MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have negative effects on gene expression and are major players in cell function in normal and pathological conditions. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection of resting B lymphocytes results in their growth transformation and associates with different B cell lymphomas. EBV-mediated B cell transformation involves large changes in gene expression, including cellular miRNAs. We performed miRNA expression analysis in growth transformation of EBV-infected B cells. We observed predominant downregulation of miRNAs and upregulation of a few miRNAs. We observed similar profiles of miRNA expression in B cells stimulated with CD40L/IL-4, and those infected with EBNA-2- and LMP-1-deficient EBV particles, suggesting the implication of the NF-kB pathway, common to all four situations. In fact, the NF-kB subunit p65 associates with the transcription start site (TSS) of both upregulated and downregulated miRNAs following EBV infection This occurs together with changes at histone H3K27me3 and histone H3K4me3. Inhibition of the NF-kB pathway impairs changes in miRNA expression, NF-kB binding and changes at the above histone modifications near the TSS of these miRNA genes. Changes in expression of these miRNAs also occurred in diffuse large B cell lymphomas (DLBCL), which are strongly NF-kB dependent. Our results highlight the relevance of the NF-kB pathway in epigenetically mediated miRNA control in B cell transformation and DLBCL.
DNA methylation-mediated regulation drives and stabilizes transcription states throughout development. In myeloid differentiation, DNA methylation changes occur predominantly in the direction towards hypomethylation. Also, in vitro differentiation of monocytes to dendritic cells and macrophages is characterized by DNA demethylation. In this study, we identified the existence of methylation changes in the direction of hypermethylation among genes that become repressed during monocyte-to-dendritic cell differentiation. We identified the acquisition of DNA methylation in genes such as CSF3R, FYN, and CX3CR1, but not in others, such as CD14. Analysis of the dynamics of methylation and expression changes of these genes revealed that loss of expression was rapid and was associated with the loss of H3K4me3 and H3K36me3, whereas gains of DNA methylation were progressive and partially concomitant with increases in H3K9me3 and H3K27me3. Inhibition of DNA methyltransferases, with the DNA replication-independent drug nanaomycin A, revealed that there were no effects on expression and H3K4me3 changes, despite the partial impairment of DNA methylation and H3K27me3 acquisition. However, cells treated with the DNA methyltransferase inhibitor showed lower levels of dendritic cell surface markers, suggesting a potential effect on the stability of the differentiated phenotype. Our data give rise to a novel perspective on the functional relevance and mechanisms of the acquisition of DNA methylation in myeloid cell differentiation.
Chromatin plays important functions in regulating many biological processes, including DNA transcription, replication, and repair. The use of chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays has contributed enormously to identify interactions between DNA and a wide range of nuclear proteins including histones and their different posttranslational modifications as well as a variety of transcription factors. ChIP assays have been successfully used to map histone modifications and histone variants, as well as binding of transcription factors and chromatin-modifying complexes in both, specific candidate loci and the entire genome. In this chapter, we provide a brief review of the variations in ChIP assays and a detailed explanation of the basic standard ChIP protocol.
To integrate heterogeneous and large omics data constitutes not only a conceptual challenge but a practical hurdle in the daily analysis of omics data. With the rise of novel omics technologies and through large-scale consortia projects, biological systems are being further investigated at an unprecedented scale generating heterogeneous and often large data sets. These data-sets encourage researchers to develop novel data integration methodologies. In this introduction we review the definition and characterize current efforts on data integration in the life sciences. We have used a web-survey to assess current research projects on data-integration to tap into the views, needs and challenges as currently perceived by parts of the research community.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) exert negative effects on gene expression and influence cell lineage choice during hematopoiesis. C/EBPa-induced pre-B cell-to-macrophage transdifferentiation provides an excellent model to investigate the contribution of miRNAs to hematopoietic cell identity, especially because the two cell types involved fall into separate lymphoid and myeloid branches. In this process, efficient repression of the B cell-specific program is essential to ensure transdifferentation and macrophage function. miRNA profiling revealed that upregulation of miRNAs is highly predominant compared with downregulation and that C/EBPa directly regulates several upregulated miRNAs. We also determined that miRNA 34a (miR-34a) and miR-223 sharply accelerate C/EBPa-mediated transdifferentiation, whereas their depletion delays this process. These two miRNAs affect the transdifferentiation efficiency and activity of macrophages, including their lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-dependent inflammatory response. miR-34a and miR-223 directly target and downregulate the lymphoid transcription factor Lef1, whose ectopic expression delays transdifferentiation to an extent similar to that seen with miR-34a and miR-223 depletion. In addition, ectopic introduction of Lef1 in macrophages causes upregulation of B cell markers, including CD19, Pax5, and Ikzf3. Our report demonstrates the importance of these miRNAs in ensuring the erasure of key B cell transcription factors, such as Lef1, and reinforces the notion of their essential role in fine-tuning the control required for establishing cell identity.
