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1.  The sequence and de novo assembly of the giant panda genome 
Li, Ruiqiang | Fan, Wei | Tian, Geng | Zhu, Hongmei | He, Lin | Cai, Jing | Huang, Quanfei | Cai, Qingle | Li, Bo | Bai, Yinqi | Zhang, Zhihe | Zhang, Yaping | Wang, Wen | Li, Jun | Wei, Fuwen | Li, Heng | Jian, Min | Li, Jianwen | Zhang, Zhaolei | Nielsen, Rasmus | Li, Dawei | Gu, Wanjun | Yang, Zhentao | Xuan, Zhaoling | Ryder, Oliver A. | Leung, Frederick Chi-Ching | Zhou, Yan | Cao, Jianjun | Sun, Xiao | Fu, Yonggui | Fang, Xiaodong | Guo, Xiaosen | Wang, Bo | Hou, Rong | Shen, Fujun | Mu, Bo | Ni, Peixiang | Lin, Runmao | Qian, Wubin | Wang, Guodong | Yu, Chang | Nie, Wenhui | Wang, Jinhuan | Wu, Zhigang | Liang, Huiqing | Min, Jiumeng | Wu, Qi | Cheng, Shifeng | Ruan, Jue | Wang, Mingwei | Shi, Zhongbin | Wen, Ming | Liu, Binghang | Ren, Xiaoli | Zheng, Huisong | Dong, Dong | Cook, Kathleen | Shan, Gao | Zhang, Hao | Kosiol, Carolin | Xie, Xueying | Lu, Zuhong | Zheng, Hancheng | Li, Yingrui | Steiner, Cynthia C. | Lam, Tommy Tsan-Yuk | Lin, Siyuan | Zhang, Qinghui | Li, Guoqing | Tian, Jing | Gong, Timing | Liu, Hongde | Zhang, Dejin | Fang, Lin | Ye, Chen | Zhang, Juanbin | Hu, Wenbo | Xu, Anlong | Ren, Yuanyuan | Zhang, Guojie | Bruford, Michael W. | Li, Qibin | Ma, Lijia | Guo, Yiran | An, Na | Hu, Yujie | Zheng, Yang | Shi, Yongyong | Li, Zhiqiang | Liu, Qing | Chen, Yanling | Zhao, Jing | Qu, Ning | Zhao, Shancen | Tian, Feng | Wang, Xiaoling | Wang, Haiyin | Xu, Lizhi | Liu, Xiao | Vinar, Tomas | Wang, Yajun | Lam, Tak-Wah | Yiu, Siu-Ming | Liu, Shiping | Zhang, Hemin | Li, Desheng | Huang, Yan | Wang, Xia | Yang, Guohua | Jiang, Zhi | Wang, Junyi | Qin, Nan | Li, Li | Li, Jingxiang | Bolund, Lars | Kristiansen, Karsten | Wong, Gane Ka-Shu | Olson, Maynard | Zhang, Xiuqing | Li, Songgang | Yang, Huanming | Wang, Jian | Wang, Jun
Nature  2009;463(7279):311-317.
Using next-generation sequencing technology alone, we have successfully generated and assembled a draft sequence of the giant panda genome. The assembled contigs (2.25 gigabases (Gb)) cover approximately 94% of the whole genome, and the remaining gaps (0.05 Gb) seem to contain carnivore-specific repeats and tandem repeats. Comparisons with the dog and human showed that the panda genome has a lower divergence rate. The assessment of panda genes potentially underlying some of its unique traits indicated that its bamboo diet might be more dependent on its gut microbiome than its own genetic composition. We also identified more than 2.7 million heterozygous single nucleotide polymorphisms in the diploid genome. Our data and analyses provide a foundation for promoting mammalian genetic research, and demonstrate the feasibility for using next-generation sequencing technologies for accurate, cost-effective and rapid de novo assembly of large eukaryotic genomes.
PMCID: PMC3951497  PMID: 20010809
2.  An Oestrogen Receptor α-bound Human Chromatin Interactome 
Nature  2009;462(7269):58-64.
Genomes are organized into high-level 3-dimensional structures, and DNA elements separated by long genomic distances could functionally interact. Many transcription factors bind to regulatory DNA elements distant from gene promoters. While distal binding sites have been shown to regulate transcription by long-range chromatin interactions at a few loci, chromatin interactions and their impact on transcription regulation have not been investigated in a genome-wide manner. Therefore, we developed Chromatin Interaction Analysis by Paired-End Tag sequencing (ChIA-PET) for de novo detection of global chromatin interactions, and comprehensively mapped the chromatin interaction network bound by oestrogen receptor α (ERα) in the human genome. We found that most high-confidence remote ERα binding sites are anchored at gene promoters through long-range chromatin interactions, suggesting that ERα functions by extensive chromatin looping to bring genes together for coordinated transcriptional regulation. We propose that chromatin interactions constitute a primary mechanism for regulating transcription in mammalian genomes.
