All Publications


  • Interrogation of Mammalian Protein Complex Structure, Function, and Membership Using Genome-Scale Fitness Screens CELL SYSTEMS Pan, J., Meyers, R. M., Michel, B. C., Mashtalir, N., Sizemore, A. E., Wells, J. N., Cassel, S. H., Vazquez, F., Weir, B. A., Hahn, W. C., Marsh, J. A., Tsherniak, A., Kadoch, C. 2018; 6 (5): 555-+

    Abstract

    Protein complexes are assemblies of subunits that have co-evolved to execute one or many coordinated functions in the cellular environment. Functional annotation of mammalian protein complexes is critical to understanding biological processes, as well as disease mechanisms. Here, we used genetic co-essentiality derived from genome-scale RNAi- and CRISPR-Cas9-based fitness screens performed across hundreds of human cancer cell lines to assign measures of functional similarity. From these measures, we systematically built and characterized functional similarity networks that recapitulate known structural and functional features of well-studied protein complexes and resolve novel functional modules within complexes lacking structural resolution, such as the mammalian SWI/SNF complex. Finally, by integrating functional networks with large protein-protein interaction networks, we discovered novel protein complexes involving recently evolved genes of unknown function. Taken together, these findings demonstrate the utility of genetic perturbation screens alone, and in combination with large-scale biophysical data, to enhance our understanding of mammalian protein complexes in normal and disease states.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cels.2018.04.011

    View details for Web of Science ID 000433906700004

    View details for PubMedID 29778836

  • Computational correction of copy number effect improves specificity of CRISPR-Cas9 essentiality screens in cancer cells. Nature genetics Meyers, R. M., Bryan, J. G., McFarland, J. M., Weir, B. A., Sizemore, A. E., Xu, H., Dharia, N. V., Montgomery, P. G., Cowley, G. S., Pantel, S., Goodale, A., Lee, Y., Ali, L. D., Jiang, G., Lubonja, R., Harrington, W. F., Strickland, M., Wu, T., Hawes, D. C., Zhivich, V. A., Wyatt, M. R., Kalani, Z., Chang, J. J., Okamoto, M., Stegmaier, K., Golub, T. R., Boehm, J. S., Vazquez, F., Root, D. E., Hahn, W. C., Tsherniak, A. 2017; 49 (12): 1779–84

    Abstract

    The CRISPR-Cas9 system has revolutionized gene editing both at single genes and in multiplexed loss-of-function screens, thus enabling precise genome-scale identification of genes essential for proliferation and survival of cancer cells. However, previous studies have reported that a gene-independent antiproliferative effect of Cas9-mediated DNA cleavage confounds such measurement of genetic dependency, thereby leading to false-positive results in copy number-amplified regions. We developed CERES, a computational method to estimate gene-dependency levels from CRISPR-Cas9 essentiality screens while accounting for the copy number-specific effect. In our efforts to define a cancer dependency map, we performed genome-scale CRISPR-Cas9 essentiality screens across 342 cancer cell lines and applied CERES to this data set. We found that CERES decreased false-positive results and estimated sgRNA activity for both this data set and previously published screens performed with different sgRNA libraries. We further demonstrate the utility of this collection of screens, after CERES correction, for identifying cancer-type-specific vulnerabilities.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/ng.3984

    View details for PubMedID 29083409

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5709193

  • Genomic Copy Number Dictates a Gene-Independent Cell Response to CRISPR/Cas9 Targeting CANCER DISCOVERY Aguirre, A. J., Meyers, R. M., Weir, B. A., Vazquez, F., Zhang, C., Ben-David, U., Cook, A., Ha, G., Harrington, W. F., Doshi, M. B., Kost-Alimova, M., Gill, S., Xu, H., Ali, L. D., Jiang, G., Pantel, S., Lee, Y., Goodale, A., Cherniack, A. D., Oh, C., Kryukov, G., Cowley, G. S., Garraway, L. A., Stegmaier, K., Roberts, C. W., Golub, T. R., Meyerson, M., Root, D. E., Tsherniak, A., Hahn, W. C. 2016; 6 (8): 914-929