Regeneration of skeletal muscle depends on a population of adult stem cells (satellite cells) that remain quiescent throughout life. Satellite cell regenerative functions decline with ageing. Here we report that geriatric satellite cells are incapable of maintaining their normal quiescent state in muscle homeostatic conditions, and that this irreversibly affects their intrinsic regenerative and self-renewal capacities. In geriatric mice, resting satellite cells lose reversible quiescence by switching to an irreversible pre-senescence state, caused by derepression of p16(INK4a) (also called Cdkn2a). On injury, these cells fail to activate and expand, undergoing accelerated entry into a full senescence state (geroconversion), even in a youthful environment. p16(INK4a) silencing in geriatric satellite cells restores quiescence and muscle regenerative functions. Our results demonstrate that maintenance of quiescence in adult life depends on the active repression of senescence pathways. As p16(INK4a) is dysregulated in human geriatric satellite cells, these findings provide the basis for stem-cell rejuvenation in sarcopenic muscles.
Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infects and transforms human primary B cells inducing indefinite proliferation. To investigate the potential participation of chromatin mechanisms during the EBV-mediated transformation of resting B cells we performed an analysis of global changes in histone modifications. We observed a remarkable decrease and redistribution of heterochromatin marks including H4K20me3, H3K27me3 and H3K9me3. Loss of H4K20me3 and H3K9me3 occurred at constitutive heterochromatin repeats. For H3K27me3 and H3K9me3, comparison of ChIP-seq data revealed a decrease in these marks in thousands of genes, including clusters of HOX and ZNF genes, respectively. Moreover, DNase-seq data comparison between resting and EBV-transformed B cells revealed increased endonuclease accessibility in thousands of genomic sites. We observed that both loss of H3K27me3 and increased accessibility are associated with transcriptional activation. These changes only occurred in B cells transformed with EBV and not in those stimulated to proliferate with CD40L/IL-4, despite their similarities in the cell pathways involved and proliferation rates. In fact, B cells infected with EBNA-2 deficient EBV, which have much lower proliferation rates, displayed similar decreases for heterochromatic histone marks. Our study describes a novel phenomenon related to transformation of B cells, and highlights its independence of the pure acquisition of proliferation.
DNA methylation is a key epigenetic mechanism for driving and stabilizing cell-fate decisions. Local deposition and removal of DNA methylation are tightly coupled with transcription factor binding, although the relationship varies with the specific differentiation process. Conversion of monocytes to osteoclasts is a unique terminal differentiation process within the hematopoietic system. This differentiation model is relevant to autoimmune disease and cancer, and there is abundant knowledge on the sets of transcription factors involved.
BACKGROUND: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection is a well characterized etiopathogenic factor for a variety of immune-related conditions, including lymphomas, lymphoproliferative disorders and autoimmune diseases. EBV-mediated transformation of resting B cells to proliferating lymphoblastoid cells occurs in early stages of infection and is an excellent model for investigating the mechanisms associated with acquisition of unlimited growth. RESULTS: We investigated the effects of experimental EBV infection of B cells on DNA methylation profiles by using high-throughput analysis. Remarkably, we observed hypomethylation of around 250 genes, but no hypermethylation. Hypomethylation did not occur at repetitive sequences, consistent with the absence of genomic instability in lymphoproliferative cells. Changes in methylation only occurred after cell divisions started, without the participation of the active demethylation machinery, and were concomitant with acquisition by B cells of the ability to proliferate. Gene Ontology analysis, expression profiling, and high-throughput analysis of the presence of transcription factor binding motifs and occupancy revealed that most genes undergoing hypomethylation are active and display the presence of NF-?B p65 and other B cell-specific transcription factors. Promoter hypomethylation was associated with upregulation of genes relevant for the phenotype of proliferating lymphoblasts. Interestingly, pharmacologically induced demethylation increased the efficiency of transformation of resting B cells to lymphoblastoid cells, consistent with productive cooperation between hypomethylation and lymphocyte proliferation. CONCLUSIONS: Our data provide novel clues on the role of the B cell transcription program leading to DNA methylation changes, which we find to be key to the EBV-associated conversion of resting B cells to proliferating lymphoblasts.
