Nr2e1 (nuclear receptor subfamily 2, group e, member 1) encodes a transcription factor important in neocortex development. Previous work has shown that nuclear receptors can have hundreds of target genes, and bind more than 300 co-interacting proteins. However, recognition of the critical role of Nr2e1 in neural stem cells and neocortex development is relatively recent, thus the molecular mechanisms involved for this nuclear receptor are only beginning to be understood. Serial analysis of gene expression (SAGE), has given researchers both qualitative and quantitative information pertaining to biological processes. Thus, in this work, six LongSAGE mouse libraries were generated from laser microdissected tissue samples of dorsal VZ/SVZ (ventricular zone and subventricular zone) from the telencephalon of wild-type (Wt) and Nr2e1-null embryos at the critical development ages E13.5, E15.5, and E17.5. We then used a novel approach, implementing multiple computational methods followed by biological validation to further our understanding of Nr2e1 in neocortex development.
In this work, we have generated a list of 1279 genes that are differentially expressed in response to altered Nr2e1 expression during in vivo neocortex development. We have refined this list to 64 candidate direct-targets of NR2E1. Our data suggested distinct roles for Nr2e1 during different neocortex developmental stages. Most importantly, our results suggest a possible novel pathway by which Nr2e1 regulates neurogenesis, which includes Lhx2 as one of the candidate direct-target genes, and SOX9 as a co-interactor.
In conclusion, we have provided new candidate interacting partners and numerous well-developed testable hypotheses for understanding the pathways by which Nr2e1 functions to regulate neocortex development.
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SAGE; Nuclear receptor; Nr2e1; Transcriptome; Neocortex; Transcription factor
Functional heterogeneity within tumors presents a significant therapeutic challenge. Here we show that quiescent, therapy-resistant Sox2+ cells propagate sonic hedgehog subgroup medulloblastoma by a mechanism that mirrors a neurogenic program. Rare Sox2+ cells produce rapidly cycling doublecortin+ progenitors that, together with their postmitotic progeny expressing NeuN, comprise tumor bulk. Sox2+ cells are enriched following anti-mitotic chemotherapy and Smoothened inhibition, creating a reservoir for tumor regrowth. Lineage traces from Sox2+ cells increase following treatment, suggesting that this population is responsible for relapse. Targeting Sox2+ cells with the antineoplastic mithramycin abrogated tumor growth. Addressing functional heterogeneity and eliminating Sox2+ cells presents a promising therapeutic paradigm for treatment of sonic hedgehog subgroup medulloblastoma.
Kulic et al. show that RBPJ, a transcriptional repressor of Notch, is frequently deleted in human cancers and can function as a tumor suppressor. Loss of RBPJ acts to derepress target gene promoters, allowing Notch-independent activation by alternate transcription factors that promote tumor growth.
Aberrant Notch activity is oncogenic in several malignancies, but it is unclear how expression or function of downstream elements in the Notch pathway affects tumor growth. Transcriptional regulation by Notch is dependent on interaction with the DNA-binding transcriptional repressor, RBPJ, and consequent derepression or activation of associated gene promoters. We show here that RBPJ is frequently depleted in human tumors. Depletion of RBPJ in human cancer cell lines xenografted into immunodeficient mice resulted in activation of canonical Notch target genes, and accelerated tumor growth secondary to reduced cell death. Global analysis of activated regions of the genome, as defined by differential acetylation of histone H4 (H4ac), revealed that the cell death pathway was significantly dysregulated in RBPJ-depleted tumors. Analysis of transcription factor binding data identified several transcriptional activators that bind promoters with differential H4ac in RBPJ-depleted cells. Functional studies demonstrated that NF-κB and MYC were essential for survival of RBPJ-depleted cells. Thus, loss of RBPJ derepresses target gene promoters, allowing Notch-independent activation by alternate transcription factors that promote tumorigenesis.
