A functional subset of CD8+ T cells during chronic exhaustion is defined by SIRPalpha expression.
2019; 10 (1): 794
Prolonged exposure of CD8+ T cells to antigenic stimulation, as in chronic viral infections, leads to a state of diminished function termed exhaustion. We now demonstrate that even during exhaustion there is a subset of functional CD8+ T cells defined by surface expression of SIRPalpha, a protein not previously reported on lymphocytes. On SIRPalpha+ CD8+ T cells, expression of co-inhibitory receptors is counterbalanced by expression of co-stimulatory receptors and it is only SIRPalpha+ cells that actively proliferate, transcribe IFNgamma and show cytolytic activity. Furthermore, target cells that express the ligand for SIRPalpha, CD47, are more susceptible to CD8+ T cell-killing in vivo. SIRPalpha+ CD8+ T cells are evident in mice infected with Friend retrovirus, LCMV Clone 13, and in patients with chronic HCV infections. Furthermore, therapeutic blockade of PD-L1 to reinvigorate CD8+ T cells during chronic infection expands the cytotoxic subset of SIRPalpha+ CD8+ T cells.
View details for PubMedID 30770827
Microglia are effector cells of CD47-SIRPalpha antiphagocytic axis disruption against glioblastoma.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a highly aggressive malignant brain tumor with fatal outcome. Tumor-associated macrophages and microglia (TAMs) have been found to be major tumor-promoting immune cells in the tumor microenvironment. Hence, modulation and reeducation of tumor-associated macrophages and microglia in GBM is considered a promising antitumor strategy. Resident microglia and invading macrophages have been shown to have distinct origin and function. Whereas yolk sac-derived microglia reside in the brain, blood-derived monocytes invade the central nervous system only under pathological conditions like tumor formation. We recently showed that disruption of the SIRPalpha-CD47 signaling axis is efficacious against various brain tumors including GBM primarily by inducing tumor phagocytosis. However, most effects are attributed to macrophages recruited from the periphery but the role of the brain resident microglia is unknown. Here, we sought to utilize a model to distinguish resident microglia and peripheral macrophages within the GBM-TAM pool, using orthotopically xenografted, immunodeficient, and syngeneic mouse models with genetically color-coded macrophages (Ccr2 RFP) and microglia (Cx3cr1 GFP). We show that even in the absence of phagocytizing macrophages (Ccr2 RFP/RFP), microglia are effector cells of tumor cell phagocytosis in response to anti-CD47 blockade. Additionally, macrophages and microglia show distinct morphological and transcriptional changes. Importantly, the transcriptional profile of microglia shows less of an inflammatory response which makes them a promising target for clinical applications.
View details for PubMedID 30602457
Surgical adhesions in mice are derived from mesothelial cells and can be targeted by antibodies against mesothelial markers.
Science translational medicine
2018; 10 (469)
Peritoneal adhesions are fibrous tissues that tether organs to one another or to the peritoneal wall and are a major cause of postsurgical and infectious morbidity. The primary molecular chain of events leading to the initiation of adhesions has been elusive, chiefly due to the lack of an identifiable cell of origin. Using clonal analysis and lineage tracing, we have identified injured surface mesothelium expressing podoplanin (PDPN) and mesothelin (MSLN) as a primary instigator of peritoneal adhesions after surgery in mice. We demonstrate that an anti-MSLN antibody diminished adhesion formation in a mouse model where adhesions were induced by surgical ligation to form ischemic buttons and subsequent surgical abrasion of the peritoneum. RNA sequencing and bioinformatics analyses of mouse mesothelial cells from injured mesothelium revealed aspects of the pathological mechanism of adhesion development and yielded several potential regulators of this process. Specifically, we show that PDPN+MSLN+ mesothelium responded to hypoxia by early up-regulation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF1alpha) that preceded adhesion development. Inhibition of HIF1alpha with small molecules ameliorated the injury program in damaged mesothelium and was sufficient to diminish adhesion severity in a mouse model. Analyses of human adhesion tissue suggested that similar surface markers and signaling pathways may contribute to surgical adhesions in human patients.
View details for PubMedID 30487249
- Method of Isolating and Transplanting the Hematopoietic Stem Cell with Its Microenvironment Which Improves Functional Hematopoietic Engraftment ELSEVIER SCIENCE INC. 2018: E224
Identification of the Human Skeletal Stem Cell.
