To understand the impact of gut microbes on human health and well-being it is crucial to assess their genetic potential. Here we describe the Illumina-based metagenomic sequencing, assembly and characterization of 3.3 million nonredundant microbial genes, derived from 576.7 Gb sequence, from faecal samples of 124 European individuals. The gene set, ~150 times larger than the human gene complement, contains an overwhelming majority of the prevalent microbial genes of the cohort and likely includes a large proportion of the prevalent human intestinal microbial genes. The genes are largely shared among individuals of the cohort. Over 99% of the genes are bacterial, suggesting that the entire cohort harbours between 1000 and 1150 prevalent bacterial species and each individual at least 160 such species, which are also largely shared. We define and describe the minimal gut metagenome and the minimal gut bacterial genome in terms of functions encoded by the gene set.
Genome-wide association studies have mainly relied on common HapMap sequence variations. Recently, sequencing approaches have allowed analysis of low frequency and rare variants in conjunction with common variants, thereby improving the search for functional variants and thus the understanding of the underlying biology of human traits and diseases. Here, we used a large Icelandic whole genome sequence dataset combined with Danish exome sequence data to gain insight into the genetic architecture of serum levels of vitamin B12 (B12) and folate. Up to 22.9 million sequence variants were analyzed in combined samples of 45,576 and 37,341 individuals with serum B12 and folate measurements, respectively. We found six novel loci associating with serum B12 (CD320, TCN2, ABCD4, MMAA, MMACHC) or folate levels (FOLR3) and confirmed seven loci for these traits (TCN1, FUT6, FUT2, CUBN, CLYBL, MUT, MTHFR). Conditional analyses established that four loci contain additional independent signals. Interestingly, 13 of the 18 identified variants were coding and 11 of the 13 target genes have known functions related to B12 and folate pathways. Contrary to epidemiological studies we did not find consistent association of the variants with cardiovascular diseases, cancers or Alzheimer's disease although some variants demonstrated pleiotropic effects. Although to some degree impeded by low statistical power for some of these conditions, these data suggest that sequence variants that contribute to the population diversity in serum B12 or folate levels do not modify the risk of developing these conditions. Yet, the study demonstrates the value of combining whole genome and exome sequencing approaches to ascertain the genetic and molecular architectures underlying quantitative trait associations.
Genome-wide association studies have in recent years revealed a wealth of common variants associated with common diseases and phenotypes. We took advantage of the advances in sequencing technologies to study the association of low frequency and rare variants in conjunction with common variants with serum levels of vitamin B12 (B12) and folate in Icelanders and Danes. We found 18 independent signals in 13 loci associated with serum B12 or folate levels. Interestingly, 13 of the 18 identified variants are coding and 11 of the 13 target genes have known functions related to B12 and folate pathways. These data indicate that the target genes at all of the loci have been identified. Epidemiological studies have shown a relationship between serum B12 and folate levels and the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancers, and Alzheimer's disease. We investigated association between the identified variants and these diseases but did not find consistent association.
Consumption of isoflavones may prevent adiposity, hepatic steatosis, and dyslipidaemia. However, studies in the area are few and primarily with genistein. This study investigated the effects of formononetin and its synthetic analogue, 2-heptyl-formononetin (C7F), on lipid and cholesterol metabolism in C57BL/6J mice. The mice were fed a cholesterol-enriched diet for five weeks to induce hypercholesterolemia and were then fed either the cholesterol-enriched diet or the cholesterol-enriched diet-supplemented formononetin or C7F for three weeks. Body weight and composition, glucose homeostasis, and plasma lipids were compared. In another experiment, mice were fed the above diets for five weeks, and hepatic triglyceride accumulation and gene expression and histology of adipose tissue and liver were examined. Supplementation with C7F increased plasma HDL-cholesterol thereby increasing the plasma level of total cholesterol. Supplementation with formononetin did not affect plasma cholesterol but increased plasma triglycerides levels. Supplementation with formononetin and C7F induced hepatic steatosis. However, formononetin decreased markers of inflammation and liver injury. The development of hepatic steatosis was associated with deregulated expression of hepatic genes involved in lipid and lipoprotein metabolism. In conclusion, supplementation with formononetin and C7F to a cholesterol-enriched diet adversely affected lipid and lipoprotein metabolism in C57BL/6J mice.
