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1.  The CD225 Domain of IFITM3 Is Required for both IFITM Protein Association and Inhibition of Influenza A Virus and Dengue Virus Replication 
Journal of Virology  2013;87(14):7837-7852.
The interferon-induced transmembrane protein 3 (IFITM3) gene is an interferon-stimulated gene that inhibits the replication of multiple pathogenic viruses in vitro and in vivo. IFITM3 is a member of a large protein superfamily, whose members share a functionally undefined area of high amino acid conservation, the CD225 domain. We performed mutational analyses of IFITM3 and identified multiple residues within the CD225 domain, consisting of the first intramembrane domain (intramembrane domain 1 [IM1]) and a conserved intracellular loop (CIL), that are required for restriction of both influenza A virus (IAV) and dengue virus (DENV) infection in vitro. Two phenylalanines within IM1 (F75 and F78) also mediate a physical association between IFITM proteins, and the loss of this interaction decreases IFITM3-mediated restriction. By extension, similar IM1-mediated associations may contribute to the functions of additional members of the CD225 domain family. IFITM3's distal N-terminal domain is also needed for full antiviral activity, including a tyrosine (Y20), whose alteration results in mislocalization of a portion of IFITM3 to the cell periphery and surface. Comparative analyses demonstrate that similar molecular determinants are needed for IFITM3's restriction of both IAV and DENV. However, a portion of the CIL including Y99 and R87 is preferentially needed for inhibition of the orthomyxovirus. Several IFITM3 proteins engineered with rare single-nucleotide polymorphisms demonstrated reduced expression or mislocalization, and these events were associated with enhanced viral replication in vitro, suggesting that possessing such alleles may impact an individual's risk for viral infection. On the basis of this and other data, we propose a model for IFITM3-mediated restriction.
PMCID: PMC3700195  PMID: 23658454
2.  Amphotericin B Increases Influenza A Virus Infection by Preventing IFITM3-Mediated Restriction 
Cell Reports  2013;5(4):895-908.
The IFITMs inhibit influenza A virus (IAV) replication in vitro and in vivo. Here, we establish that the antimycotic heptaen, amphotericin B (AmphoB), prevents IFITM3-mediated restriction of IAV, thereby increasing viral replication. Consistent with its neutralization of IFITM3, a clinical preparation of AmphoB, AmBisome, reduces the majority of interferon’s protective effect against IAV in vitro. Mechanistic studies reveal that IFITM1 decreases host-membrane fluidity, suggesting both a possible mechanism for IFITM-mediated restriction and its negation by AmphoB. Notably, we reveal that mice treated with AmBisome succumbed to a normally mild IAV infection, similar to animals deficient in Ifitm3. Therefore, patients receiving antifungal therapy with clinical preparations of AmphoB may be functionally immunocompromised and thus more vulnerable to influenza, as well as other IFITM3-restricted viral infections.
Graphical Abstract
•Amphotericin B or AmBisome prevents IFITM3-mediated restriction of IAV•AmBisome overcomes the majority of IFN’s antiviral effects in vitro•IFITM1 decreases membrane fluidity and inhibits membrane fusion•AmBisome increases the morbidity and mortality of influenza
IFITM3 is a ubiquitously expressed antiviral protein that inhibits multiple human pathogenic viruses, including influenza A virus (IAV). Brass and colleagues now show that a widely used antifungal therapy, AmBisome, prevents IFITM3 from blocking IAV replication and that mice given AmBisome succumb to a normally mild influenza virus infection. Therefore, patients receiving antifungal therapy with AmBisome may be functionally immunocompromised and thus more vulnerable to influenza as well as other IFITM3-restricted viral infections.
PMCID: PMC3898084  PMID: 24268777
3.  Autoreactivity and Exceptional CDR Plasticity (but Not Unusual Polyspecificity) Hinder Elicitation of the Anti-HIV Antibody 4E10 
PLoS Pathogens  2013;9(9):e1003639.
