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1.  Transcriptional regulation in pluripotent stem cells by methyl CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2) 
Human Molecular Genetics  2013;23(4):1045-1055.
Rett syndrome (RTT) is one of the most prevalent female mental disorders. De novo mutations in methyl CpG-binding protein 2 (MeCP2) are a major cause of RTT. MeCP2 regulates gene expression as a transcription regulator as well as through long-range chromatin interaction. Because MeCP2 is present on the X chromosome, RTT is manifested in an X-linked dominant manner. Investigation using murine MeCP2 null models and post-mortem human brain tissues has contributed to understanding the molecular and physiological function of MeCP2. In addition, RTT models using human induced pluripotent stem cells derived from RTT patients (RTT-iPSCs) provide novel resources to elucidate the regulatory mechanism of MeCP2. Previously, we obtained clones of female RTT-iPSCs that express either wild-type or mutant MECP2 due to the inactivation of one X chromosome. Reactivation of the X chromosome also allowed us to have RTT-iPSCs that express both wild-type and mutant MECP2. Using these unique pluripotent stem cells, we investigated the regulation of gene expression by MeCP2 in pluripotent stem cells by transcriptome analysis. We found that MeCP2 regulates genes encoding mitochondrial membrane proteins. In addition, loss of function in MeCP2 results in de-repression of genes on the inactive X chromosome. Furthermore, we showed that each mutation in MECP2 affects a partly different set of genes. These studies suggest that fundamental cellular physiology is affected by mutations in MECP2 from early development, and that a therapeutic approach targeting to unique forms of mutant MeCP2 is needed.
PMCID: PMC3900111  PMID: 24129406
2.  Non-stochastic reprogramming from a privileged somatic cell state 
Cell  2014;156(4):649-662.
Reprogramming somatic cells to induced pluripotency by Yamanaka factors is usually slow and inefficient, and is thought to be a stochastic process. We identified a privileged somatic cell state, from which acquisition of pluripotency could occur in a non-stochastic manner. Subsets of murine hematopoietic progenitors are privileged, whose progeny cells predominantly adopt the pluripotent fate with activation of endogenous Oct4 locus after 4–5 divisions in reprogramming conditions. Privileged cells display an ultrafast cell cycle of ~8 hours. In fibroblasts, a subpopulation cycling at a similar ultrafast speed is observed after 6 days of factor expression, and is increased by p53-knockdown. This ultrafast-cycling population accounts for >99% of the bulk reprogramming activity in wildtype or p53-knockdown fibroblasts. Our data demonstrate that the stochastic nature of reprogramming can be overcome in a privileged somatic cell state, and suggest that cell cycle acceleration toward a critical threshold is an important bottleneck for reprogramming.
PMCID: PMC4318260  PMID: 24486105
3.  Co-detection and sequencing of genes and transcripts from the same single cells facilitated by a microfluidics platform 
Scientific Reports  2014;4:6485.
Despite the recent advance of single-cell gene expression analyses, co-measurement of both genomic and transcriptional signatures at the single-cell level has not been realized. However such analysis is necessary in order to accurately delineate how genetic information is transcribed, expressed, and regulated to give rise to an enormously diverse range of cell phenotypes. Here we report on a microfluidics-facilitated approach that allows for controlled separation of cytoplasmic and nuclear contents of a single cell followed by on-chip amplification of genomic DNA and cytoplasmic mRNA. When coupled with off-chip polymerase chain reaction, gel electrophoresis and Sanger sequencing, a panel of genes and transcripts from the same single cell can be co-detected and sequenced. This platform is potentially an enabling tool to permit multiple genomic measurements performed on the same single cells and opens new opportunities to tackle a range of fundamental biology questions including non-genetic cell-to-cell variability, epigenetic regulation, and stem cell fate control. It also helps address clinical challenges such as diagnosing intra-tumor heterogeneity and dissecting complex cellular immune responses.
PMCID: PMC4175731  PMID: 25255798
4.  Architecture of the human regulatory network derived from ENCODE data 
Nature  2012;489(7414):91-100.