PMCID: PMC2774924  PMID: 19890323
3.  EGFR modulates microRNA maturation in response to hypoxia through phosphorylation of AGO2 
Nature  2013;497(7449):383-387.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are generated by two-step processing to yield small RNAs that negatively regulate target gene expression at the post-transcriptional level1. Deregulation of miRNAs has been linked to diverse pathological processes, including cancer2,3. Recent studies have also implicated miRNAs in the regulation of cellular response to a spectrum of stresses4, such as hypoxia, which is frequently encountered in the poorly angiogenic core of a solid tumour5. However, the upstream regulators of miRNA biogenesis machineries remain obscure, raising the question of how tumour cells efficiently coordinate and impose specificity on miRNA expression and function in response to stresses. Here we show that epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which is the product of a well-characterized oncogene in human cancers, suppresses the maturation of specific tumour-suppressor-like miRNAs in response to hypoxic stress through phosphorylation of argonaute 2 (AGO2) at Tyr 393. The association between EGFR and AGO2 is enhanced by hypoxia, leading to elevated AGO2-Y393 phosphorylation, which in turn reduces the binding of Dicer to AGO2 and inhibits miRNA processing from precursor miRNAs to mature miRNAs. We also identify a long-loop structure in precursor miRNAs as a critical regulatory element in phospho-Y393-AGO2-mediated miRNA maturation. Furthermore, AGO2-Y393 phosphorylation mediates EGFR-enhanced cell survival and invasiveness under hypoxia, and correlates with poorer overall survival in breast cancer patients. Our study reveals a previously unrecognized function of EGFR in miRNA maturation and demonstrates how EGFR is likely to function as a regulator of AGO2 through novel post-translational modification. These findings suggest that modulation of miRNA biogenesis is important for stress response in tumour cells and has potential clinical implications.
PMCID: PMC3717558  PMID: 23636329
4.  Mechanistic studies of an unprecedented enzyme-catalyzed 1,2-phosphono migration reaction 
Nature  2013;496(7443):114-118.
(S)-2-Hydroxypropylphosphonate ((S)-2-HPP) epoxidase (HppE) is a mononuclear non-heme iron-dependent enzyme1,2,3 responsible for the last step in the biosynthesis of the clinically useful antibiotic fosfomycin4. Enzymes of this class typically catalyze oxygenation reactions that proceed via the formation of substrate radical intermediates. In contrast, HppE catalyzes an unusual dehydrogenation reaction while converting the secondary alcohol of (S)-2-HPP to the epoxide ring of fosfomycin1,5. HppE is shown here to also catalyze a biologically unprecedented 1,2-phosphono migration with the alternative substrate (R)-1-HPP. This transformation likely involves an intermediary carbocation based on observations with additional substrate analogues, such as (1R)-1-hydroxy-2-aminopropylphosphonate, and model reactions for both radical- and carbocation-mediated migration. The ability of HppE to catalyze distinct reactions depending on the regio- and stereochemical properties of the substrate is given a structural basis using X-ray crystallography. These results provide compelling evidence for the formation of a substrate-derived cation intermediate in the catalytic cycle of a mononuclear non-heme iron-dependent enzyme. The underlying chemistry of this unusual phosphono migration may represent a new paradigm for the in vivo construction of phosphonate-containing natural products that can be exploited for the preparation of novel phosphonate derivatives.
PMCID: PMC3725809  PMID: 23552950
5.  Role of Corin in Trophoblast Invasion and Uterine Spiral Artery Remodeling in Pregnancy 
Nature  2012;484(7393):246-250.
In pregnancy, trophoblast invasion and uterine spiral artery remodeling are important for lowering maternal vascular resistance and increasing uteroplacental blood flow. Impaired spiral artery remodeling has long been implicated in preeclampsia, a major complication of pregnancy, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear1, 2. Corin is a cardiac protease that activates atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP), a cardiac hormone important in regulating blood pressure3. Unexpectedly, corin expression was detected in the pregnant uterus4. Here we identify a novel function of corin and ANP in promoting trophoblast invasion and spiral artery remodeling. We show that pregnant corin- or ANP-deficient mice developed high blood pressure and proteinuria, characteristics of preeclampsia. In these mice, trophoblast invasion and uterine spiral artery remodeling were markedly impaired. Consistently, we find that ANP potently stimulated human trophoblasts in invading Matrigels. In patients with preeclampsia, uterine corin mRNA and protein levels were significantly lower than that in normal pregnancies. Moreover, we have identified corin gene mutations in preeclamptic patients, which decreased corin activity in processing pro-ANP. These results indicate that corin and ANP are essential for physiological changes at the maternal-fetal interface, suggesting that defects in corin and ANP function may contribute to preeclampsia.
PMCID: PMC3578422  PMID: 22437503
6.  Patterns and rates of exonic de novo mutations in autism spectrum disorders 
Nature  2012;485(7397):242-245.
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are believed to have genetic and environmental origins, yet in only a modest fraction of individuals can specific causes be identified1,2. To identify further genetic risk factors, we assess the role of de novo mutations in ASD by sequencing the exomes of ASD cases and their parents (n= 175 trios). Fewer than half of the cases (46.3%) carry a missense or nonsense de novo variant and the overall rate of mutation is only modestly higher than the expected rate. In contrast, there is significantly enriched connectivity among the proteins encoded by genes harboring de novo missense or nonsense mutations, and excess connectivity to prior ASD genes of major effect, suggesting a subset of observed events are relevant to ASD risk. The small increase in rate of de novo events, when taken together with the connections among the proteins themselves and to ASD, are consistent with an important but limited role for de novo point mutations, similar to that documented for de novo copy number variants. Genetic models incorporating these data suggest that the majority of observed de novo events are unconnected to ASD, those that do confer risk are distributed across many genes and are incompletely penetrant (i.e., not necessarily causal). Our results support polygenic models in which spontaneous coding mutations in any of a large number of genes increases risk by 5 to 20-fold. Despite the challenge posed by such models, results from de novo events and a large parallel case-control study provide strong evidence in favor of CHD8 and KATNAL2 as genuine autism risk factors.
