All Publications

  • Pancreatic Pseudoislets: An Organoid Archetype for Metabolism Research. Diabetes Friedlander, M. S., Nguyen, V. M., Kim, S. K., Bevacqua, R. J. 2021


    Pancreatic islets are vital endocrine regulators of systemic metabolism, and recent investigations have increasingly focused on understanding human islet biology. Studies of isolated human islets have advanced understanding of the development, function, and regulation of cells comprising islets, especially pancreatic alpha- and beta-cells. However, the multicellularity of the intact islet has stymied specific experimental approaches-particularly in genetics and cell signaling interrogation. This barrier has been circumvented by the observation that islet cells can survive dispersion and reaggregate to form "pseudoislets," organoids that retain crucial physiological functions, including regulated insulin and glucagon secretion. Recently, exciting advances in the use of pseudoislets for genetics, genomics, islet cell transplantation, and studies of intraislet signaling and islet cell interactions have been reported by investigators worldwide. Here we review molecular and cellular mechanisms thought to promote islet cell reaggregation, summarize methods that optimize pseudoislet development, and detail recent insights about human islet biology from genetic and transplantation-based pseudoislet experiments. Owing to robust, international programs for procuring primary human pancreata, pseudoislets should serve as both a durable paradigm for primary organoid studies and as an engine of discovery for islet biology, diabetes, and metabolism research.

    View details for DOI 10.2337/db20-1115

    View details for PubMedID 33947722

  • CHD7 and Runx1 interaction provides a braking mechanism for hematopoietic differentiation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Hsu, J. n., Huang, H. T., Lee, C. T., Choudhuri, A. n., Wilson, N. K., Abraham, B. J., Moignard, V. n., Kucinski, I. n., Yu, S. n., Hyde, R. K., Tober, J. n., Cai, X. n., Li, Y. n., Guo, Y. n., Yang, S. n., Superdock, M. n., Trompouki, E. n., Calero-Nieto, F. J., Ghamari, A. n., Jiang, J. n., Gao, P. n., Gao, L. n., Nguyen, V. n., Robertson, A. L., Durand, E. M., Kathrein, K. L., Aifantis, I. n., Gerber, S. A., Tong, W. n., Tan, K. n., Cantor, A. B., Zhou, Y. n., Liu, P. P., Young, R. A., Gƶttgens, B. n., Speck, N. A., Zon, L. I. 2020


    Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) formation and lineage differentiation involve gene expression programs orchestrated by transcription factors and epigenetic regulators. Genetic disruption of the chromatin remodeler chromodomain-helicase-DNA-binding protein 7 (CHD7) expanded phenotypic HSPCs, erythroid, and myeloid lineages in zebrafish and mouse embryos. CHD7 acts to suppress hematopoietic differentiation. Binding motifs for RUNX and other hematopoietic transcription factors are enriched at sites occupied by CHD7, and decreased RUNX1 occupancy correlated with loss of CHD7 localization. CHD7 physically interacts with RUNX1 and suppresses RUNX1-induced expansion of HSPCs during development through modulation of RUNX1 activity. Consequently, the RUNX1:CHD7 axis provides proper timing and function of HSPCs as they emerge during hematopoietic development or mature in adults, representing a distinct and evolutionarily conserved control mechanism to ensure accurate hematopoietic lineage differentiation.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.2003228117

    View details for PubMedID 32883883

  • Identification of Padi2 as a novel angiogenesis-regulating gene by genome association studies in mice. PLoS genetics Khajavi, M. n., Zhou, Y. n., Birsner, A. E., Bazinet, L. n., Rosa Di Sant, A. n., Schiffer, A. J., Rogers, M. S., Krishnaji, S. T., Hu, B. n., Nguyen, V. n., Zon, L. n., D'Amato, R. J. 2017; 13 (6): e1006848