    Abstract

    The CRISPR/Cas9 system enables genome editing and somatic cell genetic screens in mammalian cells. We performed genome-scale loss-of-function screens in 33 cancer cell lines to identify genes essential for proliferation/survival and found a strong correlation between increased gene copy number and decreased cell viability after genome editing. Within regions of copy-number gain, CRISPR/Cas9 targeting of both expressed and unexpressed genes, as well as intergenic loci, led to significantly decreased cell proliferation through induction of a G2 cell-cycle arrest. By examining single-guide RNAs that map to multiple genomic sites, we found that this cell response to CRISPR/Cas9 editing correlated strongly with the number of target loci. These observations indicate that genome targeting by CRISPR/Cas9 elicits a gene-independent antiproliferative cell response. This effect has important practical implications for the interpretation of CRISPR/Cas9 screening data and confounds the use of this technology for the identification of essential genes in amplified regions.We found that the number of CRISPR/Cas9-induced DNA breaks dictates a gene-independent antiproliferative response in cells. These observations have practical implications for using CRISPR/Cas9 to interrogate cancer gene function and illustrate that cancer cells are highly sensitive to site-specific DNA damage, which may provide a path to novel therapeutic strategies. Cancer Discov; 6(8); 914-29. ©2016 AACR.See related commentary by Sheel and Xue, p. 824See related article by Munoz et al., p. 900This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 803.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/2159-8290.CD-16-0154

    View details for Web of Science ID 000383355900027

    View details for PubMedID 27260156

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4972686

  • Detecting DNA double-stranded breaks in mammalian genomes by linear amplification-mediated high-throughput genome-wide translocation sequencing NATURE PROTOCOLS Hu, J., Meyers, R. M., Dong, J., Panchakshari, R. A., Alt, F. W., Frock, R. L. 2016; 11 (5): 853-871

    Abstract

    Unbiased, high-throughput assays for detecting and quantifying DNA double-stranded breaks (DSBs) across the genome in mammalian cells will facilitate basic studies of the mechanisms that generate and repair endogenous DSBs. They will also enable more applied studies, such as those to evaluate the on- and off-target activities of engineered nucleases. Here we describe a linear amplification-mediated high-throughput genome-wide sequencing (LAM-HTGTS) method for the detection of genome-wide 'prey' DSBs via their translocation in cultured mammalian cells to a fixed 'bait' DSB. Bait-prey junctions are cloned directly from isolated genomic DNA using LAM-PCR and unidirectionally ligated to bridge adapters; subsequent PCR steps amplify the single-stranded DNA junction library in preparation for Illumina Miseq paired-end sequencing. A custom bioinformatics pipeline identifies prey sequences that contribute to junctions and maps them across the genome. LAM-HTGTS differs from related approaches because it detects a wide range of broken end structures with nucleotide-level resolution. Familiarity with nucleic acid methods and next-generation sequencing analysis is necessary for library generation and data interpretation. LAM-HTGTS assays are sensitive, reproducible, relatively inexpensive, scalable and straightforward to implement with a turnaround time of <1 week.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nprot.2016.043

    View details for Web of Science ID 000374445900002

    View details for PubMedID 27031497

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4895203

  • Genome-wide detection of DNA double-stranded breaks induced by engineered nucleases NATURE BIOTECHNOLOGY Frock, R. L., Hu, J., Meyers, R. M., Ho, Y., Kii, E., Alt, F. W. 2015; 33 (2): 179-186