BACKGROUND: “Therapeutic Targeting of Glioblastoma” is a new pan-Canadian research team of the Terry Fox Research Institute and the Canadian Stem Cell Network funded to discover efficacious therapeutics for GBM. The team's goals are also to discover novel signaling pathways regulating GBM cell survival and genetic alterations that mediate drug resistance. As a platform, we use our collection of over 100 primary GBM tumor-initiating lines (BTIC) that are subjected to drug screening by over 1400 compounds, and to genetic and phosphoproteomic analysis. METHODS: We performed drug screening of 21 BTIC lines that represent the molecular heterogeneity of GBM patients, with a library of 110 clinically-relevant kinase inhibitors at three concentrations. We have also completed a phosphotyrosine characterization of 14 BTIC lines using phosphoproteomics. RESULTS: Multiple compounds that exhibit nanomolar cytotoxicity towards all of the lines were prioritized based upon their potency, novelty for GBM, ability to accumulate to relevant concentrations in brain, clinical status and cytotoxicity towards normal cells. Of the several hit compounds that fulfilled all of these criteria, the CDK inhibitor dinaciclib was chosen as our lead compound. We are currently investigating its mechanism of action using phosphoproteomics and RNAi as well as testing its efficacy in vivo in an orthotopic xenograft model as a single agent and in combination with TMZ. Furthermore, we have identified several compounds that exhibit selective cytotoxicity towards only a specific set of BTIC lines, suggesting that genetic differences between the lines account for differential sensitivities. The sensitivity of BTICs to one such compound, EMD-1214063, a selective MET inhibitor, may correlate with Met amplification status. Finally, phosphoproteomics results show activation of RTKs (EGFR, FGFR, PDGFRA, Eph receptor family) and non-receptor kinases (FYN, FAK1, GSK3b, MAPK, CDKs, DYRK) in the majority of BTIC lines, and of adaptor/scaffold proteins and proteins important in adhesion and migration. We are now (1) determining whether drugs that inhibit the activity of identified phosphoproteins suppress BTIC survival in culture and in orthotopic models, (2) validating the importance of those phosphoproteins in GBM survival, and (3) asking whether the prioritized drug hits from our drug screens suppress the phosphorylation of the identified phosphoproteins. CONCLUSIONS: We anticipate that our drug screening approach will generate several clinical candidates that will enable us to proceed to the clinic in the next several years. We also believe that our phosphoproteomics results will lead to identification of novel therapeutic targets for GBM. SECONDARY CATEGORY: Preclinical Experimental Therapeutics.
The authors report the case of a patient for whom whole genome sequencing was instrumental in assisting in the correct diagnosis of the tumor based on the finding of homozygous SMARCB1 loss. This resulted in a switch in chemotherapy protocol, leading to diminution of the distant metastases. They conclude that cancer diagnostics is an area that can greatly benefit from the comprehensiveness of a whole genome analysis.
Extraordinary advancements in sequencing technology have made what was once a decade-long multi-institutional endeavor into a methodology with the potential for practical use in a clinical setting. We therefore set out to examine the clinical value of next-generation sequencing by enrolling patients with incurable or ambiguous tumors into the Personalized OncoGenomics initiative at the British Columbia Cancer Agency whereby whole genome and transcriptome analyses of tumor/normal tissue pairs are completed with the ultimate goal of directing therapeutics. First, we established that the sequencing, analysis, and communication with oncologists could be completed in less than 5 weeks. Second, we found that cancer diagnostics is an area that can greatly benefit from the comprehensiveness of a whole genome analysis. Here, we present a scenario in which a metastasized sphenoid mass, which was initially thought of as an undifferentiated squamous cell carcinoma, was rediagnosed as an SMARCB1-negative rhabdoid tumor based on the newly acquired finding of homozygous SMARCB1 deletion. The new diagnosis led to a change in chemotherapy and a complete nodal response in the patient. This study also provides additional insight into the mutational landscape of an adult SMARCB1-negative tumor that has not been explored at a whole genome and transcriptome level.
