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.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Burkitt lymphoma (BL) can often be cured by intensive chemotherapy, but the toxicity of such therapy precludes its use in the elderly and in patients with endemic BL in developing countries, necessitating new strategies. We used high throughput RNA sequencing and RNA interference screening to discover essential regulatory pathways that cooperate with MYC, the defining oncogene of this cancer. In 38% of sporadic BL (sBL) cases, oncogenic CCND3 mutations produced highly stable cyclin D3 isoforms that drive cell cycle progression. In 70% of sBL cases, mutations affecting the transcription factor TCF3 (E2A) or its negative regulator ID3 fostered TCF3 dependency. TCF3 activated the pro-survival PI(3) kinase pathway in BL, in part by augmenting constitutive B cell receptor signaling. These findings suggest opportunities to improve therapy for patients with BL.
Magnetic Resonance (MR) is an exceptionally powerful and versatile measurement technique. The basic structure of an MR experiment has remained nearly constant for almost 50 years. Here we introduce a novel paradigm, Magnetic Resonance Fingerprinting (MRF) that permits the non-invasive quantification of multiple important properties of a material or tissue simultaneously through a new approach to data acquisition, post-processing and visualization. MRF provides a new mechanism to quantitatively detect and analyze complex changes that can represent physical alterations of a substance or early indicators of disease. MRF can also be used to specifically identify the presence of a target material or tissue, which will increase the sensitivity, specificity, and speed of an MR study, and potentially lead to new diagnostic testing methodologies. When paired with an appropriate pattern recognition algorithm, MRF inherently suppresses measurement errors and thus can improve accuracy compared to previous approaches.
Circadian rhythms are oscillations in biological processes that function as a key adaptation to the daily rhythms of most environments. In the model cyanobacterial circadian clock system, the core oscillator proteins are encoded by the gene cluster kaiABC1. Genes with high expression and functional importance like the kai genes are usually encoded by optimal codons, yet the codon usage bias of the kaiBC genes is not optimized for translational efficiency. We discovered a relationship between codon usage and a general property of circadian rhythms called conditionality; namely, that endogenous rhythmicity is robustly expressed under some environmental conditions but not under others2. Despite the generality of circadian conditionality, however, its molecular basis is unknown for any system. Here we show that non-optimal codon usage was selected as a post-transcriptional mechanism to switch between circadian and non-circadian regulation of gene expression as an adaptive response to environmental conditions. When the kaiBC sequence was experimentally optimized to enhance expression of the KaiB and KaiC proteins, intrinsic rhythmicity was enhanced at cool temperatures that are experienced by this organism in its natural habitat. However, fitness at those temperatures was highest in cells whose endogenous rhythms were suppressed at cool temperatures as compared with cells exhibiting high-amplitude rhythmicity. These results indicate natural selection against circadian systems in cyanobacteria that are intrinsically robust at cool temperatures. Modulation of circadian amplitude is therefore critical to its adaptive significance3. Moreover, these results show the direct effects of codon usage on a complex phenotype and organismal fitness. Our work also challenges the long-standing view of directional selection towards optimal codons4–7, and provides a key example of natural selection against optimal codon to achieve adaptive responses to environmental changes.
Codon usage bias has been observed in almost all genomes and is thought to result from selection for efficient and accurate translation of highly expressed genes1–3. Codon usage is also implicated in the control of transcription, splicing and RNA structure4–6. Many genes exhibit little codon usage bias, which is thought to reflect a lack of selection for mRNA translation. Alternatively, however, non-optimal codon usage may have biological significance. The rhythmic expression and the proper function of the Neurospora FREQUENCY (FRQ) protein are essential for circadian clock function. Here we show that, unlike most genes in Neurospora, frq exhibits non-optimal codon usage across its entire open reading frame. Optimization of frq codon usage abolishes both overt and molecular circadian rhythms. Codon optimization not only increases FRQ level but surprisingly, also results in conformational changes in FRQ protein, altered FRQ phosphorylation profile and stability, and impaired functions in the circadian feedback loops. These results indicate that non-optimal codon usage of frq is essential for its circadian clock function. Our study provides an example of how non-optimal codon usage functions to regulate protein expression and to achieve optimal protein structure and function.