The broadly-neutralizing anti-HIV antibody 4E10 recognizes an epitope in the membrane-proximal external region of the HIV envelope protein gp41. Previous attempts to elicit 4E10 by vaccination with envelope-derived or reverse-engineered immunogens have failed. It was presumed that the ontogeny of 4E10-equivalent responses was blocked by inherent autoreactivity and exceptional polyreactivity. We generated 4E10 heavy-chain knock-in mice, which displayed significant B cell dysregulation, consistent with recognition of autoantigen/s by 4E10 and the presumption that tolerance mechanisms may hinder the elicitation of 4E10 or 4E10-equivalent responses. Previously proposed candidate 4E10 autoantigens include the mitochondrial lipid cardiolipin and a nuclear splicing factor, 3B3. However, using carefully-controlled assays, 4E10 bound only weakly to cardiolipin-containing liposomes, but also bound negatively-charged, non-cardiolipin-containing liposomes comparably poorly. 4E10/liposome binding was predominantly mediated by electrostatic interactions rather than presumed hydrophobic interactions. The crystal structure of 4E10 free of bound ligands showed a dramatic restructuring of the combining site, occluding the HIV epitope binding site and revealing profound flexibility, but creating an electropositive pocket consistent with non-specific binding of phospholipid headgroups. These results strongly suggested that antigens other than cardiolipin mediate 4E10 autoreactivity. Using a synthetic peptide library spanning the human proteome, we determined that 4E10 displays limited and focused, but unexceptional, polyspecificity. We also identified a novel autoepitope shared by three ER-resident inositol trisphosphate receptors, validated through binding studies and immunohistochemistry. Tissue staining with 4E10 demonstrated reactivity consistent with the type 1 inositol trisphosphate receptor as the most likely candidate autoantigen, but is inconsistent with splicing factor 3B3. These results demonstrate that 4E10 recognition of liposomes competes with MPER recognition and that HIV antigen and autoepitope recognition may be distinct enough to permit eliciting 4E10-like antibodies, evading autoimmunity through directed engineering. However, 4E10 combining site flexibility, exceptional for a highly-matured antibody, may preclude eliciting 4E10 by conventional immunization strategies.
Author Summary
4E10 is an example of an anti-HIV, broadly neutralizing antibody that is uncommon in infected patients and has not been successfully elicited by any vaccine approach attempted. 4E10 has been proposed to neutralize HIV through a mechanism that requires broad recognition of other antigens, including membrane phospholipids. Such a mechanism would also block the generation of 4E10 during B cell development, confounding vaccination strategies. Analysis of B cell development in 4E10 heavy-chain knock-in mice confirmed that 4E10 does recognize self-antigens. However, a previously proposed autoantigen candidate, the mitochondrial lipid cardiolipin, was not consistent with binding studies which showed that while 4E10 does bind liposomes containing cardiolipin, it does so only weakly and nonspecifically, also binding liposomes without cardiolipin. Using a synthetic human peptidome, 4E10 was shown to be polyreactive, binding peptides from various proteins, but only in a limited manner. Three of the top five hits are from types 1, 2 and 3 inositol trisphosphate receptors, with high scoring peptides sharing a conserved sequence motif. Validation of the top hits was performed by binding analyses and staining of tissue sections, which combined to identify the type 1 inositol trisphosphate receptor as the most likely 4E10 physiological autoantigen.
PMCID: PMC3784475  PMID: 24086134
4.  Systematic Identification of Synergistic Drug Pairs Targeting HIV 
Nature biotechnology  2012;30(11):1125-1130.
The systematic identification of effective drug combinations has been hindered by the unavailability of methods that can explore the large combinatorial search space of drug interactions. Here we present a multiplex screening method named MuSIC (Multiplex Screening for Interacting Compounds), which expedites the comprehensive assessment of pair-wise compound interactions. We examined ~500,000 drug pairs from 1000 FDA-approved or clinically tested drugs and identified drugs that synergize to inhibit HIV replication. Our analysis reveals an enrichment of anti-inflammatory drugs in drug combinations that synergize against HIV, indicating HIV benefits from inflammation that accompanies its infection. Multiple drug pairs identified in this study, including glucocorticoid and nitazoxanide, synergize by targeting different steps of the HIV life cycle. As inflammation accompanies HIV infection, our findings indicate that inhibiting inflammation could curb HIV propagation. MuSIC can be applied to a wide variety of disease-relevant screens to facilitate efficient identification of compound combinations.
PMCID: PMC3494743  PMID: 23064238
Combination therapy; FDA-approved drug library; HIV
5.  A role for PVRL4-driven cell–cell interactions in tumorigenesis 
eLife  2013;2:e00358.
During all stages of tumor progression, cancer cells are subjected to inappropriate extracellular matrix environments and must undergo adaptive changes in order to evade growth constraints associated with the loss of matrix attachment. A gain of function screen for genes that enable proliferation independently of matrix anchorage identified a cell adhesion molecule PVRL4 (poliovirus-receptor-like 4), also known as Nectin-4. PVRL4 promotes anchorage-independence by driving cell-to-cell attachment and matrix-independent integrin β4/SHP-2/c-Src activation. Solid tumors frequently have copy number gains of the PVRL4 locus and some have focal amplifications. We demonstrate that the transformation of breast cancer cells is dependent on PVRL4. Furthermore, growth of orthotopically implanted tumors in vivo is inhibited by blocking PVRL4-driven cell-to-cell attachment with monoclonal antibodies, demonstrating a novel strategy for targeted therapy of cancer.
eLife digest
Epithelial tissue is one of the four major types of tissue found in animals, and is the only type of tissue that is able to form and maintain layers of cells that are just one cell thick. These layers provide inner linings to various cavities and hollow organs throughout the body—including the lungs and glandular organs such as mammary glands. A single-cell layer of epithelium is separated from the tissues beneath it by a supporting substance called the extracellular matrix. The individual cells within a single-cell layer are physically attached to the matrix, and when displaced from it, they promptly undergo programmed cell death. This mechanism preserves the single-cell layer pattern throughout the body and prevents epithelial cells from growing in inappropriate locations.
