In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (16)

Articles by Jiashun Zheng in JoVE

 JoVE Biology

Using Microfluidic Devices to Measure Lifespan and Cellular Phenotypes in Single Budding Yeast Cells

1The State Key Laboratory for Artificial Microstructures and Mesoscopic Physics, School of Physics, Peking University, 2Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco, 3Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences at Center for Quantitative Biology, Academy for Advanced Interdisciplinary Studies, Peking University

JoVE 55412

Other articles by Jiashun Zheng on PubMed

An Approach to Identify Over-represented Cis-elements in Related Sequences

Nucleic Acids Research. Apr, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12655017

Computational identification of transcription factor binding sites is an important research area of computational biology. Positional weight matrix (PWM) is a model to describe the sequence pattern of binding sites. Usually, transcription factor binding sites prediction methods based on PWMs require user-defined thresholds. The arbitrary threshold and also the relatively low specificity of the algorithm prevent the result of such an analysis from being properly interpreted. In this study, a method was developed to identify over-represented cis-elements with PWM-based similarity scores. Three sets of closely related promoters were analyzed, and only over- represented motifs with high PWM similarity scores were reported. The thresholds to evaluate the similarity scores to the PWMs of putative transcription factors binding sites can also be automatically determined during the analysis, which can also be used in further research with the same PWMs. The online program is available on the website: zhengjsh/OTFBS/.

In Silico Identification of the Key Components and Steps in IFN-gamma Induced JAK-STAT Signaling Pathway

FEBS Letters. Feb, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15710397

Systems biology efforts are increasingly adopting quantitative, mechanistic modeling to study cellular signal transduction pathways and other networks. However, it is uncertain whether the particular set of kinetic parameter values of the model closely approximates the corresponding biological system. We propose that the parameters be assigned statistical distributions that reflect the degree of uncertainty for a comprehensive simulation analysis. From this analysis, we globally identify the key components and steps in signal transduction networks at a systems level. We investigated a recent mathematical model of interferon gamma induced Janus kinase-signal transducers and activators of transcription (JAK-STAT) signaling pathway by applying multi-parametric sensitivity analysis that is based on simultaneous variation of the parameter values. We find that suppressor of cytokine signaling-1, nuclear phosphatases, cytoplasmic STAT1, and the corresponding reaction steps are sensitive perturbation points of this pathway.

FREDUCE: Detection of Degenerate Regulatory Elements Using Correlation with Expression

BMC Bioinformatics. Oct, 2007  |  Pubmed ID: 17941998

The precision of transcriptional regulation is made possible by the specificity of physical interactions between transcription factors and their cognate binding sites on DNA. A major challenge is to decipher transcription factor binding sites from sequence and functional genomic data using computational means. While current methods can detect strong binding sites, they are less sensitive to degenerate motifs.

De Novo Identification and Biophysical Characterization of Transcription-factor Binding Sites with Microfluidic Affinity Analysis

Nature Biotechnology. Sep, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20802496

Gene expression is regulated in part by protein transcription factors that bind target regulatory DNA sequences. Predicting DNA binding sites and affinities from transcription factor sequence or structure is difficult; therefore, experimental data are required to link transcription factors to target sequences. We present a microfluidics-based approach for de novo discovery and quantitative biophysical characterization of DNA target sequences. We validated our technique by measuring sequence preferences for 28 Saccharomyces cerevisiae transcription factors with a variety of DNA-binding domains, including several that have proven difficult to study by other techniques. For each transcription factor, we measured relative binding affinities to oligonucleotides covering all possible 8-bp DNA sequences to create a comprehensive map of sequence preferences; for four transcription factors, we also determined absolute affinities. We expect that these data and future use of this technique will provide information essential for understanding transcription factor specificity, improving identification of regulatory sites and reconstructing regulatory interactions.

Epistatic Relationships Reveal the Functional Organization of Yeast Transcription Factors

Molecular Systems Biology. Oct, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20959818

The regulation of gene expression is, in large part, mediated by interplay between the general transcription factors (GTFs) that function to bring about the expression of many genes and site-specific DNA-binding transcription factors (STFs). Here, quantitative genetic profiling using the epistatic miniarray profile (E-MAP) approach allowed us to measure 48 391 pairwise genetic interactions, both negative (aggravating) and positive (alleviating), between and among genes encoding STFs and GTFs in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. This allowed us to both reconstruct regulatory models for specific subsets of transcription factors and identify global epistatic patterns. Overall, there was a much stronger preference for negative relative to positive genetic interactions among STFs than there was among GTFs. Negative genetic interactions, which often identify factors working in non-essential, redundant pathways, were also enriched for pairs of STFs that co-regulate similar sets of genes. Microarray analysis demonstrated that pairs of STFs that display negative genetic interactions regulate gene expression in an independent rather than coordinated manner. Collectively, these data suggest that parallel/compensating relationships between regulators, rather than linear pathways, often characterize transcriptional circuits.