Inversin is a ciliary protein that critically regulates developmental processes and tissue homeostasis in vertebrates, partly through the degradation of Dishevelled (Dvl) proteins to coordinate Wnt signaling in planar cell polarity (PCP). Here, we investigated the role of Inversin in coordinating cell migration, which highly depends on polarity processes at the single-cell level, including the spatial and temporal organization of the cytoskeleton as well as expression and cellular localization of proteins in leading edge formation of migrating cells. Using cultures of mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) derived from inv−/− and inv+/+ animals, we confirmed that both inv−/− and inv+/+ MEFs form primary cilia, and that Inversin localizes to the primary cilium in inv+/+ MEFs. In wound healing assays, inv−/− MEFs were severely compromised in their migratory ability and exhibited cytoskeletal rearrangements, including distorted lamellipodia formation and cilia orientation. Transcriptome analysis revealed dysregulation of Wnt signaling and of pathways regulating actin organization and focal adhesions in inv−/− MEFs as compared to inv+/+ MEFs. Further, Dvl-1 and Dvl-3 localized to MEF primary cilia, and β-catenin/Wnt signaling was elevated in inv−/− MEFs, which moreover showed reduced ciliary localization of Dvl-3. Finally, inv−/− MEFs displayed dramatically altered activity and localization of RhoA, Rac1, and Cdc42 GTPases, and aberrant expression and targeting of the Na+/H+ exchanger NHE1 and ezrin/radixin/moesin (ERM) proteins to the edge of cells facing the wound. Phosphorylation of β-catenin at the ciliary base and formation of well-defined lamellipodia with localization and activation of ERM to the leading edge of migrating cells were restored in inv−/− MEFs expressing Inv-GFP. Collectively, our findings point to the significance of Inversin in controlling cell migration processes, at least in part through transcriptional regulation of genes involved in Wnt signaling and pathways that control cytoskeletal organization and ion transport.
Suppressing hyperactive endocannabinoid tone is a critical target for reducing obesity. The backbone of both endocannabinoids 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) and anandamide (AEA) is the omega-6 fatty acid arachidonic acid (AA). Here we posited that excessive dietary intake of linoleic acid (LA), the precursor of AA, would induce endocannabinoid hyperactivity and promote obesity. Linoleic acid was isolated as an independent variable to reflect the dietary increase in LA from 1 percent of energy (en%) to 8 en% occurring in the US during the 20th century. Mice were fed diets containing 1 en% LA, 8 en% LA and 8 en% LA + 1 en% eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) + docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in medium fat diets (35 en% fat) and high fat diets (60 en%) for 14 weeks from weaning. Increasing LA from 1 en% to 8 en% elevated AA -phospholipids in liver and erythrocytes, tripled 2-AG+1-AG and AEA associated with increased food intake, feed efficiency and adiposity in mice. Reducing AA - phospholipids by adding 1en% long-chain omega-3 fats to 8 en% LA diets resulted in metabolic patterns resembling 1 en% LA diets. Selectively reducing LA to 1 en% reversed the obesogenic properties of a 60 en% fat diet. These animal diets modeled 20th century increases of human LA consumption, changes that closely correlate with increasing prevalence rates of obesity. In summary, dietary LA increased tissue AA, and subsequently elevated 2-AG+1-AG and AEA resulting in the development of diet-induced obesity. The adipogenic effect of LA can be prevented by consuming sufficient EPA and DHA to reduce the AA –phospholipid pool and normalize endocannabinoid tone.
To ensure sustainable aquaculture, fish derived raw materials are replaced by vegetable ingredients. Fatty acid composition and contaminant status of farmed Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar L.) are affected by the use of plant ingredients and a spillover effect on consumers is thus expected. Here we aimed to compare the effects of intake of Atlantic salmon fed fish oil (FO) with intake of Atlantic salmon fed a high proportion of vegetable oils (VOs) on development of insulin resistance and obesity in mice.
Atlantic salmon were fed diets where FO was partly (80%) replaced with three different VOs; rapeseed oil (RO), olive oil (OO) or soy bean oil (SO). Fillets from Atlantic salmon were subsequently used to prepare Western diets (WD) for a mouse feeding trial. Partial replacement of FO with VOs reduced the levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and dichloro-diphenyl-tricloroethanes (DDT) with more than 50% in salmon fillets, in WDs containing the fillets, and in white adipose tissue from mice consuming the WDs. Replacement with VOs, SO in particular, lowered the n−3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) content and increased n−6 PUFA levels in the salmon fillets, in the prepared WDs, and in red blood cells collected from mice consuming the WDs. Replacing FO with VO did not influence obesity development in the mice, but replacement of FO with RO improved glucose tolerance. Compared with WD-FO fed mice, feeding mice WD-SO containing lower PCB and DDT levels but high levels of linoleic acid (LA), exaggerated insulin resistance and increased accumulation of fat in the liver.
