peg13 are located, respectively, within the introns of the non-imprinted genes Herc3 and the Tularik1 (T1)/KIAA1882 homologue in two separate microimprinted domains on mouse chromosomes 6 and 15. These 'host' genes are highly expressed in brain and consequently we were interested in assessing their expression patterns in parallel to the imprinted genes. The brain expression of all four genes appeared to be mainly neuronal. The detailed expression profiles of Nap1l5 and Peg13 were generally similar with widespread expression that was relatively high in the septal and hypothalamic regions, the hippocampus and the cerebral cortex. In contrast, there was some degree of dissociation between the imprinted genes and their non-imprinted hosts, in that, whilst there was again widespread expression of Herc3 and the T1/KIAA1882 homologue, these genes were also particularly highly expressed in Purkinje neurons and piriform cortex. We also examined expression of the novel imprinted genes in the adrenal glands. Nap1l5 expression was localised mainly to the adrenal medulla, whilst Peg13 expression was observed more generally throughout the adrenal medulla and the outer cortical layers.

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Gene expression patterns : GEP, 4, 1567-133X, 741-7, 2004

PMID: 15465498


Vav1 and vav3 have critical but redundant roles in mediating platelet activation by collagen.
Pearce AC, Senis YA, Billadeau DD, Turner M, Watson SP, Vigorito E

Vav family proteins are guanine nucleotide exchange factors for the Rho/Rac family of small GTP-binding proteins. In addition, they have domains that mediate protein-protein interactions, including one Src homology 2 (SH2) and two Src homology 3 (SH3) domains. Vav1, Vav2, and Vav3 play a crucial role in the regulation of phospholipase C gamma (PLC gamma) isoforms by immuno-tyrosine-based activation motif (ITAM)-coupled receptors, including the T- and B-cell antigen receptors. We have reported in platelets, however, that Vav1 and Vav2 are not required for activation of PLC gamma 2 in response to stimulation of the ITAM-coupled collagen receptor glycoprotein VI (GPVI). Here we report that Vav3 is tyrosinephosphorylated upon activation of GPVI but that Vav3-deficient platelets also exhibit a normal response upon activation of the ITAM receptor. In sharp contrast, platelets deficient in both Vav1 and Vav3 show a marked inhibition of aggregation and spreading upon activation of GPVI, which is associated with a reduction in tyrosine phosphorylation of PLC gamma 2. The phenotype of Vav1/2/3 triple-deficient platelets is similar to that of Vav1/3 double-deficient cells. These results demonstrate that Vav3 and Vav1 play crucial but redundant roles in the activation of PLC gamma 2 by GPVI. This is the first time that absolute redundancy between two protein isoforms has been observed with respect to the regulation of PLC gamma 2 in platelets.

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The Journal of biological chemistry, 279, 0021-9258, 53955-62, 2004

PMID: 15456756


Open Access

Fetal growth restriction: a workshop report.
Cetin I, Foidart JM, Miozzo M, Raun T, Jansson T, Tsatsaris V, Reik W, Cross J, Hauguel-de-Mouzon S, Illsley N, Kingdom J, Huppertz B

Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) is associated with significantly increased perinatal morbidity and mortality as well as cardiovascular disease and glucose intolerance in adult life. A number of disorders from genetic to metabolic, vascular, coagulative, autoimmune, as well as infectious, can influence fetal growth by damaging the placenta, leading to IUGR as a result of many possible fetal, placental and maternal disorders. Strict definitions of IUGR and of its severity are needed in order to eventually distinguish among different phenotypes, such as gestational age at onset, degree of growth restriction and presence of hypoxia. This report explores and reviews some of the most recent developments in both clinical and basic research on intrauterine growth restriction, by seeking mechanisms that involve genetic factors, utero-placental nutrient availability and vascular growth factors. New exciting findings on the genomic imprinting defects potentially associated with IUGR, and the placental anomalies associated with the decreased nutrient transport are summarized. Moreover, recent data on angiogenic growth factors as well as new information arising from application of gene chip technologies are discussed.