Genomic Selection Identifies Vertebrate Transcription Factor Fezf2 Binding Sites and Target Genes

The Journal of Biological Chemistry. May, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21471212

Identification of transcription factor targets is critical to understanding gene regulatory networks. Here, we uncover transcription factor binding sites and target genes employing systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX). Instead of selecting randomly synthesized DNA oligonucleotides as in most SELEX studies, we utilized zebrafish genomic DNA to isolate fragments bound by Fezf2, an evolutionarily conserved gene critical for vertebrate forebrain development. This is, to our knowledge, the first time that SELEX is applied to a vertebrate genome. Computational analysis of bound genomic fragments predicted a core consensus binding site, which identified response elements that mediated Fezf2-dependent transcription both in vitro and in vivo. Fezf2-bound fragments were enriched for conserved sequences. Surprisingly, ∼20% of these fragments overlapped well annotated protein-coding exons. Through loss of function, gain of function, and chromatin immunoprecipitation, we further identified and validated eomesa/tbr2 and lhx2b as biologically relevant target genes of Fezf2. Mutations in eomesa/tbr2 cause microcephaly in humans, whereas lhx2b is a critical regulator of cell fate and axonal targeting in the developing forebrain. These results demonstrate the feasibility of employing genomic SELEX to identify vertebrate transcription factor binding sites and target genes and reveal Fezf2 as a transcription activator and a candidate for evaluation in human microcephaly.

The Unfolded Protein Response in Fission Yeast Modulates Stability of Select MRNAs to Maintain Protein Homeostasis

ELife. 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 23066505

The unfolded protein response (UPR) monitors the protein folding capacity of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). In all organisms analyzed to date, the UPR drives transcriptional programs that allow cells to cope with ER stress. The non-conventional splicing of Hac1 (yeasts) and XBP1 (metazoans) mRNA, encoding orthologous UPR transcription activators, is conserved and dependent on Ire1, an ER membrane-resident kinase/endoribonuclease. We found that the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe lacks both a Hac1/XBP1 ortholog and a UPR-dependent-transcriptional-program. Instead, Ire1 initiates the selective decay of a subset of ER-localized-mRNAs that is required to survive ER stress. We identified Bip1 mRNA, encoding a major ER-chaperone, as the sole mRNA cleaved upon Ire1 activation that escapes decay. Instead, truncation of its 3' UTR, including loss of its polyA tail, stabilized Bip1 mRNA, resulting in increased Bip1 translation. Thus, S. pombe uses a universally conserved stress-sensing machinery in novel ways to maintain homeostasis in the ER.DOI:

Ago1 Interacts with RNA Polymerase II and Binds to the Promoters of Actively Transcribed Genes in Human Cancer Cells

PLoS Genetics. Sep, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 24086155

Argonaute proteins are often credited for their cytoplasmic activities in which they function as central mediators of the RNAi platform and microRNA (miRNA)-mediated processes. They also facilitate heterochromatin formation and establishment of repressive epigenetic marks in the nucleus of fission yeast and plants. However, the nuclear functions of Ago proteins in mammalian cells remain elusive. In the present study, we combine ChIP-seq (chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with massively parallel sequencing) with biochemical assays to show that nuclear Ago1 directly interacts with RNA Polymerase II and is widely associated with chromosomal loci throughout the genome with preferential enrichment in promoters of transcriptionally active genes. Additional analyses show that nuclear Ago1 regulates the expression of Ago1-bound genes that are implicated in oncogenic pathways including cell cycle progression, growth, and survival. Our findings reveal the first landscape of human Ago1-chromosomal interactions, which may play a role in the oncogenic transcriptional program of cancer cells.