Sphenoid; Rhabdoid; Atypical teratoid/rhabdoid tumor; Next-generation sequencing; SMARCB1
Intellectual disability affects about 3% of individuals globally, with∼50% idiopathic. We designed an exonic-resolution array targeting all known submicroscopic chromosomal intellectual disability syndrome loci, causative genes for intellectual disability, and potential candidate genes, all genes encoding glutamate receptors and epigenetic regulators. Using this platform, we performed chromosomal microarray analysis on 165 intellectual disability trios (affected child and both normal parents). We identified and independently validated 36 de novo copy-number changes in 32 trios. In all, 67% of the validated events were intragenic, involving only exon 1 (which includes the promoter sequence according to our design), exon 1 and adjacent exons, or one or more exons excluding exon 1. Seventeen of the 36 copy-number variants involve genes known to cause intellectual disability. Eleven of these, including seven intragenic variants, are clearly pathogenic (involving STXBP1, SHANK3 (3 patients), IL1RAPL1, UBE2A, NRXN1, MEF2C, CHD7, 15q24 and 9p24 microdeletion), two are likely pathogenic (PI4KA, DCX), two are unlikely to be pathogenic (GRIK2, FREM2), and two are unclear (ARID1B, 15q22 microdeletion). Twelve individuals with genomic imbalances identified by our array were tested with a clinical microarray, and six had a normal result. We identified de novo copy-number variants within genes not previously implicated in intellectual disability and uncovered pathogenic variation of known intellectual disability genes below the detection limit of standard clinical diagnostic chromosomal microarray analysis.
targeted; clinical; CMA; intragenic; pathogenic
Developmental history shapes the epigenome and biological function of differentiated cells. Epigenomic patterns have been broadly attributed to the three embryonic germ layers. Here we investigate how developmental origin influences epigenomes. We compare key epigenomes of cell types derived from surface ectoderm (SE), including keratinocytes and breast luminal and myoepithelial cells, against neural crest-derived melanocytes and mesoderm-derived dermal fibroblasts to identify SE differentially methylated regions (SE-DMRs). DNA methylomes of neonatal keratinocytes share many more DMRs with adult breast luminal and myoepithelial cells than with melanocytes and fibroblasts from the same neonatal skin. This suggests that SE origin contributes to DNA methylation patterning, while shared skin tissue environment has limited effect on epidermal keratinocytes. Hypomethylated SE-DMRs are in proximity to genes with SE relevant functions. They are also enriched for enhancer- and promoter-associated histone modifications in SE-derived cells, and for binding motifs of transcription factors important in keratinocyte and mammary gland biology. Thus, epigenomic analysis of cell types with common developmental origin reveals an epigenetic signature that underlies a shared gene regulatory network.
TNFAIP8 and other mammalian TIPE family proteins have attracted increased interest due to their associations with disease-related processes including oncogenic transformation, metastasis, and inflammation. The molecular and cellular functions of TIPE family proteins are still not well understood. Here we report the molecular and genetic characterization of the Drosophila TNFAIP8 homolog, CG4091/sigmar. Previous gene expression studies revealed dynamic expression of sigmar in larval salivary glands prior to histolysis. Here we demonstrate that in sigmar loss-of-function mutants, the salivary glands are morphologically abnormal with defects in the tubulin network and decreased autophagic flux. Sigmar localizes subcellularly to microtubule-containing projections in Drosophila S2 cells, and co-immunoprecipitates with the Ste20-like kinase Misshapen, a regulator of the JNK pathway. Further, the Drosophila TNF ligand Eiger can induce sigmar expression, and sigmar loss-of-function leads to altered localization of pDJNK in salivary glands. Together, these findings link Sigmar to the JNK pathway, cytoskeletal remodeling and autophagy activity during salivary gland development, and provide new insights into TIPE family member function.