    Abstract

    Although great progress has been made in the characterization of the off-target effects of engineered nucleases, sensitive and unbiased genome-wide methods for the detection of off-target cleavage events and potential collateral damage are still lacking. Here we describe a linear amplification-mediated modification of a previously published high-throughput, genome-wide, translocation sequencing (HTGTS) method that robustly detects DNA double-stranded breaks (DSBs) generated by engineered nucleases across the human genome based on their translocation to other endogenous or ectopic DSBs. HTGTS with different Cas9:sgRNA or TALEN nucleases revealed off-target hotspot numbers for given nucleases that ranged from a few or none to dozens or more, and extended the number of known off-targets for certain previously characterized nucleases more than tenfold. We also identified translocations between bona fide nuclease targets on homologous chromosomes, an undesired collateral effect that has not been described previously. Finally, HTGTS confirmed that the Cas9D10A paired nickase approach suppresses off-target cleavage genome-wide.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nbt.3101

    View details for Web of Science ID 000349198800024

    View details for PubMedID 25503383

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4320661

  • Sequence intrinsic somatic mutation mechanisms contribute to affinity maturation of VRC01-class HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibodies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America Hwang, J. K., Wang, C., Du, Z., Meyers, R. M., Kepler, T. B., Neuberg, D., Kwong, P. D., Mascola, J. R., Joyce, M. G., Bonsignori, M., Haynes, B. F., Yeap, L. S., Alt, F. W. 2017; 114 (32): 8614–19

    Abstract

    Variable regions of Ig chains provide the antigen recognition portion of B-cell receptors and derivative antibodies. Ig heavy-chain variable region exons are assembled developmentally from V, D, J gene segments. Each variable region contains three antigen-contacting complementarity-determining regions (CDRs), with CDR1 and CDR2 encoded by the V segment and CDR3 encoded by the V(D)J junction region. Antigen-stimulated germinal center (GC) B cells undergo somatic hypermutation (SHM) of V(D)J exons followed by selection for SHMs that increase antigen-binding affinity. Some HIV-1-infected human subjects develop broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs), such as the potent VRC01-class bnAbs, that neutralize diverse HIV-1 strains. Mature VRC01-class bnAbs, including VRC-PG04, accumulate very high SHM levels, a property that hinders development of vaccine strategies to elicit them. Because many VRC01-class bnAb SHMs are not required for broad neutralization, high overall SHM may be required to achieve certain functional SHMs. To elucidate such requirements, we used a V(D)J passenger allele system to assay, in mouse GC B cells, sequence-intrinsic SHM-targeting rates of nucleotides across substrates representing maturation stages of human VRC-PG04. We identify rate-limiting SHM positions for VRC-PG04 maturation, as well as SHM hotspots and intrinsically frequent deletions associated with SHM. We find that mature VRC-PG04 has low SHM capability due to hotspot saturation but also demonstrate that generation of new SHM hotspots and saturation of existing hotspot regions (e.g., CDR3) does not majorly influence intrinsic SHM in unmutated portions of VRC-PG04 progenitor sequences. We discuss implications of our findings for bnAb affinity maturation mechanisms.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1709203114

    View details for PubMedID 28747530

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5559054

  • Defining a Cancer Dependency Map. Cell Tsherniak, A., Vazquez, F., Montgomery, P. G., Weir, B. A., Kryukov, G., Cowley, G. S., Gill, S., Harrington, W. F., Pantel, S., Krill-Burger, J. M., Meyers, R. M., Ali, L., Goodale, A., Lee, Y., Jiang, G., Hsiao, J., Gerath, W. F., Howell, S., Merkel, E., Ghandi, M., Garraway, L. A., Root, D. E., Golub, T. R., Boehm, J. S., Hahn, W. C. 2017; 170 (3): 564–76.e16

    Abstract

    Most human epithelial tumors harbor numerous alterations, making it difficult to predict which genes are required for tumor survival. To systematically identify cancer dependencies, we analyzed 501 genome-scale loss-of-function screens performed in diverse human cancer cell lines. We developed DEMETER, an analytical framework that segregates on- from off-target effects of RNAi. 769 genes were differentially required in subsets of these cell lines at a threshold of six SDs from the mean. We found predictive models for 426 dependencies (55%) by nonlinear regression modeling considering 66,646 molecular features. Many dependencies fall into a limited number of classes, and unexpectedly, in 82% of models, the top biomarkers were expression based. We demonstrated the basis behind one such predictive model linking hypermethylation of the UBB ubiquitin gene to a dependency on UBC. Together, these observations provide a foundation for a cancer dependency map that facilitates the prioritization of therapeutic targets.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2017.06.010