Replacement of FO with VOs in aqua feed for farmed salmon had markedly different spillover effects on metabolism in mice. Our results suggest that the content of LA in VOs may be a matter of concern that warrants further investigation.
Guinea pig (Cavia porcellus) is an important model for human intestinal research. We have characterized the faecal microbiota of 60 guinea pigs using Illumina shotgun metagenomics, and used this data to compile a gene catalogue of its prevalent microbiota. Subsequently, we compared the guinea pig microbiome to existing human gut metagenome data from the MetaHIT project.
We found that the bacterial richness obtained for human samples was lower than for guinea pig samples. The intestinal microbiotas of both species were dominated by the two phyla Bacteroidetes and Firmicutes, but at genus level, the majority of identified genera (320 of 376) were differently abundant in the two hosts. For example, the guinea pig contained considerably more of the mucin-degrading Akkermansia, as well as of the methanogenic archaea Methanobrevibacter than found in humans. Most microbiome functional categories were less abundant in guinea pigs than in humans. Exceptions included functional categories possibly reflecting dehydration/rehydration stress in the guinea pig intestine. Finally, we showed that microbiological databases have serious anthropocentric biases, which impacts model organism research.
The results lay the foundation for future gastrointestinal research applying guinea pigs as models for humans.
Cancers arise through an evolutionary process in which cell populations are subjected to selection; however, to date, the process of bladder cancer, which is one of the most common cancers in the world, remains unknown at a single-cell level.
We carried out single-cell exome sequencing of 66 individual tumor cells from a muscle-invasive bladder transitional cell carcinoma (TCC). Analyses of the somatic mutant allele frequency spectrum and clonal structure revealed that the tumor cells were derived from a single ancestral cell, but that subsequent evolution occurred, leading to two distinct tumor cell subpopulations. By analyzing recurrently mutant genes in an additional cohort of 99 TCC tumors, we identified genes that might play roles in the maintenance of the ancestral clone and in the muscle-invasive capability of subclones of this bladder cancer, respectively.
This work provides a new approach of investigating the genetic details of bladder tumoral changes at the single-cell level and a new method for assessing bladder cancer evolution at a cell-population level.
Single-cell exome sequencing; Bladder cancer; Tumor evolution; Population genetics
The ability of n-3 long chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) to prevent high fat diet-induced obesity in rodents is well documented. Evidence for a similar effect in humans is, however, limited. Intervention studies in humans are inconclusive and epidemiological studies are dichotomous. Our recent finding that sucrose and other high glycemic index carbohydrates abrogate the antiobesity effect of n-3 PUFAs might, at least in part, provide an explanation to the apparent discrepancy between human and rodent intervention studies, and the lack of effect in some human trials. In addition to the amount and type of carbohydrates, the levels of n-6 PUFAs, linoleic acid in particular, in the background diet might influence the antiobesogenic effect of n-3 PUFAs. Lastly, it is plausible that the quantity of persistent organic pollutants in fish oil, and seafood rich in n-3 PUFAs, might have an influence on the outcome of the trials.
PUFA; carbohydrates; fish oil; linoleic acid; obesity; persistent organic pollutants
Nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) affects the outcome of alternative splicing by degrading mRNA isoforms with premature termination codons. Splicing regulators constitute important NMD targets; however, the extent to which loss of NMD causes extensive deregulation of alternative splicing has not previously been assayed in a global, unbiased manner. Here, we combine mouse genetics and RNA-seq to provide the first in vivo analysis of the global impact of NMD on splicing patterns in two primary mouse tissues ablated for the NMD factor UPF2.
We developed a bioinformatic pipeline that maps RNA-seq data to a combinatorial exon database, predicts NMD-susceptibility for mRNA isoforms and calculates the distribution of major splice isoform classes. We present a catalog of NMD-regulated alternative splicing events, showing that isoforms of 30% of all expressed genes are upregulated in NMD-deficient cells and that NMD targets all major splicing classes. Importantly, NMD-dependent effects are not restricted to premature termination codon+ isoforms but also involve an abundance of splicing events that do not generate premature termination codons. Supporting their functional importance, the latter events are associated with high intronic conservation.