It is estimated that up to 90% of cancers in humans originate in epithelial tissue, and the cells within such tumors are known to survive and divide even when they are no longer attached to the extracellular matrix. Understanding how cancerous cells gain this ability may lead to new approaches to stopping tumor cells from dividing and colonizing tissues around the body.
To address this problem, Pavlova et al. explored which genes enable epithelial cells from the human mammary gland to grow without being attached to the extracellular matrix. They found that the gene that codes for a protein called poliovirus receptor-like 4 (PVRL4) allows attachment-free cell growth and also makes cells cluster together once detached from the matrix.
Normally, the PVRL4 gene is not active in breast epithelial cells, but its activity is detected in many breast, lung, and ovarian tumors. Moreover, cancerous cells tend to cluster together when they are detached from the extracellular matrix. This behavior is particularly evident in the cells that divide aggressively to form tumors that subsequently migrate and colonize other tissues around the body. When Pavlova et al. used genetic techniques to silence PVRL4 in cells from breast tumors, they found that it reduced the formation of clusters by the cancer cells and also reduced their ability to grow in the absence of attachment.
Pavlova et al. also showed that interactions between the PVRL4 in one cell and a related protein called PVRL1 in a neighboring cell were responsible for holding the cells together in clusters. Moreover, PVRL4 triggers a form of signaling between the cells called integrin β4 signaling that allows them to survive without being anchored to the extracellular matrix.
Finally, Pavlova et al. found that injecting anti-PVRL4 antibodies (mouse proteins that attach to PVRL4 and prevent the formation of clusters) slows down the growth of breast tumors in mice. These findings suggest that inhibiting PVRL4 action with antibodies can be used as a new approach to the treatment of breast, lung, and ovarian cancers in humans.
PMCID: PMC3641523  PMID: 23682311
anchorage-independence; transformation; genetic screen; Human; Mouse
6.  Dif1 is a DNA Damage Regulated Facilitator of Nuclear Import for Ribonucleotide Reductase 
Molecular cell  2008;32(1):70-80.
The control of dNTP concentrations is critical to the fidelity of DNA synthesis and repair. One level of regulation is through subcellular localization of ribonucleotide reductase. In S. cerevisiae, the small subunit, Rnr2-Rnr4, is nuclear while the large subunit, Rnr1, is cytoplasmic. In response to S-phase or DNA-damage, Rnr2-Rnr4 enters the cytoplasm to bind Rnr1, forming an active complex. We previously reported that Wtm1 anchors Rnr2-Rnr4 in the nucleus. Here, we identify DIF1 which regulates localization of Rnr2-Rnr4. Dif1 binds directly to the Rnr2-Rnr4 complex through a conserved Hug domain to drive nuclear import. Dif1 is both cell cycle- and DNA-damage regulated, the latter through the Mec1-Dun1 pathway. In response to DNA damage, Dun1 directly phosphorylates Dif1 to both inactivate and degrade Dif1, allowing Rnr2-Rnr4 to become cytoplasmic. We propose that Rnr2-Rnr4 nuclear localization is achieved by a dynamic combination of Wtm1-mediated nuclear retention to limit export, coupled with regulated nuclear import through Dif1.
PMCID: PMC3245869  PMID: 18851834
7.  The ZRANB3 translocase associates with poly-ubiquitinated PCNA to promote fork restart and limit recombination after replication stress 
Molecular cell  2012;47(3):396-409.
Completion of DNA replication after replication stress depends on PCNA, which undergoes mono-ubiquitination to stimulate direct bypass of DNA lesions by specialized DNA polymerases or is poly-ubiquitinated to promote recombination dependent DNA synthesis across DNA lesions by template switching mechanisms. Here we report that the ZRANB3 translocase, a SNF2 family member related to the SIOD disorder SMARCAL1 protein, is recruited by poly-ubiquitinated PCNA to promote fork restart following replication arrest. ZRANB3 depletion in mammalian cells results in an increased frequency of sister chromatid exchange and DNA damage sensitivity after treatment with agents that cause replication stress. Using in vitro biochemical assays, we show that recombinant ZRANB3 remodels DNA structures mimicking stalled replication forks and disassembles recombination intermediates. We therefore propose that ZRANB3 maintains genomic stability at stalled or collapsed replication forks by facilitating fork restart and limiting inappropriate recombination that could occur during template switching events.