    View details for PubMedID 28753430

  • Transcription-associated processes cause DNA double-strand breaks and translocations in neural stem/progenitor cells PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Schwer, B., Wei, P., Chang, A. N., Kao, J., Du, Z., Meyers, R. M., Alt, F. W. 2016; 113 (8): 2258-2263

    Abstract

    High-throughput, genome-wide translocation sequencing (HTGTS) studies of activated B cells have revealed that DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) capable of translocating to defined bait DSBs are enriched around the transcription start sites (TSSs) of active genes. We used the HTGTS approach to investigate whether a similar phenomenon occurs in primary neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs). We report that breakpoint junctions indeed are enriched around TSSs that were determined to be active by global run-on sequencing analyses of NSPCs. Comparative analyses of transcription profiles in NSPCs and B cells revealed that the great majority of TSS-proximal junctions occurred in genes commonly expressed in both cell types, possibly because this common set has higher transcription levels on average than genes transcribed in only one or the other cell type. In the latter context, among all actively transcribed genes containing translocation junctions in NSPCs, those with junctions located within 2 kb of the TSS show a significantly higher transcription rate on average than genes with junctions in the gene body located at distances greater than 2 kb from the TSS. Finally, analysis of repair junction signatures of TSS-associated translocations in wild-type versus classical nonhomologous end-joining (C-NHEJ)-deficient NSPCs reveals that both C-NHEJ and alternative end-joining pathways can generate translocations by joining TSS-proximal DSBs to DSBs on other chromosomes. Our studies show that the generation of transcription-associated DSBs is conserved across divergent cell types.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1525564113

    View details for Web of Science ID 000370620300079

    View details for PubMedID 26873106

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4776469

  • Long Neural Genes Harbor Recurrent DNA Break Clusters in Neural Stem/Progenitor Cells CELL Wei, P., Chang, A. N., Kao, J., Du, Z., Meyers, R. M., Alt, F. W., Schwer, B. 2016; 164 (4): 644-655

    Abstract

    Repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) by non-homologous end joining is critical for neural development, and brain cells frequently contain somatic genomic variations that might involve DSB intermediates. We now use an unbiased, high-throughput approach to identify genomic regions harboring recurrent DSBs in primary neural stem/progenitor cells (NSPCs). We identify 27 recurrent DSB clusters (RDCs), and remarkably, all occur within gene bodies. Most of these NSPC RDCs were detected only upon mild, aphidicolin-induced replication stress, providing a nucleotide-resolution view of replication-associated genomic fragile sites. The vast majority of RDCs occur in long, transcribed, and late-replicating genes. Moreover, almost 90% of identified RDC-containing genes are involved in synapse function and/or neural cell adhesion, with a substantial fraction also implicated in tumor suppression and/or mental disorders. Our characterization of NSPC RDCs reveals a basis of gene fragility and suggests potential impacts of DNA breaks on neurodevelopment and neural functions.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2015.12.039

    View details for Web of Science ID 000369998300011

    View details for PubMedID 26871630

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4752721

  • Sequence-Intrinsic Mechanisms that Target AID Mutational Outcomes on Antibody Genes CELL Yeap, L., Hwang, J. K., Du, Z., Meyers, R. M., Meng, F., Jakubauskaite, A., Liu, M., Mani, V., Neuberg, D., Kepler, T. B., Wang, J. H., Alt, F. W. 2015; 163 (5): 1124-1137

