Authors: Gilchrist DA, Fromm G, Dos Santos G, Pham LN, McDaniel IE, Burkholder A, Fargo DC, Adelman K
Journal: Genes Dev. 2012 May 1;26(9):933-44
The expression of many metazoan genes is regulated through controlled release of RNA polymerase II (Pol II) that has paused during early transcription elongation. Pausing is highly enriched at genes in stimulus-responsive pathways, where it has been proposed to poise downstream targets for rapid gene activation. However, whether this represents the major function of pausing in these pathways remains to be determined. To address this question, we analyzed pausing within several stimulus-responsive networks in Drosophila and discovered that paused Pol II is much more prevalent at genes encoding components and regulators of signal transduction cascades than at inducible downstream targets. Within immune-responsive pathways, we found that pausing maintains basal expression of critical network hubs, including the key NF-κB transcription factor that triggers gene activation. Accordingly, loss of pausing through knockdown of the pause-inducing factor NELF leads to broadly attenuated immune gene activation. Investigation of murine embryonic stem cells revealed that pausing is similarly widespread at genes encoding signaling components that regulate self-renewal, particularly within the MAPK/ERK pathway. We conclude that the role of pausing goes well beyond poising-inducible genes for activation and propose that the primary function of paused Pol II is to establish basal activity of signal-responsive networks.
Authors: York AG, Parekh SH, Dalle Nogare D, Fischer RS, Temprine K, Mione M, Chitnis AB, Combs CA, Shroff H
Journal: Nat Methods. 2012 May 13;9(7):749-54. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.2025
We demonstrate three-dimensional (3D) super-resolution in live multicellular organisms using structured illumination microscopy (SIM). Sparse multifocal illumination patterns generated by a digital micromirror device (DMD) allowed us to physically reject out-of-focus light, enabling 3D subdiffractive imaging in samples eightfold thicker than had been previously imaged with SIM. We imaged samples at one 2D image per second, at resolutions as low as 145 nm laterally and 400 nm axially. In addition to dual-labeled, whole fixed cells, we imaged GFP-labeled microtubules in live transgenic zebrafish embryos at depths >45 μm. We captured dynamic changes in the zebrafish lateral line primordium and observed interactions between myosin IIA and F-actin in cells encapsulated in collagen gels, obtaining two-color 4D super-resolution data sets spanning tens of time points and minutes without apparent phototoxicity. Our method uses commercially available parts and open-source software and is simpler than existing SIM implementations, allowing easy integration with wide-field microscopes.
Authors: Moon AF, Xu Y, Woody SM, Krahn JM, Linhardt RJ, Liu J, Pedersen LC
Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Apr 3;109(14):5265-70
Heparin is a polysaccharide-based natural product that is used clinically as an anticoagulant drug. Heparan sulfate 3-O-sulfotransferase (3-OST) is an enzyme that transfers a sulfo group to the 3-OH position of a glucosamine unit. 3-OST is present in multiple isoforms, and the polysaccharides modified by these different isoforms perform distinct biological functions. 3-OST isoform 1 (3-OST-1) is the key enzyme for the biosynthesis of anticoagulant heparin. Here, we report the crystal structure of the ternary complex of 3-OST-1, 3'-phosphoadenosine 5'-phosphate, and a heptasaccharide substrate. Comparisons to previously determined structures of 3-OST-3 reveal unique binding modes used by the different isoforms of 3-OST for distinguishing the fine structures of saccharide substrates. Our data demonstrate that the saccharide substrates display distinct conformations when interacting with the different 3-OST isoforms. Site-directed mutagenesis data suggest that several key amino residues, including Lys259, Thr256, and Trp283 in 3-OST-3 and Arg268 in 3-OST-1, play important roles in substrate binding and specificity between isoforms. These results deepen our understanding of the biosynthetic mechanism of heparan sulfate and provide structural information for engineering enzymes for an enhanced biosynthetic approach to heparin production.