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Placenta, 25, 0143-4004, 753-7, 0

PMID: 15450396


Activation-induced cytidine deaminase deaminates 5-methylcytosine in DNA and is expressed in pluripotent tissues: implications for epigenetic reprogramming.
Morgan HD, Dean W, Coker HA, Reik W, Petersen-Mahrt SK

DNA deaminases of the Aid/Apobec family convert cytosine into uracil and play key roles in acquired and innate immunity. The epigenetic modification by methylation of cytosine in CpG dinucleotides is also mutagenic, but this is thought to occur by spontaneous deamination. Here we show that Aid and Apobec1 are 5-methylcytosine deaminases resulting in a thymine base opposite a guanine. Their action can thus lead to C --> T transition mutations in methylated DNA, or in conjunction with repair of the T:G mismatch, to demethylation. The Aid and Apobec1 genes are located in a cluster of pluripotency genes including Nanog and Stella and are co-expressed with these genes in oocytes, embryonic germ cells, and embryonic stem cells. These results suggest that Aid and perhaps some of its family members may have roles in epigenetic reprogramming and cell plasticity. Transition in CpG dinucleotides is the most frequent mutation in human genetic diseases, and sequence context analysis of CpG transitions in the APC tumor suppressor gene suggests that DNA deaminases may play a significant role in tumor etiology.

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The Journal of biological chemistry, 279, 0021-9258, 52353-60, 2004

PMID: 15448152


Open Access

Active genes dynamically colocalize to shared sites of ongoing transcription.
CS Osborne, L Chakalova, KE Brown, D Carter, A Horton, E Debrand, B Goyenechea, JA Mitchell, S Lopes, W Reik, P Fraser

The intranuclear position of many genes has been correlated with their activity state, suggesting that migration to functional subcompartments may influence gene expression. Indeed, nascent RNA production and RNA polymerase II seem to be localized into discrete foci or 'transcription factories'. Current estimates from cultured cells indicate that multiple genes could occupy the same factory, although this has not yet been observed. Here we show that, during transcription in vivo, distal genes colocalize to the same transcription factory at high frequencies. Active genes are dynamically organized into shared nuclear subcompartments, and movement into or out of these factories results in activation or abatement of transcription. Thus, rather than recruiting and assembling transcription complexes, active genes migrate to preassembled transcription sites.

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Nature genetics, 36, 10, 1065-71, 2004

PMID: 15361872

DOI: 10.1038/ng1423


Open Access

Early intermediates of mariner transposition: catalysis without synapsis of the transposon ends suggests a novel architecture of the synaptic complex.
K Lipkow, N Buisine, DJ Lampe, R Chalmers

The mariner family is probably the most widely distributed family of transposons in nature. Although these transposons are related to the well-studied bacterial insertion elements, there is evidence for major differences in their reaction mechanisms. We report the identification and characterization of complexes that contain the Himar1 transposase bound to a single transposon end. Titrations and mixing experiments with the native transposase and transposase fusions suggested that they contain different numbers of transposase monomers. However, the DNA protection footprints of the two most abundant single-end complexes are identical. This indicates that some transposase monomers may be bound to the transposon end solely by protein-protein interactions. This would mean that the Himar1 transposase can dimerize independently of the second transposon end and that the architecture of the synaptic complex has more in common with V(D)J recombination than with bacterial insertion elements. Like V(D)J recombination and in contrast to the case for bacterial elements, Himar1 catalysis does not appear to depend on synapsis of the transposon ends, and the single-end complexes are active for nicking and probably for cleavage. We discuss the role of this single-end activity in generating the mutations that inactivate the vast majority of mariner elements in eukaryotes.