    Abstract

    In activated B lymphocytes, AID initiates antibody variable (V) exon somatic hypermutation (SHM) for affinity maturation in germinal centers (GCs) and IgH switch (S) region DNA breaks (DSBs) for class-switch recombination (CSR). To resolve long-standing questions, we have developed an in vivo assay to study AID targeting of passenger sequences replacing a V exon. First, we find AID targets SHM hotspots within V exon and S region passengers at similar frequencies and that the normal SHM process frequently generates deletions, indicating that SHM and CSR employ the same mechanism. Second, AID mutates targets in diverse non-Ig passengers in GC B cells at levels similar to those of V exons, definitively establishing the V exon location as "privileged" for SHM. Finally, Peyer's patch GC B cells generate a reservoir of V exons that are highly mutated before selection for affinity maturation. We discuss the implications of these findings for harnessing antibody diversification mechanisms.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2015.10.042

    View details for Web of Science ID 000366044700012

    View details for PubMedID 26582132

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4751889

  • Chromosomal Loop Domains Direct the Recombination of Antigen Receptor Genes CELL Hu, J., Zhang, Y., Zhao, L., Frock, R. L., Du, Z., Meyers, R. M., Meng, F., Schatz, D. G., Alt, F. W. 2015; 163 (4): 947-959

    Abstract

    RAG initiates antibody V(D)J recombination in developing lymphocytes by generating "on-target" DNA breaks at matched pairs of bona fide recombination signal sequences (RSSs). We employ bait RAG-generated breaks in endogenous or ectopically inserted RSS pairs to identify huge numbers of RAG "off-target" breaks. Such breaks occur at the simple CAC motif that defines the RSS cleavage site and are largely confined within convergent CTCF-binding element (CBE)-flanked loop domains containing bait RSS pairs. Marked orientation dependence of RAG off-target activity within loops spanning up to 2 megabases implies involvement of linear tracking. In this regard, major RAG off-targets in chromosomal translocations occur as convergent RSS pairs at enhancers within a loop. Finally, deletion of a CBE-based IgH locus element disrupts V(D)J recombination domains and, correspondingly, alters RAG on- and off-target distributions within IgH. Our findings reveal how RAG activity is developmentally focused and implicate mechanisms by which chromatin domains harness biological processes within them.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2015.10.016

    View details for Web of Science ID 000364829700019

    View details for PubMedID 26593423

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4660266

  • Orientation-specific joining of AID-initiated DNA breaks promotes antibody class switching NATURE Dong, J., Panchakshari, R. A., Zhang, T., Zhang, Y., Hu, J., Volpi, S. A., Meyers, R. M., Ho, Y., Du, Z., Robbiani, D. F., Meng, F., Gostissa, M., Nussenzweig, M. C., Manis, J. P., Alt, F. W. 2015; 525 (7567): 134-?

    Abstract

    During B-cell development, RAG endonuclease cleaves immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) V, D, and J gene segments and orchestrates their fusion as deletional events that assemble a V(D)J exon in the same transcriptional orientation as adjacent Cμ constant region exons. In mice, six additional sets of constant region exons (CHs) lie 100-200 kilobases downstream in the same transcriptional orientation as V(D)J and Cμ exons. Long repetitive switch (S) regions precede Cμ and downstream CHs. In mature B cells, class switch recombination (CSR) generates different antibody classes by replacing Cμ with a downstream CH (ref. 2). Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) initiates CSR by promoting deamination lesions within Sμ and a downstream acceptor S region; these lesions are converted into DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) by general DNA repair factors. Productive CSR must occur in a deletional orientation by joining the upstream end of an Sμ DSB to the downstream end of an acceptor S-region DSB. However, the relative frequency of deletional to inversional CSR junctions has not been measured. Thus, whether orientation-specific joining is a programmed mechanistic feature of CSR as it is for V(D)J recombination and, if so, how this is achieved is unknown. To address this question, we adapt high-throughput genome-wide translocation sequencing into a highly sensitive DSB end-joining assay and apply it to endogenous AID-initiated S-region DSBs in mouse B cells. We show that CSR is programmed to occur in a productive deletional orientation and does so via an unprecedented mechanism that involves in cis Igh organizational features in combination with frequent S-region DSBs initiated by AID. We further implicate ATM-dependent DSB-response factors in enforcing this mechanism and provide an explanation of why CSR is so reliant on the 53BP1 DSB-response factor.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nature14970