Our data demonstrate that NMD regulates alternative splicing outcomes through an intricate web of splicing regulators and that its loss leads to the deregulation of a panoply of splicing events, providing novel insights into its role in core- and tissue-specific regulation of gene expression. Thus, our study extends the importance of NMD from an mRNA quality pathway to a regulator of several layers of gene expression.
Human mesenchymal stem cells are primary multipotent cells capable of differentiating into several cell types including adipocytes when cultured under defined in vitro conditions. In the present study we investigated the role of cAMP signaling and its downstream effectors, protein kinase A (PKA) and exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (Epac) in adipocyte conversion of human mesenchymal stem cells derived from adipose tissue (hMADS). We show that cAMP signaling involving the simultaneous activation of both PKA- and Epac-dependent signaling is critical for this process even in the presence of the strong adipogenic inducers insulin, dexamethasone, and rosiglitazone, thereby clearly distinguishing the hMADS cells from murine preadipocytes cell lines, where rosiglitazone together with dexamethasone and insulin strongly promotes adipocyte differentiation. We further show that prostaglandin I2 (PGI2) may fully substitute for the cAMP-elevating agent isobutylmethylxanthine (IBMX). Moreover, selective activation of Epac-dependent signaling promoted adipocyte differentiation when the Rho-associated kinase (ROCK) was inhibited. Unlike the case for murine preadipocytes cell lines, long-chain fatty acids, like arachidonic acid, did not promote adipocyte differentiation of hMADS cells in the absence of a PPARγ agonist. However, prolonged treatment with the synthetic PPARδ agonist L165041 promoted adipocyte differentiation of hMADS cells in the presence of IBMX. Taken together our results emphasize the need for cAMP signaling in concert with treatment with a PPARγ or PPARδ agonist to secure efficient adipocyte differentiation of human hMADS mesenchymal stem cells.
Extreme altitude can induce a range of cellular and systemic responses. Although it is known that hypoxia underlies the major changes and that the physiological responses include hemodynamic changes and erythropoiesis, the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways mediating such changes are largely unknown. To obtain a more complete picture of the transcriptional regulatory landscape and networks involved in extreme altitude response, we followed four climbers on an expedition up Mount Xixiabangma (8,012 m), and collected blood samples at four stages during the climb for mRNA and miRNA expression assays. By analyzing dynamic changes of gene networks in response to extreme altitudes, we uncovered a highly modular network with 7 modules of various functions that changed in response to extreme altitudes. The erythrocyte differentiation module is the most prominently up-regulated, reflecting increased erythrocyte differentiation from hematopoietic stem cells, probably at the expense of differentiation into other cell lineages. These changes are accompanied by coordinated down-regulation of general translation. Network topology and flow analyses also uncovered regulators known to modulate hypoxia responses and erythrocyte development, as well as unknown regulators, such as the OCT4 gene, an important regulator in stem cells and assumed to only function in stem cells. We predicted computationally and validated experimentally that increased OCT4 expression at extreme altitude can directly elevate the expression of hemoglobin genes. Our approach established a new framework for analyzing the transcriptional regulatory network from a very limited number of samples.
Polyunsaturated n-3 fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) are reported to protect against high fat diet-induced obesity and inflammation in adipose tissue. Here we aimed to investigate if the amount of sucrose in the background diet influences the ability of n-3 PUFAs to protect against diet-induced obesity, adipose tissue inflammation and glucose intolerance.
We fed C57BL/6J mice a protein- (casein) or sucrose-based high fat diet supplemented with fish oil or corn oil for 9 weeks. Irrespective of the fatty acid source, mice fed diets rich in sucrose became obese whereas mice fed high protein diets remained lean. Inclusion of sucrose in the diet also counteracted the well-known anti-inflammatory effect of fish oil in adipose tissue, but did not impair the ability of fish oil to prevent accumulation of fat in the liver. Calculation of HOMA-IR indicated that mice fed high levels of proteins remained insulin sensitive, whereas insulin sensitivity was reduced in the obese mice fed sucrose irrespectively of the fat source. We show that a high fat diet decreased glucose tolerance in the mice independently of both obesity and dietary levels of n-3 PUFAs and sucrose. Of note, increasing the protein∶sucrose ratio in high fat diets decreased energy efficiency irrespective of fat source. This was accompanied by increased expression of Ppargc1a (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor, gamma, coactivator 1 alpha) and increased gluconeogenesis in the fed state.