Eiger; Msn; Autophagy; Cytoskeleton; TNFAIP8; TIPE
Peritoneal mesothelioma is a rare and sometimes lethal malignancy that presents a clinical challenge for both diagnosis and management. Recent studies have led to a better understanding of the molecular biology of peritoneal mesothelioma. Translation of the emerging data into better treatments and outcome is needed. From two patients with peritoneal mesothelioma, we derived whole genome sequences, RNA expression profiles, and targeted deep sequencing data. Molecular data were made available for translation into a clinical treatment plan. Treatment responses and outcomes were later examined in the context of molecular findings. Molecular studies presented here provide the first reported whole genome sequences of peritoneal mesothelioma. Mutations in known mesothelioma-related genes NF2, CDKN2A, LATS2, amongst others, were identified. Activation of MET-related signaling pathways was demonstrated in both cases. A hypermutated phenotype was observed in one case (434 vs. 18 single nucleotide variants) and was associated with a favourable outcome despite sarcomatoid histology and multifocal disease. This study represents the first report of whole genome analyses of peritoneal mesothelioma, a key step in the understanding and treatment of this disease.
Dormant leukemia stem cells (LSC) promote therapeutic resistance and leukemic progression as a result of unbridled activation of stem cell gene expression programs. Thus, we hypothesized that 1) deregulation of the hedgehog (Hh) stem cell self-renewal and cell cycle regulatory pathway would promote dormant human LSC generation and 2) that PF-04449913, a clinical antagonist of the GLI2 transcriptional activator, smoothened (SMO), would enhance dormant human LSC eradication.
To test these postulates, whole transcriptome RNA sequencing (RNA-seq), microarray, qRT-PCR, stromal co-culture, confocal fluorescence microscopic, nanoproteomic, serial transplantation and cell cycle analyses were performed on FACS purified normal, chronic phase (CP) chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), blast crisis (BC) phase CML progenitors with or without PF-04449913 treatment.
Notably, RNA-seq analyses revealed that Hh pathway and cell cycle regulatory gene overexpression correlated with leukemic progression. While lentivirally enforced GLI2 expression enhanced leukemic progenitor dormancy in stromal co-cultures, this was not observed with a mutant GLI2 lacking a transactivation domain, suggesting that GLI2 expression prevented cell cycle transit. Selective SMO inhibition with PF-04449913 in humanized stromal co-cultures and LSC xenografts reduced downstream GLI2 protein and cell cycle regulatory gene expression. Moreover, SMO inhibition enhanced cell cycle transit and sensitized BC LSC to tyrosine kinase inhibition in vivo at doses that spare normal HSC.
In summary, while GLI2, forms part of a core HH pathway transcriptional regulatory network that promotes human myeloid leukemic progression and dormant LSC generation, selective inhibition with PF-04449913 reduces the dormant LSC burden thereby providing a strong rationale for clinical trials predicated on SMO inhibition in combination with TKIs or chemotherapeutic agents with the ultimate aim of obviating leukemic therapeutic resistance, persistence and progression.
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Leukemia stem cells; Cell cycle; PF-04449913; Sonic hedgehog; Smoothened SMO; GLI2
The role of intermediate methylation states in DNA is unclear. Here, to comprehensively identify regions of intermediate methylation and their quantitative relationship with gene activity, we apply integrative and comparative epigenomics to 25 human primary cell and tissue samples. We report 18,452 intermediate methylation regions located near 36% of genes and enriched at enhancers, exons and DNase I hypersensitivity sites. Intermediate methylation regions average 57% methylation, are predominantly allele-independent and are conserved across individuals and between mouse and human, suggesting a conserved function. These regions have an intermediate level of active chromatin marks and their associated genes have intermediate transcriptional activity. Exonic intermediate methylation correlates with exon inclusion at a level between that of fully methylated and unmethylated exons, highlighting gene context-dependent functions. We conclude that intermediate DNA methylation is a conserved signature of gene regulation and exon usage.
Many loci in the mammalian genome are intermediately methylated. Here, by comprehensively identifying these loci and quantifying their relationship with gene activity, the authors show that intermediate methylation is an evolutionarily conserved epigenomic signature of gene regulation.