    View details for Web of Science ID 000360594100040

    View details for PubMedID 26308889

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4592165

  • Convergent Transcription at Intragenic Super-Enhancers Targets AID-Initiated Genomic Instability CELL Meng, F., Du, Z., Federation, A., Hu, J., Wang, Q., Kieffer-Kwon, K., Meyers, R. M., Amor, C., Wasserman, C. R., Neuberg, D., Casellas, R., Nussenzweig, M. C., Bradner, J. E., Liu, X. S., Alt, F. W. 2014; 159 (7): 1538-1548

    Abstract

    Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) initiates both somatic hypermutation (SHM) for antibody affinity maturation and DNA breakage for antibody class switch recombination (CSR) via transcription-dependent cytidine deamination of single-stranded DNA targets. Though largely specific for immunoglobulin genes, AID also acts on a limited set of off-targets, generating oncogenic translocations and mutations that contribute to B cell lymphoma. How AID is recruited to off-targets has been a long-standing mystery. Based on deep GRO-seq studies of mouse and human B lineage cells activated for CSR or SHM, we report that most robust AID off-target translocations occur within highly focal regions of target genes in which sense and antisense transcription converge. Moreover, we found that such AID-targeting "convergent" transcription arises from antisense transcription that emanates from super-enhancers within sense transcribed gene bodies. Our findings provide an explanation for AID off-targeting to a small subset of mostly lineage-specific genes in activated B cells.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2014.11.014

    View details for Web of Science ID 000347922500009

    View details for PubMedID 25483776

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4322776

  • Developmental propagation of V(D)J recombination-associated DNA breaks and translocations in mature B cells via dicentric chromosomes PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Hu, J., Tepsuporn, S., Meyers, R. M., Gostissa, M., Alt, F. W. 2014; 111 (28): 10269-10274

    Abstract

    Mature IgM(+) B-cell lymphomas that arise in certain ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM)-deficient compound mutant mice harbor translocations that fuse V(D)J recombination-initiated IgH double-strand breaks (DSBs) on chromosome 12 to sequences downstream of c-myc on chromosome 15, generating dicentric chromosomes and c-myc amplification via a breakage-fusion-bridge mechanism. As V(D)J recombination DSBs occur in developing progenitor B cells in the bone marrow, we sought to elucidate a mechanism by which such DSBs contribute to oncogenic translocations/amplifications in mature B cells. For this purpose, we applied high-throughput genome-wide translocation sequencing to study the fate of introduced c-myc DSBs in splenic IgM(+) B cells stimulated for activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID)-dependent IgH class switch recombination (CSR). We found frequent translocations of c-myc DSBs to AID-initiated DSBs in IgH switch regions in wild-type and ATM-deficient B cells. However, c-myc also translocated frequently to newly generated DSBs within a 35-Mb region downstream of IgH in ATM-deficient, but not wild-type, CSR-activated B cells. Moreover, we found such DSBs and translocations in activated B cells that did not express AID or undergo CSR. Our findings indicate that ATM deficiency leads to formation of chromosome 12 dicentrics via recombination-activating gene-initiated IgH DSBs in progenitor B cells and that these dicentrics can be propagated developmentally into mature B cells where they generate new DSBs downstream of IgH via breakage-fusion-bridge cycles. We propose that dicentrics formed by joining V(D)J recombination-associated IgH DSBs to DSBs downstream of c-myc in ATM-deficient B lineage cells similarly contribute to c-myc amplification and mature B-cell lymphomas.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1410112111

    View details for Web of Science ID 000338985700058

    View details for PubMedID 24982162

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4104897

  • IgH class switching exploits a general property of two DNA breaks to be joined in cis over long chromosomal distances PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Gostissa, M., Schwer, B., Chang, A., Dong, J., Meyers, R. M., Marecki, G. T., Choi, V. W., Chiarle, R., Zarrin, A. A., Alt, F. W. 2014; 111 (7): 2644-2649