2018; 175 (1): 43
Stem cell regulation and hierarchical organization ofhuman skeletal progenitors remain largely unexplored. Here, we report the isolation of a self-renewing and multipotent human skeletal stem cell (hSSC) that generates progenitors of bone, cartilage, and stroma, but not fat. Self-renewing and multipotent hSSCs are present in fetal and adult bones and can also be derived from BMP2-treated human adipose stroma (B-HAS) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Gene expression analysis of individual hSSCs reveals overall similarity between hSSCs obtained from different sources and partially explains skewed differentiation toward cartilage in fetal and iPSC-derived hSSCs. hSSCs undergo local expansion in response to acute skeletal injury. In addition, hSSC-derived stroma can maintain human hematopoietic stem cells (hHSCs) in serum-free culture conditions. Finally, we combine gene expression and epigenetic data of mouse skeletal stem cells (mSSCs) and hSSCs to identify evolutionarily conserved and divergent pathways driving SSC-mediated skeletogenesis. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
View details for PubMedID 30241615
Screening for genes that regulate the differentiation of human megakaryocytic lineage cells.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Different combinations of transcription factors (TFs) function at each stage of hematopoiesis, leading to distinct expression patterns of lineage-specific genes. The identification of such regulators and their functions in hematopoiesis remain largely unresolved. In this study, we utilized screening approaches to study the transcriptional regulators of megakaryocyte progenitor (MkP) generation, a key step before platelet production. Promising candidate genes were generated from a microarray platform gene expression commons and individually manipulated in human hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). Deletion of some of the candidate genes (the hit genes) by CRISPR/Cas9 led to decreased MkP generation during HSPC differentiation, while more MkPs were produced when some hit genes were overexpressed in HSPCs. We then demonstrated that overexpression of these genes can increase the frequency of mature megakaryocytic colonies by functional colony forming unit-megakaryocyte (CFU-Mk) assay and the release of platelets after in vitro maturation. Finally, we showed that the histone deacetylase inhibitors could also increase MkP differentiation, possibly by regulating some of the newly identified TFs. Therefore, identification of such regulators will advance the understanding of basic mechanisms of HSPC differentiation and conceivably enable the generation and maturation of megakaryocytes and platelets in vitro.
View details for PubMedID 30150396
Computational correction of index switching in multiplexed sequencing libraries
2018; 15 (5): 305–7
View details for PubMedID 29702636
Where Hematopoietic Stem Cells Live: The Bone Marrow Niche
ANTIOXIDANTS & REDOX SIGNALING
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) can sustain the production of blood throughout one's lifetime. However, for proper self-renewal of its own population and differentiation to blood, the HSC requires a specialized microenvironment called the "niche." Recent Advances: Recent studies using novel mouse models have shed new light on the cellular architecture and function of the HSC niche. Here, we review the different cells that constitute the HSC niche and the molecular mechanisms that underlie HSC and niche interaction. We discuss the evidence and potential features that distinguish the HSC niche from other microenvironments in the bone marrow. The relevance of the niche in malignant transformation of the HSCs and harboring cancer metastasis to the bone is also outlined. In addition, we address how the niche may regulate reactive oxygen species levels surrounding the HSCs. Critical Issues and Future Directions: We propose future directions and remaining challenges in investigating the niche of HSCs. We discuss how a better understanding of the HSC niche may help in restoring an aged hematopoietic system, fighting against malignancies, and transplanting purified HSCs safely and effectively into patients. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 00, 000-000.
View details for PubMedID 29113449
Single-cell analysis of early progenitor cells that build coronary arteries.
Arteries and veins are specified by antagonistic transcriptional programs. However, during development and regeneration, new arteries can arise from pre-existing veins through a poorly understood process of cell fate conversion. Here, using single-cell RNA sequencing and mouse genetics, we show that vein cells of the developing heart undergo an early cell fate switch to create a pre-artery population that subsequently builds coronary arteries. Vein cells underwent a gradual and simultaneous switch from venous to arterial fate before a subset of cells crossed a transcriptional threshold into the pre-artery state. Before the onset of coronary blood flow, pre-artery cells appeared in the immature vessel plexus, expressed mature artery markers, and decreased cell cycling. The vein-specifying transcription factor COUP-TF2 (also known as NR2F2) prevented plexus cells from overcoming the pre-artery threshold by inducing cell cycle genes. Thus, vein-derived coronary arteries are built by pre-artery cells that can differentiate independently of blood flow upon the release of inhibition mediated by COUP-TF2 and cell cycle factors.
View details for PubMedID 29973725
Antisense oligonucleotides correct the familial dysautonomia splicing defect in IKBKAP transgenic mice.
