Authors: Khincha PP, Dagnall CL, Hicks B, Jones K, Aviv A, Kimura M, Katki H, Aubert G, Giri N, Alter BP, Savage SA, Gadalla SM
Journal: Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Aug 13;18(8). pii: E1765. doi: 10.3390/ijms18081765.
Several methods have been employed to measure telomere length (TL) in human studies. It has been difficult to directly compare the results from these studies because of differences in the laboratory techniques and output parameters. We compared TL measurements (TLMs) by the three most commonly used methods, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), flow cytometry with fluorescence in situ hybridization (flow FISH) and Southern blot, in a cohort of patients with the telomere biology disorder dyskeratosis congenita (DC) and in their unaffected relatives (controls). We observed a strong correlation between the Southern blot average TL and the flow FISH total lymphocyte TL in both the DC patients and their unaffected relatives (R² of 0.68 and 0.73, respectively). The correlation between the qPCR average TL and that of the Southern blot method was modest (R² of 0.54 in DC patients and of 0.43 in unaffected relatives). Similar results were noted when comparing the qPCR average TL and the flow FISH total lymphocyte TL (R² of 0.49 in DC patients and of 0.42 in unaffected relatives). In conclusion, the strengths of the correlations between the three widely used TL assays (qPCR, flow FISH, and Southern blot) were significantly different. Careful consideration is warranted when selecting the method of TL measurement for research and for clinical studies.
Authors: Zhao F, Franco HL, Rodriguez KF, Brown PR, Tsai MJ, Tsai SY, Yao HH
Journal: Science. 2017 Aug 18;357(6352):717-720. doi: 10.1126/science.aai9136.
The sexual differentiation paradigm contends that the female pattern of the reproductive system is established by default because the male reproductive tracts (Wolffian ducts) in the female degenerate owing to a lack of androgen. Here, we discovered that female mouse embryos lacking Coup-tfII (chicken ovalbumin upstream promoter transcription factor II) in the Wolffian duct mesenchyme became intersex-possessing both female and male reproductive tracts. Retention of Wolffian ducts was not caused by ectopic androgen production or action. Instead, enhanced phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling in Wolffian duct epithelium was responsible for the retention of male structures in an androgen-independent manner. We thus suggest that elimination of Wolffian ducts in female embryos is actively promoted by COUP-TFII, which suppresses a mesenchyme-epithelium cross-talk responsible for Wolffian duct maintenance.
Authors: Gianferante DM, Mirabello L, Savage SA
Journal: Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2017 Aug;13(8):480-491. doi: 10.1038/nrendo.2017.16. Epub 2017 Mar 24.
Clinical outcomes and treatment modalities for osteosarcoma, the most common primary cancer of bone, have changed very little over the past 30 years. The peak incidence of osteosarcoma occurs during the adolescent growth spurt, which suggests that bone growth and pubertal hormones are important in the aetiology of the disease. Tall stature, high birth weight and certain inherited cancer predisposition syndromes are well-described risk factors for osteosarcoma. Common genetic variants are also associated with osteosarcoma. The somatic genome of osteosarcoma is highly aneuploid, exhibits extensive intratumoural heterogeneity and has a higher mutation rate than most other paediatric cancers. Complex pathways related to bone growth and development and tumorigenesis are also important in osteosarcoma biology. In this Review, we discuss the contributions of germline and somatic genetics, tumour biology and animal models in improving our understanding of osteosarcoma aetiology, and their potential to identify novel therapeutic targets and thus improve the lives of patients with osteosarcoma.
Authors: Zhang HY, Bi GH, Yang HJ, He Y, Xue G, Cao J, Tanda G, Gardner EL, Newman AH, Xi ZX
Journal: Neuropsychopharmacology. 2017 Aug;42(9):1871-1883. doi: 10.1038/npp.2017.41. Epub 2017 Mar 7.