    Abstract

    Antibody class switch recombination (CSR) in B lymphocytes joins two DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) lying 100-200 kb apart within switch (S) regions in the immunoglobulin heavy-chain locus (IgH). CSR-activated B lymphocytes generate multiple S-region DSBs in the donor Sμ and in a downstream acceptor S region, with a DSB in Sμ being joined to a DSB in the acceptor S region at sufficient frequency to drive CSR in a large fraction of activated B cells. Such frequent joining of widely separated CSR DSBs could be promoted by IgH-specific or B-cell-specific processes or by general aspects of chromosome architecture and DSB repair. Previously, we found that B cells with two yeast I-SceI endonuclease targets in place of Sγ1 undergo I-SceI-dependent class switching from IgM to IgG1 at 5-10% of normal levels. Now, we report that B cells in which Sγ1 is replaced with a 28 I-SceI target array, designed to increase I-SceI DSB frequency, undergo I-SceI-dependent class switching at almost normal levels. High-throughput genome-wide translocation sequencing revealed that I-SceI-generated DSBs introduced in cis at Sμ and Sγ1 sites are joined together in T cells at levels similar to those of B cells. Such high joining levels also occurred between I-SceI-generated DSBs within c-myc and I-SceI- or CRISPR/Cas9-generated DSBs 100 kb downstream within Pvt1 in B cells or fibroblasts, respectively. We suggest that CSR exploits a general propensity of intrachromosomal DSBs separated by several hundred kilobases to be frequently joined together and discuss the relevance of this finding for recurrent interstitial deletions in cancer.

    View details for DOI 10.1073/pnas.1324176111

    View details for Web of Science ID 000331396500053

    View details for PubMedID 24550291

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3932927

  • Microbial colonization influences early B-lineage development in the gut lamina propria NATURE Wesemann, D. R., Portuguese, A. J., Meyers, R. M., Gallagher, M. P., Cluff-Jones, K., Magee, J. M., Panchakshari, R. A., Rodig, S. J., Kepler, T. B., Alt, F. W. 2013; 501 (7465)

    Abstract

    The RAG1/RAG2 endonuclease (RAG) initiates the V(D)J recombination reaction that assembles immunoglobulin heavy (IgH) and light (IgL) chain variable region exons from germline gene segments to generate primary antibody repertoires. IgH V(D)J assembly occurs in progenitor (pro-) B cells followed by that of IgL in precursor (pre-) B cells. Expression of IgH μ and IgL (Igκ or Igλ) chains generates IgM, which is expressed on immature B cells as the B-cell antigen-binding receptor (BCR). Rag expression can continue in immature B cells, allowing continued Igκ V(D)J recombination that replaces the initial VκJκ exon with one that generates a new specificity. This 'receptor editing' process, which can also lead to Igλ V(D)J recombination and expression, provides a mechanism whereby antigen encounter at the Rag-expressing immature B-cell stage helps shape pre-immune BCR repertoires. As the major site of postnatal B-cell development, the bone marrow is the principal location of primary immunoglobulin repertoire diversification in mice. Here we report that early B-cell development also occurs within the mouse intestinal lamina propria (LP), where the associated V(D)J recombination/receptor editing processes modulate primary LP immunoglobulin repertoires. At weanling age in normally housed mice, the LP contains a population of Rag-expressing B-lineage cells that harbour intermediates indicative of ongoing V(D)J recombination and which contain cells with pro-B, pre-B and editing phenotypes. Consistent with LP-specific receptor editing, Rag-expressing LP B-lineage cells have similar VH repertoires, but significantly different Vκ repertoires, compared to those of Rag2-expressing bone marrow counterparts. Moreover, colonization of germ-free mice leads to an increased ratio of Igλ-expressing versus Igκ-expressing B cells specifically in the LP. We conclude that B-cell development occurs in the intestinal mucosa, where it is regulated by extracellular signals from commensal microbes that influence gut immunoglobulin repertoires.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nature12496

    View details for Web of Science ID 000339424700001

    View details for PubMedID 23965619

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3807868