Transcription factors (TFs) bind in a combinatorial fashion to specify the on-and-off states of genes; the ensemble of these binding events forms a regulatory network, constituting the wiring diagram for a cell. To examine the principles of the human transcriptional regulatory network, we determined the genomic binding information of 119 TFs in 458 ChIP-Seq experiments. We found the combinatorial, co-association of TFs to be highly context specific: distinct combinations of factors bind at specific genomic locations. In particular, there are significant differences in the binding proximal and distal to genes. We organized all the TF binding into a hierarchy and integrated it with other genomic information (e.g. miRNA regulation), forming a dense meta-network. Factors at different levels have different properties: for instance, top-level TFs more strongly influence expression and middle-level ones co-regulate targets to mitigate information-flow bottlenecks. Moreover, these co-regulations give rise to many enriched network motifs -- e.g. noise-buffering feed-forward loops. Finally, more connected network components are under stronger selection and exhibit a greater degree of allele-specific activity (i.e., differential binding to the two parental alleles). The regulatory information obtained in this study will be crucial for interpreting personal genome sequences and understanding basic principles of human biology and disease.
PMCID: PMC4154057  PMID: 22955619
5.  X Chromosome of Female Cells Shows Dynamic Changes in Status during Human Somatic Cell Reprogramming 
Stem Cell Reports  2014;2(6):896-909.
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) acquire embryonic stem cell (ESC)-like epigenetic states, including the X chromosome. Previous studies reported that human iPSCs retain the inactive X chromosome of parental cells, or acquire two active X chromosomes through reprogramming. Most studies investigated the X chromosome states in established human iPSC clones after completion of reprogramming. Thus, it is still not fully understood when and how the X chromosome reactivation occurs during reprogramming. Here, we report a dynamic change in the X chromosome state throughout reprogramming, with an initial robust reactivation of the inactive X chromosome followed by an inactivation upon generation of nascent iPSC clones. iPSCs with two active X chromosomes or an eroded X chromosome arise in passaging iPSCs. These data provide important insights into the plasticity of the X chromosome of human female iPSCs and will be crucial for the future application of such cells in cell therapy and X-linked disease modeling.
Graphical Abstract
•The X chromosome state changes dynamically during human somatic cell reprogramming•Ectopic reprogramming factors transiently activate the inactive X chromosome•Nascent iPSC colonies carry an inactive X chromosome•Class I and class III iPSCs arise from nascent iPSCs
Determining the X chromosome state in human iPSCs is crucial for modeling X-linked diseases. Park and colleagues trace the X chromosome state in reprogramming and show that reprogramming reactivates the inactive X chromosome in female cells. Activated X chromosomes are randomly inactivated in nascent iPSCs. In early passaging, iPSC clones arise that contain two active X chromosomes or an eroded X chromosome.
PMCID: PMC4050354  PMID: 24936474
6.  Regulation of Gγ-Globin Gene by ATF2 and Its Associated Proteins through the cAMP-Response Element 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(11):e78253.
The upstream Gγ-globin cAMP-response element (G-CRE) plays an important role in regulating Gγ-globin expression through binding of ATF2 and its DNA-binding partners defined in this study. ATF2 knockdown resulted in a significant reduction of γ-globin expression accompanied by decreased ATF2 binding to the G-CRE. By contrast, stable ATF2 expression in K562 cells increased γ-globin transcription which was reduced by ATF2 knockdown. Moreover, a similar effect of ATF2 on γ-globin expression was observed in primary erythroid progenitors. To understand the role of ATF2 in γ-globin expression, chromatographically purified G-CRE/ATF2-interacting proteins were subjected to mass spectrometry analysis; major binding partners included CREB1, cJun, Brg1, and histone deacetylases among others. Immunoprecipitation assays demonstrated interaction of these proteins with ATF2 and in vivo GCRE binding in CD34+ cells undergoing erythroid differentiation which was correlated with γ-globin expression during development. These results suggest synergism between developmental stage-specific recruitments of the ATF2 protein complex and expression of γ-globin during erythropoiesis. Microarray studies in K562 cells support ATF2 plays diverse roles in hematopoiesis and chromatin remodeling.
PMCID: PMC3819381  PMID: 24223142
7.  Somatic copy-number mosaicism in human skin revealed by induced pluripotent stem cells 
Nature  2012;492(7429):438-442.
Reprogramming human somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) has been suspected of causing de novo copy number variations (CNVs)1-4. To explore this issue, we performed a whole-genome and transcriptome analysis of 20 human iPSC lines derived from primary skin fibroblasts of 7 individuals using next-generation sequencing. We find that, on average, an iPSC line manifests two CNVs not apparent in the fibroblasts from which the iPSC was derived. Using qPCR, PCR, and digital droplet PCR (ddPCR), we show that at least 50% of those CNVs are present as low frequency somatic genomic variants in parental fibroblasts (i.e. the fibroblasts from which each corresponding hiPSC line is derived) and are manifested in iPSC colonies due to the colonies’ clonal origin. Hence, reprogramming does not necessarily lead to de novo CNVs in iPSC, since most of line-manifested CNVs reflect somatic mosaicism in the human skin. Moreover, our findings demonstrate that clonal expansion, and iPSC lines in particular, can be used as a discovery tool to reliably detect low frequency CNVs in the tissue of origin. Overall, we estimate that approximately 30% of the fibroblast cells have somatic CNVs in their genomes, suggesting widespread somatic mosaicism in the human body. Our study paves the way to understanding the fundamental question of the extent to which cells of the human body normally acquire structural alterations in their DNA post-zygotically.