Authors: Hao H, Kim DS, Klocke B, Johnson KR, Cui K, Gotoh N, Zang C, Gregorski J, Gieser L, Peng W, Fann Y, Seifert M, Zhao K, Swaroop A
Journal: PLoS Genet. 2012 Apr;8(4):e1002649
A stringent control of homeostasis is critical for functional maintenance and survival of neurons. In the mammalian retina, the basic motif leucine zipper transcription factor NRL determines rod versus cone photoreceptor cell fate and activates the expression of many rod-specific genes. Here, we report an integrated analysis of NRL-centered gene regulatory network by coupling chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-Seq) data from Illumina and ABI platforms with global expression profiling and in vivo knockdown studies. We identified approximately 300 direct NRL target genes. Of these, 22 NRL targets are associated with human retinal dystrophies, whereas 95 mapped to regions of as yet uncloned retinal disease loci. In silico analysis of NRL ChIP-Seq peak sequences revealed an enrichment of distinct sets of transcription factor binding sites. Specifically, we discovered that genes involved in photoreceptor function include binding sites for both NRL and homeodomain protein CRX. Evaluation of 26 ChIP-Seq regions validated their enhancer functions in reporter assays. In vivo knockdown of 16 NRL target genes resulted in death or abnormal morphology of rod photoreceptors, suggesting their importance in maintaining retinal function. We also identified histone demethylase Kdm5b as a novel secondary node in NRL transcriptional hierarchy. Exon array analysis of flow-sorted photoreceptors in which Kdm5b was knocked down by shRNA indicated its role in regulating rod-expressed genes. Our studies identify candidate genes for retinal dystrophies, define cis-regulatory module(s) for photoreceptor-expressed genes and provide a framework for decoding transcriptional regulatory networks that dictate rod homeostasis.
Authors: Miao YL, Stein P, Jefferson WN, Padilla-Banks E, Williams CJ
Journal: Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Mar 13;109(11):4169-74
Mammalian fertilization is accompanied by oscillations in egg cytoplasmic calcium (Ca(2+)) concentrations that are critical for completion of egg activation. These oscillations are initiated by Ca(2+) release from inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP(3))-sensitive intracellular stores. We tested the hypothesis that Ca(2+) influx across the plasma membrane was a requisite component of egg activation signaling, and not simply a Ca(2+) source for store repletion. Using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and standard in vitro fertilization (IVF), we found that Ca(2+) influx was not required to initiate resumption of meiosis II. However, even if multiple oscillations in intracellular Ca(2+) occurred, in the absence of Ca(2+) influx, the fertilized eggs failed to emit the second polar body, resulting in formation of three pronuclei. Additional experiments using the Ca(2+) chelator, BAPTA/AM, demonstrated that Ca(2+) influx is sufficient to support polar body emission and pronucleus formation after only a single sperm-induced Ca(2+) transient, whereas BAPTA/AM-treated ICSI or fertilized eggs cultured in Ca(2+)-free medium remained arrested in metaphase II. Inhibition of store-operated Ca(2+) entry had no effect on ICSI-induced egg activation, so Ca(2+) influx through alternative channels must participate in egg activation signaling. Ca(2+) influx appears to be upstream of CaMKIIγ activity because eggs can be parthenogenetically activated with a constitutively active form of CaMKIIγ in the absence of extracellular Ca(2+). These results suggest that Ca(2+) influx at fertilization not only maintains Ca(2+) oscillations by replenishing Ca(2+) stores, but also activates critical signaling pathways upstream of CaMKIIγ that are required for second polar body emission.
Authors: Cheng L, Hansen NF, Zhao L, Du Y, Zou C, Donovan FX, Chou BK, Zhou G, Li S, Dowey SN, Ye Z; NISC Comparative Sequencing Program, Chandrasekharappa SC, Yang H, Mullikin JC, Liu PP
Journal: Cell Stem Cell. 2012 Mar 2;10(3):337-44
The utility of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) as models to study diseases and as sources for cell therapy depends on the integrity of their genomes. Despite recent publications of DNA sequence variations in the iPSCs, the true scope of such changes for the entire genome is not clear. Here we report the whole-genome sequencing of three human iPSC lines derived from two cell types of an adult donor by episomal vectors. The vector sequence was undetectable in the deeply sequenced iPSC lines. We identified 1,058-1,808 heterozygous single-nucleotide variants (SNVs), but no copy-number variants, in each iPSC line. Six to twelve of these SNVs were within coding regions in each iPSC line, but ~50% of them are synonymous changes and the remaining are not selectively enriched for known genes associated with cancers. Our data thus suggest that episome-mediated reprogramming is not inherently mutagenic during integration-free iPSC induction.