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Molecular and cellular biology, 24, 18, 8301-11, 2004

PMID: 15340089

DOI: 10.1128/MCB.24.18.8301-8311.2004


Open Access

Promiscuous target interactions in the mariner transposon Himar1.
K Lipkow, N Buisine, R Chalmers

We have previously characterized the early intermediates of mariner transposition. Here we characterize the target interactions that occur later in the reaction. We find that, in contrast to the early transposition intermediates, the strand transfer complex is extremely stable and difficult to disassemble. Transposase is tightly bound to the transposon ends constraining rotation of the DNA at the single strand gaps in the target site flanking the element on either side. We also find that although the cleavage step requires Mg2+ or Mn2+ as cofactor, the strand transfer step is also supported by Ca2+, suggesting that the structure of the active site changes between cleavage and insertion. Finally, we show that, in contrast to the bacterial cut and paste transposons, mariner target interactions are promiscuous and can take place either before or after cleavage of the flanking DNA. This is similar to the behavior of the V(D)J system, which is believed to be derived from an ancestral eukaryotic transposon. We discuss the implications of promiscuous target interactions for promoting local transposition and whether this is an adaptation to facilitate the invasion of a genome following horizontal transfer to a new host species.

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The Journal of biological chemistry, 279, 47, 48569-75, 2004

PMID: 15333635

DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M408759200


Open Access

Vav-dependent and vav-independent phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activation in murine B cells determined by the nature of the stimulus.
Vigorito E, Bardi G, Glassford J, Lam EW, Clayton E, Turner M

We show in this study that B cell activation following high avidity ligation of IgM or coligation of membrane Ig with CD19 elicits similar levels of Ca(2+) flux using different mechanisms. Each form of activation requires the function of Vav and PI3K. However, Vav regulates Ca(2+) flux independently of PI3K following anti-IgM cross-linking. By contrast, Vav function is essential for PI3K activation following membrane Ig (mIg)/CD19 coligation. Inhibition of PI3K revealed anti-IgM-stimulated Ca(2+) flux has a PI3K-independent component, while Ca(2+) flux following mIg/CD19 coligation is totally PI3K dependent. The p85alpha and p110delta subunits of PI3K both participate in anti-IgM and mIg/CD19 coligation-induced Ca(2+) flux, although the defects are not as severe as observed after pharmacological inhibition. This may reflect the recruitment of additional PI3K subunits, as we found that p110alpha becomes associated with CD19 upon B cell activation. These data show that the nature of the Ag encountered by B cells determines the contribution of Vav proteins to PI3K activation. Our results indicate that the strong signals delivered by multivalent cross-linking agents activate B cells in a qualitatively different manner from those triggered by coreceptor recruitment.

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Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950), 173, 0022-1767, 3209-14, 2004

PMID: 15322182


Open Access

Sphingosine kinase 1 is an intracellular effector of phosphatidic acid.
C Delon, M Manifava, E Wood, D Thompson, S Krugmann, S Pyne, NT Ktistakis

Sphingosine kinase 1 (SK1) phosphorylates sphingosine to generate sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P). Because both substrate and product of the enzyme are potentially important signaling molecules, the regulation of SK1 is of considerable interest. We report that SK1, which is ordinarily a cytosolic enzyme, translocates in vivo and in vitro to membrane compartments enriched in phosphatidic acid (PA), the lipid product of phospholipase D. This translocation depends on direct interaction of SK1 with PA, because recombinant purified enzyme shows strong affinity for pure PA coupled to Affi-Gel. The SK1-PA interaction maps to the C terminus of SK1 and is independent of catalytic activity or of the diacylglycerol kinase-like domain of the enzyme. Thus SK1 constitutes a novel, physiologically relevant PA effector.

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The Journal of biological chemistry, 279, 43, 44763-74, 2004

PMID: 15310762

DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M405771200


Open Access

Radiation-induced malignancies following radiotherapy for breast cancer.
Roychoudhuri R,Evans H,Robinson D,Moller H