While significant effort has been dedicated to the characterization of epigenetic changes associated with prenatal differentiation, relatively little is known about the epigenetic changes that accompany post-natal differentiation where fully functional differentiated cell types with limited lifespans arise. Here we sought to address this gap by generating epigenomic and transcriptional profiles from primary human breast cell types isolated from disease-free human subjects. From these data we define a comprehensive human breast transcriptional network, including a set of myoepithelial- and luminal epithelial-specific intronic retention events. Intersection of epigenetic states with RNA expression from distinct breast epithelium lineages demonstrates that mCpG provides a stable record of exonic and intronic usage, whereas H3K36me3 is dynamic. We find a striking asymmetry in epigenomic reprogramming between luminal and myoepithelial cell types, with the genomes of luminal cells harbouring more than twice the number of hypomethylated enhancer elements compared with myoepithelial cells.
Epigenetic changes associated with post-natal differentiation have been characterized. Here the authors generate epigenomic and transcriptional profiles from primary human breast cells, providing insights into the transcriptional and epigenetic events that define post-natal cell differentiation in vivo.
Small cell carcinoma of the ovary of hypercalcemic type (SCCOHT) is an extremely rare, aggressive cancer affecting children and young women. We identified germline and somatic inactivating mutations in the SWI/SNF chromatin-remodeling gene SMARCA4 in 69% (9/13) of SCCOHT cases in addition to SMARCA4 protein loss in 82% (14/17) of SCCOHT tumors but in only 0.4% (2/485) of other primary ovarian tumors. These data implicate SMARCA4 in SCCOHT oncogenesis.
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is an aggressive disease, with 30% to 40% of patients failing to be cured with available primary therapy. microRNAs (miRNAs) are RNA molecules that attenuate expression of their mRNA targets. To characterize the DLBCL miRNome, we sequenced miRNAs from 92 DLBCL and 15 benign centroblast fresh frozen samples and from 140 DLBCL formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tissue samples for validation.
We identify known and candidate novel miRNAs, 25 of which are associated with survival independently of cell-of-origin and International Prognostic Index scores, which are established indicators of outcome. Of these 25 miRNAs, six miRNAs are significantly associated with survival in our validation cohort. Abundant expression of miR-28-5p, miR-214-5p, miR-339-3p, and miR-5586-5p is associated with superior outcome, while abundant expression of miR-324-5p and NOVELM00203M is associated with inferior outcome. Comparison of DLBCL miRNA-seq expression profiles with those from other cancer types identifies miRNAs that were more abundant in B-cell contexts. Unsupervised clustering of miRNAs identifies two clusters of patients that have distinct differences in their outcomes. Our integrative miRNA and mRNA expression analyses reveal that miRNAs increased in abundance in DLBCL appear to regulate the expression of genes involved in metabolism, cell cycle, and protein modification. Additionally, these miRNAs, including one candidate novel miRNA, miR-10393-3p, appear to target chromatin modification genes that are frequent targets of somatic mutation in non-Hodgkin lymphomas.
Our comprehensive sequence analysis of the DLBCL miRNome identifies candidate novel miRNAs and miRNAs associated with survival, reinforces results from previous mutational analyses, and reveals regulatory networks of significance for lymphomagenesis.
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Diffuse gliomas consist of both low- and high-grade varieties, each with distinct morphological and biological features. The often extended periods of relative indolence exhibited by low-grade gliomas (LGG; WHO grade II) differ sharply from the aggressive, rapidly fatal clinical course of primary glioblastoma (GBM; WHO grade IV). Nevertheless, until recently, the molecular foundations underlying this stark biological contrast between glioma variants remained largely unknown. The discoveries of distinctive and highly recurrent genomic and epigenomic abnormalities in LGG have both informed a more accurate classification scheme and pointed to viable avenues for therapeutic development. As such, the field of neuro-oncology now seems poised to capitalize on these gains to achieve significant benefit for LGG patients. This report will briefly recount the proceedings of a workshop held in January 2013 and hosted by Accelerate Brain Cancer Cure (ABC2) on the subject of LGG. While much of the meeting covered recent insights into LGG biology, its focus remained on how best to advance the clinical management, whether by improved preclinical modeling, more effective targeted therapeutics and clinical trial design, or innovative imaging technology.