PMCID: PMC3613862  PMID: 22704558
8.  Abraxas and Rap80 form a novel BRCA1 protein complex required for the DNA damage response 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2007;316(5828):1194-1198.
The BRCT repeats of BRCA1 are essential for tumor suppression. Phospho-peptide affinity proteomic analysis identified a novel protein, Abraxas, that directly binds the BRCA1 BRCT repeats through a phospho-SXXF motif. Abraxas binds BRCA1 mutually exclusively with BACH1 and CTIP, forming a third Brca1 complex. Abraxas recruits the ubiquitin-interacting motif (UIM) containing protein Rap80 to BRCA1. Both Abraxas and Rap80 are required for DNA damage resistance, G2/M checkpoint control and DNA repair. Rap80 is required for a subset of Brca1-foci formation in response to IR and the UIM domains alone are capable of foci formation. The Rap80/Abraxas complex may help recruit Brca1 to DNA damage sites in part through recognition of ubiquitinated proteins.
PMCID: PMC3573690  PMID: 17525340
9.  Reactivation of Latent HIV-1 by Inhibition of BRD4 
Cell reports  2012;2(4):807-816.
HIV-1 depends on many host factors for propagation. Other host factors, however, antagonize HIV-1 and may have profound effects on viral activation. Curing HIV-1 requires the reduction of latent viral reservoirs that remain in the face of antiretroviral therapy (ART). Using orthologous genetic screens, we identified bromodomain containing 4 (BRD4) as a negative regulator of HIV-1 replication. Antagonism of BRD4, via RNA interference or with a small molecule inhibitor, JQ1, both increased proviral transcriptional elongation and alleviated HIV-1 latency in cell line models. In multiple instances, JQ1 when used in combination with the NF-κB activators, Prostratin or PHA, enhanced the in vitro reactivation of latent HIV-1 in primary human T cells. These data are consistent with a model wherein BRD4 competes with the virus for HIV-1 dependency factors (HDFs) and suggests that combinatorial therapies that activate HDFs and antagonize HIV-1 competitive factors may be useful for curing HIV-1 infection.
PMCID: PMC3523124  PMID: 23041316
10.  BRCA1 as tumor suppressor: lord without its RING? 
BRCA1 is a tumor suppressor with critical roles in the maintenance of genomic stability. It encodes a large protein with an amino-terminal RING domain that possesses ubiquitin-ligase activity. Given the occurrence of numerous cancer-causing mutations within its RING domain, investigators have long suspected that BRCA1's ubiquitin ligase is important for its tumor suppression and DNA repair activities. Using genetically engineered mouse models, two recent studies shed light on this age-old hypothesis.
PMCID: PMC3446363  PMID: 22494569
11.  A genome-wide homologous recombination screen identifies the RNA-binding protein RBMX as a component of the DNA damage response 
Nature cell biology  2012;14(3):318-328.
Repair of DNA double strand breaks is critical to genomic stability and the prevention of developmental disorders and cancer. A central pathway for this repair is homologous recombination (HR). Most knowledge of HR is derived from work in prokaryotic and eukaryotic model organisms. We performed a genome-wide siRNA-based screen in human cells. Among positive regulators of HR we identified networks of DNA damage response and pre-mRNA processing proteins, and among negative regulators we identified a phosphatase network. Three candidate proteins localized to DNA lesions including RBMX, a heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein that has a role in alternative splicing. RBMX accumulated at DNA lesions via multiple domains in a poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1-dependent manner and promoted HR by facilitating proper BRCA2 expression. Our screen also revealed that off-target depletion of Rad51 is a common source of RNAi false-positives, sounding a cautionary note for siRNA screens and RNAi-based studies of HR.
PMCID: PMC3290715  PMID: 22344029
12.  Global Identification of Modular Cullin-Ring Ligase Substrates 
Cell  2011;147(2):459-474.
Cullin Ring Ligases (CRLs) represent the largest E3 ubiquitin ligase family in eukaryotes and the identification of their substrates is critical to understanding regulation of the proteome. Using genetic and pharmacologic Cullin inactivation coupled with genetic (GPS) and proteomic (QUAINT) assays, we have identified hundreds of proteins whose stabilities or ubiquitylation status are regulated by CRLs. Together, these approaches yielded many known CRL substrates as well as a multitude of previously unknown putative substrates. One substrate, NUSAP1, we demonstrate is an SCFCyclin F substrate during S and G2 phases of the cell cycle and is also degraded in response to DNA damage. This collection of regulated substrates is highly enriched for nodes in protein interaction networks, representing critical connections between regulatory pathways. This demonstrates the broad role of CRL ubiquitylation in all aspects of cellular biology, and provides a set of proteins likely to be key indicators of cellular physiology.