PMCID: PMC3532053  PMID: 23160490
8.  The variable somatic genome 
Cell Cycle  2013;12(1):5-6.
PMCID: PMC3570516  PMID: 23255102
somatic mosaicism; genomic rearrangement; CNV; aCGH; cancer genomics
9.  An encyclopedia of mouse DNA elements (Mouse ENCODE) 
Stamatoyannopoulos, John A | Snyder, Michael | Hardison, Ross | Ren, Bing | Gingeras, Thomas | Gilbert, David M | Groudine, Mark | Bender, Michael | Kaul, Rajinder | Canfield, Theresa | Giste, Erica | Johnson, Audra | Zhang, Mia | Balasundaram, Gayathri | Byron, Rachel | Roach, Vaughan | Sabo, Peter J | Sandstrom, Richard | Stehling, A Sandra | Thurman, Robert E | Weissman, Sherman M | Cayting, Philip | Hariharan, Manoj | Lian, Jin | Cheng, Yong | Landt, Stephen G | Ma, Zhihai | Wold, Barbara J | Dekker, Job | Crawford, Gregory E | Keller, Cheryl A | Wu, Weisheng | Morrissey, Christopher | Kumar, Swathi A | Mishra, Tejaswini | Jain, Deepti | Byrska-Bishop, Marta | Blankenberg, Daniel | Lajoie1, Bryan R | Jain, Gaurav | Sanyal, Amartya | Chen, Kaun-Bei | Denas, Olgert | Taylor, James | Blobel, Gerd A | Weiss, Mitchell J | Pimkin, Max | Deng, Wulan | Marinov, Georgi K | Williams, Brian A | Fisher-Aylor, Katherine I | Desalvo, Gilberto | Kiralusha, Anthony | Trout, Diane | Amrhein, Henry | Mortazavi, Ali | Edsall, Lee | McCleary, David | Kuan, Samantha | Shen, Yin | Yue, Feng | Ye, Zhen | Davis, Carrie A | Zaleski, Chris | Jha, Sonali | Xue, Chenghai | Dobin, Alex | Lin, Wei | Fastuca, Meagan | Wang, Huaien | Guigo, Roderic | Djebali, Sarah | Lagarde, Julien | Ryba, Tyrone | Sasaki, Takayo | Malladi, Venkat S | Cline, Melissa S | Kirkup, Vanessa M | Learned, Katrina | Rosenbloom, Kate R | Kent, W James | Feingold, Elise A | Good, Peter J | Pazin, Michael | Lowdon, Rebecca F | Adams, Leslie B
Genome Biology  2012;13(8):418.
To complement the human Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) project and to enable a broad range of mouse genomics efforts, the Mouse ENCODE Consortium is applying the same experimental pipelines developed for human ENCODE to annotate the mouse genome.
PMCID: PMC3491367  PMID: 22889292
ENCODE Project; mouse genome; DNaseI hypersensitive sites; histone modifications; transcriptome; transcription factor binding sites; comparative genomics; ChIP-seq; RNA-seq
10.  Induced pluripotent stem cells: a new tool to confront the challenge of neuropsychiatric disorders 
Neuropharmacology  2011;60(7-8):1355-1363.
Studies in the area of human brain development are critical as research on neurological and psychiatric disorders has advanced, revealing the origins of pathophysiology to be in the earliest developmental stages. Only with a more precise understanding of the genes and environments that influence the brain in these early stages can we address questions about the pathology, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders of developmental origin, like autism, schizophrenia, and Tourette syndrome. A new approach for studying early developmental events is the use of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). These are cells with wide potential, similar to that of embryonic stem cells, derived from mature somatic cells. We review the protocols used to create iPSCs, including the most efficient and reliable reprogramming strategies available to date for generating iPSCs. In addition, we discuss how this new tool can be applied to neuropsychiatric research. The use of iPSCs can advance our understanding of how genes and gene products are dynamically involved in the formation of unique features of the human brain, and how aberrant genetic variation may interfere with its typical formation. The iPSC technology, if properly applied, can also address basic questions about neural differentiation such as how stem cells can be guided into general and specific neurodevelopmental pathways. Current work in neuropsychiatry with iPSCs derived from patients has focused on disorders with specific genetics deficits and those with less-defined origins; it has revealed previously unknown aspects of pathology and potential pharmacological interventions. These exciting advances based on the use of iPSCs hold promise for improving early diagnosis and, possibly, treatment of psychiatric disorders.