clinical trials; genomics; low-grade glioma; personalized medicine
We describe the landscape of somatic genomic alterations based on multi-dimensional and comprehensive characterization of more than 500 glioblastoma tumors (GBMs). We identify several novel mutated genes as well as complex rearrangements of signature receptors including EGFR and PDGFRA. TERT promoter mutations are shown to correlate with elevated mRNA expression, supporting a role in telomerase reactivation. Correlative analyses confirm that the survival advantage of the proneural subtype is conferred by the G-CIMP phenotype, and MGMT DNA methylation may be a predictive biomarker for treatment response only in classical subtype GBM. Integrative analysis of genomic and proteomic profiles challenges the notion of therapeutic inhibition of a pathway as an alternative to inhibition of the target itself. These data will facilitate the discovery of therapeutic and diagnostic target candidates, the validation of research and clinical observations and the generation of unanticipated hypotheses that can advance our molecular understanding of this lethal cancer.
Gastric cancer is a leading cause of cancer deaths, but analysis of its molecular and clinical characteristics has been complicated by histological and aetiological heterogeneity. Here we describe a comprehensive molecular evaluation of 295 primary gastric adenocarcinomas as part of The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project. We propose a molecular classification dividing gastric cancer into four subtypes: tumours positive for Epstein–Barr virus, which display recurrent PIK3CA mutations, extreme DNA hypermethylation, and amplification of JAK2, CD274 (also known as PD-L1) and PDCD1LG2 (also knownasPD-L2); microsatellite unstable tumours, which show elevated mutation rates, including mutations of genes encoding targetable oncogenic signalling proteins; genomically stable tumours, which are enriched for the diffuse histological variant and mutations of RHOA or fusions involving RHO-family GTPase-activating proteins; and tumours with chromosomal instability, which show marked aneuploidy and focal amplification of receptor tyrosine kinases. Identification of these subtypes provides a roadmap for patient stratification and trials of targeted therapies.
The majority of oligodendrogliomas (ODGs) exhibit combined losses of chromosomes 1p and 19q and mutations of isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH1-R132H or IDH2-R172K). Approximately 70% of ODGs with 1p19q co-deletions harbor somatic mutations in the Capicua Transcriptional Repressor (CIC) gene on chromosome 19q13.2. Here we show that endogenous long (CIC-L) and short (CIC-S) CIC proteins are predominantly localized to the nucleus or cytoplasm, respectively. Cytoplasmic CIC-S is found in close proximity to the mitochondria. To study wild type and mutant CIC function and motivated by the paucity of 1p19q co-deleted ODG lines, we created HEK293 and HOG stable cell lines ectopically co-expressing CIC and IDH1. Non-mutant lines displayed increased clonogenicity, but cells co-expressing the mutant IDH1-R132H with either CIC-S-R201W or -R1515H showed reduced clonogenicity in an additive manner, demonstrating cooperative effects in our assays. Expression of mutant CIC-R1515H increased cellular 2-Hydroxyglutarate (2HG) levels compared to wild type CIC in IDH1-R132H background. Levels of phosphorylated ATP-citrate Lyase (ACLY) were lower in cell lines expressing mutant CIC-S proteins compared to cells expressing wild type CIC-S, supporting a cytosolic citrate metabolism-related mechanism of reduced clonogenicity in our in vitro model systems. ACLY or phospho-ACLY were similarly reduced in CIC-mutant 1p19q co-deleted oligodendroglioma patient samples.
CIC; IDH1; ACLY; citrate; 2HG; Oligodendroglioma
Desmosterolosis is an autosomal recessive disorder of cholesterol biosynthesis caused by biallelic mutations of DHCR24 (homozygous or compound heterozygous), which encodes 3-β-hydroxysterol Δ-24-reductase. We report two sisters homozygous for the 571G>A (E191K) DHCR24 mutation. Comparison of the propositae to other reported individuals shows that psychomotor developmental delay, failure to thrive, dysgenesis of the corpus callosum, cerebral white matter atrophy and spasticity likely constitute the minimal desmosterolosis phenotype. The nonspecific features of desmosterolosis make it difficult to suspect clinically and therefore screening for it should be entertained early in the diagnostic evaluation.