Nucleic acids research
2018; 46 (10): 4833–44
Familial dysautonomia (FD) is a rare inherited neurodegenerative disorder caused by a point mutation in the IKBKAP gene that results in defective splicing of its pre-mRNA. The mutation weakens the 5' splice site of exon 20, causing this exon to be skipped, thereby introducing a premature termination codon. Though detailed FD pathogenesis mechanisms are not yet clear, correcting the splicing defect in the relevant tissue(s), thus restoring normal expression levels of the full-length IKAP protein, could be therapeutic. Splice-switching antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) can be effective targeted therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases, such as nusinersen (Spinraza), an approved drug for spinal muscular atrophy. Using a two-step screen with ASOs targeting IKBKAP exon 20 or the adjoining intronic regions, we identified a lead ASO that fully restored exon 20 splicing in FD patient fibroblasts. We also characterized the corresponding cis-acting regulatory sequences that control exon 20 splicing. When administered into a transgenic FD mouse model, the lead ASO promoted expression of full-length human IKBKAP mRNA and IKAP protein levels in several tissues tested, including the central nervous system. These findings provide insights into the mechanisms of IKBKAP exon 20 recognition, and pre-clinical proof of concept for an ASO-based targeted therapy for FD.
View details for PubMedID 29672717
Complex mammalian-like haematopoietic system found in a colonial chordate.
Haematopoiesis is an essential process that evolved in multicellular animals. At the heart of this process are haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), which are multipotent and self-renewing, and generate the entire repertoire of blood and immune cells throughout an animal's life1. Although there have been comprehensive studies on self-renewal, differentiation, physiological regulation and niche occupation in vertebrate HSCs, relatively little is known about the evolutionary origin and niches of these cells. Here we describe the haematopoietic system of Botryllus schlosseri, a colonial tunicate that has a vasculature and circulating blood cells, and interesting stem-cell biology and immunity characteristics2-8. Self-recognition between genetically compatible B. schlosseri colonies leads to the formation of natural parabionts with shared circulation, whereas incompatible colonies reject each other3,4,7. Using flow cytometry, whole-transcriptome sequencing of defined cell populations and diverse functional assays, we identify HSCs, progenitors, immune effector cells and an HSC niche, and demonstrate that self-recognition inhibits allospecific cytotoxic reactions. Our results show that HSC and myeloid lineage immune cells emerged in a common ancestor of tunicates and vertebrates, and also suggest that haematopoietic bone marrow and the B. schlosseri endostyle niche evolved from a common origin.
View details for PubMedID 30518860
Single-cell transcriptomics of 20 mouse organs creates a Tabula Muris.
2018; 562 (7727): 367–72
Here we present a compendium of single-cell transcriptomic data from the model organism Mus musculus that comprises more than 100,000 cells from 20 organs and tissues. These data represent a new resource for cell biology, reveal gene expression in poorly characterized cell populations and enable the direct and controlled comparison of gene expression in cell types that are shared between tissues, such as T lymphocytes and endothelial cells from different anatomical locations. Two distinct technical approaches were used for most organs: one approach, microfluidic droplet-based 3'-end counting, enabled the survey of thousands of cells at relatively low coverage, whereas the other, full-length transcript analysis based on fluorescence-activated cell sorting, enabled the characterization of cell types with high sensitivity and coverage. The cumulative data provide the foundation for an atlas of transcriptomic cell biology.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-018-0590-4
View details for PubMedID 30283141
PD-1 expression by tumour-associated macrophages inhibits phagocytosis and tumour immunity.
2017; 545 (7655): 495-499
Programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) is an immune checkpoint receptor that is upregulated on activated T cells for the induction of immune tolerance. Tumour cells frequently overexpress the ligand for PD-1, programmed cell death ligand 1 (PD-L1), facilitating their escape from the immune system. Monoclonal antibodies that block the interaction between PD-1 and PD-L1, by binding to either the ligand or receptor, have shown notable clinical efficacy in patients with a variety of cancers, including melanoma, colorectal cancer, non-small-cell lung cancer and Hodgkin's lymphoma. Although it is well established that PD-1-PD-L1 blockade activates T cells, little is known about the role that this pathway may have in tumour-associated macrophages (TAMs). Here we show that both mouse and human TAMs express PD-1. TAM PD-1 expression increases over time in mouse models of cancer and with increasing disease stage in primary human cancers. TAM PD-1 expression correlates negatively with phagocytic potency against tumour cells, and blockade of PD-1-PD-L1 in vivo increases macrophage phagocytosis, reduces tumour growth and lengthens the survival of mice in mouse models of cancer in a macrophage-dependent fashion. This suggests that PD-1-PD-L1 therapies may also function through a direct effect on macrophages, with substantial implications for the treatment of cancer with these agents.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nature22396
View details for PubMedID 28514441
Human AML-iPSCs Reacquire Leukemic Properties after Differentiation and Model Clonal Variation of Disease.