PMCID: PMC3087494  PMID: 21371482
11.  The promise of stem cell research for neuropsychiatric disorders 
The study of the developing brain has begun to shed light on the underpinnings of both early and adult onset neuropsychiatric disorders. Neuroimaging of the human brain across developmental time points and the use of model animal systems have combined to reveal brain systems and gene products that may play a role in autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and many other neurodevelopmental conditions. However, precisely how genes may function in human brain development and how they interact with each other leading to psychiatric disorders is unknown. Because of an increasing understanding of neural stem cells and how the nervous system subsequently develops from these cells, we have now the ability to study disorders of the nervous system in a new way—by rewinding and reviewing the development of human neural cells. Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), developed from mature somatic cells, have allowed the development of specific cells in patients to be observed in real-time. Moreover, they have allowed some neuronal-specific abnormalities to be corrected with pharmacological intervention in tissue culture. These exciting advances based on the use of iPSCs hold great promise for understanding, diagnosing and, possibly, treating psychiatric disorders. Specifically, examination of iPSCs from typically developing individuals will reveal how basic cellular processes and genetic differences contribute to individually unique nervous systems. Moreover, by comparing iPSCs from typically developing individuals and patients, differences at stem cell stages, through neural differentiation, and into the development of functional neurons may be identified that will reveal opportunities for intervention. The application of such techniques to early onset neuropsychiatric disorders is still on the horizon but has become a reality of current research efforts as a consequence of the revelations of many years of basic developmental neurobiological science.
PMCID: PMC3124336  PMID: 21204834
12.  Tcf7 Is an Important Regulator of the Switch of Self-Renewal and Differentiation in a Multipotential Hematopoietic Cell Line 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(3):e1002565.
A critical problem in biology is understanding how cells choose between self-renewal and differentiation. To generate a comprehensive view of the mechanisms controlling early hematopoietic precursor self-renewal and differentiation, we used systems-based approaches and murine EML multipotential hematopoietic precursor cells as a primary model. EML cells give rise to a mixture of self-renewing Lin-SCA+CD34+ cells and partially differentiated non-renewing Lin-SCA-CD34− cells in a cell autonomous fashion. We identified and validated the HMG box protein TCF7 as a regulator in this self-renewal/differentiation switch that operates in the absence of autocrine Wnt signaling. We found that Tcf7 is the most down-regulated transcription factor when CD34+ cells switch into CD34− cells, using RNA–Seq. We subsequently identified the target genes bound by TCF7, using ChIP–Seq. We show that TCF7 and RUNX1 (AML1) bind to each other's promoter regions and that TCF7 is necessary for the production of the short isoforms, but not the long isoforms of RUNX1, suggesting that TCF7 and the short isoforms of RUNX1 function coordinately in regulation. Tcf7 knock-down experiments and Gene Set Enrichment Analyses suggest that TCF7 plays a dual role in promoting the expression of genes characteristic of self-renewing CD34+ cells while repressing genes activated in partially differentiated CD34− state. Finally a network of up-regulated transcription factors of CD34+ cells was constructed. Factors that control hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) establishment and development, cell growth, and multipotency were identified. These studies in EML cells demonstrate fundamental cell-intrinsic properties of the switch between self-renewal and differentiation, and yield valuable insights for manipulating HSCs and other differentiating systems.
Author Summary
The hematopoietic system has provided a leading model for stem cell studies, and there is great interest in elucidating the mechanisms that control the decision of HSC self-renewal and differentiation. This switch is important for understanding hematopoietic diseases and manipulating HSCs for therapeutic purposes. However, because HSCs are currently unable to proliferate extensively in vitro, this severely limits the types of biochemical analyses that can be performed; and, consequently, the mechanisms that control the decision between early-stage HSC self-renewal and differentiation remain unclear. Murine bone marrow derived EML multipotential hematopoietic precursor cells are ideal for studying the switch. EML cells can grow in large culture and give rise to a mixture of self-renewing Lin-SCA+CD34+ cells and partially differentiated non-renewing Lin-SCA-CD34− cells in a cell autonomous fashion. Using RNA–Sequencing and ChIP–Sequencing, we identified and validated the HMG box protein TCF7 as a regulator in this switch and find that it operates in the absence of canonical Wnt signaling. Together with RUNX1, TCF7 regulates a network of transcription factors that characterize the CD34+ cell state. This work serves as a model for studying mechanisms of autonomous and balanced cell fate choice and is ultimately valuable for manipulating HSCs.
