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.
Authors: Shock DD, Freudenthal BD, Beard WA, Wilson SH
Journal: Nat Chem Biol. 2017 Jul 31. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.2450.
DNA polymerases catalyze efficient and high-fidelity DNA synthesis. While this reaction favors nucleotide incorporation, polymerases also catalyze a reverse reaction, pyrophosphorolysis, that removes the DNA primer terminus and generates deoxynucleoside triphosphates. Because pyrophosphorolysis can influence polymerase fidelity and sensitivity to chain-terminating nucleosides, we analyzed pyrophosphorolysis with human DNA polymerase β and found the reaction to be inefficient. The lack of a thio-elemental effect indicated that this reaction was limited by a nonchemical step. Use of a pyrophosphate analog, in which the bridging oxygen is replaced with an imido group (PNP), increased the rate of the reverse reaction and displayed a large thio-elemental effect, indicating that chemistry was now rate determining. Time-lapse crystallography with PNP captured structures consistent with a chemical equilibriumfavoring the reverse reaction. These results highlight the importance of the bridging atom between the β- and γ-phosphates of the incoming nucleotide in reaction chemistry, enzyme conformational changes, and overall reaction equilibrium.
Authors: Kieffer-Kwon KR, Nimura K, Rao SSP, Xu J, Jung S, Pekowska A, Dose M, Stevens E, Mathe E, Dong P, Huang SC, Ricci MA, Baranello L, Zheng Y, Ardori FT, Resch W, Stavreva D, Nelson S, McAndrew M, Casellas A, Finn E, Gregory C, St Hilaire BG, Johnson SM, Dubois W, Cosma MP, Batchelor E, Levens D, Phair RD, Misteli T, Tessarollo L, Hager G, Lakadamyali M, Liu Z, Floer M, Shroff H, Aiden EL, Casellas R
Journal: Mol Cell. 2017 Jul 28. pii: S1097-2765(17)30507-5. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2017.07.013. [Epub ahead of print]
50 years ago, Vincent Allfrey and colleagues discovered that lymphocyte activation triggers massive acetylation of chromatin. However, the molecular mechanisms driving epigenetic accessibility are still unknown. We here show that stimulated lymphocytes decondense chromatin by three differentially regulated steps. First, chromatin is repositioned away from the nuclear periphery in response to global acetylation. Second, histone nanodomain clusters decompact into mononucleosome fibers through a mechanism that requires Myc and continual energy input. Single-molecule imaging shows that this step lowers transcription factor residence time and non-specific collisions during sampling for DNA targets. Third, chromatin interactions shift from long range to predominantly short range, and CTCF-mediated loops and contact domains double in numbers. This architectural change facilitates cognate promoter-enhancer contacts and also requires Myc and continual ATP production. Our results thus define the nature and transcriptional impact of chromatin decondensation and reveal an unexpected role for Myc in the establishment of nuclear topology in mammalian cells.
Authors: Michael D. Gregory, J. Shane Kippenhan, Daniel P. Eisenberg, Philip D. Kohn, Dwight Dickinson, Venkata S. Mattay, Qiang Chen, Daniel R. Weinberger, Ziad S. Saad & Karen F. Berman
Journal: Scientific Reports. 2017 Jul 24. doi:10.1038/s41598-017-06587-0
Before their disappearance from the fossil record approximately 40,000 years ago, Neanderthals, the ancient hominin lineage most closely related to modern humans, interbred with ancestors of present-day humans. The legacy of this gene flow persists through Neanderthal-derived variants that survive in modern human DNA; however, the neural implications of this inheritance are uncertain. Here, using MRI in a large cohort of healthy individuals of European-descent, we show that the amount of Neanderthal-originating polymorphism carried in living humans is related to cranial and brain morphology. First, as a validation of our approach, we demonstrate that a greater load of Neanderthal-derived genetic variants (higher “NeanderScore”) is associated with skull shapes resembling those of known Neanderthal cranial remains, particularly in occipital and parietal bones. Next, we demonstrate convergent NeanderScore-related findings in the brain (measured by gray- and white-matter volume, sulcal depth, and gyrification index) that localize to the visual cortex and intraparietal sulcus. This work provides insights into ancestral human neurobiology and suggests that Neanderthal-derived genetic variation is neurologically functional in the contemporary population.
Authors: Montgomery MP, Postel E, Umbach DM, Richards M, Watson M, Blair A, Chen H, Sandler DP, Schmidt S, Kamel F
Journal: Environ Health Perspect. 2017 Jul 19;125(7):077013. doi: 10.1289/EHP793
BACKGROUND: Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of blindness in developed countries. Few studies have investigated its relationship to environmental neurotoxicants. In previous cross-sectional studies, we found an association between pesticideuse and self-reported retinal degeneration.
OBJECTIVE: We evaluated the association of pesticide use with physician-confirmed incident AMD.
METHODS: The Agricultural Health Study (AHS) is a prospective cohort of pesticide applicators and their spouses enrolled from 1993-1997 in Iowa and North Carolina. Cohort members reported lifetime use of 50 specific pesticides at enrollment. Self-reports of incident AMD during follow-up through 2007 were confirmed by reports from participants' physicians and by independent evaluation of retinal photographs provided by the physicians. Confirmed cases (n=161) were compared with AHS cohort members without AMD (n=39,108). We estimated odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) by logistic regression with adjustment for age, gender, and smoking.
RESULTS: AMD was associated with ever use of organochlorine [OR=2.7 (95% CI: 1.8, 4.0)] and organophosphate [OR=2.0 (95% CI: 1.3, 3.0)] insecticides and phenoxyacetate herbicides [OR=1.9 (95% CI: 1.2, 2.8)]. Specific pesticides consistently associated with AMD included chlordane, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), malathion, and captan; others with notable but slightly less consistent associations were heptachlor, diazinon, phorate, 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4,5-T), and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D). Results were similar for men and women. Some specific pesticides were associated with both early- and late-stage AMD, but others were associated with only one stage.
CONCLUSIONS: Exposures to specific pesticides may be modifiable risk factors for AMD.