With advances in diagnosis and treatment, breast cancer is becoming an increasingly survivable disease resulting in a large population of long-term survivors. Factors affecting the quality of life of such patients include the consequences of breast cancer treatment, which may have involved radiotherapy. In this study, we compare the incidence of second primary cancers in women who received breast radiotherapy with that in those who did not (non-radiotherapy). All women studied received surgery for their first breast cancer. Second cancers of the lung, colon, oesophagus and thyroid gland, malignant melanomas, myeloid leukaemias and second primary breast cancers were studied. Comparing radiotherapy and non-radiotherapy cohorts, elevated relative risks (RR) were observed for lung cancer at 10-14 years and 15 or more (15+) years after initial breast cancer diagnosis (RR 1.62, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.05-2.54 and RR 1.49, 95% CI 1.05-2.14, respectively), and for myeloid leukaemia at 1-5 years (RR 2.99, 95% CI 1.13-9.33), for second breast cancer at 5-10 years (RR 1.34, 95% CI 1.10-1.63) and 15+ years (RR 1.26, 95% CI 1.00-1.59) and oesophageal cancer at 15+ years (RR 2.19, 95% CI 1.10-4.62).

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British journal of cancer, 91, 0007-0920, 868-72, 2004

PMID: 15292931


Open Access

Impaired glucose homeostasis in transgenic mice expressing the human transient neonatal diabetes mellitus locus, TNDM.
Ma D, Shield JP, Dean W, Leclerc I, Knauf C, Burcelin R Ré, Rutter GA, Kelsey G

Transient neonatal diabetes mellitus (TNDM) is a rare inherited diabetic syndrome apparent in the first weeks of life and again during early adulthood. The relative contributions of reduced islet beta cell number and impaired beta cell function to the observed hypoinsulinemia are unclear. The inheritance pattern of this imprinted disorder implicates overexpression of one or both genes within the TNDM locus: ZAC, which encodes a proapoptotic zinc finger protein, and HYMAI, which encodes an untranslated mRNA. To investigate the consequences for pancreatic function, we have developed a high-copy transgenic mouse line, TNDM29, carrying the human TNDM locus. TNDM29 neonates display hyperglycemia, and older adults, impaired glucose tolerance. Neonatal hyperglycemia occurs only on paternal transmission, analogous to paternal dependence of TNDM in humans. Embryonic pancreata of TNDM29 mice showed reductions in expression of endocrine differentiation factors and numbers of insulin-staining structures. By contrast, beta cell mass was normal or elevated at all postnatal stages, whereas pancreatic insulin content in neonates and peak serum insulin levels after glucose infusion in adults were reduced. Expression of human ZAC and HYMAI in these transgenic mice thus recapitulates key features of TNDM and implicates impaired development of the endocrine pancreas and beta cell function in disease pathogenesis.

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The Journal of clinical investigation, 114, 0021-9738, 339-48, 2004

PMID: 15286800


Open Access

Interaction between differentially methylated regions partitions the imprinted genes Igf2 and H19 into parent-specific chromatin loops.
Murrell A, Heeson S, Reik W

Imprinted genes are expressed from only one of the parental alleles and are marked epigenetically by DNA methylation and histone modifications. The paternally expressed gene insulin-like growth-factor 2 (Igf2) is separated by approximately 100 kb from the maternally expressed noncoding gene H19 on mouse distal chromosome 7. Differentially methylated regions in Igf2 and H19 contain chromatin boundaries, silencers and activators and regulate the reciprocal expression of the two genes in a methylation-sensitive manner by allowing them exclusive access to a shared set of enhancers. Various chromatin models have been proposed that separate Igf2 and H19 into active and silent domains. Here we used a GAL4 knock-in approach as well as the chromosome conformation capture technique to show that the differentially methylated regions in the imprinted genes Igf2 and H19 interact in mice. These interactions are epigenetically regulated and partition maternal and paternal chromatin into distinct loops. This generates a simple epigenetic switch for Igf2 through which it moves between an active and a silent chromatin domain.