PMCID: PMC3297581  PMID: 22412390
13.  A Large Gene Network in Immature Erythroid Cells Is Controlled by the Myeloid and B Cell Transcriptional Regulator PU.1 
PLoS Genetics  2011;7(6):e1001392.
PU.1 is a hematopoietic transcription factor that is required for the development of myeloid and B cells. PU.1 is also expressed in erythroid progenitors, where it blocks erythroid differentiation by binding to and inhibiting the main erythroid promoting factor, GATA-1. However, other mechanisms by which PU.1 affects the fate of erythroid progenitors have not been thoroughly explored. Here, we used ChIP-Seq analysis for PU.1 and gene expression profiling in erythroid cells to show that PU.1 regulates an extensive network of genes that constitute major pathways for controlling growth and survival of immature erythroid cells. By analyzing fetal liver erythroid progenitors from mice with low PU.1 expression, we also show that the earliest erythroid committed cells are dramatically reduced in vivo. Furthermore, we find that PU.1 also regulates many of the same genes and pathways in other blood cells, leading us to propose that PU.1 is a multifaceted factor with overlapping, as well as distinct, functions in several hematopoietic lineages.
Author Summary
Cellular identities are established by master regulatory transcription factors that promote cell type–specific gene expression. In some instances such factors also inhibit differentiation of alternative, closely related lineages. PU.1 is an Ets family transcription factor that is required for myeloid and B cell development. PU.1 is also expressed in red blood cell progenitors where it blocks erythroid terminal differentiation. One mechanism used by PU.1 to block red blood cell differentiation is by binding to and inhibiting the erythroid master regulator GATA-1. Here, we describe another mechanism utilized by PU.1 in erythroid progenitors. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation and high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-Seq) combined with gene expression profiling of erythroid progenitors, we show that PU.1 controls a large gene network in immature erythroid cells, including genes in pathways involved in regulating growth, survival, and differentiation of these cells. We also find that PU.1 controls many of the same genes and pathways in other blood cells. The results indicate that, in addition to activating lineage-specific genes, master regulatory transcription factors, like PU.1, also control numerous, widely expressed genes in multiple cell lineages.
PMCID: PMC3111485  PMID: 21695229
14.  Dynamics of α-globin locus chromatin structure and gene expression during erythroid differentiation of human CD34+ cells in culture 
Experimental hematology  2009;37(10):1143-1156.e3.
The aim of the present study has been to establish serum free culture conditions for the ex vivo expansion and differentiation of human CD34+ cells into erythroid lineage and to study the chromatin structure, gene expression and transcription factor recruitment at the α–globin locus in the developing erythron.
A basal IMDM cell culture medium with 1% bovine serum albumin as a serum replacement and a combination of cytokines and growth factors was used for the expansion and differentiation of the CD34+ cells. Expression patterns of the alpha and beta like genes at various stages of erythropoiesis was studied by Reverse transcriptase (RT)-qPCR analysis, profile of key erythroid transcription factors was investigated by western blotting, and the chromatin structure and transcription factor recruitment at the alpha globin locus was investigated by ChIP-qPCR analysis.
Human CD34+ cells in the serum free medium undergo near synchronous erythroid differentiation to yield large amount of cells at different differentiation stages. We observe distinct patterns of the histone modifications and transcription factor binding at the α-globin locus during erythroid differentiation of CD34+ cells. NF-E2 was present at upstream activator sites even before addition of erythropoietin (Epo), while bound GATA-1 was only detectable after Epo treatment. After seven days of erythropoietin treatment, H3K4Me2 modification uniformly increases throughout the α–globin locus. Acetylation at H3K9 and binding of Pol II, NF-E2 and GATA-1 were restricted to certain HS sites of the enhancer and theta gene, and were conspicuously low at the α-like globin promoters. Rearrangement of the insulator binding factor CTCF took place at and around the α-globin locus as CD34+ cells differentiated into erythroid pathway.
Our results indicate that remodeling of the upstream elements may be the primary event in activation of α–globin gene expression. Activation of α-globin genes upon Epo treatment involves initial binding of Pol II, down-regulation of pre-existing factors like NF-E2, removal of CTCF from the locus, then rebinding of CTCF in an altered pattern, and concurrent or subsequent binding of transcription factors like GATA-1.
PMCID: PMC2997688  PMID: 19607874
15.  Variation in Transcription Factor Binding Among Humans 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2010;328(5975):232-235.