Heterogeneously Expressed Fezf2 Patterns Gradient Notch Activity in Balancing the Quiescence, Proliferation, and Differentiation of Adult Neural Stem Cells

The Journal of Neuroscience : the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience. Oct, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 25319688

Balancing quiescence, self-renewal, and differentiation in adult stem cells is critical for tissue homeostasis. The underlying mechanisms, however, remain incompletely understood. Here we identify Fezf2 as a novel regulator of fate balance in adult zebrafish dorsal telencephalic neural stem cells (NSCs). Transgenic reporters show intermingled fezf2-GFP(hi) quiescent and fezf2-GFP(lo) proliferative NSCs. Constitutive or conditional impairment of fezf2 activity demonstrates its requirement for maintaining quiescence. Analyses of genetic chimeras reveal a dose-dependent role of fezf2 in NSC activation, suggesting that the difference in fezf2 levels directionally biases fate. Single NSC profiling coupled with genetic analysis further uncovers a fezf2-dependent gradient Notch activity that is high in quiescent and low in proliferative NSCs. Finally, fezf2-GFP(hi) quiescent and fezf2-GFP(lo) proliferative NSCs are observed in postnatal mouse hippocampus, suggesting possible evolutionary conservation. Our results support a model in which fezf2 heterogeneity patterns gradient Notch activity among neighbors that is critical to balance NSC fate.

Early Telomerase Inactivation Accelerates Aging Independently of Telomere Length

Cell. Feb, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25723167

Telomerase is required for long-term telomere maintenance and protection. Using single budding yeast mother cell analyses we found that, even early after telomerase inactivation (ETI), yeast mother cells show transient DNA damage response (DDR) episodes, stochastically altered cell-cycle dynamics, and accelerated mother cell aging. The acceleration of ETI mother cell aging was not explained by increased reactive oxygen species (ROS), Sir protein perturbation, or deprotected telomeres. ETI phenotypes occurred well before the population senescence caused late after telomerase inactivation (LTI). They were morphologically distinct from LTI senescence, were genetically uncoupled from telomere length, and were rescued by elevating dNTP pools. Our combined genetic and single-cell analyses show that, well before critical telomere shortening, telomerase is continuously required to respond to transient DNA replication stress in mother cells and that a lack of telomerase accelerates otherwise normal aging.

Systematic Analysis of Asymmetric Partitioning of Yeast Proteome Between Mother and Daughter Cells Reveals "aging Factors" and Mechanism of Lifespan Asymmetry

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. Sep, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 26351681

Budding yeast divides asymmetrically, giving rise to a mother cell that progressively ages and a daughter cell with full lifespan. It is generally assumed that mother cells retain damaged, lifespan limiting materials ("aging factors") through asymmetric division. However, the identity of these aging factors and the mechanisms through which they limit lifespan remain poorly understood. Using a flow cytometry-based, high-throughput approach, we quantified the asymmetric partitioning of the yeast proteome between mother and daughter cells during cell division, discovering 74 mother-enriched and 60 daughter-enriched proteins. While daughter-enriched proteins are biased toward those needed for bud construction and genome maintenance, mother-enriched proteins are biased towards those localized in the plasma membrane and vacuole. Deletion of 23 of the 74 mother-enriched proteins leads to lifespan extension, a fraction that is about six times that of the genes picked randomly from the genome. Among these lifespan-extending genes, three are involved in endosomal sorting/endosome to vacuole transport, and three are nitrogen source transporters. Tracking the dynamic expression of specific mother-enriched proteins revealed that their concentration steadily increases in the mother cells as they age, but is kept relatively low in the daughter cells via asymmetric distribution. Our results suggest that some mother-enriched proteins may increase to a concentration that becomes deleterious and lifespan-limiting in aged cells, possibly by upsetting homeostasis or leading to aberrant signaling. Our study provides a comprehensive resource for analyzing asymmetric cell division and aging in yeast, which should also be valuable for understanding similar phenomena in other organisms.

Conversion of Human Fibroblasts into Functional Cardiomyocytes by Small Molecules

Science (New York, N.Y.). Jun, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27127239

Reprogramming somatic fibroblasts into alternative lineages would provide a promising source of cells for regenerative therapy. However, transdifferentiating human cells into specific homogeneous, functional cell types is challenging. Here we show that cardiomyocyte-like cells can be generated by treating human fibroblasts with a combination of nine compounds that we term 9C. The chemically induced cardiomyocyte-like cells uniformly contracted and resembled human cardiomyocytes in their transcriptome, epigenetic, and electrophysiological properties. 9C treatment of human fibroblasts resulted in a more open-chromatin conformation at key heart developmental genes, enabling their promoters and enhancers to bind effectors of major cardiogenic signals. When transplanted into infarcted mouse hearts, 9C-treated fibroblasts were efficiently converted to chemically induced cardiomyocyte-like cells. This pharmacological approach to lineage-specific reprogramming may have many important therapeutic implications after further optimization to generate mature cardiac cells.