PMCID: PMC3226719  PMID: 21963094
13.  Structure of the FANCI-FANCD2 Complex: Insights into the Fanconi Anemia DNA Repair Pathway 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2011;333(6040):312-316.
Fanconi Anemia is a cancer predisposition syndrome caused by defects in the repair of DNA interstrand crosslinks (ICL). Central to this pathway is the FANCI-FANCD2 (ID) complex, which is activated by DNA damage-induced phosphorylation and monoubiquitination. The 3.4 Å crystal structure of the ~300 kDa ID complex reveals that monoubiquitination and regulatory phosphorylation sites map to the I-D interface, suggesting that they occur on monomeric proteins or an opened-up complex, and that they may serve to stabilize I-D hetero-dimerization. The 7.8 Å electron density map of FANCI-DNA crystals and in vitro data show that each protein has binding sites for both single- and double-stranded DNA, suggesting that the ID complex recognizes DNA structures that result from the encounter of replication forks with an ICL.
PMCID: PMC3310437  PMID: 21764741
14.  FANCI phosphorylation functions as a molecular switch to turn on the Fanconi anemia pathway 
Nature structural & molecular biology  2008;15(11):1138-1146.
In response to DNA damage or replication fork stress, the Fanconi anemia (FA) pathway is activated, leading to monoubiquitination of FancD2 and FancI and their co-localization in foci. Here we show that, in the chicken DT40 cell system, multiple alanine-substitution mutations in 6 conserved and clustered S/TQ motifs of FancI largely abrogate monoubiquitination as well as focus formation of both FancI and FancD2, resulting in loss of DNA repair function. Conversely, FancI carrying phospho-mimic mutations on the same 6 residues induces constitutive monoubiquitination and focus formation of FancI and FancD2, and protects against cell killing and chromosome breakage by DNA interstrand crosslinking agents. We propose that the multiple phosphorylation of FancI serves as a molecular switch in activation of the FA pathway. Mutational analysis of putative phosphorylation sites in human FANCI indicates that this switch is evolutionarily conserved.
PMCID: PMC3293454  PMID: 18931676
15.  A genome-wide camptothecin sensitivity screen identifies a mammalian MMS22L-NFKBIL2 complex required for genomic stability 
Molecular cell  2010;40(4):645-657.
Replication stress involving collision of replisomes with camptothecin (CPT)-stabilized DNA-Topoisomerase I adducts activates an ATR-dependent pathway to promote repair by homologous recombination. To identify human genes that protect cells from such replication stress, we performed a genome-wide CPT sensitivity screen. Among numerous candidate genes are two previously unstudied proteins; the ankyrin repeat protein NFKBIL2 and C6ORF167 (MMS22L) distantly related to yeast replication stress regulator Mms22p. MMS22L and NFKBIL2 interact with each other and with FACT (facilitator of chromatin transcription) and MCM (minichromosome maintenance) complexes. Cells depleted of NFKBIL2 or MMS22L are sensitive to DNA damaging agents, load phosphorylated RPA onto chromatin in a CTIP-dependent manner, activate the ATR/ATRIP-CHK1 and double-strand break repair signaling pathways, and are defective in HR. This study identifies MMS22L-NFKBIL2 as components of the replication stress control pathway and provides a resource for discovery of addition components of this pathway.
PMCID: PMC3006237  PMID: 21055985
16.  IFITM3 Inhibits Influenza A Virus Infection by Preventing Cytosolic Entry 
PLoS Pathogens  2011;7(10):e1002337.
To replicate, viruses must gain access to the host cell's resources. Interferon (IFN) regulates the actions of a large complement of interferon effector genes (IEGs) that prevent viral replication. The interferon inducible transmembrane protein family members, IFITM1, 2 and 3, are IEGs required for inhibition of influenza A virus, dengue virus, and West Nile virus replication in vitro. Here we report that IFN prevents emergence of viral genomes from the endosomal pathway, and that IFITM3 is both necessary and sufficient for this function. Notably, viral pseudoparticles were inhibited from transferring their contents into the host cell cytosol by IFN, and IFITM3 was required and sufficient for this action. We further demonstrate that IFN expands Rab7 and LAMP1-containing structures, and that IFITM3 overexpression is sufficient for this phenotype. Moreover, IFITM3 partially resides in late endosomal and lysosomal structures, placing it in the path of invading viruses. Collectively our data are consistent with the prediction that viruses that fuse in the late endosomes or lysosomes are vulnerable to IFITM3's actions, while viruses that enter at the cell surface or in the early endosomes may avoid inhibition. Multiple viruses enter host cells through the late endocytic pathway, and many of these invaders are attenuated by IFN. Therefore these findings are likely to have significance for the intrinsic immune system's neutralization of a diverse array of threats.