The background diet influence the ability of n-3 PUFAs to protect against development of obesity, glucose intolerance and adipose tissue inflammation. High levels of dietary sucrose counteract the anti-inflammatory effect of fish oil in adipose tissue and increases obesity development in mice.
We have developed an in vitro hepatocyte-adipose tissue explant (ATE) co-culture model enabling examination of the effect of visceral and subcutaneous adipose tissues on primary rat hepatocytes. Initial analyses of inflammatory marker genes were performed in fractionated epididymal or inguinal adipose tissues. Expressions of inflammation related genes (IL-6, TNF-α, COX-2) were higher in the inguinal than the epididymal ATE. Similarly, expressions of marker genes of macrophage and monocyte (MPEG-1, CD68, F4/80, CD64) were higher in the stromal vascular fraction (SVF) isolated from inguinal ATE than that from epididymal ATE. However, expressions of lipolysis related genes (ATGL, HSL, perilipin-1) were higher in the epididymal adipocytes than inguinal adipocytes. Moreover, secretion of IL-6 and PGE2 was higher from inguinal ATEs than from epididymal ATEs. There was a trend that the total levels of IL-6, TNF-α and PGE2 in the media from inguinal ATEs co-cultured with primary rat hepatocytes were higher than that in the media from epididymal ATEs co-cultured with hepatocytes, although the significant difference was only seen in PGE2. Lipolysis, measured as glycerol release, was similar in the ATEs isolated from inguinal and epididymal adipose tissues when cultured alone, but the glycerol release was higher in the ATEs isolated from epididymal than from inguinal adipose tissue when co-cultured with hepatocytes. Compared to epididymal ATEs, the ATEs from inguinal adipose tissue elicited a stronger cytotoxic response and higher level of insulin resistance in the co-cultured hepatocytes. In conclusion, our results reveal depot-dependent effects of ATEs on co-cultured primary hepatocytes, which in part may be related to a more pronounced infiltration of stromal vascular cells (SVCs), particularly macrophages, in inguinal adipose tissue resulting in stronger responses in terms of hepatotoxicity and insulin-resistance.
Although many molecular regulators of adipogenesis have been identified a comprehensive catalogue of components is still missing. Recent studies showed that the retinoblastoma protein (pRb) was expressed in the cell cycle and late cellular differentiation phase during adipogenesis. To investigate this dual role of pRb in the early and late stages of adipogenesis we used microarrays to perform a comprehensive systems-level analysis of the common transcriptional program of the classic 3T3-L1 preadipocyte cell line, wild-type mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), and retinoblastoma gene-deficient MEFs (Rb-/- MEFs).
Comparative analysis of the expression profiles of 3T3-L1 cells and wild-type MEFs revealed genes involved specifically in early regulation of the adipocyte differentiation as well as secreted factors and signaling molecules regulating the later phase of differentiation. In an attempt to identify transcription factors regulating adipogenesis, bioinformatics analysis of the promoters of coordinately and highly expressed genes was performed. We were able to identify a number of high-confidence target genes for follow-up experimental studies. Additionally, combination of experimental data and computational analyses pinpointed a feedback-loop between Pparg and Foxo1.
To analyze the effects of the retinoblastoma protein at the transcriptional level we chose a perturbated system (Rb-/- MEFs) for comparison to the transcriptional program of wild-type MEFs. Gene ontology analysis of 64 deregulated genes showed that the Rb-/- MEF model exhibits a brown(-like) adipocyte phenotype. Additionally, the analysis results indicate a different or additional role for pRb family member involvement in the lineage commitment.
In this study a number of commonly modulated genes during adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells and MEFs, potential transcriptional regulation mechanisms, and differentially regulated targets during adipocyte differentiation of Rb-/- MEFs could be identified. These data and the analysis provide a starting point for further experimental studies to identify target genes for pharmacological intervention and ultimately remodeling of white adipose tissue into brown adipose tissue.
Analogues of vitamin D3 are extensively used in the treatment of various illnesses, such as osteoporosis, inflammatory skin diseases, and cancer. Functional testing of new vitamin D3 analogues and formulations for improved systemic and topical administration is supported by sensitive screening methods that allow a comparative evaluation of drug properties. As a new tool in functional screening of vitamin D3 analogues, we describe a genomically integratable sensor for sensitive drug detection. This system facilitates assessment of the pharmacokinetic and pharmadynamic properties of vitamin D3 analogues. The tri-cistronic genetic sensor encodes a drug-sensoring protein, a reporter protein expressed from an activated sensor-responsive promoter, and a resistance marker.