Cell stem cell
2017; 20 (3): 329-344 e7
Understanding the relative contributions of genetic and epigenetic abnormalities to acute myeloid leukemia (AML) should assist integrated design of targeted therapies. In this study, we generated induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) from AML patient samples harboring MLL rearrangements and found that they retained leukemic mutations but reset leukemic DNA methylation/gene expression patterns. AML-iPSCs lacked leukemic potential, but when differentiated into hematopoietic cells, they reacquired the ability to give rise to leukemia in vivo and reestablished leukemic DNA methylation/gene expression patterns, including an aberrant MLL signature. Epigenetic reprogramming was therefore not sufficient to eliminate leukemic behavior. This approach also allowed us to study the properties of distinct AML subclones, including differential drug susceptibilities of KRAS mutant and wild-type cells, and predict relapse based on increased cytarabine resistance of a KRAS wild-type subclone. Overall, our findings illustrate the value of AML-iPSCs for investigating the mechanistic basis and clonal properties of human AML.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stem.2016.11.018
View details for PubMedID 28089908
Deep Sequencing of Urinary RNAs for Bladder Cancer Molecular Diagnostics.
Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research
The majority of bladder cancer patients present with localized disease and are managed by transurethral resection. However, the high rate of recurrence necessitates lifetime cystoscopic surveillance. Developing a sensitive and specific urine-based test would significantly improve bladder cancer screening, detection, and surveillance.RNA-seq was used for biomarker discovery to directly assess the gene expression profile of exfoliated urothelial cells in urine derived from bladder cancer patients (n=13) and controls (n=10). Eight bladder cancer specific and 3 reference genes identified by RNA-seq were quantitated by qPCR in a training cohort of 102 urine samples. A diagnostic model based on the training cohort was constructed using multiple logistic regression. The model was further validated in an independent cohort of 101 urines.418 genes were found to be differentially expressed between bladder cancer and controls. Validation of a subset of these genes was used to construct an equation for computing a probability of bladder cancer score (PBC) based on expression of 3-markers (ROBO1, WNT5A, and CDC42BPB). Setting PBC=0.45 as the cutoff for a positive test, urine testing using the 3-marker panel had overall 88% sensitivity and 92% specificity in the training cohort. The accuracy of the 3-marker panel in the independent validation cohort yielded an area under the curve of 0.87 and overall 83% sensitivity and 89% specificity.Urine-based molecular diagnostics using this 3-marker signature could provide a valuable adjunct to cystoscopy and may lead to a reduction of unnecessary procedures for bladder cancer diagnosis.
View details for DOI 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-16-2610
View details for PubMedID 28193625
Pharmacological rescue of diabetic skeletal stem cell niches.
Science translational medicine
2017; 9 (372)
Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease frequently associated with impaired bone healing. Despite its increasing prevalence worldwide, the molecular etiology of DM-linked skeletal complications remains poorly defined. Using advanced stem cell characterization techniques, we analyzed intrinsic and extrinsic determinants of mouse skeletal stem cell (mSSC) function to identify specific mSSC niche-related abnormalities that could impair skeletal repair in diabetic (Db) mice. We discovered that high serum concentrations of tumor necrosis factor-α directly repressed the expression of Indian hedgehog (Ihh) in mSSCs and in their downstream skeletogenic progenitors in Db mice. When hedgehog signaling was inhibited during fracture repair, injury-induced mSSC expansion was suppressed, resulting in impaired healing. We reversed this deficiency by precise delivery of purified Ihh to the fracture site via a specially formulated, slow-release hydrogel. In the presence of exogenous Ihh, the injury-induced expansion and osteogenic potential of mSSCs were restored, culminating in the rescue of Db bone healing. Our results present a feasible strategy for precise treatment of molecular aberrations in stem and progenitor cell populations to correct skeletal manifestations of systemic disease.