Transgenic expression of just four defined transcription factors (c-Myc, Klf4, Oct4, and Sox2) is sufficient to reprogram somatic cells to a pluripotent state1-4. The resulting induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells resemble ES cells in their properties and potential to differentiate into a spectrum of adult cells types. Current reprogramming strategies involve retroviral1, lentiviral5, adenoviral6 and plasmid7 transfection to deliver reprogramming factor transgenes. Although the latter two methods are transient and minimize the potential for insertion mutagenesis, they are currently limited by diminished reprogramming efficiencies. piggyBac (PB) transposition is host-factor independent, and has recently been demonstrated to be functional in various human and mouse cell lines8-11. The PB transposon/transposase system requires only the inverted terminal repeats flanking a transgene and transient expression of the transposase enzyme to catalyze insertion or excision events12. Here we demonstrate successful and efficient reprogramming of murine and human embryonic fibroblasts using doxycycline inducible transcription factors delivered by PB transposition13. Stable iPS cells thus generated express hallmark pluripotency markers and succeed in a series of rigorous differentiation assays. By taking advantage of the natural propensity of the PB system for seamless excision12, we show that the individual P insertions can be removed from established iPS cell lines, providing an invaluable tool for discovery. In addtion, we have demonstrated the traceless removal of reprogramming factors joined with 2A sequences14 delivered by a single transposon from murine iPS lines. We anticipate that the unique properties of this virus-independent simplification of iPS cell production will accelerate the movement of this field further towards full exploration of the reprogramming process and future cell-based therapies.
iPS; induced pluripotent stem cell; embryonic stem cell; fibroblast; mice/mouse; human; differentiation; reprogramming; transposon; transposition; piggyBac; non-viral
Schistosoma japonicum is a parasitic flatworm that causes human schistosomiasis, a significant cause of morbidity in China and the Philippines. Here we present a draft genomic sequence for the worm, which is the first reported for any flatworm, indeed for the superphylum Lophotrochozoa. The genome provides a global insight into the molecular architecture and host interaction of this complex metazoan pathogen, revealing that it can exploit host nutrients, neuroendocrine hormones and signaling pathways for growth, development and maturation. Having a complex nervous system and a well developed sensory system, S. japonicum can accept stimulation of the corresponding ligands as a physiological response to different environments, such as fresh water or the tissues of its intermediate and mammalian hosts. Numerous proteinases, including cercarial elastase, are implicated in mammalian skin penetration and haemoglobin degradation. The genomic information will serve as a valuable platform to facilitate development of new interventions for schistosomiasis control.
Unlike random heteropolymers, natural proteins fold into unique ordered structures. Understanding how these are encoded in amino-acid sequences is complicated by energetically unfavourable non-ideal features—for example kinked α-helices, bulged β-strands, strained loops and buried polar groups—that arise in proteins from evolutionary selection for biological function or from neutral drift. Here we describe an approach to designing ideal protein structures stabilized by completely consistent local and non-local interactions. The approach is based on a set of rules relating secondary structure patterns to protein tertiary motifs, which make possible the design of funnel-shaped protein folding energy landscapes leading into the target folded state. Guided by these rules, we designed sequences predicted to fold into ideal protein structures consisting of α-helices, β-strands and minimal loops. Designs for five different topologies were found to be monomeric and very stable and to adopt structures in solution nearly identical to the computational models. These results illuminate how the folding funnels of natural proteins arise and provide the foundation for engineering a new generation of functional proteins free from natural evolution.