PMCID: PMC3613847  PMID: 22495311
7.  A framework for human microbiome research 
Methé, Barbara A. | Nelson, Karen E. | Pop, Mihai | Creasy, Heather H. | Giglio, Michelle G. | Huttenhower, Curtis | Gevers, Dirk | Petrosino, Joseph F. | Abubucker, Sahar | Badger, Jonathan H. | Chinwalla, Asif T. | Earl, Ashlee M. | FitzGerald, Michael G. | Fulton, Robert S. | Hallsworth-Pepin, Kymberlie | Lobos, Elizabeth A. | Madupu, Ramana | Magrini, Vincent | Martin, John C. | Mitreva, Makedonka | Muzny, Donna M. | Sodergren, Erica J. | Versalovic, James | Wollam, Aye M. | Worley, Kim C. | Wortman, Jennifer R. | Young, Sarah K. | Zeng, Qiandong | Aagaard, Kjersti M. | Abolude, Olukemi O. | Allen-Vercoe, Emma | Alm, Eric J. | Alvarado, Lucia | Andersen, Gary L. | Anderson, Scott | Appelbaum, Elizabeth | Arachchi, Harindra M. | Armitage, Gary | Arze, Cesar A. | Ayvaz, Tulin | Baker, Carl C. | Begg, Lisa | Belachew, Tsegahiwot | Bhonagiri, Veena | Bihan, Monika | Blaser, Martin J. | Bloom, Toby | Vivien Bonazzi, J. | Brooks, Paul | Buck, Gregory A. | Buhay, Christian J. | Busam, Dana A. | Campbell, Joseph L. | Canon, Shane R. | Cantarel, Brandi L. | Chain, Patrick S. | Chen, I-Min A. | Chen, Lei | Chhibba, Shaila | Chu, Ken | Ciulla, Dawn M. | Clemente, Jose C. | Clifton, Sandra W. | Conlan, Sean | Crabtree, Jonathan | Cutting, Mary A. | Davidovics, Noam J. | Davis, Catherine C. | DeSantis, Todd Z. | Deal, Carolyn | Delehaunty, Kimberley D. | Dewhirst, Floyd E. | Deych, Elena | Ding, Yan | Dooling, David J. | Dugan, Shannon P. | Dunne, Wm. Michael | Durkin, A. Scott | Edgar, Robert C. | Erlich, Rachel L. | Farmer, Candace N. | Farrell, Ruth M. | Faust, Karoline | Feldgarden, Michael | Felix, Victor M. | Fisher, Sheila | Fodor, Anthony A. | Forney, Larry | Foster, Leslie | Di Francesco, Valentina | Friedman, Jonathan | Friedrich, Dennis C. | Fronick, Catrina C. | Fulton, Lucinda L. | Gao, Hongyu | Garcia, Nathalia | Giannoukos, Georgia | Giblin, Christina | Giovanni, Maria Y. | Goldberg, Jonathan M. | Goll, Johannes | Gonzalez, Antonio | Griggs, Allison | Gujja, Sharvari | Haas, Brian J. | Hamilton, Holli A. | Harris, Emily L. | Hepburn, Theresa A. | Herter, Brandi | Hoffmann, Diane E. | Holder, Michael E. | Howarth, Clinton | Huang, Katherine H. | Huse, Susan M. | Izard, Jacques | Jansson, Janet K. | Jiang, Huaiyang | Jordan, Catherine | Joshi, Vandita | Katancik, James A. | Keitel, Wendy A. | Kelley, Scott T. | Kells, Cristyn | Kinder-Haake, Susan | King, Nicholas B. | Knight, Rob | Knights, Dan | Kong, Heidi H. | Koren, Omry | Koren, Sergey | Kota, Karthik C. | Kovar, Christie L. | Kyrpides, Nikos C. | La Rosa, Patricio S. | Lee, Sandra L. | Lemon, Katherine P. | Lennon, Niall | Lewis, Cecil M. | Lewis, Lora | Ley, Ruth E. | Li, Kelvin | Liolios, Konstantinos | Liu, Bo | Liu, Yue | Lo, Chien-Chi | Lozupone, Catherine A. | Lunsford, R. Dwayne | Madden, Tessa | Mahurkar, Anup A. | Mannon, Peter J. | Mardis, Elaine R. | Markowitz, Victor M. | Mavrommatis, Konstantinos | McCorrison, Jamison M. | McDonald, Daniel | McEwen, Jean | McGuire, Amy L. | McInnes, Pamela | Mehta, Teena | Mihindukulasuriya, Kathie A. | Miller, Jason R. | Minx, Patrick J. | Newsham, Irene | Nusbaum, Chad | O’Laughlin, Michelle | Orvis, Joshua | Pagani, Ioanna | Palaniappan, Krishna | Patel, Shital M. | Pearson, Matthew | Peterson, Jane | Podar, Mircea | Pohl, Craig | Pollard, Katherine S. | Priest, Margaret E. | Proctor, Lita M. | Qin, Xiang | Raes, Jeroen | Ravel, Jacques | Reid, Jeffrey G. | Rho, Mina | Rhodes, Rosamond | Riehle, Kevin P. | Rivera, Maria C. | Rodriguez-Mueller, Beltran | Rogers, Yu-Hui | Ross, Matthew C. | Russ, Carsten | Sanka, Ravi K. | Pamela Sankar, J. | Sathirapongsasuti, Fah | Schloss, Jeffery A. | Schloss, Patrick D. | Schmidt, Thomas M. | Scholz, Matthew | Schriml, Lynn | Schubert, Alyxandria M. | Segata, Nicola | Segre, Julia A. | Shannon, William D. | Sharp, Richard R. | Sharpton, Thomas J. | Shenoy, Narmada | Sheth, Nihar U. | Simone, Gina A. | Singh, Indresh | Smillie, Chris S. | Sobel, Jack D. | Sommer, Daniel D. | Spicer, Paul | Sutton, Granger G. | Sykes, Sean M. | Tabbaa, Diana G. | Thiagarajan, Mathangi | Tomlinson, Chad M. | Torralba, Manolito | Treangen, Todd J. | Truty, Rebecca M. | Vishnivetskaya, Tatiana A. | Walker, Jason | Wang, Lu | Wang, Zhengyuan | Ward, Doyle V. | Warren, Wesley | Watson, Mark A. | Wellington, Christopher | Wetterstrand, Kris A. | White, James R. | Wilczek-Boney, Katarzyna | Wu, Yuan Qing | Wylie, Kristine M. | Wylie, Todd | Yandava, Chandri | Ye, Liang | Ye, Yuzhen | Yooseph, Shibu | Youmans, Bonnie P. | Zhang, Lan | Zhou, Yanjiao | Zhu, Yiming | Zoloth, Laurie | Zucker, Jeremy D. | Birren, Bruce W. | Gibbs, Richard A. | Highlander, Sarah K. | Weinstock, George M. | Wilson, Richard K. | White, Owen