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Nature genetics, 36, 1061-4036, 889-93, 2004

PMID: 15273689


The imprinted signaling protein XL alpha s is required for postnatal adaptation to feeding.
Plagge A, Gordon E, Dean W, Boiani R, Cinti S, Peters J, Kelsey G

Genomic imprinting, by which maternal and paternal alleles of some genes have different levels of activity, has profound effects on growth and development of the mammalian fetus. The action of imprinted genes after birth, in particular while the infant is dependent on maternal provision of nutrients, is far less well understood. We disrupted a paternally expressed transcript at the Gnas locus, Gnasxl, which encodes the unusual Gs alpha isoform XL alpha s. Mice with mutations in Gnasxl have poor postnatal growth and survival and a spectrum of phenotypic effects that indicate that XL alpha s controls a number of key postnatal physiological adaptations, including suckling, blood glucose and energy homeostasis. Increased cAMP levels in brown adipose tissue of Gnasxl mutants and phenotypic comparison with Gnas mutants suggest that XL alpha s can antagonize Gs alpha-dependent signaling pathways. The opposing effects of maternally and paternally expressed products of the Gnas locus provide tangible molecular support for the parental-conflict hypothesis of imprinting.

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Nature genetics, 36, 1061-4036, 818-26, 2004

PMID: 15273686


PLCgamma2 regulates Bcl-2 levels and is required for survival rather than differentiation of marginal zone and follicular B cells.
Bell SE, Vigorito E, McAdam S, Reynolds HM, Caraux A, Colucci F, Turner M

B cells from phospholipase C (PLC)gamma2-deficient mice express reduced levels of the pro-survival protein Bcl-2 and show a defect in the development of transitional T3 and marginal zone (MZ) B cells that reflects reduced B cell survival. Introduction of a bcl-2 transgene restored the numbers of MZ, T3 and follicular B cells in PLCgamma2(-/-) mice. Restricting the B cell repertoire in PLCgamma2-deficient mice by the introduction of a BCR transgene resulted in a striking reduction in the number of IgM-positive B cells and a paucity of IgD-expressing cells in the spleen which was also rescued by the bcl-2 transgene. BCR-stimulated ERK and IkappaBalpha phosphorylation were PLCgamma2 dependent, while calcium flux was reduced, but not abrogated, in the absence of PLCgamma2, suggesting an ancillary role for PLCgamma1. The bcl-2 transgene rescued development of PLCgamma2(-/-) B cells and serum IgM levels but did not restore BCR-mediated signaling, proliferation or serum IgG3 levels. These data suggest that PLCgamma2 performs a critical role in B cell development through regulation of survival rather than differentiation.

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European journal of immunology, 34, 0014-2980, 2237-47, 2004

PMID: 15259021


Macrophage release of transforming growth factor beta1 during resolution of monosodium urate monohydrate crystal-induced inflammation.
DR Yagnik, BJ Evans, O Florey, JC Mason, RC Landis, DO Haskard

It has previously been shown that as monocytes differentiate into macrophages, they lose the ability to secrete proinflammatory cytokines in response to monosodium urate monohydrate (MSU) crystals. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether MSU crystals induce macrophages to secrete antiinflammatory factor instead.

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Arthritis and rheumatism, 50, 7, 2273-80, 2004

PMID: 15248227

DOI: 10.1002/art.20317


Open Access

Identification and properties of imprinted genes and their control elements.
Smith RJ, Arnaud P, Kelsey G

Imprinted genes have the unusual characteristic that the copy from one parent is destined to remain inactive. Though few in number they nonetheless constitute a functionally important part of the mammalian genome. With their memory of parental origin, imprinted genes represent an important model for the epigenetic regulation of gene function and will provide invaluable paradigms to test whether we can predict epigenetic state from DNA sequence. Since their first discovery, systematic screens and some good fortune have led to identification of over seventy imprinted genes in the mouse and human: recent microarray analysis may reveal many more. With a significant number of imprinted genes now identified and completion of key mammalian genome sequences, we are able systematically to examine the organization of imprinted loci, properties of their control elements and begin to recognize common themes in imprinted gene regulation.

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Cytogenetic and genome research, 105, 1424-859X, 335-45, 2004

PMID: 15237221


Genetic and genomic approaches to study placental development.
Hemberger M, Zechner U

Recent technological advances in genetic manipulation and expression profiling offer excellent opportunities to elucidate the molecular mechanisms controlling developmental processes during embryogenesis. Thus, this revolution also strongly benefits studies of the molecular genetics of placental development. Here we review the findings of several expression profiling analyses in extraembryonic tissues and assess how this work can contribute to the identification of essential components governing placental development. We further discuss the relevance of these components in the context of genetic manipulation experiments. In conclusion, the intelligent combination of genetic and genomic approaches will substantially accelerate the progress in identifying the key molecular pathways of placental development.