View details for DOI 10.1126/scitranslmed.aag2809
View details for PubMedID 28077677
An atlas of transcriptional, chromatin accessibility, and surface marker changes in human mesoderm development
Mesoderm is the developmental precursor to myriad human tissues including bone, heart, and skeletal muscle. Unravelling the molecular events through which these lineages become diversified from one another is integral to developmental biology and understanding changes in cellular fate. To this end, we developed an in vitro system to differentiate human pluripotent stem cells through primitive streak intermediates into paraxial mesoderm and its derivatives (somites, sclerotome, dermomyotome) and separately, into lateral mesoderm and its derivatives (cardiac mesoderm). Whole-population and single-cell analyses of these purified populations of human mesoderm lineages through RNA-seq, ATAC-seq, and high-throughput surface marker screens illustrated how transcriptional changes co-occur with changes in open chromatin and surface marker landscapes throughout human mesoderm development. This molecular atlas will facilitate study of human mesoderm development (which cannot be interrogated in vivo due to restrictions on human embryo studies) and provides a broad resource for the study of gene regulation in development at the single-cell level, knowledge that might one day be exploited for regenerative medicine.
View details for DOI 10.1038/sdata.2016.109
View details for PubMedID 27996962
Mapping the Pairwise Choices Leading from Pluripotency to Human Bone, Heart, and Other Mesoderm Cell Types
2016; 166 (2): 451-467
Stem-cell differentiation to desired lineages requires navigating alternating developmental paths that often lead to unwanted cell types. Hence, comprehensive developmental roadmaps are crucial to channel stem-cell differentiation toward desired fates. To this end, here, we map bifurcating lineage choices leading from pluripotency to 12 human mesodermal lineages, including bone, muscle, and heart. We defined the extrinsic signals controlling each binary lineage decision, enabling us to logically block differentiation toward unwanted fates and rapidly steer pluripotent stem cells toward 80%-99% pure human mesodermal lineages at most branchpoints. This strategy enabled the generation of human bone and heart progenitors that could engraft in respective in vivo models. Mapping stepwise chromatin and single-cell gene expression changes in mesoderm development uncovered somite segmentation, a previously unobservable human embryonic event transiently marked by HOPX expression. Collectively, this roadmap enables navigation of mesodermal development to produce transplantable human tissue progenitors and uncover developmental processes. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2016.06.011
View details for PubMedID 27419872
Developmental cell death programs license cytotoxic cells to eliminate histocompatible partners
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
2016; 113 (23): 6520-6525
In a primitive chordate model of natural chimerism, one chimeric partner is often eliminated in a process of allogeneic resorption. Here, we identify the cellular framework underlying loss of tolerance to one partner within a natural Botryllus schlosseri chimera. We show that the principal cell type mediating chimeric partner elimination is a cytotoxic morula cell (MC). Proinflammatory, developmental cell death programs render MCs cytotoxic and, in collaboration with activated phagocytes, eliminate chimeric partners during the "takeover" phase of blastogenic development. Among these genes, the proinflammatory cytokine IL-17 enhances cytotoxicity in allorecognition assays. Cellular transfer of FACS-purified MCs from allogeneic donors into recipients shows that the resorption response can be adoptively acquired. Transfer of 1 × 10(5) allogeneic MCs eliminated 33 of 78 (42%) recipient primary buds and 20 of 76 (20.5%) adult parental adult organisms (zooids) by 14 d whereas transfer of allogeneic cell populations lacking MCs had only minimal effects on recipient colonies. Furthermore, reactivity of transferred cells coincided with the onset of developmental-regulated cell death programs and disproportionately affected developing tissues within a chimera. Among chimeric partner "losers," severe developmental defects were observed in asexually propagating tissues, reflecting a pathologic switch in gene expression in developmental programs. These studies provide evidence that elimination of one partner in a chimera is an immune cell-based rejection that operates within histocompatible pairs and that maximal allogeneic responses involve the coordination of both phagocytic programs and the "arming" of cytotoxic cells.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1606276113
View details for Web of Science ID 000377155400052
View details for PubMedID 27217570
Hoxb5 marks long-term haematopoietic stem cells and reveals a homogenous perivascular niche
2016; 530 (7589): 223-?
Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are arguably the most extensively characterized tissue stem cells. Since the identification of HSCs by prospective isolation, complex multi-parameter flow cytometric isolation of phenotypic subsets has facilitated studies on many aspects of HSC biology, including self-renewal, differentiation, ageing, niche, and diversity. Here we demonstrate by unbiased multi-step screening, identification of a single gene, homeobox B5 (Hoxb5, also known as Hox-2.1), with expression in the bone marrow that is limited to long-term (LT)-HSCs in mice. Using a mouse single-colour tri-mCherry reporter driven by endogenous Hoxb5 regulation, we show that only the Hoxb5(+) HSCs exhibit long-term reconstitution capacity after transplantation in primary transplant recipients and, notably, in secondary recipients. Only 7-35% of various previously defined immunophenotypic HSCs are LT-HSCs. Finally, by in situ imaging of mouse bone marrow, we show that >94% of LT-HSCs (Hoxb5(+)) are directly attached to VE-cadherin(+) cells, implicating the perivascular space as a near-homogenous location of LT-HSCs.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nature16943
View details for Web of Science ID 000369916700040
View details for PubMedID 26863982
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4854608
Tuning Cytokine Receptor Signaling by Re-orienting Dimer Geometry with Surrogate Ligands
2015; 160 (6): 1196-1208
Most cell-surface receptors for cytokines and growth factors signal as dimers, but it is unclear whether remodeling receptor dimer topology is a viable strategy to "tune" signaling output. We utilized diabodies (DA) as surrogate ligands in a prototypical dimeric receptor-ligand system, the cytokine Erythropoietin (EPO) and its receptor (EpoR), to dimerize EpoR ectodomains in non-native architectures. Diabody-induced signaling amplitudes varied from full to minimal agonism, and structures of these DA/EpoR complexes differed in EpoR dimer orientation and proximity. Diabodies also elicited biased or differential activation of signaling pathways and gene expression profiles compared to EPO. Non-signaling diabodies inhibited proliferation of erythroid precursors from patients with a myeloproliferative neoplasm due to a constitutively active JAK2V617F mutation. Thus, intracellular oncogenic mutations causing ligand-independent receptor activation can be counteracted by extracellular ligands that re-orient receptors into inactive dimer topologies. This approach has broad applications for tuning signaling output for many dimeric receptor systems.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2015.02.011
View details for PubMedID 25728669
Identification and specification of the mouse skeletal stem cell.
2015; 160 (1-2): 285-298
How are skeletal tissues derived from skeletal stem cells? Here, we map bone, cartilage, and stromal development from a population of highly pure, postnatal skeletal stem cells (mouse skeletal stem cells, mSSCs) to their downstream progenitors of bone, cartilage, and stromal tissue. We then investigated the transcriptome of the stem/progenitor cells for unique gene-expression patterns that would indicate potential regulators of mSSC lineage commitment. We demonstrate that mSSC niche factors can be potent inducers of osteogenesis, and several specific combinations of recombinant mSSC niche factors can activate mSSC genetic programs in situ, even in nonskeletal tissues, resulting in de novo formation of cartilage or bone and bone marrow stroma. Inducing mSSC formation with soluble factors and subsequently regulating the mSSC niche to specify its differentiation toward bone, cartilage, or stromal cells could represent a paradigm shift in the therapeutic regeneration of skeletal tissues.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2014.12.002
View details for PubMedID 25594184
Identification of a colonial chordate histocompatibility gene.
2013; 341 (6144): 384-387
Histocompatibility is the basis by which multicellular organisms of the same species distinguish self from nonself. Relatively little is known about the mechanisms underlying histocompatibility reactions in lower organisms. Botryllus schlosseri is a colonial urochordate, a sister group of vertebrates, that exhibits a genetically determined natural transplantation reaction, whereby self-recognition between colonies leads to formation of parabionts with a common vasculature, whereas rejection occurs between incompatible colonies. Using genetically defined lines, whole-transcriptome sequencing, and genomics, we identified a single gene that encodes self-nonself and determines "graft" outcomes in this organism. This gene is significantly up-regulated in colonies poised to undergo fusion and/or rejection, is highly expressed in the vasculature, and is functionally linked to histocompatibility outcomes. These findings establish a platform for advancing the science of allorecognition.
View details for DOI 10.1126/science.1238036
View details for PubMedID 23888037
Isolated pseudo-RNA-recognition motifs of SR proteins can regulate splicing using a noncanonical mode of RNA recognition
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
2013; 110 (30): E2802-E2811
Serine/arginine (SR) proteins, one of the major families of alternative-splicing regulators in Eukarya, have two types of RNA-recognition motifs (RRMs): a canonical RRM and a pseudo-RRM. Although pseudo-RRMs are crucial for activity of SR proteins, their mode of action was unknown. By solving the structure of the human SRSF1 pseudo-RRM bound to RNA, we discovered a very unusual and sequence-specific RNA-binding mode that is centered on one α-helix and does not involve the β-sheet surface, which typically mediates RNA binding by RRMs. Remarkably, this mode of binding is conserved in all pseudo-RRMs tested. Furthermore, the isolated pseudo-RRM is sufficient to regulate splicing of about half of the SRSF1 target genes tested, and the bound α-helix is a pivotal element for this function. Our results strongly suggest that SR proteins with a pseudo-RRM frequently regulate splicing by competing with, rather than recruiting, spliceosome components, using solely this unusual RRM.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1303445110
View details for Web of Science ID 000322112300010
View details for PubMedID 23836656
Molecular phylogeny of OVOL genes illustrates a conserved C2H2 zinc finger domain coupled by hypervariable unstructured regions.