Nature  2012;486(7402):215-221.
A variety of microbial communities and their genes (microbiome) exist throughout the human body, playing fundamental roles in human health and disease. The NIH funded Human Microbiome Project (HMP) Consortium has established a population-scale framework which catalyzed significant development of metagenomic protocols resulting in a broad range of quality-controlled resources and data including standardized methods for creating, processing and interpreting distinct types of high-throughput metagenomic data available to the scientific community. Here we present resources from a population of 242 healthy adults sampled at 15 to 18 body sites up to three times, which to date, have generated 5,177 microbial taxonomic profiles from 16S rRNA genes and over 3.5 Tb of metagenomic sequence. In parallel, approximately 800 human-associated reference genomes have been sequenced. Collectively, these data represent the largest resource to date describing the abundance and variety of the human microbiome, while providing a platform for current and future studies.
PMCID: PMC3377744  PMID: 22699610
9.  PHF8 Mediates Histone H4 Lysine 20 Demethylation Events Involved in Cell Cycle Progression 
Nature  2010;466(7305):508-512.
While reversible histone modifications are linked to an ever-expanding range of biological functions1–5, the demethylases for histone H4 lysine 20 and their potential regulatory roles remain unknown. Here, we report that the PHD and Jumonji C (JmjC) domain-containing protein, PHF8, while utilizing multiple substrates, including H3K9me1/2 and H3K27me2, also functions as an H4K20me1 demethylase. PHF8 is recruited to promoters by its PHD domain based on interaction with H3K4me2/3 and controls G1/S transition in conjunction with E2F1, HCF-1 and Set1A, at least in part, by removing the repressive H4K20me1 mark from a subset of E2F1-regulated gene promoters. Phosphorylation-dependent PHF8 dismissal from chromatin in prophase is apparently required for the accumulation of H4K20me1 during early mitosis, which might represent a component of the Condensin II loading process. Accordingly, the HEAT repeat clusters in two non-SMC Condensin II subunits, N-CAPD3 and N-CAPG2, are capable of recognizing H4K20me1, and ChIP-seq. analysis demonstrate a significant overlap of Condensin II and H4K20me1 sites in mitotic HeLa cells. Thus, the identification and characterization of the first H4K20me1 demethylase, PHF8, has revealed an intimate link between this enzyme and two distinct events in cell cycle progression.
PMCID: PMC3059551  PMID: 20622854
10.  Targeting wild-type and T315I Bcr-Abl by combining allosteric with ATP-site inhibitors 
Nature  2010;463(7280):501-506.
In an effort to find new pharmacological modalities to overcome resistance to ATP-site inhibitors of Bcr-Abl, we recently reported the discovery of GNF-2, a selective allosteric Bcr-Abl inhibitor. Here, using solution NMR, X-ray crystallography, mutagenesis and hydrogen exchange mass spectrometry we demonstrate that GNF-2 binds to the myristate binding site of Abl, leading to changes in the structural dynamics of the ATP-binding site. GNF-5, an analog of GNF-2 having improved pharmacokinetic properties, when utilized in combination with the ATP-competitive inhibitors imatinib or nilotinib, suppressed the emergence of resistance mutations in vitro, displayed additive inhibitory activity in biochemical and cellular assays against T315I Bcr-Abl and displayed in vivo efficacy against the recalcitrant T315I Bcr-Abl mutant in a murine bone-marrow transplantation model. These results demonstrate that therapeutically relevant inhibition of Bcr-Abl activity can be achieved using inhibitors that bind to the myristate binding site and that combining allosteric and ATP-competitive inhibitors can overcome resistance to either agent alone.