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Cytogenetic and genome research, 105, 1424-859X, 257-69, 2004

PMID: 15237215


Trophoblast stem cells differentiate in vitro into invasive trophoblast giant cells.
Hemberger M, Hughes M, Cross JC

Trophoblast cells are characterized by an invasive behavior into the surrounding uterine tissue. In rodents, an early peri-/endovascular type of invasion exerted by trophoblast giant cells can be distinguished from a late interstitial type carried out by glycogen trophoblast cells. Analysis of the molecular mechanisms of trophoblast invasion has been hampered, however, by the complex temporal and spatial patterns of invasion. We utilized trophoblast stem (TS) cell lines to study trophoblast invasion in vitro and to establish a model that facilitates investigation of this process on the molecular level. Our results showed that trophoblast giant cells that differentiate from TS cells in vitro are capable of penetrating a reconstituted basement membrane matrix. Consequently, invasion rates were increased in various giant cell differentiation-promoting conditions. We also derived TS cell lines that are homozygous for a mutation of the Hand1 transcription factor. The Hand1-/- TS cells showed reduced levels of giant cell differentiation and exhibited an approximately 50% decrease in invasion rates. In summary, trophoblast giant cells that differentiate from TS cells in vitro recapitulate the invasive capacity of normal trophoblast cells in vivo. The TS cell system is a valuable tool to identify and quantitatively study regulators of trophoblast invasion.

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Developmental biology, 271, 0012-1606, 362-71, 2004

PMID: 15223340


Tandem repeat hypothesis in imprinting: deletion of a conserved direct repeat element upstream of H19 has no effect on imprinting in the Igf2-H19 region.
Lewis A, Mitsuya K, Constancia M, Reik W

Igf2 and H19 are reciprocally imprinted genes on mouse distal chromosome 7. They share several regulatory elements, including a differentially methylated region (DMR) upstream of H19 that is paternally methylated throughout development. The cis-acting sequence requirements for targeting DNA methylation to the DMR remain unknown; however, it has been suggested that direct tandem repeats near DMRs could be involved. Previous studies of the imprinted Rasgrf1 locus demonstrate indeed that a direct repeat element adjacent to a DMR is responsible for establishing paternal allele-specific methylation at the DMR and therefore allelic expression of the Rasgrf1 transcript. We identified a prominent and conserved direct tandem repeat 1 kb upstream of the H19 DMR and proposed that it played a similar role in imprinted regulation of H19. To test our hypothesis, we generated mice harboring a 1.7-kb targeted deletion of the direct repeat element and analyzed fetal growth, allelic expression, and methylation within the Igf2-H19 region. Surprisingly the deletion had no effect on imprinting. These results together with deletions of other repeats close to imprinted genes suggest that direct repeats may not be important for the targeting of methylation at the majority of imprinted loci and that the Rasgrf1 locus may be an exception to this rule.

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Molecular and cellular biology, 24, 0270-7306, 5650-6, 2004

PMID: 15199123


Open Access

Mutagenesis of the ezrin-radixin-moesin binding domain of L-selectin tail affects shedding, microvillar positioning, and leukocyte tethering.
A Ivetic, O Florey, J Deka, DO Haskard, A Ager, AJ Ridley

L-selectin is a cell adhesion molecule that mediates the initial capture (tethering) and subsequent rolling of leukocytes along ligands expressed on endothelial cells. We have previously identified ezrin and moesin as novel binding partners of the 17-amino acid L-selectin tail, but the biological role of this interaction is not known. Here we identify two basic amino acid residues within the L-selectin tail that are required for binding to ezrin-radixinmoesin (ERM) proteins: arginine 357 and lysine 362. L-selectin mutants defective for ERM binding show reduced localization to microvilli and decreased phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate-induced shedding of the L-selectin ectodomain. Cells expressing these L-selectin mutants have reduced tethering to the L-selectin ligand P-selectin glycoprotein ligand-1, but rolling velocity on P-selectin glycoprotein ligand-1 is not affected. These results suggest that ERM proteins are required for microvillar positioning of L-selectin and that this is important both for leukocyte tethering and L-selectin shedding.

