Bachelor of Science, Stanford University, BIO-BSH (2009)
Doctor of Philosophy, Harvard University (2016)
Michael Bassik, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Inter-cellular CRISPR screens reveal regulators of cancer cell phagocytosis.
Monoclonal antibody therapies targeting tumour antigens drive cancer cell elimination in large part by triggering macrophage phagocytosis of cancer cells1-7. However, cancer cells evade phagocytosis using mechanisms that are incompletely understood. Here we develop a platform for unbiased identification of factors that impede antibody-dependent cellular phagocytosis (ADCP) using complementary genome-wide CRISPR knockout and overexpression screens in both cancer cells and macrophages. In cancer cells, beyond known factors such as CD47, we identify many regulators of susceptibility to ADCP, including the poorly characterized enzyme adipocyte plasma membrane-associated protein (APMAP). We find that loss of APMAP synergizes with tumour antigen-targeting monoclonal antibodies and/or CD47-blocking monoclonal antibodies to drive markedly increased phagocytosis across a wide range of cancer cell types, including those that are otherwise resistant to ADCP. Additionally, we show that APMAP loss synergizes with several different tumour-targeting monoclonal antibodies to inhibit tumour growth in mice. Using genome-wide counterscreens in macrophages, we find that the G-protein-coupled receptor GPR84 mediates enhanced phagocytosis of APMAP-deficient cancer cells. This work reveals a cancer-intrinsic regulator of susceptibility to antibody-driven phagocytosis and, more broadly, expands our knowledge of the mechanisms governing cancer resistance to macrophage phagocytosis.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-021-03879-4
View details for PubMedID 34497417
A genome-wide atlas of co-essential modules assigns function to uncharacterized genes.
A central question in the post-genomic era is how genes interact to form biological pathways. Measurements of gene dependency across hundreds of cell lines have been used to cluster genes into 'co-essential' pathways, but this approach has been limited by ubiquitous false positives. In the present study, we develop a statistical method that enables robust identification of gene co-essentiality and yields a genome-wide set of functional modules. This atlas recapitulates diverse pathways and protein complexes, and predicts the functions of 108 uncharacterized genes. Validating top predictions, we show that TMEM189 encodes plasmanylethanolamine desaturase, a key enzyme for plasmalogen synthesis. We also show that C15orf57 encodes a protein that binds the AP2 complex, localizes to clathrin-coated pits and enables efficient transferrin uptake. Finally, we provide an interactive webtool for the community to explore our results, which establish co-essentiality profiling as a powerful resource for biological pathway identification and discovery of new gene functions.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41588-021-00840-z
View details for PubMedID 33859415
Receptor-Bound Targets of Selective Autophagy Use a Scaffold Protein to Activate the Atg1 Kinase
2015; 59 (3): 372-381
Selective autophagy eliminates protein aggregates, damaged organelles, and other targets that otherwise accumulate and cause disease. Autophagy receptors mediate selectivity by connecting targets to the autophagosome membrane. It has remained unknown whether receptors perform additional functions. Here, we show that in yeast certain receptor-bound targets activate Atg1, the kinase that controls autophagosome formation. Specifically, we found that in nutrient-rich conditions, Atg1 is active only in a multisubunit complex comprising constitutive protein aggregates, their autophagy receptor, and a scaffold protein, Atg11. Development of a cell-free assay for Atg1-mediated phosphorylation enabled us to activate Atg1 with purified receptor-bound aggregates and Atg11. Another target, damaged peroxisomes, also activated Atg1 using Atg11 with a distinct receptor. Our work reveals that receptor-target complexes activate Atg1 to drive formation of selective autophagosomes. This regulatory logic is a key similarity between selective autophagy and bulk autophagy, which is initiated by a distinct Atg1 activation mechanism during starvation.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.molcel.2015.06.009
View details for Web of Science ID 000362457600005
View details for PubMedID 26166702
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5602610
CRISPR screens in cancer spheroids identify 3D growth-specific vulnerabilities.
2020; 580 (7801): 136–41
Cancer genomics studies have identified thousands of putative cancer driver genes1. Development of high-throughput and accurate models to define the functions of these genes is a major challenge. Here we devised a scalable cancer-spheroid model and performed genome-wide CRISPR screens in 2D monolayers and 3D lung-cancer spheroids. CRISPR phenotypes in 3D more accurately recapitulated those of in vivo tumours, and genes with differential sensitivities between 2D and 3D conditions were highly enriched for genes that are mutated in lung cancers. These analyses also revealed drivers that are essential for cancer growth in 3D and in vivo, but not in 2D. Notably, we found that carboxypeptidase D is responsible for removal of a C-terminal RKRR motif2 from the α-chain of the insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor that is critical for receptor activity. Carboxypeptidase D expression correlates with patient outcomes in patients with lung cancer, and loss of carboxypeptidase D reduced tumour growth. Our results reveal key differences between 2D and 3D cancer models, and establish a generalizable strategy for performing CRISPR screens in spheroids to reveal cancer vulnerabilities.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41586-020-2099-x
View details for PubMedID 32238925
Identification of phagocytosis regulators using magnetic genome-wide CRISPR screens.