PMCID: PMC2901986  PMID: 20072125
11.  The draft genome of the transgenic tropical fruit tree papaya (Carica papaya Linnaeus) 
Ming, Ray | Hou, Shaobin | Feng, Yun | Yu, Qingyi | Dionne-Laporte, Alexandre | Saw, Jimmy H. | Senin, Pavel | Wang, Wei | Ly, Benjamin V. | Lewis, Kanako L. T. | Salzberg, Steven L. | Feng, Lu | Jones, Meghan R. | Skelton, Rachel L. | Murray, Jan E. | Chen, Cuixia | Qian, Wubin | Shen, Junguo | Du, Peng | Eustice, Moriah | Tong, Eric | Tang, Haibao | Lyons, Eric | Paull, Robert E. | Michael, Todd P. | Wall, Kerr | Rice, Danny W. | Albert, Henrik | Wang, Ming-Li | Zhu, Yun J. | Schatz, Michael | Nagarajan, Niranjan | Acob, Ricelle A. | Guan, Peizhu | Blas, Andrea | Wai, Ching Man | Ackerman, Christine M. | Ren, Yan | Liu, Chao | Wang, Jianmei | Wang, Jianping | Na, Jong-Kuk | Shakirov, Eugene V. | Haas, Brian | Thimmapuram, Jyothi | Nelson, David | Wang, Xiyin | Bowers, John E. | Gschwend, Andrea R. | Delcher, Arthur L. | Singh, Ratnesh | Suzuki, Jon Y. | Tripathi, Savarni | Neupane, Kabi | Wei, Hairong | Irikura, Beth | Paidi, Maya | Jiang, Ning | Zhang, Wenli | Presting, Gernot | Windsor, Aaron | Navajas-Pérez, Rafael | Torres, Manuel J. | Feltus, F. Alex | Porter, Brad | Li, Yingjun | Burroughs, A. Max | Luo, Ming-Cheng | Liu, Lei | Christopher, David A. | Mount, Stephen M. | Moore, Paul H. | Sugimura, Tak | Jiang, Jiming | Schuler, Mary A. | Friedman, Vikki | Mitchell-Olds, Thomas | Shippen, Dorothy E. | dePamphilis, Claude W. | Palmer, Jeffrey D. | Freeling, Michael | Paterson, Andrew H. | Gonsalves, Dennis | Wang, Lei | Alam, Maqsudul
Nature  2008;452(7190):991-996.
Papaya, a fruit crop cultivated in tropical and subtropical regions, is known for its nutritional benefits and medicinal applications. Here we report a 3× draft genome sequence of ‘SunUp’ papaya, the first commercial virus-resistant transgenic fruit tree1 to be sequenced. The papaya genome is three times the size of the Arabidopsis genome, but contains fewer genes, including significantly fewer disease-resistance gene analogues. Comparison of the five sequenced genomes suggests a minimal angiosperm gene set of 13,311. A lack of recent genome duplication, atypical of other angiosperm genomes sequenced so far2–5, may account for the smaller papaya gene number in most functional groups. Nonetheless, striking amplifications in gene number within particular functional groups suggest roles in the evolution of tree-like habit, deposition and remobilization of starch reserves, attraction of seed dispersal agents, and adaptation to tropical daylengths. Transgenesis at three locations is closely associated with chloroplast insertions into the nuclear genome, and with topoisomerase I recognition sites. Papaya offers numerous advantages as a system for fruit-tree functional genomics, and this draft genome sequence provides the foundation for revealing the basis of Carica's distinguishing morpho-physiological, medicinal and nutritional properties.
PMCID: PMC2836516  PMID: 18432245
12.  Kinase-dependent and -independent functions of the p110β phosphoinositide-3-kinase in cell growth, metabolic regulation and oncogenic transformation 
Nature  2008;454(7205):776-779.
Upon activation by receptors, the ubiquitously expressed Class IA isoforms (p110α and p110β) of phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K) generate lipid second messengers, which initiate multiple signal transduction cascades1–5. Recent studies have demonstrated specific roles for p110α in growth factor and insulin signaling6–8. To probe for distinct functions of p110β, we constructed conditional knockout mice. Ablation of p110β in the livers of the resulting mice led to impaired insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis, while having little effect on Akt-phosphorylation, suggesting involvement of a kinase-independent role of p110β in insulin metabolic action. Using established mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs), we found that removal of p110β also had little effect on Akt-phosphorylation in response to insulin and EGF stimulation, but resulted in retarded cell proliferation. Reconstitution of p110β-null cells with a wild-type or kinase-dead allele of p110β demonstrated that p110β possesses kinase-independent functions in regulating cell proliferation and trafficking. However, the kinase activity of p110β was required for LPA triggered GPCR signalling and played a role in oncogenic transformation. Most strikingly, in an animal model of prostate tumor formation induced by PTEN loss, ablation of p110β, but not p110α, impeded tumorigenesis with concomitant diminution of Akt-phosphorylation. Taken together our findings demonstrate both kinase-dependent and -independent functions for p110β, and strongly point to the kinase-dependent functions of p110β as a promising target in cancer therapy.