DHCR24; Desmosterol; Intellectual disability; Cholesterol biosynthesis; Exome sequencing
While the methylation of DNA in 5′ promoters suppresses gene expression, the role of DNA methylation in gene bodies is unclear1–5. In mammals, tissue- and cell type-specific methylation is present in a small percentage of 5′ CpG island (CGI) promoters, while a far greater proportion occurs across gene bodies, coinciding with highly conserved sequences5–10. Tissue-specific intragenic methylation might reduce,3 or, paradoxically, enhance transcription elongation efficiency1,2,4,5. Capped analysis of gene expression (CAGE) experiments also indicate that transcription commonly initiates within and between genes11–15. To investigate the role of intragenic methylation, we generated a map of DNA methylation from human brain encompassing 24.7 million of the 28 million CpG sites. From the dense, high-resolution coverage of CpG islands, the majority of methylated CpG islands were revealed to be in intragenic and intergenic regions, while less than 3% of CpG islands in 5′ promoters were methylated. The CpG islands in all three locations overlapped with RNA markers of transcription initiation, and unmethylated CpG islands also overlapped significantly with trimethylation of H3K4, a histone modification enriched at promoters16. The general and CpG-island-specific patterns of methylation are conserved in mouse tissues. An in-depth investigation of the human SHANK3 locus17,18 and its mouse homologue demonstrated that this tissue-specific DNA methylation regulates intragenic promoter activity in vitro and in vivo. These methylation-regulated, alternative transcripts are expressed in a tissue and cell type-specific manner, and are expressed differentially within a single cell type from distinct brain regions. These results support a major role for intragenic methylation in regulating cell context-specific alternative promoters in gene bodies.
Intragenic DNA methylation; alternate promoters; comparative epigenomics; SHANK3
Tumor recurrence is a leading cause of cancer mortality. Therapies for recurrent disease may fail, at least in part, because the genomic alterations driving the growth of recurrences are distinct from those in the initial tumor. To explore this hypothesis, we sequenced the exomes of 23 initial low-grade gliomas and recurrent tumors resected from the same patients. In 43% of cases, at least half of the mutations in the initial tumor were undetected at recurrence, including driver mutations in TP53, ATRX, SMARCA4, and BRAF, suggesting recurrent tumors are often seeded by cells derived from the initial tumor at a very early stage of their evolution. Notably, tumors from 6 of 10 patients treated with the chemotherapeutic drug temozolomide (TMZ) followed an alternative evolutionary path to high-grade glioma. At recurrence, these tumors were hypermutated and harbored driver mutations in the RB and AKT-mTOR pathways that bore the signature of TMZ-induced mutagenesis.
Cryptococcus neoformans is a pathogenic basidiomycetous yeast responsible for more than 600,000 deaths each year. It occurs as two serotypes (A and D) representing two varieties (i.e. grubii and neoformans, respectively). Here, we sequenced the genome and performed an RNA-Seq-based analysis of the C. neoformans var. grubii transcriptome structure. We determined the chromosomal locations, analyzed the sequence/structural features of the centromeres, and identified origins of replication. The genome was annotated based on automated and manual curation. More than 40,000 introns populating more than 99% of the expressed genes were identified. Although most of these introns are located in the coding DNA sequences (CDS), over 2,000 introns in the untranslated regions (UTRs) were also identified. Poly(A)-containing reads were employed to locate the polyadenylation sites of more than 80% of the genes. Examination of the sequences around these sites revealed a new poly(A)-site-associated motif (AUGHAH). In addition, 1,197 miscRNAs were identified. These miscRNAs can be spliced and/or polyadenylated, but do not appear to have obvious coding capacities. Finally, this genome sequence enabled a comparative analysis of strain H99 variants obtained after laboratory passage. The spectrum of mutations identified provides insights into the genetics underlying the micro-evolution of a laboratory strain, and identifies mutations involved in stress responses, mating efficiency, and virulence.