2012; 7 (6)
OVO-like proteins (OVOL) are members of the zinc finger protein family and serve as transcription factors to regulate gene expression in various differentiation processes. Recent studies have shown that OVOL genes are involved in epithelial development and differentiation in a wide variety of organisms; yet there is a lack of comprehensive studies that describe OVOL proteins from an evolutionary perspective. Using comparative genomic analysis, we traced three different OVOL genes (OVOL1-3) in vertebrates. One gene, OVOL3, was duplicated during a whole-genome-duplication event in fish, but only the copy (OVOL3b) was retained. From early-branching metazoa to humans, we found that a core domain, comprising a tetrad of C2H2 zinc fingers, is conserved. By domain comparison of the OVOL proteins, we found that they evolved in different metazoan lineages by attaching intrinsically-disordered (ID) segments of N/C-terminal extensions of 100 to 1000 amino acids to this conserved core. These ID regions originated independently across different animal lineages giving rise to different types of OVOL genes over the course of metazoan evolution. We illustrated the molecular evolution of metazoan OVOL genes over a period of 700 million years (MY). This study both extends our current understanding of the structure/function relationship of metazoan OVOL genes, and assembles a good platform for further characterization of OVOL genes from diverged organisms.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0039399
View details for PubMedID 22737237
Spliceosomal Intron Insertions in Genome Compacted Ray-Finned Fishes as Evident from Phylogeny of MC Receptors, Also Supported by a Few Other GPCRs
2011; 6 (8)
Insertions of spliceosomal introns are very rare events during evolution of vertebrates and the mechanisms governing creation of novel intron(s) remain obscure. Largely, gene structures of melanocortin (MC) receptors are characterized by intron-less architecture. However, recently a few exceptions have been reported in some fishes. This warrants a systematic survey of MC receptors for understanding intron insertion events during vertebrate evolution.We have compiled an extended list of MC receptors from different vertebrate genomes with variations in fishes. Notably, the closely linked MC2Rs and MC5Rs from a group of ray-finned fishes have three and one intron insertion(s), respectively, with conserved positions and intron phase. In both genes, one novel insertion was in the highly conserved DRY motif at the end of helix TM3. Further, the proto-splice site MAG↑R is maintained at intron insertion sites in these two genes. However, the orthologs of these receptors from zebrafish and tetrapods are intron-less, suggesting these introns are simultaneously created in selected fishes. Surprisingly, these novel introns are traceable only in four fish genomes. We found that these fish genomes are severely compacted after the separation from zebrafish. Furthermore, we also report novel intron insertions in P2Y receptors and in CHRM3. Finally, we report ultrasmall introns in MC2R genes from selected fishes.The current repository of MC receptors illustrates that fishes have no MC3R ortholog. MC2R, MC5R, P2Y receptors and CHRM3 have novel intron insertions only in ray-finned fishes that underwent genome compaction. These receptors share one intron at an identical position suggestive of being inserted contemporaneously. In addition to repetitive elements, genome compaction is now believed to be a new hallmark that promotes intron insertions, as it requires rapid DNA breakage and subsequent repair processes to gain back normal functionality.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0022046
View details for Web of Science ID 000293563300003
View details for PubMedID 21850219
Interaction between the RNA binding domains of Ser-Arg splicing factor 1 and U1-70K snRNP protein determines early spliceosome assembly
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
2011; 108 (20): 8233-8238
It has been widely accepted that the early spliceosome assembly begins with U1 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (U1 snRNP) binding to the 5' splice site (5'SS), which is assisted by the Ser/Arg (SR)-rich proteins in mammalian cells. In this process, the RS domain of SR proteins is thought to directly interact with the RS motif of U1-70K, which is subject to regulation by RS domain phosphorylation. Here we report that the early spliceosome assembly event is mediated by the RNA recognition domains (RRM) of serine/arginine-rich splicing factor 1 (SRSF1), which bridges the RRM of U1-70K to pre-mRNA by using the surface opposite to the RNA binding site. Specific mutation in the RRM of SRSF1 that disrupted the RRM-RRM interaction also inhibits the formation of spliceosomal E complex and splicing. We further demonstrate that the hypo-phosphorylated RS domain of SRSF1 interacts with its own RRM, thus competing with U1-70K binding, whereas the hyper-phosphorylated RS domain permits the formation of a ternary complex containing ESE, an SR protein, and U1 snRNP. Therefore, phosphorylation of the RS domain in SRSF1 appears to induce a key molecular switch from intra- to intermolecular interactions, suggesting a plausible mechanism for the documented requirement for the phosphorylation/dephosphorylation cycle during pre-mRNA splicing.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1017700108
