Honors & Awards
Bio-X Travel Award, Bio-X (2018)
Bio-X Stanford Interdisciplinary Graduate Fellowship, Bio-X (2018)
Education & Certifications
Master of Science, Stanford University, BIOE-MS (2017)
B.A., Reed College, Biology (2014)
Single-cell analysis of Schistosoma mansoni identifies a conserved genetic program controlling germline stem cell fate.
2021; 12 (1): 485
Schistosomes are parasitic flatworms causing one of the most prevalent infectious diseases from which millions of people are currently suffering. These parasites have high fecundity and their eggs are both the transmissible agents and the cause of the infection-associated pathology. Given its biomedical significance, the schistosome germline has been a research focus for more than a century. Nonetheless, molecular mechanisms that regulate its development are only now being understood. In particular, it is unknown what balances the fate of germline stem cells (GSCs) in producing daughter stem cells through mitotic divisions versus gametes through meiosis. Here, we perform single-cell RNA sequencing on juvenile schistosomes and capture GSCs during de novo gonadal development. We identify a genetic program that controls the proliferation and differentiation of GSCs. This program centers around onecut, a homeobox transcription factor, and boule, an mRNA binding protein. Their expressions are mutually dependent in the schistosome male germline, and knocking down either of them causes over-proliferation of GSCs and blocks germ cell differentiation. We further show that this germline-specific regulatory program is conserved in the planarian, schistosome's free-living evolutionary cousin, but the function of onecut has changed during evolution to support GSC maintenance.
View details for DOI 10.1038/s41467-020-20794-w
View details for PubMedID 33473133
Differential Impacts on Host Transcription by ROP and GRA Effectors from the Intracellular Parasite Toxoplasma gondii.
2020; 11 (3)
The intracellular parasite Toxoplasma gondii employs a vast array of effector proteins from the rhoptry and dense granule organelles to modulate host cell biology; these effectors are known as ROPs and GRAs, respectively. To examine the individual impacts of ROPs and GRAs on host gene expression, we developed a robust, novel protocol to enrich for ultrapure populations of a naturally occurring and reproducible population of host cells called uninfected-injected (U-I) cells, which Toxoplasma injects with ROPs but subsequently fails to invade. We then performed single-cell transcriptomic analysis at 1 to 3h postinfection on U-I cells (as well as on uninfected and infected controls) arising from infection with either wild-type parasites or parasites lacking the MYR1 protein, which is required for soluble GRAs to cross the parasitophorous vacuole membrane (PVM) and reach the host cell cytosol. Based on comparisons of infected and U-I cells, the host's earliest response to infection appears to be driven primarily by the injected ROPs, which appear to induce immune and cellular stress pathways. These ROP-dependent proinflammatory signatures appear to be counteracted by at least some of the MYR1-dependent GRAs and may be enhanced by the MYR-independent GRAs (which are found embedded within the PVM). Finally, signatures detected in uninfected bystander cells from the infected monolayers suggest that MYR1-dependent paracrine effects also counteract inflammatory ROP-dependent processes.IMPORTANCE This work performs transcriptomic analysis of U-I cells, captures the earliest stage of a host cell's interaction with Toxoplasma gondii, and dissects the effects of individual classes of parasite effectors on host cell biology.
View details for DOI 10.1128/mBio.00182-20
View details for PubMedID 32518180
A single-parasite transcriptional atlas of Toxoplasma gondii reveals novel control of antigen expression.
Toxoplasma gondii, a protozoan parasite, undergoes a complex and poorly understood developmental process that is critical for establishing a chronic infection in its intermediate hosts. Here, we applied single-cell RNA-sequencing (scRNA-seq) on >5,400 Toxoplasma in both tachyzoite and bradyzoite stages using three widely studied strains to construct a comprehensive atlas of cell-cycle and asexual development, revealing hidden states and transcriptional factors associated with each developmental stage. Analysis of SAG1-related sequence (SRS) antigenic repertoire reveals a highly heterogeneous, sporadic expression pattern unexplained by measurement noise, cell cycle, or asexual development. Furthermore, we identified AP2IX-1 as a transcription factor that controls the switching from the ubiquitous SAG1 to rare surface antigens not previously observed in tachyzoites. In addition, comparative analysis between Toxoplasma and Plasmodium scRNA-seq results reveals concerted expression of gene sets, despite fundamental differences in cell division. Lastly, we built an interactive data-browser for visualization of our atlas resource.