Author Summary
Influenza epidemics exact a great toll on world health. Thus research to identify new anti-influenza virus strategies would be useful. Each of our cells contains antiviral factors that work to inhibit infection. A large component of this antiviral program is regulated by the interferon family of signaling molecules. Here, we seek to better understand how one of these antiviral factors, IFITM3, contributes to both baseline, as well as interferon-induced, antagonism of influenza A viral infection. We found that interferon prevents influenza A virus from entering our cells by blocking the virus' fusion with the cellular membrane. Furthermore, we learned that IFITM3 is required for this antiviral action of interferon, and that high levels of IFITM3 alone can produce a similar viral inhibition. Together, these results improve our understanding of how IFITM3 serves to defend us against viral invasion at a very early stage of infection.
PMCID: PMC3203188  PMID: 22046135
17.  Functional identification of optimized RNAi triggers using a massively parallel Sensor assay 
Molecular cell  2011;41(6):733-746.
Short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) provide powerful experimental tools by enabling stable and regulated gene silencing through programming of endogenous microRNA pathways. Since requirements for efficient shRNA biogenesis and target suppression are largely unknown, many predicted shRNAs fail to efficiently suppress their target. To overcome this barrier, we developed a “Sensor assay” that enables the biological identification of effective shRNAs at large scale. By constructing and evaluating 20,000 RNAi reporters covering every possible target site in 9 mammalian transcripts, we show that our assay reliably identifies potent shRNAs that are surprisingly rare and predominantly missed by existing algorithms. Our unbiased analyses reveal that potent shRNAs share various predicted and previously unknown features associated with specific microRNA processing steps, and suggest a new model for competitive strand selection. Together, our study establishes a powerful tool for large-scale identification of highly potent shRNAs and provides new insights into sequence requirements of effective RNAi.
PMCID: PMC3130540  PMID: 21353615
18.  RNA interference screen for human genes associated with West Nile virus infection 
Nature  2008;455(7210):242-245.
West Nile virus (WNV), and related flaviviruses such as tick-borne encephalitis, Japanese encephalitis, yellow fever and dengue viruses, constitute a significant global human health problem1. However, our understanding of the molecular interaction of WNV (and related flaviviruses) with mammalian host cells is limited1. WNV encodes only 10 proteins, implying that the virus may use many cellular proteins for infection1. WNV enters the cytoplasm through pH-dependent endocytosis, undergoes cycles of translation and replication, assembles progeny virions in association with endoplasmic reticulum, and exits along the secretory pathway1–3. RNA-interference (RNAi) presents a powerful forward genetics approach to dissect virus-host cell interactions4–6. Here we report the identification of 305 host proteins impacting WNV infection, using a human genome-wide RNAi screen. Functional clustering of the genes revealed a complex dependence of this virus on host cell physiology, requiring a wide variety of molecules and cellular pathways for successful infection. We further demonstrate a requirement for the ubiquitin ligase CBLL1 in WNV internalization, a post-entry role for the endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation (ERAD) pathway in viral infection, and the monocarboxylic acid transporter MCT4 as a viral replication resistance factor. By extending this study to dengue virus, we show that flaviviruses have both overlapping and unique interaction strategies with host cells. This study provides the first comprehensive molecular portrait of WNV-human cell interactions that forms a paradigm for understanding single plus-stranded RNA virus infection, and reveals potential antiviral targets.
PMCID: PMC3136529  PMID: 18690214
19.  A genetic screen identifies FAN1, a Fanconi anemia associated nuclease necessary for DNA interstrand crosslink repair 
Molecular cell  2010;39(1):36-47.
The Fanconi Anemia (FA) pathway is responsible for interstrand crosslink repair. At the heart of this pathway is the FANCI-FAND2 (ID) complex, which, upon ubiquitination by the FA core complex, travels to sites of damage to coordinate repair that includes nucleolytic modification of the DNA surrounding the lesion and translesion synthesis. How the ID complex regulates these events is unknown. Here we describe a shRNA screen that led to the identification of two nucleases necessary for crosslink repair, FAN1 and EXDL2. FAN1 co-localizes at sites of DNA damage with the ID complex in a manner dependent on FAN1’s ubiquitin binding domain (UBZ), the ID complex, and monoubiquitination of FANCD2. FAN1 possesses intrinsic 5′-3′ exonuclease activity and endonuclease activity that cleaves nicked and branched structures. We propose that FAN1 is a repair nuclease that is recruited to sites of crosslink damage in part through binding the ubiquitinated ID complex through its UBZ domain.
PMCID: PMC2919743  PMID: 20603073
20.  The DNA Damage Response: Making it safe to play with knives 
Molecular cell  2010;40(2):179-204.
