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author:("Ding, heiming")
2.  Genetic diversity in cultured and wild marine cyanomyoviruses reveals phosphorus stress as a strong selective agent 
The ISME Journal  2013;7(9):1827-1841.
Viruses that infect marine cyanobacteria–cyanophages–often carry genes with orthologs in their cyanobacterial hosts, and the frequency of these genes can vary with habitat. To explore habitat-influenced genomic diversity more deeply, we used the genomes of 28 cultured cyanomyoviruses as references to identify phage genes in three ocean habitats. Only about 6–11% of genes were consistently observed in the wild, revealing high gene-content variability in these populations. Numerous shared phage/host genes differed in relative frequency between environments, including genes related to phosphorous acquisition, photorespiration, photosynthesis and the pentose phosphate pathway, possibly reflecting environmental selection for these genes in cyanomyovirus genomes. The strongest emergent signal was related to phosphorous availability; a higher fraction of genomes from relatively low-phosphorus environments–the Sargasso and Mediterranean Sea–contained host-like phosphorus assimilation genes compared with those from the N. Pacific Gyre. These genes are known to be upregulated when the host is phosphorous starved, a response mediated by pho box motifs in phage genomes that bind a host regulatory protein. Eleven cyanomyoviruses have predicted pho boxes upstream of the phosphate-acquisition genes pstS and phoA; eight of these have a conserved cyanophage-specific gene (PhCOG173) between the pho box and pstS. PhCOG173 is also found upstream of other shared phage/host genes, suggesting a unique regulatory role. Pho boxes are found upstream of high light-inducible (hli) genes in cyanomyoviruses, suggesting that this motif may have a broader role than regulating phosphorous-stress responses in infected hosts or that these hlis are involved in the phosphorous-stress response.
PMCID: PMC3749497  PMID: 23657361
cyanophage; cyanobacteria; phosphate; selective pressure
3.  Braveheart, a long non-coding RNA required for cardiovascular lineage commitment 
Cell  2013;152(3):570-583.
Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are often expressed in a development-specific manner, yet little is known about their roles in lineage commitment. Here, we identified Braveheart (Bvht), a heart-associated lncRNA in mouse. Using multiple embryonic stem cell (ESC) differentiation strategies, we show that Bvht is required for progression of nascent mesoderm towards a cardiac fate. We find that Bvht is necessary for activation of a core cardiovascular gene network and functions upstream of MesP1 (mesoderm posterior 1), a master regulator of a common multipotent cardiovascular progenitor. We also show that Bvht interacts with SUZ12, a component of Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2), during cardiomyocyte differentiation suggesting that Bvht mediates epigenetic regulation of cardiac commitment. Finally, we demonstrate a role for Bvht in maintaining cardiac fate in neonatal cardiomyocytes. Together, our work provides evidence for a long noncoding RNA with critical roles in the establishment of the cardiovascular lineage during mammalian development.
PMCID: PMC3563769  PMID: 23352431
ESCs; cardiomyocyte; cardiovascular progenitor; gene regulation; long noncoding RNA
4.  Dynamic and Coordinated Epigenetic Regulation of Developmental Transitions in the Cardiac Lineage 
Cell  2012;151(1):206-220.
Heart development is exquisitely sensitive to the precise temporal regulation of thousands of genes that govern developmental decisions during differentiation. However, we currently lack a detailed understanding of how chromatin and gene expression patterns are coordinated during developmental transitions in the cardiac lineage. Here, we interrogated the transcriptome and several histone modifications across the genome during defined stages of cardiac differentiation. We find distinct chromatin patterns that are coordinated with stage-specific expression of functionally related genes, including many human disease-associated genes. Moreover, we discover a novel pre-activation chromatin pattern at the promoters of genes associated with heart development and cardiac function. We further identify stage-specific distal enhancer elements and find enriched DNA binding motifs within these regions that predict sets of transcription factors that orchestrate cardiac differentiation. Together, these findings form a basis for understanding developmentally regulated chromatin transitions during lineage commitment and the molecular etiology of congenital heart disease.
PMCID: PMC3462286  PMID: 22981692
5.  Genetic Interaction Maps in Escherichia coli Reveal Functional Crosstalk among Cell Envelope Biogenesis Pathways 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(11):e1002377.
As the interface between a microbe and its environment, the bacterial cell envelope has broad biological and clinical significance. While numerous biosynthesis genes and pathways have been identified and studied in isolation, how these intersect functionally to ensure envelope integrity during adaptive responses to environmental challenge remains unclear. To this end, we performed high-density synthetic genetic screens to generate quantitative functional association maps encompassing virtually the entire cell envelope biosynthetic machinery of Escherichia coli under both auxotrophic (rich medium) and prototrophic (minimal medium) culture conditions. The differential patterns of genetic interactions detected among >235,000 digenic mutant combinations tested reveal unexpected condition-specific functional crosstalk and genetic backup mechanisms that ensure stress-resistant envelope assembly and maintenance. These networks also provide insights into the global systems connectivity and dynamic functional reorganization of a universal bacterial structure that is both broadly conserved among eubacteria (including pathogens) and an important target.
