William Greenleaf, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Organization of the human intestine at single-cell resolution.
2023; 619 (7970): 572-584
The intestine is a complex organ that promotes digestion, extracts nutrients, participates in immune surveillance, maintains critical symbiotic relationships with microbiota and affects overall health1. The intesting has a length of over nine metres, along which there are differences in structure and function2. The localization of individual cell types, cell type development trajectories and detailed cell transcriptional programs probably drive these differences in function. Here, to better understand these differences, we evaluated the organization of single cells using multiplexed imaging and single-nucleus RNA and open chromatin assays across eight different intestinal sites from nine donors. Through systematic analyses, we find cell compositions that differ substantially across regions of the intestine and demonstrate the complexity of epithelial subtypes, and find that the same cell types are organized into distinct neighbourhoods and communities, highlighting distinct immunological niches that are present in the intestine. We also map gene regulatory differences in these cells that are suggestive of a regulatory differentiation cascade, and associate intestinal disease heritability with specific cell types. These results describe the complexity of the cell composition, regulation and organization for this organ, and serve as an important reference map for understanding human biology and disease.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-023-05915-x
View details for PubMedID 37468586
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC10356619
Sequence determinants of human gene regulatory elements.
DNA can determine where and when genes are expressed, but the full set of sequence determinants that control gene expression is unknown. Here, we measured the transcriptional activity of DNA sequences that represent an ~100 times larger sequence space than the human genome using massively parallel reporter assays (MPRAs). Machine learning models revealed that transcription factors (TFs) generally act in an additive manner with weak grammar and that most enhancers increase expression from a promoter by a mechanism that does not appear to involve specific TF-TF interactions. The enhancers themselves can be classified into three types: classical, closed chromatin and chromatin dependent. We also show that few TFs are strongly active in a cell, with most activities being similar between cell types. Individual TFs can have multiple gene regulatory activities, including chromatin opening and enhancing, promoting and determining transcription start site (TSS) activity, consistent with the view that the TF binding motif is the key atomic unit of gene expression.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41588-021-01009-4
View details for PubMedID 35190730
Multi-omic profiling reveals widespread dysregulation of innate immunity and hematopoiesis in COVID-19.
The Journal of experimental medicine
2021; 218 (8)
Our understanding of protective versus pathological immune responses to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), is limited by inadequate profiling of patients at the extremes of the disease severity spectrum. Here, we performed multi-omic single-cell immune profiling of 64 COVID-19 patients across the full range of disease severity, from outpatients with mild disease to fatal cases. Our transcriptomic, epigenomic, and proteomic analyses revealed widespread dysfunction of peripheral innate immunity in severe and fatal COVID-19, including prominent hyperactivation signatures in neutrophils and NK cells. We also identified chromatin accessibility changes at NF-kappaB binding sites within cytokine gene loci as a potential mechanism for the striking lack of pro-inflammatory cytokine production observed in monocytes in severe and fatal COVID-19. We further demonstrated that emergency myelopoiesis is a prominent feature of fatal COVID-19. Collectively, our results reveal disease severity-associated immune phenotypes in COVID-19 and identify pathogenesis-associated pathways that are potential targets for therapeutic intervention.
View details for DOI 10.1084/jem.20210582
View details for PubMedID 34128959
BMP10 Signaling Promotes the Development of Endocardial Cells from Human Pluripotent Stem Cell-Derived Cardiovascular Progenitors.
Cell stem cell
The embryonic endocardium is essential for early heart development as it functions to induce trabecular myocardium, the first heart tissue to form, and is the source of the cells that make up the valves and a portion of the coronary vasculature. With this potential, human endocardial cells could provide unique therapeutic opportunities that include engineering biological valves and cell-based therapy strategies to replace coronary vasculature in damaged hearts. To access human endocardial cells, we generated a human pluripotent stem cell (hPSC)-derived endothelial population that displays many characteristics of endocardium, including expression of the cohort of genes that identifies this lineage in vivo, the capacity to induce a trabecular fate in immature cardiomyocytes in vitro, and the ability to undergo an endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition. Analyses of the signaling pathways required for development of the hPSC-derived endocardial cells identified a novel role for BMP10 in the specification of this lineage from cardiovascular mesoderm.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stem.2020.10.003
View details for PubMedID 33142114