Differences in gene expression may play a major role in speciation and phenotypic diversity. We examined genome-wide differences in transcription factor (TF) binding in several humans and a single chimpanzee using chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (ChIP-Seq). The binding sites of RNA Polymerase II (PolII) and a key regulator of immune responses, NFκB (p65), were mapped in ten lymphoblastoid cell lines and 25% and 7.5% of the respective binding regions were found to differ between individuals. Binding differences were frequently associated with SNPs and genomic structural variants (SVs) and were often correlated with differences in gene expression, suggesting functional consequences of binding variation. Furthermore, comparing PolII binding between human and chimpanzee suggests extensive divergence in TF binding. Our results indicate that many differences in individuals and species occur at the level of TF binding and provide insight into the genetic events responsible for these differences.
PMCID: PMC2938768  PMID: 20299548
16.  Chromatin Architecture and Transcription Factor Binding Regulate Expression of Erythrocyte Membrane Protein Genes▿ †  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2009;29(20):5399-5412.
Erythrocyte membrane protein genes serve as excellent models of complex gene locus structure and function, but their study has been complicated by both their large size and their complexity. To begin to understand the intricate interplay of transcription, dynamic chromatin architecture, transcription factor binding, and genomic organization in regulation of erythrocyte membrane protein genes, we performed chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) coupled with microarray analysis and ChIP coupled with massively parallel DNA sequencing in both erythroid and nonerythroid cells. Unexpectedly, most regions of GATA-1 and NF-E2 binding were remote from gene promoters and transcriptional start sites, located primarily in introns. Cooccupancy with FOG-1, SCL, and MTA-2 was found at all regions of GATA-1 binding, with cooccupancy of SCL and MTA-2 also found at regions of NF-E2 binding. Cooccupancy of GATA-1 and NF-E2 was found frequently. A common signature of histone H3 trimethylation at lysine 4, GATA-1, NF-E2, FOG-1, SCL, and MTA-2 binding and consensus GATA-1-E-box binding motifs located 34 to 90 bp away from NF-E2 binding motifs was found frequently in erythroid cell-expressed genes. These results provide insights into our understanding of membrane protein gene regulation in erythropoiesis and the regulation of complex genetic loci in erythroid and nonerythroid cells and identify numerous candidate regions for mutations associated with membrane-linked hemolytic anemia.
PMCID: PMC2756878  PMID: 19687298
17.  Chimeric Receptor mRNA Transfection as a Tool to Generate Antineoplastic Lymphocytes 
Human Gene Therapy  2009;20(1):51-61.
mRNA transfection is a useful approach for temporal cell reprogramming with minimal risk of transgene-mediated mutagenesis. We applied this to redirect lymphocyte cytotoxicity toward malignant cells. Using the chimeric immune receptor (CIR) constructs anti-CD19 CIR and 8H9 CIR, we achieved uniform expression of CIRs on virtually the entire population of lymphocytes. We reprogrammed CD3+ CD8+, CD3+ CD4+, and natural killer (NK ) cells toward autologous and allogeneic targets such as B cells, Daudi lymphoma, primary melanoma, breast ductal carcinoma, breast adenocarcinoma, and rhabdomyosarcoma. The reprogramming procedure is fast. Although most of the experiments were performed on lymphocytes obtained after 7-day activation, only 1-day activation of T cells with anti-CD3, anti-CD28 antibodies, and interleukin-2 is sufficient to develop both lymphocyte cytotoxicity and competence for mRNA transfer. The entire procedure, which includes lymphocyte activation and reprogramming, can be completed in 2 days. The efficiency of mRNA-modified human T cells was tested in a murine xenograft model. Human CD3+CD8+ lymphocytes expressing anti-CD19 CIR mRNA inhibited Daudi lymphoma growth in NOD/SCID mice. These results demonstrate that a mixed population of cytotoxic lymphocytes, including T cells together with NK cells, can be quickly and simultaneously reprogrammed by mRNA against autologous malignancies. With relatively minor modifications the described method of lymphocyte reprogramming can be scaled up for cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC2855249  PMID: 19025415
18.  The current excitement about copy-number variation: how it relates to gene duplication and protein families 
Following recent technological advances there has been an increasing interest in genome structural variation, in particular copy-number variants (CNVs) – large-scale duplications and deletions – in the human genome. Although not immediately evident, CNV surveys make a conceptual connection between the fields of population genetics and protein families, in particular with regard to the stability and expandability of families. The mechanisms giving rise to CNVs can be considered as fundamental processes underlying gene duplication and loss; duplicated genes being the results of “successful” copies, fixed and maintained in the population. Conversely, many “unsuccessful” duplicates remain in the genome as pseudogenes. Here, we survey studies on CNVs, highlighting issues related to protein families. In particular, CNVs tend to affect specific gene functional categories, such as those associated with environmental response, and are depleted in genes related to basic cellular processes. Furthermore, CNVs occur more often at the periphery of the protein interaction network. Thereby, functional categories associated with successful duplicates and unsuccessful duplicates are clearly distinguishable. These trends are likely reflective of CNV formation biases and natural selection, both of which differentially influence distinct protein families.