Author Summary
Proper assembly of the cell envelope is essential for bacterial growth, environmental adaptation, and drug resistance. Yet, while the biological roles of the many genes and pathways involved in biosynthesis of the cell envelope have been studied extensively in isolation, how the myriad components intersect functionally to maintain envelope integrity under different growth conditions has not been explored systematically. Genome-scale genetic interaction screens have increasingly been performed to great impact in yeast; no analogous comprehensive studies have yet been reported for bacteria despite their prominence in human health and disease. We addressed this by using a synthetic genetic array technology to generate quantitative maps of genetic interactions encompassing virtually all the components of the cell envelope biosynthetic machinery of the classic model bacterium E. coli in two common laboratory growth conditions (rich and minimal medium). From the resulting networks of high-confidence genetic interactions, we identify condition-specific functional dependencies underlying envelope assembly and global remodeling of genetic backup mechanisms that ensure envelope integrity under environmental challenge.
PMCID: PMC3219608  PMID: 22125496
6.  ProPortal: a resource for integrated systems biology of Prochlorococcus and its phage 
Nucleic Acids Research  2011;40(Database issue):D632-D640.
ProPortal ( is a database containing genomic, metagenomic, transcriptomic and field data for the marine cyanobacterium Prochlorococcus. Our goal is to provide a source of cross-referenced data across multiple scales of biological organization—from the genome to the ecosystem—embracing the full diversity of ecotypic variation within this microbial taxon, its sister group, Synechococcus and phage that infect them. The site currently contains the genomes of 13 Prochlorococcus strains, 11 Synechococcus strains and 28 cyanophage strains that infect one or both groups. Cyanobacterial and cyanophage genes are clustered into orthologous groups that can be accessed by keyword search or through a genome browser. Users can also identify orthologous gene clusters shared by cyanobacterial and cyanophage genomes. Gene expression data for Prochlorococcus ecotypes MED4 and MIT9313 allow users to identify genes that are up or downregulated in response to environmental stressors. In addition, the transcriptome in synchronized cells grown on a 24-h light–dark cycle reveals the choreography of gene expression in cells in a ‘natural’ state. Metagenomic sequences from the Global Ocean Survey from Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus and phage genomes are archived so users can examine the differences between populations from diverse habitats. Finally, an example of cyanobacterial population data from the field is included.
PMCID: PMC3245167  PMID: 22102570
7.  Quantitative analysis of fitness and genetic interactions in yeast on a genome scale 
Nature methods  2010;7(12):1017-1024.
Global quantitative analysis of genetic interactions is a powerful approach for deciphering the roles of genes and mapping functional relationships among pathways. Using colony size as a proxy for fitness, we developed a method for measuring fitness-based genetic interactions from high-density arrays of yeast double mutants generated by synthetic genetic array (SGA) analysis. We identified several experimental sources of systematic variation and developed normalization strategies to obtain accurate single- and double-mutant fitness measurements, which rival the accuracy of other high-resolution studies. We applied the SGA score to examine the relationship between physical and genetic interaction networks, and we found that positive genetic interactions connect across functionally distinct protein complexes revealing a network of genetic suppression among loss-of-function alleles.
PMCID: PMC3117325  PMID: 21076421
8.  Identification of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Spindle Pole Body Remodeling Factors 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(11):e15426.
The Saccharomyces cerevisiae centrosome or spindle pole body (SPB) is a dynamic structure that is remodeled in a cell cycle dependent manner. The SPB increases in size late in the cell cycle and during most cell cycle arrests and exchanges components during G1/S. We identified proteins involved in the remodeling process using a strain in which SPB remodeling is conditionally induced. This strain was engineered to express a modified SPB component, Spc110, which can be cleaved upon the induction of a protease. Using a synthetic genetic array analysis, we screened for genes required only when Spc110 cleavage is induced. Candidate SPB remodeling factors fell into several functional categories: mitotic regulators, microtubule motors, protein modification enzymes, and nuclear pore proteins. The involvement of candidate genes in SPB assembly was assessed in three ways: by identifying the presence of a synthetic growth defect when combined with an Spc110 assembly defective mutant, quantifying growth of SPBs during metaphase arrest, and comparing distribution of SPB size during asynchronous growth. These secondary screens identified four genes required for SPB remodeling: NUP60, POM152, and NCS2 are required for SPB growth during a mitotic cell cycle arrest, and UBC4 is required to maintain SPB size during the cell cycle. These findings implicate the nuclear pore, urmylation, and ubiquitination in SPB remodeling and represent novel functions for these genes.
PMCID: PMC2980476  PMID: 21103054
9.  DRYGIN: a database of quantitative genetic interaction networks in yeast 
Nucleic Acids Research  2009;38(Database issue):D502-D507.
Genetic interactions are highly informative for deciphering the underlying functional principles that govern how genes control cell processes. Recent developments in Synthetic Genetic Array (SGA) analysis enable the mapping of quantitative genetic interactions on a genome-wide scale. To facilitate access to this resource, which will ultimately represent a complete genetic interaction network for a eukaryotic cell, we developed DRYGIN (Data Repository of Yeast Genetic Interactions)—a web database system that aims at providing a central platform for yeast genetic network analysis and visualization. In addition to providing an interface for searching the SGA genetic interactions, DRYGIN also integrates other data sources, in order to associate the genetic interactions with pathway information, protein complexes, other binary genetic and physical interactions, and Gene Ontology functional annotation. DRYGIN version 1.0 currently holds more than 5.4 million measurements of genetic interacting pairs involving ∼4500 genes, and is available at
PMCID: PMC2808960  PMID: 19880385

Results 1-9 (9)