PMCID: PMC2750091  PMID: 18594509
13.  The Mycobacterium tuberculosis regulatory network and hypoxia 
Nature  2013;499(7457):178-183.
We have taken the first steps towards a complete reconstruction of the Mycobacterium tuberculosis regulatory network based on ChIP-Seq and combined this reconstruction with system-wide profiling of messenger RNAs, proteins, metabolites and lipids during hypoxia and re-aeration. Adaptations to hypoxia are thought to have a prominent role in M. tuberculosis pathogenesis. Using ChIP-Seq combined with expression data from the induction of the same factors, we have reconstructed a draft regulatory network based on 50 transcription factors. This network model revealed a direct interconnection between the hypoxic response, lipid catabolism, lipid anabolism and the production of cell wall lipids. As a validation of this model, in response to oxygen availability we observe substantial alterations in lipid content and changes in gene expression and metabolites in corresponding metabolic pathways. The regulatory network reveals transcription factors underlying these changes, allows us to computationally predict expression changes, and indicates that Rv0081 is a regulatory hub.
PMCID: PMC4087036  PMID: 23823726
14.  Metabolites produced by commensal bacteria promote peripheral regulatory T cell generation 
Nature  2013;504(7480):10.1038/nature12726.
Intestinal microbes provide multicellular hosts with nutrients and confer resistance to infection. The delicate balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory mechanisms, essential for gut immune homeostasis, is affected by the composition of the commensal microbial community. Regulatory T (Treg) cells expressing transcription factor Foxp3 play a key role in limiting inflammatory responses in the intestine1. Although specific members of the commensal microbial community have been found to potentiate the generation of anti-inflammatory Treg or pro-inflammatory Th17 cells2-6, the molecular cues driving this process remain elusive. Considering the vital metabolic function afforded by commensal microorganisms, we hypothesized that their metabolic by-products are sensed by cells of the immune system and affect the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cells. We found that a short-chain fatty acid (SCFA), butyrate, produced by commensal microorganisms during starch fermentation, facilitated extrathymic generation of Treg cells. A boost in Treg cell numbers upon provision of butyrate was due to potentiation of extrathymic differentiation of Treg cells as the observed phenomenon was dependent upon intronic enhancer CNS1, essential for extrathymic, but dispensable for thymic Treg cell differentiation1, 7. In addition to butyrate, de novo Treg cell generation in the periphery was potentiated by propionate, another SCFA of microbial origin capable of HDAC inhibition, but not acetate, lacking this activity. Our results suggest that bacterial metabolites mediate communication between the commensal microbiota and the immune system, affecting the balance between pro- and anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC3869884  PMID: 24226773
15.  Role of Tet1 in genomic imprinting erasure 
Nature  2013;504(7480):460-464.
Genomic imprinting is an allele-specific gene expression system important for mammalian development and function 1. The molecular basis of genomic imprinting is allele-specific DNA methylation 1,2. While it is well known that the de novo DNA methyltransferases Dnmt3a/b are responsible for the establishment of genomic imprinting 3, how the methylation mark is erased during primordial germ cell (PGC) reprogramming remains a mystery. Tet1 is one of the ten-eleven translocation family proteins, which have the capacity to oxidize 5-methylcytosine (5mC) 4-6, specifically expressed in reprogramming PGCs 7. Here we report that Tet1 plays a critical role in the erasure of genomic imprinting. We show that despite their identical genotype, progenies derived from mating between Tet1-KO males and wild-type females exhibit a number of variable phenotypes including placental, fetal and postnatal growth defects, and early embryonic lethality. These defects are, at least in part, caused by the dysregulation of imprinted genes, such as Peg10 and Peg3, which exhibit aberrant hypermethylation in the paternal allele of differential methylated regions (DMRs). RNA-seq reveals extensive dysregulation of imprinted genes in the next generation due to paternal loss function of Tet1. Genome-wide DNA methylation analysis of E13.5 PGCs and sperms of Tet1-KO mice revealed hypermethylation of DMRs of imprinted genes in sperm, which can be traced back to PGCs. Analysis of the DNA methylation dynamics in reprogramming PGCs suggests that Tet1 functions to wipe out remaining methylation, including imprinted genes, at the late reprogramming stage. We further provide evidence supporting Tet1's role in the erasure of paternal imprints in female germline. Thus, our study establishes a critical function of Tet1 in genomic imprinting erasure.
PMCID: PMC3957231  PMID: 24291790
16.  Structure of the human smoothened receptor 7TM bound to an antitumor agent 
Nature  2013;497(7449):338-343.
The smoothened (SMO) receptor, a key signal transducer in the Hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway is both responsible for the maintenance of normal embryonic development and implicated in carcinogenesis. The SMO receptor is classified as a class Frizzled (class F) G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR), although the canonical Hh signaling pathway involves the transcription factor Gli and the sequence similarity with class A GPCRs is less than 10%. Here we report the crystal structure at 2.5 Å resolution of the transmembrane domain of the human SMO receptor bound to the small molecule antagonist LY2940680. Although the SMO receptor shares the seven transmembrane helical (7TM) fold, most conserved motifs for class A GPCRs are absent, and the structure reveals an unusually complex arrangement of long extracellular loops stabilized by four disulfide bonds. The ligand binds at the extracellular end of the 7TM bundle and forms extensive contacts with the loops.