PMCID: PMC2577873  PMID: 18511261
19.  Personal phenotypes to go with personal genomes 
PMCID: PMC2694681  PMID: 19455137
20.  Paired-End Mapping Reveals Extensive Structural Variation in the Human Genome 
Science (New York, N.Y.)  2007;318(5849):420-426.
Structural variation of the genome involves kilobase- to megabase-sized deletions, duplications, insertions, inversions, and complex combinations of rearrangements. We introduce high-throughput and massive paired-end mapping (PEM), a large-scale genome-sequencing method to identify structural variants (SVs) ~3 kilobases (kb) or larger that combines the rescue and capture of paired ends of 3-kb fragments, massive 454 sequencing, and a computational approach to map DNA reads onto a reference genome. PEM was used to map SVs in an African and in a putatively European individual and identified shared and divergent SVs relative to the reference genome. Overall, we fine-mapped more than 1000 SVs and documented that the number of SVs among humans is much larger than initially hypothesized; many of the SVs potentially affect gene function. The breakpoint junction sequences of more than 200 SVs were determined with a novel pooling strategy and computational analysis. Our analysis provided insights into the mechanisms of SV formation in humans.
PMCID: PMC2674581  PMID: 17901297
21.  Genome-Wide Occupancy of SREBP1 and Its Partners NFY and SP1 Reveals Novel Functional Roles and Combinatorial Regulation of Distinct Classes of Genes 
PLoS Genetics  2008;4(7):e1000133.
The sterol regulatory element-binding protein (SREBP) family member SREBP1 is a critical transcriptional regulator of cholesterol and fatty acid metabolism and has been implicated in insulin resistance, diabetes, and other diet-related diseases. We globally identified the promoters occupied by SREBP1 and its binding partners NFY and SP1 in a human hepatocyte cell line using chromatin immunoprecipitation combined with genome tiling arrays (ChIP-chip). We find that SREBP1 occupies the promoters of 1,141 target genes involved in diverse biological pathways, including novel targets with roles in lipid metabolism and insulin signaling. We also identify a conserved SREBP1 DNA-binding motif in SREBP1 target promoters, and we demonstrate that many SREBP1 target genes are transcriptionally activated by treatment with insulin and glucose using gene expression microarrays. Finally, we show that SREBP1 cooperates extensively with NFY and SP1 throughout the genome and that unique combinations of these factors target distinct functional pathways. Our results provide insight into the regulatory circuitry in which SREBP1 and its network partners coordinate a complex transcriptional response in the liver with cues from the diet.
Author Summary
Transcription factors (TFs) are DNA-binding proteins that regulate the transcription of their target genes. TFs typically bind in proximity to the transcription start sites of their target genes in a region called the promoter. SREBP1 is a TF that increases the transcription of numerous genes involved in cholesterol and fat metabolism and has been linked to diet-related diseases such as insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Using microarray technology, we identified all of the promoters in the human genome that are bound by SREBP1 and two associated TFs called NFY and SP1 in a human liver cell line. Our findings greatly expand the number of genes and biological pathways that may be regulated by SREBP1 and reveal that different combinations of SREBP1 and its partners preferentially target genes involved in different pathways. Thus, in contrast to traditional studies that focus on individual genes, we have used a genomics approach to provide a novel global view of the regulatory circuitry in which SREBP1 and its partners coordinate a transcriptional response in the liver with cues from the diet.
PMCID: PMC2478640  PMID: 18654640
22.  Mammalian Sir2 Homolog SIRT3 Regulates Global Mitochondrial Lysine Acetylation▿ †  
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2007;27(24):8807-8814.