The three expression cassettes, inserted in a head-to-tail orientation in a Sleeping Beauty DNA transposon vector, are efficiently inserted as a single genetic entity into the genome of cells of interest in a reaction catalyzed by the hyperactive SB100X transposase. The applicability of the sensor for screening purposes is demonstrated by the functional comparison of potent synthetic analogues of vitamin D3 designed for the treatment of psoriasis and cancer. In clones of human keratinocytes carrying from a single to numerous insertions of the vitamin D3 sensor, a sensitive sensor read-out is detected upon exposure to even low concentrations of vitamin D3 analogues. In comparative studies, the sensor unveils superior potency of new candidate drugs in comparison with analogues that are currently in clinical use.
Our findings demonstrate the use of the genetic sensor as a tool in first-line evaluation of new vitamin D3 analogues and pave the way for new types of drug delivery studies in sensor-transgenic animals.
Both insulin and bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling systems are important for adipocyte differentiation. Analysis of gene expression in BMP7-treated fibroblasts revealed a coordinated change in insulin signaling components by BMP7. To further investigate the cross talk between insulin and BMP signaling systems in brown adipogenesis, we examined the effect of BMP7 in insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS-1)-deficient brown preadipocytes, which exhibit a severe defect in differentiation. Treatment of these cells with BMP7 for 3 days prior to adipogenic induction restored differentiation and expression of brown adipogenic markers. The high level of adipogenic inhibitor preadipocyte factor 1 (Pref-1) in IRS-1-null cells was markedly reduced by 3 days of BMP7 treatment, and analysis of the 1.3-kb pref-1 promoter revealed 9 putative Smad binding elements (SBEs), suggesting that BMP7 could directly suppress Pref-1 expression, thereby allowing the initiation of the adipogenic program. Using a series of sequential deletion mutants of the pref-1 promoter linked to the luciferase gene and chromatin immunoprecipitation, we demonstrate that the promoter-proximal SBE (−192/−184) was critical in mediating BMP7's suppressive effect on pref-1 transcription. Together, these data suggest cross talk between the insulin and BMP signaling systems by which BMP7 can rescue brown adipogenesis in cells with insulin resistance.
The nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) is essential for adipogenesis. Although several fatty acids and their derivatives are known to bind and activate PPARγ, the nature of the endogenous ligand(s) promoting the early stages of adipocyte differentiation has remained enigmatic. Previously, we showed that lipoxygenase (LOX) activity is involved in activation of PPARγ during the early stages of adipocyte differentiation. Of the seven known murine LOXs, only the unconventional LOX epidermis-type lipoxygenase 3 (eLOX3) is expressed in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes. Here, we show that forced expression of eLOX3 or addition of eLOX3 products stimulated adipogenesis under conditions that normally require an exogenous PPARγ ligand for differentiation. Hepoxilins, a group of oxidized arachidonic acid derivatives produced by eLOX3, bound to and activated PPARγ. Production of hepoxilins was increased transiently during the initial stages of adipogenesis. Furthermore, small interfering RNA-mediated or retroviral short hairpin RNA-mediated knockdown of eLOX3 expression abolished differentiation of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes. Finally, we demonstrate that xanthine oxidoreductase (XOR) and eLOX3 synergistically enhanced PPARγ-mediated transactivation. Collectively, our results indicate that hepoxilins produced by the concerted action of XOR and eLOX3 may function as PPARγ activators capable of promoting the early PPARγ-dependent steps in the conversion of preadipocytes into adipocytes.
Analysis across the genome of patterns of DNA methylation reveals a rich landscape of allele-specific epigenetic modification and consequent effects on allele-specific gene expression.