PMCID: PMC3657389  PMID: 23636324
17.  Therapeutic Efficacy of Potent Neutralizing HIV-1-Specific Monoclonal Antibodies in SHIV-Infected Rhesus Monkeys 
Nature  2013;503(7475):224-228.
HIV-1-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with extraordinary potency and breadth have recently been described. In humanized mice, combinations of mAbs have been shown to suppress viremia, but the therapeutic potential of these mAbs has not yet been evaluated in primates with an intact immune system. Here we show that administration of a cocktail of HIV-1-specific mAbs, as well as the single glycan-dependent mAb PGT121, resulted in a rapid and precipitous decline of plasma viremia to undetectable levels in rhesus monkeys chronically infected with the pathogenic virus SHIV-SF162P3. A single mAb infusion afforded up to a 3.1 log decline of plasma viral RNA in 7 days and also reduced proviral DNA in peripheral blood, gastrointestinal mucosa, and lymph nodes without the development of viral resistance. Moreover, following mAb administration, host Gag-specific T lymphocyte responses exhibited improved functionality. Virus rebounded in the majority of animals after a median of 56 days when serum mAb titers had declined to undetectable levels, although a subset of animals maintained long-term virologic control in the absence of further mAb infusions. These data demonstrate a profound therapeutic effect of potent neutralizing HIV-1-specific mAbs in SHIV-infected rhesus monkeys as well as an impact on host immune responses. Our findings strongly encourage the investigation of mAb therapy for HIV-1 in humans.
PMCID: PMC4017780  PMID: 24172905
18.  Genetic screens reveal RAS/MAPK/MSK1 modulate ataxin 1 protein levels and toxicity in SCA1 
Nature  2013;498(7454):325-331.
Many neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and polyglutamine diseases share a common pathogenic mechanism: the abnormal accumulation of disease-causing proteins, due to either the mutant protein’s resistance to degradation or overexpression of the wild-type protein. We developed a strategy to identify therapeutic entry points for such neurodegenerative disorders by screening for genetic networks that influence the levels of disease-driving proteins. We applied this approach, which integrates parallel cell-based and Drosophila genetic screens, to spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1), a disease caused by expansion of a polyglutamine tract in ataxin 1 (ATXN1). Our approach revealed that downregulation of several components of the RAS–MAPK–MSK1 pathway decreases ATXN1 levels and suppresses neurodegeneration in Drosophila and mice. Importantly, pharmacologic inhibitors of components of this pathway also decrease ATXN1 levels, suggesting that these components represent new therapeutic targets in mitigating SCA1. Collectively, these data reveal new therapeutic entry points for SCA1 and provide a proof-of-principle for tackling other classes of intractable neurodegenerative diseases.
PMCID: PMC4020154  PMID: 23719381
19.  Visualizing Virus Assembly Intermediates Inside Marine Cyanobacteria 
Nature  2013;502(7473):707-710.
Cyanobacteria are photosynthetic organisms responsible for ~25% of organic carbon fixation on earth. These bacteria began to convert solar energy and carbon dioxide into bioenergy and oxygen billions of years ago. Cyanophages, which infect these bacteria, play an important role in regulating the marine ecosystem by controlling cyanobacteria community organization and mediating lateral gene transfer. Here we visualize the maturation process of cyanophage Syn5 inside its host cell, Synechococcus, using Zernike Phase Contrast (ZPC) electron cryo-tomography (cryoET)1,2. This imaging modality yields significant enhancement of image contrast over conventional cryoET and thus facilitates the direct identification of subcellular components, including thylakoid membranes, carboxysomes and polyribosomes, as well as phages, inside the congested cytosol of the infected cell. By correlating the structural features and relative abundance of viral progeny within cells at different stages of infection, we identified distinct Syn5 assembly intermediates. Our results suggest that the procapsid releases scaffolding proteins and expands its volume at an early stage of genome packaging. Later in assembly, we detected full particles with a tail either with or without an additional horn. The morphogenetic pathway we describe herein is highly conserved and was probably established long before that of double stranded DNA (dsDNA) viruses infecting higher life forms.
PMCID: PMC3984937  PMID: 24107993
20.  Heterodimeric JAK-STAT Activation as a Mechanism of Persistence to JAK2 Inhibitor Therapy 
Nature  2012;489(7414):155-159.