(±)Modafinil ((±)MOD) and its R-enantiomer (R-modafinil; R-MOD) have been investigated for their potential as treatments for psychostimulant addiction. We recently reported a series of (±)MOD analogs, of which JJC8-016 (N-(2-((bis(4-fluorophenyl)methyl)thio)ethyl)-3-phenylpropan-1-amine) was selected for further development. JJC8-016 and R-MOD were evaluated for binding across ~70 receptors, transporters, and enzymes. Although at a concentration of 10 μM, there were many hits for JJC8-016, binding affinities in the range of its DAT affinity were only observed at the serotonin transporter (SERT), dopamine D2-like, and sigma1 receptors. R-MOD was more selective, but had much lower affinity at the DAT (Ki=3 μM) than JJC8-016 (Ki=116 nM). In rats, systemic administration of R-MOD alone (10-30 mg/kg i.p.) dose-dependently increased locomotor activity and electrical brain-stimulation reward, whereas JJC8-016 (10-30 mg/kg i.p.) did not produce these effects. Strikingly, pretreatment with JJC8-016 dose-dependently inhibited cocaine-enhanced locomotion, cocaine self-administration, and cocaine-induced reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior, whereas R-MOD inhibited cocaine-induced reinstatement only at the high dose of 100 mg/kg. Notably, JJC8-016 alone neither altered extracellular dopamine in the nucleus accumbens nor maintained self-administration. It also failed to induce reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior. These findings suggest that JJC8-016 is a unique DAT inhibitor that has no cocaine-like abuse potential by itself. Moreover, pretreatment with JJC8-016 significantly inhibits cocaine-taking and cocaine-seeking behavior likely by interfering with cocaine binding to DAT. In addition, off-target actions may also contribute to its potential therapeutic utility in the treatment of cocaine abuse.
Authors: Jamsen JA, Beard WA, Pedersen LC, Shock DD, Moon AF, Krahn JM, Bebenek K, Kunkel TA, Wilson SH
Journal: Nat Commun. 2017 Aug 15;8(1):253. doi: 10.1038/s41467-017-00271-7.
DNA polymerase (pol) μ is a DNA-dependent polymerase that incorporates nucleotides during gap-filling synthesis in the non-homologous end-joining pathway of double-strand break repair. Here we report time-lapse X-ray crystallography snapshots of catalytic events during gap-filling DNA synthesis by pol μ. Unique catalytic intermediates and active site conformational changes that underlie catalysis are uncovered, and a transient third (product) metal ion is observed in the product state. The product manganese coordinates phosphate oxygens of the inserted nucleotide and PPi. The product metal is not observed during DNA synthesis in the presence of magnesium. Kinetic analyses indicate that manganese increases the rate constant for deoxynucleoside 5'-triphosphate insertion compared to magnesium. The likely product stabilization role of the manganese product metal in pol μ is discussed. These observations provide insight on structural attributes of this X-family double-strand break repair polymerase that impact its biological function in genome maintenance.DNA polymerase (pol) μ functions in DNA double-strand break repair. Here the authors use time-lapse X-ray crystallography to capture the states of pol µ during the conversion from pre-catalytic to product complex and observe a third transiently bound metal ion in the product state.
Authors: St Leger AJ, Desai JV, Drummond RA, Kugadas A, Almaghrabi F, Silver P, Raychaudhuri K, Gadjeva M, Iwakura Y, Lionakis MS, Caspi RR
Journal: Immunity. 2017 Jul 18;47(1):148-158.e5. doi: 10.1016/j.immuni.2017.06.014.
Mucosal sites such as the intestine, oral cavity, nasopharynx, and vagina all have associated commensal flora. The surface of the eye is also a mucosal site, but proof of a living, resident ocular microbiome remains elusive. Here, we used a mouse model of ocular surface disease to reveal that commensals were present in the ocular mucosa and had functional immunological consequences. We isolated one such candidate commensal, Corynebacterium mastitidis, and showed that this organism elicited a commensal-specific interleukin-17 response from γδ T cells in the ocular mucosa that was central to local immunity. The commensal-specific response drove neutrophil recruitment and the release of antimicrobials into the tears and protected the eye from pathogenic Candida albicans or Pseudomonas aeruginosa infection. Our findings provide direct evidence that a resident commensal microbiome exists on the ocular surface and identify the cellular mechanisms underlying its effects on ocular immune homeostasis and host defense.
Authors: Canela A, Maman Y, Jung S, Wong N, Callen E, Day A, Kieffer-Kwon KR, Pekowska A, Zhang H, Rao SSP, Huang SC, Mckinnon PJ, Aplan PD, Pommier Y, Aiden EL, Casellas R, Nussenzweig A
Journal: Cell. 2017 Jul 27;170(3):507-521.e18. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2017.06.034. Epub 2017 Jul 20.
In this study, we show that evolutionarily conserved chromosome loop anchors bound by CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF) and cohesin are vulnerable to DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) mediated by topoisomerase 2B (TOP2B). Polymorphisms in the genome that redistribute CTCF/cohesin occupancy rewire DNA cleavage sites to novel loop anchors. While transcription- and replication-coupled genomic rearrangements have been well documented, we demonstrate that DSBs formed at loop anchors are largely transcription-, replication-, and cell-type-independent. DSBs are continuously formed throughout interphase, are enriched on both sides of strong topological domain borders, and frequently occur at breakpoint clusters commonly translocated in cancer. Thus, loop anchors serve as fragile sites that generate DSBs and chromosomal rearrangements.