Damage to our genetic material is an ongoing threat to both our ability to faithfully transmit genetic information to our offspring as well as our own survival. To respond to these threats, eukaryotes have evolved the DNA Damage Response (DDR). The DDR is a complex signal transduction pathway that has the ability to sense DNA damage and transduce this information to the cell to influence cellular responses to DNA damage. Cells possess an arsenal of enzymatic tools capable of remodeling and repairing DNA, however, their activities must be tightly regulated in a temporal, spatial and DNA lesion-appropriate fashion to optimize repair and prevent unnecessary and potentially deleterious alterations in the structure of DNA during normal cellular processes. This review will focus on how the DDR controls DNA repair and the phenotypic consequences of defects in these critical regulatory functions in mammals.
PMCID: PMC2988877  PMID: 20965415
21.  PhIP-Seq characterization of autoantibodies from patients with multiple sclerosis, type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis 
Journal of autoimmunity  2013;43:1-9.
Autoimmune disease results from a loss of tolerance to self-antigens in genetically susceptible individuals. Completely understanding this process requires that targeted antigens be identified, and so a number of techniques have been developed to determine immune receptor specificities. We previously reported the construction of a phage-displayed synthetic human peptidome and a proof-of-principle analysis of antibodies from three patients with neurological autoimmunity. Here we present data from a large-scale screen of 298 independent antibody repertoires, including those from 73 healthy sera, using phage immunoprecipitation sequencing. The resulting database of peptide-antibody interactions characterizes each individual’s unique autoantibody fingerprint, and includes specificities found to occur frequently in the general population as well as those associated with disease. Screening type 1 diabetes (T1D) patients revealed a prematurely polyautoreactive phenotype compared with their matched controls. A collection of cerebrospinal fluids and sera from 63 multiple sclerosis patients uncovered novel, as well as previously reported antibody-peptide interactions. Finally, a screen of synovial fluids and sera from 64 rheumatoid arthritis patients revealed novel disease-associated antibody specificities that were independent of seropositivity status. This work demonstrates the utility of performing PhIP-Seq screens on large numbers of individuals and is another step toward defining the full complement of autoimmunoreactivities in health and disease.
PMCID: PMC3677742  PMID: 23497938
autoantigen discovery; high throughput screening; PhIP-Seq; proteomics
22.  Cross-species chemogenomic profiling reveals evolutionarily conserved drug mode of action 
Chemogenomic screens were performed in both budding and fission yeasts, allowing for a cross-species comparison of drug–gene interaction networks.Drug–module interactions were more conserved than individual drug–gene interactions.Combination of data from both species can improve drug–module predictions and helps identify a compound's mode of action.
Understanding the molecular effects of chemical compounds in living cells is an important step toward rational therapeutics. Drug discovery aims to find compounds that will target a specific pathway or pathogen with minimal side effects. However, even when an effective drug is found, its mode of action (MoA) is typically not well understood. The lack of knowledge regarding a drug's MoA makes the drug discovery process slow and rational therapeutics incredibly difficult. More recently, different high-throughput methods have been developed that attempt to discern how a compound exerts its effects in cells. One of these methods relies on measuring the growth of cells carrying different mutations in the presence of the compounds of interest, commonly referred to as chemogenomics (Wuster and Babu, 2008). The differential growth of the different mutants provides clues as to what the compounds target in the cell (Figure 2). For example, if a drug inhibits a branch in a vital two-branch pathway, then mutations in the second branch might result in cell death if the mutants are grown in the presence of the drug (Figure 2C). As these compound–mutant functional interactions are expected to be relatively rare, one can assume that the growth rate of a mutant–drug combination should generally be equal to the product of the growth rate of the untreated mutant with the growth rate of the drug-treated wild type. This expectation is defined as the neutral model and deviations from this provide a quantitative score that allow us to make informed predictions regarding a drug's MoA (Figure 2B; Parsons et al, 2006).
The availability of these high-throughput approaches now allows us to perform cross-species studies of functional interactions between compounds and genes. In this study, we have performed a quantitative analysis of compound–gene interactions for two fungal species (budding yeast (S. cerevisiae) and fission yeast (S. pombe)) that diverged from each other approximately 500–700 million years ago. A collection of 2957 compounds from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) were screened in both species for inhibition of wild-type cell growth. A total of 132 were found to be bioactive in both fungi and 9, along with 12 additional well-characterized drugs, were selected for subsequent screening. Mutant libraries of 727 and 438 gene deletions were used for S. cerevisiae and S. pombe, respectively, and these were selected based on availability of genetic interaction data from previous studies (Collins et al, 2007; Roguev et al, 2008; Fiedler et al, 2009) and contain an overlap of 190 one-to-one orthologs that can be directly compared. Deviations from the neutral expectation were quantified as drug–gene interactions scores (D-scores) for the 21 compounds against the deletion libraries. Replicates of both screens showed very high correlations (S. cerevisiae r=0.72, S. pombe r=0.76) and reproduced well previously known compound–gene interactions (Supplementary information). We then compared the D-scores for the 190 one-to-one orthologs present in the data set of both species. Despite the high reproducibility, we observed a very poor conservation of these compound–gene interaction scores across these species (r=0.13, Figure 4A).