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The Journal of biological chemistry, 279, 32, 33263-72, 2004

PMID: 15178693

DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M312212200


Open Access

Placental-specific insulin-like growth factor 2 (Igf2) regulates the diffusional exchange characteristics of the mouse placenta.
Sibley CP, Coan PM, Ferguson-Smith AC, Dean W, Hughes J, Smith P, Reik W, Burton GJ, Fowden AL, Constância M

Restricted fetal growth is associated with postnatal mortality and morbidity and may be directly related to alterations in the capacity of the placenta to supply nutrients. We proposed previously that imprinted genes can regulate nutrient supply by the placenta. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the insulin-like growth factor 2 gene (Igf2) transcribed from the placental-specific promoter (P0) regulates the development of the diffusional permeability properties of the mouse placenta. Using mice in which placental-specific Igf2 had been deleted (P0), we measured the transfer in vivo of three inert hydrophilic solutes of increasing size (14C-mannitol, 51CrEDTA, and 14C-inulin). At embryonic day 19, placental and fetal weights in P0 conceptuses were reduced to 66% and 76%, respectively, of wild type. In P0 mutants, the permeability.surface area product for the tracers at this stage of development was 68% of that of controls; this effect was independent of tracer size. Stereological analysis of histological sections revealed the surface area of the exchange barrier in the labyrinth of the mouse placenta to be reduced and thickness increased in P0 fetuses compared to wild type. As a result, the average theoretical diffusing capacity in P0 knockout placentas was dramatically reduced to 40% of that of wild-type placentas. These data show that placental Igf2 regulates the development of the diffusional exchange characteristics of the mouse placenta. This provides a mechanism for the role of imprinted genes in controlling placental nutrient supply and fetal growth. Altered placental Igf2 could be a cause of idiopathic intrauterine growth restriction in the human.

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Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 101, 0027-8424, 8204-8, 2004

PMID: 15150410


Open Access

Antisense intergenic transcription in V(D)J recombination.
DJ Bolland, AL Wood, CM Johnston, SF Bunting, G Morgan, L Chakalova, PJ Fraser, AE Corcoran

Antigen receptor genes undergo variable, diversity and joining (V(D)J) recombination, which requires ordered large-scale chromatin remodeling. Here we show that antisense transcription, both genic and intergenic, occurs extensively in the V region of the immunoglobulin heavy chain locus. RNA fluorescence in situ hybridization demonstrates antisense transcription is strictly developmentally regulated and is initiated during the transition from DJ(H) to VDJ(H) recombination and terminates concomitantly with VDJ(H) recombination. Our data show antisense transcription is specific to the V region and suggest transcripts extend across several genes. We propose that antisense transcription remodels the V region to facilitate V(H)-to-DJ(H) recombination. These findings have wider implications for V(D)J recombination of other antigen receptor loci and developmental regulation of multigene loci.

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Nature immunology, 5, 6, 630-7, 2004

PMID: 15107847

DOI: 10.1038/ni1068


Germline stem cell number in the Drosophila ovary is regulated by redundant mechanisms that control Dpp signaling.
MO Casanueva, EL Ferguson