View details for Web of Science ID 000290719600036
View details for PubMedID 21536904
Arginine Methylation Controls the Subcellular Localization and Functions of the Oncoprotein Splicing Factor SF2/ASF
MOLECULAR AND CELLULAR BIOLOGY
2010; 30 (11): 2762-2774
Alternative splicing and posttranslational modifications (PTMs) are major sources of protein diversity in eukaryotic proteomes. The SR protein SF2/ASF is an oncoprotein that functions in pre-mRNA splicing, with additional roles in other posttranscriptional and translational events. Functional studies of SR protein PTMs have focused exclusively on the reversible phosphorylation of Ser residues in the C-terminal RS domain. We confirmed that human SF2/ASF is methylated at residues R93, R97, and R109, which were identified in a global proteomic analysis of Arg methylation, and further investigated whether these methylated residues regulate the properties of SF2/ASF. We show that the three arginines additively control the subcellular localization of SF2/ASF and that both the positive charge and the methylation state are important. Mutations that block methylation and remove the positive charge result in the cytoplasmic accumulation of SF2/ASF. The consequent decrease in nuclear SF2/ASF levels prevents it from modulating the alternative splicing of target genes, results in higher translation stimulation, and abrogates the enhancement of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. This study addresses the mechanisms by which Arg methylation and the associated positive charge regulate the activities of SF2/ASF and emphasizes the significance of localization control for an oncoprotein with multiple functions in different cellular compartments.
View details for DOI 10.1128/MCB.01270-09
View details for Web of Science ID 000277558300015
View details for PubMedID 20308322
SF2/ASF autoregulation involves multiple layers of post-transcriptional and translational control
NATURE STRUCTURAL & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
2010; 17 (3): 306-U70
SF2/ASF is a prototypical serine- and arginine-rich protein, with important roles in splicing and other aspects of mRNA metabolism. Splicing factor, arginine/serine-rich 1 (SFRS1), the gene encoding SF2/ASF, is a potent proto-oncogene with abnormal expression in many tumors. We found that SF2/ASF negatively autoregulates its expression to maintain homeostatic levels. We characterized six alternatively spliced SF2/ASF mRNA isoforms: the major isoform encodes full-length protein, whereas the others are either retained in the nucleus or degraded by nonsense-mediated mRNA decay. Unproductive splicing accounts for only part of the autoregulation, which occurs primarily at the translational level. The effect is specific to SF2/ASF and requires RNA recognition motif 2 (RRM2). The ultraconserved 3' untranslated region (UTR) is necessary and sufficient for downregulation. SF2/ASF overexpression shifts the distribution of target mRNA toward monoribosomes, and translational repression is partly independent of Dicer and a 5' cap. Thus, multiple post-transcriptional and translational mechanisms are involved in fine-tuning the expression of SF2/ASF.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nsmb.1750
View details for Web of Science ID 000275182700010
View details for PubMedID 20139984
The gene encoding the splicing factor SF2/ASF is a proto-oncogene
NATURE STRUCTURAL & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
2007; 14 (3): 185-193
Alternative splicing modulates the expression of many oncogene and tumor-suppressor isoforms. We have tested whether some alternative splicing factors are involved in cancer. We found that the splicing factor SF2/ASF is upregulated in various human tumors, in part due to amplification of its gene, SFRS1. Moreover, slight overexpression of SF2/ASF is sufficient to transform immortal rodent fibroblasts, which form sarcomas in nude mice. We further show that SF2/ASF controls alternative splicing of the tumor suppressor BIN1 and the kinases MNK2 and S6K1. The resulting BIN1 isoforms lack tumor-suppressor activity; an isoform of MNK2 promotes MAP kinase-independent eIF4E phosphorylation; and an unusual oncogenic isoform of S6K1 recapitulates the transforming activity of SF2/ASF. Knockdown of either SF2/ASF or isoform-2 of S6K1 is sufficient to reverse transformation caused by the overexpression of SF2/ASF in vitro and in vivo. Thus, SF2/ASF can act as an oncoprotein and is a potential target for cancer therapy.
View details for DOI 10.1038/nmb1209
View details for Web of Science ID 000244715200006
View details for PubMedID 17310252