    Recent findings indicate that growth factor-driven angiogenesis is markedly influenced by genetic variation. This variation in angiogenic responsiveness may alter the susceptibility to a number of angiogenesis-dependent diseases. Here, we utilized the genetic diversity available in common inbred mouse strains to identify the loci and candidate genes responsible for differences in angiogenic response. The corneal micropocket neovascularization assay was performed on 42 different inbred mouse strains using basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF) pellets. We performed a genome-wide association study utilizing efficient mixed-model association (EMMA) mapping using the induced vessel area from all strains. Our analysis yielded five loci with genome-wide significance on chromosomes 4, 8, 11, 15 and 16. We further refined the mapping on chromosome 4 within a haplotype block containing multiple candidate genes. These genes were evaluated by expression analysis in corneas of various inbred strains and in vitro functional assays in human microvascular endothelial cells (HMVECs). Of these, we found the expression of peptidyl arginine deiminase type II (Padi2), known to be involved in metabolic pathways, to have a strong correlation with a haplotype shared by multiple high angiogenic strains. In addition, inhibition of Padi2 demonstrated a dosage-dependent effect in HMVECs. To investigate its role in vivo, we knocked down Padi2 in transgenic kdrl:zsGreen zebrafish embryos using morpholinos. These embryos had disrupted vessel formation compared to control siblings. The impaired vascular pattern was partially rescued by human PADI2 mRNA, providing evidence for the specificity of the morphant phenotype. Taken together, our study is the first to indicate the potential role of Padi2 as an angiogenesis-regulating gene. The characterization of Padi2 and other genes in associated pathways may provide new understanding of angiogenesis regulation and novel targets for diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of angiogenesis-dependent diseases.

    View details for PubMedID 28617813

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5491319

  • Meta-analysis of rare and common exome chip variants identifies S1PR4 and other loci influencing blood cell traits NATURE GENETICS Pankratz, N., Schick, U. M., Zhou, Y., Zhou, W., Ahluwalia, T. S., Allende, M. L., Auer, P. L., Bork-Jensen, J., Brody, J. A., Chen, M., Clavo, V., Eicher, J. D., Grarup, N., Hagedorn, E. J., Hu, B., Hunker, K., Johnson, A. D., Leusink, M., Lu, Y., Lyytikainen, L., Manichaikul, A., Marioni, R. E., Nalls, M. A., Pazoki, R., Smith, A. V., van Rooij, F. J., Yang, M., Zhang, X., Zhang, Y., Asselbergs, F. W., Boerwinkle, E., Borecki, I. B., Bottinger, E. P., Cushman, M., de Bakker, P. I., Deary, I. J., Dong, L., Feitosa, M. F., Floyd, J. S., Franceschini, N., Franco, O. H., Garcia, M. E., Grove, M. L., Gudnason, V., Hansen, T., Harris, T. B., Hofman, A., Jackson, R. D., Jia, J., Kahonen, M., Launer, L. J., Lehtimaki, T., Liewald, D. C., Linneberg, A., Liu, Y., Loos, R. J., Nguyen, V. M., Numans, M. E., Pedersen, O., Psaty, B. M., Raitakari, O. T., Rich, S. S., Rivadeneira, F., Di Sant, A. M., Rotter, J. I., Starr, J. M., Taylor, K. D., Thuesen, B. H., Tracy, R. P., Uitterlinden, A. G., Wang, J., Wang, J., Dehghan, A., Huo, Y., Cupples, L. A., Wilson, J. G., Proia, R. L., Zon, L. I., O'Donnell, C. J., Reiner, A. P., Ganesh, S. K. 2016; 48 (8): 867-?


    Hematologic measures such as hematocrit and white blood cell (WBC) count are heritable and clinically relevant. We analyzed erythrocyte and WBC phenotypes in 52,531 individuals (37,775 of European ancestry, 11,589 African Americans, and 3,167 Hispanic Americans) from 16 population-based cohorts with Illumina HumanExome BeadChip genotypes. We then performed replication analyses of new discoveries in 18,018 European-American women and 5,261 Han Chinese. We identified and replicated four new erythrocyte trait-locus associations (CEP89, SHROOM3, FADS2, and APOE) and six new WBC loci for neutrophil count (S1PR4), monocyte count (BTBD8, NLRP12, and IL17RA), eosinophil count (IRF1), and total WBC count (MYB). The association of a rare missense variant in S1PR4 supports the role of sphingosine-1-phosphate signaling in leukocyte trafficking and circulating neutrophil counts. Loss-of-function experiments for S1pr4 in mouse and s1pr4 in zebrafish demonstrated phenotypes consistent with the association observed in humans and altered kinetics of neutrophil recruitment and resolution in response to tissue injury.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/ng.3607

    View details for Web of Science ID 000380755100010

    View details for PubMedID 27399967

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5145000