The available experimental data support the hypothesis that the cap cells (CpCs) at the anterior tip of the germarium form an environmental niche for germline stem cells (GSCs) of the Drosophila ovary. Each GSC undergoes an asymmetric self-renewal division that gives rise to both a GSC, which remains associated with the CpCs, and a more posterior located cystoblast (CB). The CB upregulates expression of the novel gene, bag of marbles (bam), which is necessary for germline differentiation. Decapentaplegic (Dpp), a BMP2/4 homologue, has been postulated to act as a highly localized niche signal that maintains a GSC fate solely by repressing bam transcription. Here, we further examine the role of Dpp in GSC maintenance. In contrast to the above model, we find that an enhancer trap inserted near the Dpp target gene, Daughters against Dpp (Dad), is expressed in additional somatic cells within the germarium, suggesting that Dpp protein may be distributed throughout the anterior germarium. However, Dad-lacZ expression within the germline is present only in GSCs and to a lower level in CBs, suggesting there are mechanisms that actively restrict Dpp signaling in germ cells. We demonstrate that one function of Bam is to block Dpp signaling downstream of Dpp receptor activation, thus establishing the existence of a negative feedback loop between the action of the two genes. Moreover, in females doubly mutant for bam and the ubiquitin protein ligase Smurf, the number of germ cells responsive to Dpp is greatly increased relative to the number observed in either single mutant. These data indicate that there are multiple, genetically redundant mechanisms that act within the germline to downregulate Dpp signaling in the Cb and its descendants, and raise the possibility that a Cb and its descendants must become refractory to Dpp signaling in order for germline differentiation to occur.

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Development (Cambridge, England), 131, 9, 1881-90, 2004

PMID: 15105369

DOI: 10.1242/dev.01076


Open Access

Phospholipase D.
McDermott M, Wakelam MJ, Morris AJ

Phospholipase D catalyses the hydrolysis of the phosphodiester bond of glycerophospholipids to generate phosphatidic acid and a free headgroup. Phospholipase D activities have been detected in simple to complex organisms from viruses and bacteria to yeast, plants, and mammals. Although enzymes with broader selectivity are found in some of the lower organisms, the plant, yeast, and mammalian enzymes are selective for phosphatidylcholine. The two mammalian phospholipase D isoforms are regulated by protein kinases and GTP binding proteins of the ADP-ribosylation and Rho families. Mammalian and yeast phospholipases D are also potently stimulated by phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate. This review discusses the identification, characterization, structure, and regulation of phospholipase D. Genetic and pharmacological approaches implicate phospholipase D in a diverse range of cellular processes that include receptor signaling, control of intracellular membrane transport, and reorganization of the actin cytoskeleton. Most ideas about phospholipase D function consider that the phosphatidic acid product is an intracellular lipid messenger. Candidate targets for phospholipase-D-generated phosphatidic acid include phosphatidylinositol 4-phosphate 5-kinases and the raf protein kinase. Phosphatidic acid can also be converted to two other lipid mediators, diacylglycerol and lyso phosphatidic acid. Coordinated activation of these phospholipase-D-dependent pathways likely accounts for the pleitropic roles for these enzymes in many aspects of cell regulation.

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Biochemistry and cell biology = Biochimie et biologie cellulaire, 82, 0829-8211, 225-53, 2004

PMID: 15052340


The tyrosine kinase Syk is required for light chain isotype exclusion but dispensable for the negative selection of B cells.
Meade J, Tybulewicz VL, Turner M

In this study we set out to test whether Syk was required for negative selection of immature B cells. B cells expressing a B cell antigen receptor (BCR) transgene (3-83, anti-H-2K(k)) underwent negative selection independently of Syk in both fetal liver organ culture and radiation chimera models. Furthermore, Syk-independent negative selection was not reversed by transgenic overexpression of Bcl-2. Receptor editing was not apparent in Syk-deficient B cells, presumably as a consequence of the failure of mature edited B cells to develop in the absence of Syk. Interestingly, light chain isotype exclusion by the BCR transgene failed in the absence of Syk. We observed a dramatic reduction in the overall BCR-mediated tyrosine phosphorylation of cellular proteins in Syk-deficient immature B cells. However, the tyrosine phosphorylation of a number of substrates including phospholipase C gamma 2, although reduced, was not completely abrogated. BCR ligation triggered an increase in calcium flux in the absence of Syk. Thus signaling events that mediate negative selection can still occur in the absence of Syk. This may be due to redundancy with zeta-associated protein 70 (ZAP-70), which we demonstrate to be expressed in immature B cells.

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European journal of immunology, 34, 0014-2980, 1102-10, 2004

PMID: 15048721