Previous work had shown that, across these same species, genetic interactions within protein complexes were much more conserved than average genetic interactions (Roguev et al, 2008). Similarly we observed a higher cross-species conservation of the compound–module (complex or pathway) interactions than the overall compound–gene interactions. Specifically, the data derived from fission yeast were a poor predictor of S. cerevisaie drug–gene interactions, but a good predictor of budding yeast compound–module connections (Figure 4B). Also, a combined score from both species improved the prediction of compound–module interactions, above the accuracy observed with the S. cerevisae information alone, but this improvement was not observed for the prediction of drug–gene interactions (Figure 4B). Data from both species were used to predict drug–module interactions, and one specific interaction (compound NSC-207895 interaction with DNA repair complexes) was experimentally verified by showing that the compound activates the DNA damage repair pathway in three species (S. cerevisiae, S. pombe and H. sapiens).
To understand why the combination of chemogenomic data from two species might improve drug–module interaction predictions, we also analyzed previously published cross-species genetic–interaction data. We observed a significant correlation between the conservation of drug–gene and gene–gene interactions among the one-to-one orthologs (r=0.28, P-value=0.0078). Additionally, the strongest interactions of benomyl (a microtubule inhibitor) were to complexes that also had strong and conserved genetic interactions with microtubules (Figure 4C). We hypothesize that a significant number of the compound–gene interactions obtained from chemogenomic studies are not direct interactions with the physical target of the compounds, but include many indirect interactions that genetically interact with the main target(s). This would explain why the compound interaction networks show similar evolutionary patterns as the genetic interactions networks.
In summary, these results shed some light on the interplay between the evolution of genetic networks and the evolution of drug response. Understanding how genetic variability across different species might result in different sensitivity to drugs should improve our capacity to design treatments. Concretely, we hope that this line of research might one day help us create drugs and drug combinations that specifically affect a pathogen or diseased tissue, but not the host.
We present a cross-species chemogenomic screening platform using libraries of haploid deletion mutants from two yeast species, Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe. We screened a set of compounds of known and unknown mode of action (MoA) and derived quantitative drug scores (or D-scores), identifying mutants that are either sensitive or resistant to particular compounds. We found that compound–functional module relationships are more conserved than individual compound–gene interactions between these two species. Furthermore, we observed that combining data from both species allows for more accurate prediction of MoA. Finally, using this platform, we identified a novel small molecule that acts as a DNA damaging agent and demonstrate that its MoA is conserved in human cells.
PMCID: PMC3018166  PMID: 21179023
chemogenomics; evolution; modularity
24.  Profiling Essential Genes in Human Mammary Cells by Multiplex RNAi Screening 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2008;319(5863):617-620.
By virtue of their accumulated genetic alterations, tumor cells may acquire vulnerabilities that create opportunities for therapeutic intervention. We have devised a massively parallel strategy for screening short hairpin RNA (shRNA) collections for stable loss-of-function phenotypes. We assayed from 6000 to 20,000 shRNAs simultaneously to identify genes important for the proliferation and survival of five cell lines derived from human mammary tissue. Lethal shRNAs common to these cell lines targeted many known cell-cycle regulatory networks. Cell line–specific sensitivities to suppression of protein complexes and biological pathways also emerged, and these could be validated by RNA interference (RNAi) and pharmacologically. These studies establish a practical platform for genome-scale screening of complex phenotypes in mammalian cells and demonstrate that RNAi can be used to expose genotype-specific sensitivities.
PMCID: PMC2981861  PMID: 18239125
25.  Cancer Proliferation Gene Discovery Through Functional Genomics 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2008;319(5863):620-624.
Retroviral short hairpin RNA (shRNA)–mediated genetic screens in mammalian cells are powerful tools for discovering loss-of-function phenotypes. We describe a highly parallel multiplex methodology for screening large pools of shRNAs using half-hairpin barcodes for microarray deconvolution. We carried out dropout screens for shRNAs that affect cell proliferation and viability in cancer cells and normal cells. We identified many shRNAs to be antiproliferative that target core cellular processes, such as the cell cycle and protein translation, in all cells examined. Moreover, we identified genes that are selectively required for proliferation and survival in different cell lines. Our platform enables rapid and cost-effective genome-wide screens to identify cancer proliferation and survival genes for target discovery. Such efforts are complementary to the Cancer Genome Atlas and provide an alternative functional view of cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC2981870  PMID: 18239126

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