Homologs of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae Sir2 protein, sirtuins, promote longevity in many organisms. Studies of the sirtuin SIRT3 have so far been limited to cell culture systems. Here, we investigate the localization and function of SIRT3 in vivo. We show that endogenous mouse SIRT3 is a soluble mitochondrial protein. To address the function and relevance of SIRT3 in the regulation of energy metabolism, we generated and phenotypically characterized SIRT3 knockout mice. SIRT3-deficient animals exhibit striking mitochondrial protein hyperacetylation, suggesting that SIRT3 is a major mitochondrial deacetylase. In contrast, no mitochondrial hyperacetylation was detectable in mice lacking the two other mitochondrial sirtuins, SIRT4 and SIRT5. Surprisingly, despite this biochemical phenotype, SIRT3-deficient mice are metabolically unremarkable under basal conditions and show normal adaptive thermogenesis, a process previously suggested to involve SIRT3. Overall, our results extend the recent finding of lysine acetylation of mitochondrial proteins and demonstrate that SIRT3 has evolved to control reversible lysine acetylation in this organelle.
PMCID: PMC2169418  PMID: 17923681
23.  Issues in the analysis of oligonucleotide tiling microarrays for transcript mapping 
Trends in genetics : TIG  2005;21(8):466-475.
Traditional microarrays use probes complementary to known genes to quantitate the differential gene expression between two or more conditions. Genomic tiling microarray experiments differ in that probes that span a genomic region at regular intervals are used to detect the presence or absence of transcription. This difference means the same sets of biases and the methods for addressing them are unlikely to be relevant to both types of experiment. We introduce the informatics challenges arising in the analysis of tiling microarray experiments as open problems to the scientific community and present initial approaches for the analysis of this nascent technology.
PMCID: PMC1855044  PMID: 15979196
24.  Systematic analysis of transcribed loci in ENCODE regions using RACE sequencing reveals extensive transcription in the human genome 
Genome Biology  2008;9(1):R3.
RACE sequencing of ENCODE regions shows that much of the human genome is represented in poly(A)+ RNA.
Recent studies of the mammalian transcriptome have revealed a large number of additional transcribed regions and extraordinary complexity in transcript diversity. However, there is still much uncertainty regarding precisely what portion of the genome is transcribed, the exact structures of these novel transcripts, and the levels of the transcripts produced.
We have interrogated the transcribed loci in 420 selected ENCyclopedia Of DNA Elements (ENCODE) regions using rapid amplification of cDNA ends (RACE) sequencing. We analyzed annotated known gene regions, but primarily we focused on novel transcriptionally active regions (TARs), which were previously identified by high-density oligonucleotide tiling arrays and on random regions that were not believed to be transcribed. We found RACE sequencing to be very sensitive and were able to detect low levels of transcripts in specific cell types that were not detectable by microarrays. We also observed many instances of sense-antisense transcripts; further analysis suggests that many of the antisense transcripts (but not all) may be artifacts generated from the reverse transcription reaction. Our results show that the majority of the novel TARs analyzed (60%) are connected to other novel TARs or known exons. Of previously unannotated random regions, 17% were shown to produce overlapping transcripts. Furthermore, it is estimated that 9% of the novel transcripts encode proteins.
We conclude that RACE sequencing is an efficient, sensitive, and highly accurate method for characterization of the transcriptome of specific cell/tissue types. Using this method, it appears that much of the genome is represented in polyA+ RNA. Moreover, a fraction of the novel RNAs can encode protein and are likely to be functional.
PMCID: PMC2395237  PMID: 18173853
25.  FAT10/Diubiquitin-Like Protein-Deficient Mice Exhibit Minimal Phenotypic Differences 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  2006;26(13):5180-5189.
The FAT10 gene encodes a diubiquitin-like protein containing two tandem head-to-tail ubiquitin-like domains. There is a high degree of similarity between murine and human FAT10 sequences at both the mRNA and protein levels. In various cell lines, FAT10 expression was shown to be induced by gamma interferon or by tumor necrosis factor alpha. In addition, FAT10 expression was found to be up-regulated in some Epstein-Barr virus-infected B-cell lines, in activated dendritic cells, and in several epithelial tumors. However, forced expression of FAT10 in cultured cells was also found to produce apoptotic cell death. Overall, these findings suggest that FAT10 may modulate cellular growth or cellular viability. Here we describe the steps to generate, by genetic targeting, a FAT10 gene knockout mouse model. The FAT10 knockout homozygous mice are viable and fertile. No gross lesions or obvious histological differences were found in these mutated mice. Examination of lymphocyte populations from spleen, thymus, and bone marrow did not reveal any abnormalities. However, flow cytometry analysis demonstrated that the lymphocytes of FAT10 knockout mice were, on average, more prone to spontaneous apoptotic death. Physiologically, these mice demonstrated a high level of sensitivity toward endotoxin challenge. These findings indicate that FAT10 may function as a survival factor.
PMCID: PMC1489174  PMID: 16782901

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