The identification of somatic activating mutations in JAK21–4 and in the thrombopoietin receptor (MPL)5 in the majority of myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) patients led to the clinical development of JAK2 kinase inhibitors6,7. JAK2 inhibitor therapy improves MPN-associated splenomegaly and systemic symptoms, but does not significantly reduce or eliminate the MPN clone in most MPN patients. We therefore sought to characterize mechanisms by which MPN cells persist despite chronic JAK2 inhibition. Here we show that JAK2 inhibitor persistence is associated with reactivation of JAK-STAT signaling and with heterodimerization between activated JAK2 and JAK1/TYK2, consistent with activation of JAK2 in trans by other JAK kinases. Further, this phenomenon is reversible, such that JAK2 inhibitor withdrawal is associated with resensitization to JAK2 kinase inhibitors and with reversible changes in JAK2 expression. We saw increased JAK2 heterodimerization and sustained JAK2 activation in cell lines, murine models, and patients treated with JAK2 inhibitors. RNA interference and pharmacologic studies demonstrate that JAK2 inhibitor persistent cells remain dependent on JAK2 protein expression. Consequently, therapies that result in JAK2 degradation retain efficacy in persistent cells and may provide additional benefit to patients with JAK2-dependent malignancies treated with JAK2 inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC3991463  PMID: 22820254
tyrosine kinase inhibitors; JAK2; MPN; resistance; persistence
22.  Genome-wide signatures of convergent evolution in echolocating mammals 
Nature  2013;502(7470):10.1038/nature12511.
Evolution is typically thought to proceed through divergence of genes, proteins, and ultimately phenotypes1-3. However, similar traits might also evolve convergently in unrelated taxa due to similar selection pressures4,5. Adaptive phenotypic convergence is widespread in nature, and recent results from a handful of genes have suggested that this phenomenon is powerful enough to also drive recurrent evolution at the sequence level6-9. Where homoplasious substitutions do occur these have long been considered the result of neutral processes. However, recent studies have demonstrated that adaptive convergent sequence evolution can be detected in vertebrates using statistical methods that model parallel evolution9,10 although the extent to which sequence convergence between genera occurs across genomes is unknown. Here we analyse genomic sequence data in mammals that have independently evolved echolocation and show for the first time that convergence is not a rare process restricted to a handful of loci but is instead widespread, continuously distributed and commonly driven by natural selection acting on a small number of sites per locus. Systematic analyses of convergent sequence evolution in 805,053 amino acids within 2,326 orthologous coding gene sequences compared across 22 mammals (including four new bat genomes) revealed signatures consistent with convergence in nearly 200 loci. Strong and significant support for convergence among bats and the dolphin was seen in numerous genes linked to hearing or deafness, consistent with an involvement in echolocation. Surprisingly we also found convergence in many genes linked to vision: the convergent signal of many sensory genes was robustly correlated with the strength of natural selection. This first attempt to detect genome-wide convergent sequence evolution across divergent taxa reveals the phenomenon to be much more pervasive than previously recognised.
PMCID: PMC3836225  PMID: 24005325
23.  The genomes of four tapeworm species reveal adaptations to parasitism 
Nature  2013;496(7443):57-63.
Tapeworms cause debilitating neglected diseases that can be deadly and often require surgery due to ineffective drugs. Here we present the first analysis of tapeworm genome sequences using the human-infective species Echinococcus multilocularis, E. granulosus, Taenia solium and the laboratory model Hymenolepis microstoma as examples. The 115-141 megabase genomes offer insights into the evolution of parasitism. Synteny is maintained with distantly related blood flukes but we find extreme losses of genes and pathways ubiquitous in other animals, including 34 homeobox families and several determinants of stem cell fate. Tapeworms have species-specific expansions of non-canonical heat shock proteins and families of known antigens; specialised detoxification pathways, and metabolism finely tuned to rely on nutrients scavenged from their hosts. We identify new potential drug targets, including those on which existing pharmaceuticals may act. The genomes provide a rich resource to underpin the development of urgently needed treatments and control.
PMCID: PMC3964345  PMID: 23485966
HSP70; parasitism; Cestoda; cysticercosis; echinococcosis; Platyhelminthes
24.  DNA Unwinding Heterogeneity by RecBCD Results from Static Molecules Able to Equilibrate 
Nature  2013;500(7463):482-485.
PMCID: PMC3779544  PMID: 23851395
25.  AID stabilizes stem cell phenotype by removing epigenetic memory of pluripotency genes 
Nature  2013;500(7460):89-92.
The activation-induced cytidine deaminase enzyme (AID) is required for somatic hyper-mutation and class switch recombination at the immunoglobulin locus1. In GC-B cells, AID is highly expressed, with inherent mutator activity that helps generate antibody diversity2. However, AID may also regulate gene expression epigenetically by directly deaminating 5-methylcytosine (5mC) in concert with base excision repair to exchange cytosine3. This pathway promotes gene demethylation, thereby removing epigenetic memory. For example, AID promotes active demethylation of the genome in primordial germ cells4. However, different studies have suggested either a requirement5 or a lack of function6 for AID promoting pluripotency in somatic nuclei following fusion with embryonic stem cells (ESCs). We tested directly whether AID regulates epigenetic memory, by comparing the relative ability of cells lacking AID to reprogram from a differentiated cell type to an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC). We show that AID-null cells are transiently hyper-responsive to the reprogramming process. Although they initiate expression of pluripotency genes, they fail to stabilize the pluripotent state. The genome of AID-null cells remains hyper-methylated in reprogramming cells, and hyper-methylated genes associated with pluripotency fail to be stably up-regulated, including many MYC target genes. Recent studies identified a late step of reprogramming associated with methylation status7, and implicated a secondary set of pluripotency network components8. AID regulates this late step, removing epigenetic memory to stabilize the pluripotent state.
PMCID: PMC3762466  PMID: 23803762

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