Pharmacological Reprogramming of Fibroblasts into Neural Stem Cells by Signaling-Directed Transcriptional Activation

Cell Stem Cell. May, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27133794

Cellular reprogramming using chemically defined conditions, without genetic manipulation, is a promising approach for generating clinically relevant cell types for regenerative medicine and drug discovery. However, small-molecule approaches for inducing lineage-specific stem cells from somatic cells across lineage boundaries have been challenging. Here, we report highly efficient reprogramming of mouse fibroblasts into induced neural stem cell-like cells (ciNSLCs) using a cocktail of nine components (M9). The resulting ciNSLCs closely resemble primary neural stem cells molecularly and functionally. Transcriptome analysis revealed that M9 induces a gradual and specific conversion of fibroblasts toward a neural fate. During reprogramming specific transcription factors such as Elk1 and Gli2 that are downstream of M9-induced signaling pathways bind and activate endogenous master neural genes to specify neural identity. Our study provides an effective chemical approach for generating neural stem cells from mouse fibroblasts and reveals mechanistic insights into underlying reprogramming processes.

DNA Repair Profiling Reveals Nonrandom Outcomes at Cas9-Mediated Breaks

Molecular Cell. Aug, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27499295

The repair outcomes at site-specific DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) generated by the RNA-guided DNA endonuclease Cas9 determine how gene function is altered. Despite the widespread adoption of CRISPR-Cas9 technology to induce DSBs for genome engineering, the resulting repair products have not been examined in depth. Here, the DNA repair profiles of 223 sites in the human genome demonstrate that the pattern of DNA repair following Cas9 cutting at each site is nonrandom and consistent across experimental replicates, cell lines, and reagent delivery methods. Furthermore, the repair outcomes are determined by the protospacer sequence rather than genomic context, indicating that DNA repair profiling in cell lines can be used to anticipate repair outcomes in primary cells. Chemical inhibition of DNA-PK enabled dissection of the DNA repair profiles into contributions from c-NHEJ and MMEJ. Finally, this work elucidates a strategy for using "error-prone" DNA-repair machinery to generate precise edits.

Brown Adipogenic Reprogramming Induced by a Small Molecule

Cell Reports. Jan, 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 28099842

Brown adipose tissue (BAT) has attracted considerable research interest because of its therapeutic potential to treat obesity and associated metabolic diseases. Augmentation of brown fat mass and/or its function may represent an attractive strategy to enhance energy expenditure. Using high-throughput phenotypic screening to induce brown adipocyte reprogramming in committed myoblasts, we identified a retinoid X receptor (RXR) agonist, bexarotene (Bex), that efficiently converted myoblasts into brown adipocyte-like cells. Bex-treated mice exhibited enlarged BAT mass, enhanced BAT function, and a modest browning effect in subcutaneous white adipose tissue (WAT). Expression analysis showed that Bex initiated several "browning" pathways at an early stage during brown adipocyte reprogramming. Our findings suggest RXRs as new master regulators that control brown and beige fat development and activation, unlike the common adipogenic regulator PPARγ. Moreover, we demonstrated that selective RXR activation may potentially offer a therapeutic approach to manipulate brown/beige fat function in vivo.

A Global Characterization of the Translational and Transcriptional Programs Induced by Methionine Restriction Through Ribosome Profiling and RNA-seq

BMC Genomics. Feb, 2017  |  Pubmed ID: 28212626

Among twenty amino acids, methionine has a special role as it is coded by the translation initiation codon and methionyl-tRNAi (Met-tRNAi) is required for the assembly of the translation initiation complex. Thus methionine may play a special role in global gene regulation. Methionine has also been known to play important roles in cell growth, development, cancer, and aging. In this work, we characterize the translational and transcriptional programs induced by methionine restriction (MetR) and investigate the potential mechanisms through which methionine regulates gene expression, using the budding yeast S. cerevisiae as the model organism.

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