DNA methylation plays an important role in biological processes in human health and disease. Recent technological advances allow unbiased whole-genome DNA methylation (methylome) analysis to be carried out on human cells. Using whole-genome bisulfite sequencing at 24.7-fold coverage (12.3-fold per strand), we report a comprehensive (92.62%) methylome and analysis of the unique sequences in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from the same Asian individual whose genome was deciphered in the YH project. PBMC constitute an important source for clinical blood tests world-wide. We found that 68.4% of CpG sites and <0.2% of non-CpG sites were methylated, demonstrating that non-CpG cytosine methylation is minor in human PBMC. Analysis of the PBMC methylome revealed a rich epigenomic landscape for 20 distinct genomic features, including regulatory, protein-coding, non-coding, RNA-coding, and repeat sequences. Integration of our methylome data with the YH genome sequence enabled a first comprehensive assessment of allele-specific methylation (ASM) between the two haploid methylomes of any individual and allowed the identification of 599 haploid differentially methylated regions (hDMRs) covering 287 genes. Of these, 76 genes had hDMRs within 2 kb of their transcriptional start sites of which >80% displayed allele-specific expression (ASE). These data demonstrate that ASM is a recurrent phenomenon and is highly correlated with ASE in human PBMCs. Together with recently reported similar studies, our study provides a comprehensive resource for future epigenomic research and confirms new sequencing technology as a paradigm for large-scale epigenomics studies.
Epigenetic modifications such as addition of methyl groups to cytosine in DNA play a role in regulating gene expression. To better understand these processes, knowledge of the methylation status of all cytosine bases in the genome (the methylome) is required. DNA methylation can differ between the two gene copies (alleles) in each cell. Such allele-specific methylation (ASM) can be due to parental origin of the alleles (imprinting), X chromosome inactivation in females, and other as yet unknown mechanisms. This may significantly alter the expression profile arising from different allele combinations in different individuals. Using advanced sequencing technology, we have determined the methylome of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Importantly, the PBMC were obtained from the same male Han Chinese individual whose complete genome had previously been determined. This allowed us, for the first time, to study genome-wide differences in ASM. Our analysis shows that ASM in PBMC is higher than can be accounted for by regions known to undergo parent-of-origin imprinting and frequently (>80%) correlates with allele-specific expression (ASE) of the corresponding gene. In addition, our data reveal a rich landscape of epigenomic variation for 20 genomic features, including regulatory, coding, and non-coding sequences, and provide a valuable resource for future studies. Our work further establishes whole-genome sequencing as an efficient method for methylome analysis.
The uncoupling protein 1 (UCP1) is a hallmark of brown adipocytes and pivotal for cold- and diet-induced thermogenesis.
Here we report that cyclooxygenase (COX) activity and prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) are crucially involved in induction of UCP1 expression in inguinal white adipocytes, but not in classic interscapular brown adipocytes. Cold-induced expression of UCP1 in inguinal white adipocytes was repressed in COX2 knockout (KO) mice and by administration of the COX inhibitor indomethacin in wild-type mice. Indomethacin repressed β-adrenergic induction of UCP1 expression in primary inguinal adipocytes. The use of PGE2 receptor antagonists implicated EP4 as a main PGE2 receptor, and injection of the stable PGE2 analog (EP3/4 agonist) 16,16 dm PGE2 induced UCP1 expression in inguinal white adipose tissue. Inhibition of COX activity attenuated diet-induced UCP1 expression and increased energy efficiency and adipose tissue mass in obesity-resistant mice kept at thermoneutrality.
Our findings provide evidence that induction of UCP1 expression in white adipose tissue, but not in classic interscapular brown adipose tissue is dependent on cyclooxygenase activity. Our results indicate that cyclooxygenase-dependent induction of UCP1 expression in white adipose tissues is important for diet-induced thermogenesis providing support for a surprising role of COX activity in the control of energy balance and obesity development.
The incidence of the insulin resistance syndrome has increased at an alarming rate worldwide, creating a serious challenge to public health care in the 21st century. Recently, epidemiological studies have associated the prevalence of type 2 diabetes with elevated body burdens of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). However, experimental evidence demonstrating a causal link between POPs and the development of insulin resistance is lacking.
We investigated whether exposure to POPs contributes to insulin resistance and metabolic disorders.
Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed for 28 days to lipophilic POPs through the consumption of a high-fat diet containing either refined or crude fish oil obtained from farmed Atlantic salmon. In addition, differentiated adipocytes were exposed to several POP mixtures that mimicked the relative abundance of organic pollutants present in crude salmon oil. We measured body weight, whole-body insulin sensitivity, POP accumulation, lipid and glucose homeostasis, and gene expression and we performed microarray analysis.