Authors: Bornstein MH, Putnick DL
Journal: Dev Psychol. 2012 Mar;48(2):477-91
The stability of language across childhood is traditionally assessed by exploring longitudinal relations between individual language measures. However, language encompasses many domains and varies with different sources (child speech, parental report, experimenter assessment). This study evaluated individual variation in multiple age-appropriate measures of child language derived from multiple sources and stability between their latent variables in 192 young children across more than 2 years. Structural equation modeling demonstrated the loading of multiple measures of child language from different sources on single latent variables of language at ages 20 months and 48 months. A large stability coefficient (r = .84) obtained between the 2 language latent variables. This stability obtained even when accounting for family socioeconomic status, maternal verbal intelligence, education, speech, tendency to respond in a socially desirable fashion, and child social competence. Stability was also equivalent for children in diverse childcare situations and for girls and boys. Across age, from the beginning of language acquisition to just before school entry, aggregating multiple age-appropriate methods and measures at each age and multiple reporters, children show a strong stability of individual differences in general language development.
Authors: Attfield MD, Schleiff PL, Lubin JH, Blair A, Stewart PA, Vermeulen R, Coble JB, Silverman DT
Journal: J Natl Cancer Inst. 2012 Mar 5
Current information points to an association between diesel exhaust exposure and lung cancer and other mortality outcomes, but uncertainties remain. We undertook a cohort mortality study of 12 315 workers exposed to diesel exhaust at eight US non-metal mining facilities. Historical measurements and surrogate exposure data, along with study industrial hygiene measurements, were used to derive retrospective quantitative estimates of respirable elemental carbon (REC) exposure for each worker. Standardized mortality ratios and internally adjusted Cox proportional hazard models were used to evaluate REC exposure-associated risk. Analyses were both unlagged and lagged to exclude recent exposure such as that occurring in the 15 years directly before the date of death. Standardized mortality ratios for lung cancer (1.26, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.09 to 1.44), esophageal cancer (1.83, 95% CI = 1.16 to 2.75), and pneumoconiosis (12.20, 95% CI = 6.82 to 20.12) were elevated in the complete cohort compared with state-based mortality rates, but all-cause, bladder cancer, heart disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease mortality were not. Differences in risk by worker location (ever-underground vs surface only) initially obscured a positive diesel exhaust exposure-response relationship with lung cancer in the complete cohort, although it became apparent after adjustment for worker location. The hazard ratios (HRs) for lung cancer mortality increased with increasing 15-year lagged cumulative REC exposure for ever-underground workers with 5 or more years of tenure to a maximum in the 640 to less than 1280 μg/m(3)-y category compared with the reference category (0 to <20 μg/m(3)-y; 30 deaths compared with eight deaths of the total of 93; HR = 5.01, 95% CI = 1.97 to 12.76) but declined at higher exposures. Average REC intensity hazard ratios rose to a plateau around 32 μg/m(3). Elevated hazard ratios and evidence of exposure-response were also seen for surface workers. The association between diesel exhaust exposure and lung cancer risk remained after inclusion of other work-related potentially confounding exposures in the models and were robust to alternative approaches to exposure derivation. The study findings provide further evidence that exposure to diesel exhaust increases risk of mortality from lung cancer and have important public health implications.