Cryptococcus neoformans var. grubii is a major human pathogen responsible for deadly meningoencephalitis in immunocompromised patients. Here, we report the sequencing and annotation of its genome. Evidence for extensive intron splicing, antisense transcription, non-coding RNAs, and alternative polyadenylation indicates the potential for highly intricate regulation of gene expression in this opportunistic pathogen. In addition, detailed molecular, genetic, and genomic studies were performed to characterize structural features of the genome, including centromeres and origins of replication. Finally, the phenotypic and genome re-sequencing analysis of a collection of isolates of the reference H99 strain resulting from laboratory passage revealed that microevolutionary processes during in vitro culturing of pathogenic fungi can impact virulence.
Medulloblastoma is comprised of four distinct molecular variants: WNT, SHH, Group 3, and Group 4. We analyzed alternative splicing usage in 14 normal cerebellar samples and 103 medulloblastomas of known subgroup. Medulloblastoma samples have a statistically significant increase in alternative splicing as compared to normal fetal cerebella (2.3-times; P<6.47E-8). Splicing patterns are distinct and specific between molecular subgroups. Unsupervised hierarchical clustering of alternative splicing events accurately assigns medulloblastomas to their correct subgroup. Subgroup-specific splicing and alternative promoter usage was most prevalent in Group 3 (19.4%) and SHH (16.2%) medulloblastomas, while observed less frequently in WNT (3.2%), and Group 4 (9.3%) tumors. Functional annotation of alternatively spliced genes reveals over-representation of genes important for neuronal development. Alternative splicing events in medulloblastoma may be regulated in part by the correlative expression of antisense transcripts, suggesting a possible mechanism affecting subgroup specific alternative splicing. Our results identify additional candidate markers for medulloblastoma subgroup affiliation, further support the existence of distinct subgroups of the disease, and demonstrate an additional level of transcriptional heterogeneity between medulloblastoma subgroups.
medulloblastoma; alternative splicing; neuronal development; molecular subgroup; pediatric cancer
Leukemia stem cells (LSC) play a pivotal role in chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) resistance and progression to blast crisis (BC), in part, through alternative splicing of self-renewal and survival genes. To elucidate splice isoform regulators of human BC LSC maintenance, we performed whole transcriptome RNA sequencing; splice isoform-specific qRT-PCR, nanoproteomics, stromal co-culture and BC LSC xenotransplantation analyses. Cumulatively, these studies show that alternative splicing of multiple pro-survival BCL2 family genes promotes malignant transformation of myeloid progenitors into BC LSC that are quiescent in the marrow niche and contribute to therapeutic resistance. Notably, a novel pan-BCL2 inhibitor, sabutoclax, renders marrow niche-resident BC LSC sensitive to TKIs at doses that spare normal progenitors. These findings underscore the importance of alternative BCL2 family splice isoform expression in BC LSC maintenance and suggest that combinatorial inhibition of pro-survival BCL2 family proteins and BCR-ABL may eliminate dormant LSC and obviate resistance.
Pathways defining susceptibility of normal cells to oncogenic transformation may be valuable therapeutic targets. We characterized the cell of origin and its critical pathways in MN1-induced leukemias. Common myeloid (CMP), but not granulocyte-macrophage progenitors (GMP) could be transformed by MN1. Complementation studies of CMP-signature genes in GMPs demonstrated that MN1-leukemogenicity required the MEIS1/AbdB-like HOX-protein complex. ChIP-sequencing identified common target genes of MN1 and MEIS1, and demonstrated identical binding sites for a large proportion of their chromatin targets. Transcriptional repression of MEIS1 targets in established MN1 leukemias demonstrated antileukemic activity. As MN1 relies on but cannot activate expression of MEIS1/AbdB-like HOX proteins, transcriptional activity of these genes determines cellular susceptibility to MN1-induced transformation, and may represent a promising therapeutic target.
PMID: 21741595 CAMSID: cams3759