In response to genotoxic stress, a transient arrest in cell cycle progression enforced by the DNA damage checkpoint (DDC) signaling pathway positively contributes to genome maintenance1. Because hyperactivated DDC can lead to a persistent and detrimental cell cycle arrest2,3, cells must tightly regulate the activity of DDC kinases. Despite their importance, the mechanisms for monitoring and modulating DDC signaling are not fully understood. Here we show that DNA repair scaffolding proteins Slx4 and Rtt107 prevent lesions generated during DNA replication from aberrantly hyperactivating DDC signaling in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Upon replication stress, cells lacking Slx4 or Rtt107 exhibit hyperactivation of the downstream DDC kinase Rad53 while activation of the upstream DDC kinase Mec1 remains normal. An Slx4-Rtt107 complex counteracts the checkpoint adaptor Rad9 by physically interacting with Dpb11 and phospho-H2A, two positive regulators of Rad9-dependent Rad53 activation. Reduction of DDC signaling by hypomorphic mutations in RAD53 and H2A rescue the hyper-sensitivity of slx4Δ or rtt107Δ cells to replication stress. We propose that the Slx4-Rtt107 complex modulates Rad53 activation via a competition-based mechanism that balances the engagement of Rad9 at replication-induced lesions. Our findings reveal that DDC signaling is monitored and modulated through the direct action of DNA repair factors.
Meiosis is a germ cell-specific cell division process through which haploid gametes are produced for sexual reproduction1. Prior to initiation of meiosis, mouse primordial germ cells (PGCs) undergo a series of epigenetic reprogramming steps2,3, including global erasure of DNA methylation on the 5-position of cytosine (5mC) at CpG4,5. Although several epigenetic regulators, such as Dnmt3l, histone methyltransferases G9a and Prdm9, have been reported to be critical for meiosis6, little is known about how the expression of meiotic genes is regulated and how their expression contributes to normal meiosis. Using a loss of function approach, here we demonstrate that the 5mC-specific dioxygenase Tet1 plays an important role in regulating meiosis in mouse oocytes. Tet1 deficiency significantly reduces female germ cell numbers and fertility. Univalent chromosomes and unresolved DNA double strand breaks are also observed in Tet1-deficient oocytes. Tet1 deficiency does not greatly affect the genome-wide demethylation that takes place in PGCs but leads to defective DNA demethylation and decreased expression of a subset of meiotic genes. Our study thus establishes a function for Tet1 in meiosis and meiotic gene activation in female germ cells.
The twin-arginine translocation (Tat) pathway is one of two general protein transport systems found in the prokaryotic cytoplasmic membrane and is conserved in the thylakoid membrane of plant chloroplasts. The defining, and highly unusual, property of the Tat pathway is that it transports folded proteins, a task that must be achieved without allowing significant ion leakage across the membrane. The integral membrane TatC protein is the central component of the Tat pathway. TatC captures substrate proteins by binding their signal peptides. TatC then recruits TatA family proteins to form the active translocation complex. Here we report the crystal structure of TatC from the hyperthermophilic bacterium Aquifex aeolicus. This structure provides a molecular description of the core of the Tat translocation system and a framework for understanding the unique Tat transport mechanism.
The genome is extensively transcribed into long intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs), many of which are implicated in gene silencing1,2. Potential roles of lincRNAs in gene activation are much less understood3,4,5. Development and homeostasis require coordinate regulation of neighboring genes through a process termed locus control6. Some locus control elements and enhancers transcribe lincRNAs7,8,9,10, hinting at possible roles in long range control. In vertebrates, 39 Hox genes, encoding homeodomain transcription factors critical for positional identity, are clustered in four chromosomal loci; the Hox genes are expressed in nested anterior-posterior and proximal-distal patterns co-linear with their genomic position from 3′ to 5′of the cluster11. Here we identify HOTTIP, a lincRNA transcribed from the 5′ tip of the HOXA locus that coordinates the activation of multiple 5′ HOXA genes in vivo. Chromosomal looping brings HOTTIP into close proximity to its target genes. HOTTIP directly binds the adaptor protein WDR5 and targets WDR5/MLL complexes across HOXA, driving histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation and gene transcription. Induced proximity is necessary and sufficient for HOTTIP activation of its target genes. Thus, by serving as key intermediates that transmit information from higher order chromosomal looping into chromatin modifications, lincRNAs may organize chromatin domains to coordinate long-range gene activation.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) kinase is a master regulator of protein synthesis that couples nutrient sensing to cell growth and cancer. However, the downstream translationally regulated nodes of gene expression that may direct cancer development are poorly characterized. Using ribosome profiling, we uncover specialized translation of the prostate cancer genome by oncogenic mTOR signalling, revealing a remarkably specific repertoire of genes involved in cell proliferation, metabolism and invasion. We extend these findings by functionally characterizing a class of translationally controlled pro-invasion messenger RNAs that we show direct prostate cancer invasion and metastasis downstream of oncogenic mTOR signalling. Furthermore, we develop a clinically relevant ATP site inhibitor of mTOR, INK128, which reprograms this gene expression signature with therapeutic benefit for prostate cancer metastasis, for which there is presently no cure. Together, these findings extend our understanding of how the ‘cancerous’ translation machinery steers specific cancer cell behaviours, including metastasis, and may be therapeutically targeted.