View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.54129
View details for PubMedID 32065584
Self-assembling manifolds in single-cell RNA sequencing data.
Single-cell RNA sequencing has spurred the development of computational methods that enable researchers to classify cell types, delineate developmental trajectories, and measure molecular responses to external perturbations. Many of these technologies rely on their ability to detect genes whose cell-to-cell variations arise from the biological processes of interest rather than transcriptional or technical noise. However, for datasets in which the biologically relevant differences between cells are subtle, identifying these genes is challenging. We present the self-assembling manifold (SAM) algorithm, an iterative soft feature selection strategy to quantify gene relevance and improve dimensionality reduction. We demonstrate its advantages over other state-of-the-art methods with experimental validation in identifying novel stem cell populations of Schistosoma mansoni, a prevalent parasite that infects hundreds of millions of people. Extending our analysis to a total of 56 datasets, we show that SAM is generalizable and consistently outperforms other methods in a variety of biological and quantitative benchmarks.
View details for DOI 10.7554/eLife.48994
View details for PubMedID 31524596
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
The RpoE Stress Response Pathway Mediates Reduction of the Virulence of Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli by Zinc
APPLIED AND ENVIRONMENTAL MICROBIOLOGY
2015; 81 (11): 3766-3774
Zinc supplements are an effective clinical treatment for infantile diarrheal disease caused by enteric pathogens. Previous studies demonstrated that zinc acts on enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) bacteria directly to suppress several virulence-related genes at a concentration that can be achieved by oral delivery of dietary zinc supplements. Our in vitro studies showed that a micromolar concentration of zinc induced the envelope stress response and suppressed virulence in EPEC, providing a possible mechanistic explanation for zinc's therapeutic action. In this report, we investigated the molecular and physiological changes in EPEC induced by zinc. We found that micromolar concentrations of zinc reduced the bacterial growth rate without affecting viability. We observed increased membrane permeability caused by zinc. Zinc upregulated the RpoE-dependent envelope stress response pathway and suppressed EPEC virulence gene expression. RpoE alone was sufficient to inhibit virulence factor expression and to attenuate attaching and effacing lesion formation on human host cells. By mutational analysis we demonstrate that the DNA-binding motif of RpoE is necessary for suppression of the LEE1, but not the LEE4, operon. Predictably, inhibition of the RpoE-mediated envelope stress response in combination with micromolar concentrations of zinc reduced EPEC viability. In conclusion, zinc induces the RpoE and stress response pathways in EPEC, and the alternate sigma factor RpoE downregulates EPEC LEE and non-LEE virulence genes by multiple mechanisms.
View details for DOI 10.1128/AEM.00507-15
View details for Web of Science ID 000353912000022
View details for PubMedID 25819956
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4421060
Activation of lysosomal function in the course of autophagy via mTORC1 suppression and autophagosome-lysosome fusion
2013; 23 (4): 508-523
Lysosome is a key subcellular organelle in the execution of the autophagic process and at present little is known whether lysosomal function is controlled in the process of autophagy. In this study, we first found that suppression of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) activity by starvation or two mTOR catalytic inhibitors (PP242 and Torin1), but not by an allosteric inhibitor (rapamycin), leads to activation of lysosomal function. Second, we provided evidence that activation of lysosomal function is associated with the suppression of mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1), but not mTORC2, and the mTORC1 localization to lysosomes is not directly correlated to its regulatory role in lysosomal function. Third, we examined the involvement of transcription factor EB (TFEB) and demonstrated that TFEB activation following mTORC1 suppression is necessary but not sufficient for lysosomal activation. Finally, Atg5 or Atg7 deletion or blockage of the autophagosome-lysosome fusion process effectively diminished lysosomal activation, suggesting that lysosomal activation occurring in the course of autophagy is dependent on autophagosome-lysosome fusion. Taken together, this study demonstrates that in the course of autophagy, lysosomal function is upregulated via a dual mechanism involving mTORC1 suppression and autophagosome-lysosome fusion.
View details for DOI 10.1038/cr.2013.11
View details for Web of Science ID 000316941500010
View details for PubMedID 23337583
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3616426