Authors: Silverman DT, Samanic CM, Lubin JH, Blair AE, Stewart PA, Vermeulen R, Coble JB, Rothman N, Schleiff PL, Travis WD, Ziegler RG, Wacholder S, Attfield MD
Journal: J Natl Cancer Inst. 2012 Mar 5
Most studies of the association between diesel exhaust exposure and lung cancer suggest a modest, but consistent, increased risk. However, to our knowledge, no study to date has had quantitative data on historical diesel exposure coupled with adequate sample size to evaluate the exposure-response relationship between diesel exhaust and lung cancer. Our purpose was to evaluate the relationship between quantitative estimates of exposure to diesel exhaust and lung cancer mortality after adjustment for smoking and other potential confounders. We conducted a nested case-control study in a cohort of 12 315 workers in eight non-metal mining facilities, which included 198 lung cancer deaths and 562 incidence density-sampled control subjects. For each case subject, we selected up to four control subjects, individually matched on mining facility, sex, race/ethnicity, and birth year (within 5 years), from all workers who were alive before the day the case subject died. We estimated diesel exhaust exposure, represented by respirable elemental carbon (REC), by job and year, for each subject, based on an extensive retrospective exposure assessment at each mining facility. We conducted both categorical and continuous regression analyses adjusted for cigarette smoking and other potential confounding variables (eg, history of employment in high-risk occupations for lung cancer and a history of respiratory disease) to estimate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Analyses were both unlagged and lagged to exclude recent exposure such as that occurring in the 15 years directly before the date of death (case subjects)/reference date (control subjects). All statistical tests were two-sided. We observed statistically significant increasing trends in lung cancer risk with increasing cumulative REC and average REC intensity. Cumulative REC, lagged 15 years, yielded a statistically significant positive gradient in lung cancer risk overall (P(trend) = .001); among heavily exposed workers (ie, above the median of the top quartile [REC ≥ 1005 μg/m(3)-y]), risk was approximately three times greater (OR = 3.20, 95% CI = 1.33 to 7.69) than that among workers in the lowest quartile of exposure. Among never smokers, odd ratios were 1.0, 1.47 (95% CI = 0.29 to 7.50), and 7.30 (95% CI = 1.46 to 36.57) for workers with 15-year lagged cumulative REC tertiles of less than 8, 8 to less than 304, and 304 μg/m(3)-y or more, respectively. We also observed an interaction between smoking and 15-year lagged cumulative REC (P(interaction) = .086) such that the effect of each of these exposures was attenuated in the presence of high levels of the other. Our findings provide further evidence that diesel exhaust exposure may cause lung cancer in humans and may represent a potential public health burden.
Authors: Hirsch D, Camps J, Varma S, Kemmerling R, Stapleton M, Ried T, Gaiser T
Journal: Genes Chromosomes Cancer. 2012 Feb 15. doi: 10.1002/gcc.21937. [Epub ahead of print]
To identify the genetic drivers of colorectal tumorigenesis, we applied array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) to 13 formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples of early, localized human colon adenocarcinomas arising in high-grade adenomas (so-called "malignant polyps"). These lesions are small and hence the amount of DNA is limited. Additionally, the quality of DNA is compromised due to the fragmentation as a consequence of formalin fixation. To overcome these problems, we optimized a newly developed isothermal whole genome amplification system (NuGEN Ovation® WGA FFPE System). Starting with 100 ng of FFPE DNA, the amplification system produced 4.01 ± 0.29 μg (mean ± standard deviation) of DNA. The excellent quality of amplified DNA was further indicated by a high signal-to-noise ratio and a low derivative log(2) ratio spread. Both, the amount of amplified DNA and aCGH performance were independent of the age of the FFPE blocks and the associated degradation of the extracted DNA. We observed losses of chromosome arms 5q and 18q in the adenoma components of the malignant polyp samples, while the embedded early carcinomas revealed losses of 8p, 17p, and 18, and gains of 7, 13, and 20. Aberrations detected in the adenoma components were invariably maintained in the embedded carcinomas. This approach demonstrates that using isothermally whole genome amplified FFPE DNA is technically suitable for aCGH. In addition to demonstrating the clonal origin of the adenoma and carcinoma part within a malignant polyp, the gain of chromosome arm 20q was an indicator for progression from adenoma to carcinoma.