Adult male rats exposed to crude, but not refined, salmon oil developed insulin resistance, abdominal obesity, and hepatosteatosis. The contribution of POPs to insulin resistance was confirmed in cultured adipocytes where POPs, especially organochlorine pesticides, led to robust inhibition of insulin action. Moreover, POPs induced down-regulation of insulin-induced gene-1 (Insig-1) and Lpin1, two master regulators of lipid homeostasis.
Our findings provide evidence that exposure to POPs commonly present in food chains leads to insulin resistance and associated metabolic disorders.
contaminants; farmed salmon; metabolic syndrome; nonalcoholic fatty liver; obesity; pollution; public health; type 2 diabetes
Cyclic AMP (cAMP)-dependent processes are pivotal during the early stages of adipocyte differentiation. We show that exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (Epac), which functions as a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for the Ras-like GTPases Rap1 and Rap2, was required for cAMP-dependent stimulation of adipocyte differentiation. Epac, working via Rap, acted synergistically with cAMP-dependent protein kinase (protein kinase A [PKA]) to promote adipogenesis. The major role of PKA was to down-regulate Rho and Rho-kinase activity, rather than to enhance CREB phosphorylation. Suppression of Rho-kinase impaired proadipogenic insulin/insulin-like growth factor 1 signaling, which was restored by activation of Epac. This interplay between PKA and Epac-mediated processes not only provides novel insight into the initiation and tuning of adipocyte differentiation, but also demonstrates a new mechanism of cAMP signaling whereby cAMP uses both PKA and Epac to achieve an appropriate cellular response.
Positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb) phosphorylates the C-terminal domain of RNA polymerase II (RNA pol II), facilitating transcriptional elongation. Beside its participation in general transcription, P-TEFb is recruited to specific promoters by some transcription factors such as c-Myc or MyoD. The P-TEFb complex is composed of a cyclin dependent kinase (cdk9) subunit and a regulatory partner (cyclin T1, cyclin T2, or cyclin K). Since cdk9 has been shown to participate in differentiation processes, such as muscle cell differentiation, we studied a possible role of cdk9 in adipogenesis. In this study we show that the expression of the cdk9 p55 isoform is highly regulated during 3T3-L1 adipocyte differentiation at RNA and protein levels. Furthermore, cdk9, as well as cyclin T1 and cyclin T2, show differences in nuclear localization at distinct stages of adipogenesis. Overexpression of cdk9 increases the adipogenic potential of 3T3-L1 cells, whereas inhibition of cdk9 by specific cdk inhibitors, and dominant negative cdk9 mutant impairs adipogenesis. We show that the positive effects of cdk9 on the differentiation of 3T3-L1 cells are mediated by a direct interaction with and phosphorylation of PPARγ which is the master regulator of this process, on the promoter of PPARγ target genes. PPARγ-cdk9 interaction results in increased transcriptional activity of PPARγ and therefore increased adipogenesis.
3T3 Cells; Adipogenesis; drug effects; physiology; Animals; CHO Cells; Cell Differentiation; Cell Division; drug effects; Cricetinae; Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 9; antagonists & inhibitors; metabolism; physiology; Dichlororibofuranosylbenzimidazole; pharmacology; Gene Expression Regulation; Mice; PPAR gamma; metabolism; Phosphorylation; Positive Transcriptional Elongation Factor B; metabolism; Protein Binding; Adipogenesis; PPARγ; Nuclear receptors; P-TEFb; RNA pol II; Transcription
TreeFam (http://www.treefam.org) was developed to provide curated phylogenetic trees for all animal gene families, as well as orthologue and paralogue assignments. Release 4.0 of TreeFam contains curated trees for 1314 families and automatically generated trees for another 14 351 families. We have expanded TreeFam to include 25 fully sequenced animal genomes, as well as four genomes from plant and fungal outgroup species. We have also introduced more accurate approaches for automatically grouping genes into families, for building phylogenetic trees, and for inferring orthologues and paralogues. The user interface for viewing phylogenetic trees and family information has been improved. Furthermore, a new perl API lets users easily extract data from the TreeFam mysql database.
Gene duplication is an important process in evolution. The availability of genome sequences of a number of organisms has made it possible to conduct comprehensive searches for duplicated genes enabling informative studies of their evolution. We have established the FGF (Fishing Gene Family) program to efficiently search for and identify gene families. The FGF output displays the results as visual phylogenetic trees including information on gene structure, chromosome position, duplication fate and selective pressure. It is particularly useful to identify pseudogenes and detect changes in gene structure. FGF is freely available on a web server at http://fgf.genomics.org.cn/