Authors: Pillon MC, Sobhany M, Borgnia MJ, Williams JG, Stanley RE
Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Jul 11;114(28):E5530-E5538. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1703133114.
Las1 is a recently discovered endoribonuclease that collaborates with Grc3-Rat1-Rai1 to process precursor ribosomal RNA (rRNA), yet its mechanism of action remains unknown. Disruption of the mammalian Las1 gene has been linked to congenital lethal motor neuron disease and X-linked intellectual disability disorders, thus highlighting the necessity to understand Las1 regulation and function. Here, we report that the essential Las1 endoribonuclease requires its binding partner, the polynucleotide kinase Grc3, for specific C2 cleavage. Our results establish that Grc3 drives Las1 endoribonuclease cleavage to its targeted C2 site both in vitro and in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Moreover, we observed Las1-dependent activation of the Grc3 kinase activity exclusively toward single-stranded RNA. Together, Las1 and Grc3 assemble into a tetrameric complex that is required for competent rRNA processing. The tetrameric Grc3/Las1 cross talk draws unexpected parallels to endoribonucleases RNaseL and Ire1, and establishes Grc3/Las1 as a unique member of the RNaseL/Ire1 RNA splicing family. Together, our work provides mechanistic insight for the regulation of the Las1 endoribonuclease and identifies the tetrameric Grc3/Las1 complex as a unique example of a protein-guided programmable endoribonuclease.
Authors: De Biase LM, Schuebel KE, Fusfeld ZH, Jair K, Hawes IA, Cimbro R, Zhang HY, Liu QR, Shen H, Xi ZX, Goldman D, Bonci A
Journal: Neuron. 2017 Jul 1. pii: S0896-6273(17)30518-4. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2017.06.020. [Epub ahead of print]
Microglia play critical roles in tissue homeostasis and can also modulate neuronal function and synaptic connectivity. In contrast to astrocytes and oligodendrocytes, which arise from multiple progenitor pools, microglia arise from yolk sac progenitors and are widely considered to be equivalent throughout the CNS. However, little is known about basic properties of deep brain microglia, such as those within the basal ganglia(BG). Here, we show that microglial anatomical features, lysosome content, membrane properties, and transcriptomes differ significantly across BG nuclei. Region-specific phenotypes of BG microglia emerged during the second postnatal week and were re-established following genetic or pharmacological microglial ablation and repopulation in the adult, indicating that local cues play an ongoing role in shaping microglial diversity. These findings demonstrate that microglia in the healthy brain exhibit a spectrum of distinct functional states and provide a critical foundation for defining microglial contributions to BG circuit function.
Authors: Wang Z, McGlynn KA, Rajpert-De Meyts E, Bishop DT, Chung CC, Dalgaard MD, Greene MH, Gupta R, Grotmol T, Haugen TB, Karlsson R, Litchfield K, Mitra N, Nielsen K, Pyle LC, Schwartz SM, Thorsson V, Vardhanabhuti S, Wiklund F, Turnbull C, Chanock SJ, Kanetsky PA, Nathanson KL, Testicular Cancer Consortium
Journal: Nat Genet. 2017 Jul;49(7):1141-1147. doi: 10.1038/ng.3879. Epub 2017 Jun 12.
The international Testicular Cancer Consortium (TECAC) combined five published genome-wide association studies of testicular germ cell tumor (TGCT; 3,558 cases and 13,970 controls) to identify new susceptibility loci. We conducted a fixed-effects meta-analysis, including, to our knowledge, the first analysis of the X chromosome. Eight new loci mapping to 2q14.2, 3q26.2, 4q35.2, 7q36.3, 10q26.13, 15q21.3, 15q22.31, and Xq28 achieved genome-wide significance (P < 5 × 10-8). Most loci harbor biologically plausible candidate genes. We refined previously reported associations at 9p24.3 and 19p12 by identifying one and three additional independent SNPs, respectively. In aggregate, the 39 independent markers identified to date explain 37% of father-to-son familial risk, 8% of which can be attributed to the 12 new signals reported here. Our findings substantially increase the number of known TGCT susceptibility alleles, move the field closer to a comprehensive understanding of the underlying genetic architecture of TGCT, and provide further clues to the etiology of TGCT.