Nuclear architecture defects have been shown to correlate with the manifestation of a number of human diseases as well as aging1-4. It is then plausible that diseases whose manifestations correlate with aging might be connected to the appearance of nuclear aberrations over time. We decided to evaluate nuclear organization in the context of aging-associated disorders by focusing on a Leucine Rich Repeat Kinase 2 (LRRK2) dominant mutation (G2019S) shown to associate with familial and sporadic Parkinson’s Disease (PD), as well as impairment of adult neurogenesis in mice5. Here, we report on the generation of PD patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and the implications of LRRK2(G2019S) in human neural stem cell (NSC) populations. Mutant NSCs showed increased susceptibility to proteasomal stress as well as passage-dependent deficiencies in clonal expansion and neuronal differentiation. Disease phenotypes were rescued by targeted correction of the LRRK2(G2019S) mutation with its wild-type counterpart in PD-iPSCs and recapitulated upon targeted knock-in of LRRK2(G2019S) in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Analysis of human brain tissue showed nuclear envelope impairment in clinically diagnosed Parkinson’s patients. Altogether, our results identify the nucleus as a previously unknown cellular organelle in Parkinson’s pathology and may help open new avenues for PD diagnoses as well as potential development of therapeutics targeting this fundamental cell structure.
For 10,000 years pigs and humans have shared a close and complex relationship. From domestication to modern breeding practices, humans have shaped the genomes of domestic pigs. Here we present the assembly and analysis of the genome sequence of a female domestic Duroc pig (Sus scrofa) and a comparison with the genomes of wild and domestic pigs from Europe and Asia. Wild pigs emerged in South East Asia and subsequently spread across Eurasia. Our results reveal a deep phylogenetic split between European and Asian wild boars ~1 million years ago, and a selective sweep analysis indicates selection on genes involved in RNA processing and regulation. Genes associated with immune response and olfaction exhibit fast evolution. Pigs have the largest repertoire of functional olfactory receptor genes, reflecting the importance of smell in this scavenging animal. The pig genome sequence provides an important resource for further improvements of this important livestock species, and our identification of many putative disease-causing variants extends the potential of the pig as a biomedical model.
Oligodendroglia support axon survival and function through mechanisms independent of myelination and their dysfunction leads to axon degeneration in several diseases. The cause of this degeneration has not been determined, but lack of energy metabolites such as glucose or lactate has been hypothesized. Lactate is transported exclusively by monocarboxylate transporters, and changes to these transporters alter lactate production and utilization. We show the most abundant lactate transporter in the CNS, monocarboxylate transporter 1 (MCT1), is highly enriched within oligodendroglia and that disruption of this transporter produces axon damage and neuron loss in animal and cell culture models. In addition, this same transporter is reduced in patients with, and mouse models of, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), suggesting a role for oligodendroglial MCT1 in pathogenesis. The role of oligodendroglia in axon function and neuron survival has been elusive; this study defines a new fundamental mechanism by which oligodendroglia support neurons and axons.