Phagocytosis is required for a broad range of physiological functions, from pathogen defense to tissue homeostasis, but the mechanisms required for phagocytosis of diverse substrates remain incompletely understood. Here, we developed a rapid magnet-based phenotypic screening strategy, and performed eight genome-wide CRISPR screens in human cells to identify genes regulating phagocytosis of distinct substrates. After validating select hits in focused miniscreens, orthogonal assays and primary human macrophages, we show that (1) the previously uncharacterized gene NHLRC2 is a central player in phagocytosis, regulating RhoA-Rac1 signaling cascades that control actin polymerization and filopodia formation, (2) very-long-chain fatty acids are essential for efficient phagocytosis of certain substrates and (3) the previously uncharacterized Alzheimer's disease-associated gene TM2D3 can preferentially influence uptake of amyloid-beta aggregates. These findings illuminate new regulators and core principles of phagocytosis, and more generally establish an efficient method for unbiased identification of cellular uptake mechanisms across diverse physiological and pathological contexts.
View details for PubMedID 30397336
The AAA protein Msp1 mediates clearance of excess tail-anchored proteins from the peroxisomal membrane
Msp1 is a conserved AAA ATPase in budding yeast localized to mitochondria where it prevents accumulation of mistargeted tail-anchored (TA) proteins, including the peroxisomal TA protein Pex15. Msp1 also resides on peroxisomes but it remains unknown how native TA proteins on mitochondria and peroxisomes evade Msp1 surveillance. We used live-cell quantitative cell microscopy tools and drug-inducible gene expression to dissect Msp1 function. We found that a small fraction of peroxisomal Pex15, exaggerated by overexpression, is turned over by Msp1. Kinetic measurements guided by theoretical modeling revealed that Pex15 molecules at mitochondria display age-independent Msp1 sensitivity. By contrast, Pex15 molecules at peroxisomes are rapidly converted from an initial Msp1-sensitive to an Msp1-resistant state. Lastly, we show that Pex15 interacts with the peroxisomal membrane protein Pex3, which shields Pex15 from Msp1-dependent turnover. In sum, our work argues that Msp1 selects its substrates on the basis of their solitary membrane existence.
View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.28507
View details for Web of Science ID 000412639400001
View details for PubMedID 28906250
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5633344
A pathway of targeted autophagy is induced by DNA damage in budding yeast
PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
2017; 114 (7): E1158-E1167
Autophagy plays a central role in the DNA damage response (DDR) by controlling the levels of various DNA repair and checkpoint proteins; however, how the DDR communicates with the autophagy pathway remains unknown. Using budding yeast, we demonstrate that global genotoxic damage or even a single unrepaired double-strand break (DSB) initiates a previously undescribed and selective pathway of autophagy that we term genotoxin-induced targeted autophagy (GTA). GTA requires the action primarily of Mec1/ATR and Rad53/CHEK2 checkpoint kinases, in part via transcriptional up-regulation of central autophagy proteins. GTA is distinct from starvation-induced autophagy. GTA requires Atg11, a central component of the selective autophagy machinery, but is different from previously described autophagy pathways. By screening a collection of ∼6,000 yeast mutants, we identified genes that control GTA but do not significantly affect rapamycin-induced autophagy. Overall, our findings establish a pathway of autophagy specific to the DNA damage response.
View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1614364114
View details for Web of Science ID 000393989300016
View details for PubMedID 28154131
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5320992
A molecular switch for selective autophagosome formation
2015; 11 (11): 2132-2133
Selective macroautophagy (hereafter autophagy) can eliminate large cytotoxic structures that are designated for degradation by autophagy receptors. In our recent paper, we showed that a key function of target-bound autophagy receptors is to activate the autophagy kinase, Atg1, via interactions with the scaffold protein Atg11. Our work thus reveals a mechanism by which target recognition coordinates the earliest steps in autophagosome biogenesis.
View details for DOI 10.1080/15548627.2015.1098799
View details for Web of Science ID 000366506200018
View details for PubMedID 26649944
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4824575
Mapping Loci Associated With Tail Color and Sex Determination in the Short-Lived Fish Nothobranchius furzeri
2009; 183 (4): 1385-1395
The African fish Nothobranchius furzeri is the shortest-lived vertebrate species that can reproduce in captivity, with a median life span of 9-11 weeks for the shortest-lived strain. Natural populations of N. furzeri display differences in life span, aging biomarkers, behavior, and color, which make N. furzeri a unique vertebrate system for studying the genetic basis of these traits. We mapped regions of the genome involved in sex determination and tail color by genotyping microsatellite markers in the F(2) progeny of a cross between a short-lived, yellow-tailed strain and a long-lived, red-tailed strain of N. furzeri. We identified one region linked with the yellow/red tail color that maps close to melanocortin 1 receptor (mc1r), a gene involved in pigmentation in several vertebrate species. Analysis of the segregation of sex-linked markers revealed that N. furzeri has a genetic sex determination system with males as the heterogametic sex and markedly reduced recombination in the male sex-determining region. Our results demonstrate that both naturally-evolved pigmentation differences and sex determination in N. furzeri are controlled by simple genetic mechanisms and set the stage for the molecular genetic dissection of factors underlying such traits. The microsatellite-based linkage map we developed for N. furzeri will also facilitate analysis of the genetic architecture of traits that characterize this group of vertebrates, including short life span and adaptation to extreme environmental conditions.
View details for DOI 10.1534/genetics.109.108670
View details for Web of Science ID 000272435000016
View details for PubMedID 19786620
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC2787427