Autoimmune rheumatic diseases are complex disorders, whose etiopathology is attributed to a crosstalk between genetic predisposition and environmental factors. Both variants of autoimmune susceptibility genes and environment are involved in the generation of aberrant epigenetic profiles in a cell-specific manner, which ultimately result in dysregulation of expression. Furthermore, changes in miRNA expression profiles also cause gene dysregulation associated with aberrant phenotypes. In rheumatoid arthritis, several cell types are involved in the destruction of the joints, synovial fibroblasts being among the most important. In this study we performed DNA methylation and miRNA expression screening of a set of rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts and compared the results with those obtained from osteoarthritis patients with a normal phenotype. DNA methylation screening allowed us to identify changes in novel key target genes like IL6R, CAPN8 and DPP4, as well as several HOX genes. A significant proportion of genes undergoing DNA methylation changes were inversely correlated with expression. miRNA screening revealed the existence of subsets of miRNAs that underwent changes in expression. Integrated analysis highlighted sets of miRNAs that are controlled by DNA methylation, and genes that are regulated by DNA methylation and are targeted by miRNAs with a potential use as clinical markers. Our study enabled the identification of novel dysregulated targets in rheumatoid arthritis synovial fibroblasts and generated a new workflow for the integrated analysis of miRNA and epigenetic control.
The study of epigenetic mechanisms in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases is receiving unprecedented attention from clinicians and researchers in the field. Autoimmune disorders comprise a wide range of genetically complex diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. Together they affect a significant proportion of the population and have a great economic impact on public health systems. Epigenetic mechanisms control gene expression and are influenced by external stimuli, linking environment and gene function. A variety of environmental agents, such as viral infection, hormones, certain drugs, and pollutants, have been found to influence the development of autoimmune diseases. On the other hand, there is considerable evidence of epigenetic changes, particularly DNA methylation alterations, in diseases like systemic lupus erythematosus, rheumatoid arthritis, or multiple sclerosis. However, the gap in our understanding between the specific effects of external agents and the influence on epigenetic profiles has not yet been filled. Here we review a number of studies describing epigenetic alterations in autoimmune diseases and a range of environmental factors that influence the development of autoimmune diseases. We also discuss potential mechanisms linking environment and epigenetics, consider the prospects for future epigenetic studies addressing the relationship between environment and epigenetics, and comment on the use of drugs with an epigenetic-reversing effect in the clinical management of these diseases.
Proper immune function is the result of multiple cell commitment and differentiation steps, and adequate control of activation mechanisms. Deregulation of transcriptional programs in immune cells leads to the development of hematological malignancies, autoimmune diseases or immunodeficiencies. In this sense, epigenetic control of gene expression plays an essential role in the correct function of the immune system and the integrity of identity of relevant cell types. Epigenetic deregulation can result as a consequence of genetic changes in transcription factors, elements of signaling pathways or epigenetic enzymes, or as an effect of a variety of environmental factors. On top of genetic predisposition, viral infection and other external factors influence the development of immune-related diseases. In recent years, major strides have been made towards understanding the contribution of genetics in these immune disorders. Less progress has been made in dissecting the contribution of epigenetic factors in their etiology. Herein, it is presented what is currently known about epigenetic alterations in immune system associated disorders. It is also discussed how epigenomic analysis can help to understand the molecular basis of these diseases and how this information can be used in the clinical setting.
Transcription factor-induced lineage reprogramming or transdifferentiation experiments are essential for understanding the plasticity of differentiated cells. These experiments helped to define the specific role of transcription factors in conferring cell identity and played a key role in the development of the regenerative medicine field. We here investigated the acquisition of DNA methylation changes during C/EBP?-induced pre-B cell to macrophage transdifferentiation. Unexpectedly, cell lineage conversion occurred without significant changes in DNA methylation not only in key B cell- and macrophage-specific genes but also throughout the entire set of genes differentially methylated between the two parental cell types. In contrast, active and repressive histone modification marks changed according to the expression levels of these genes. We also demonstrated that C/EBP? and RNA Pol II are associated with the methylated promoters of macrophage-specific genes in reprogrammed macrophages without inducing methylation changes. Our findings not only provide insights about the extent and hierarchy of epigenetic events in pre-B cell to macrophage transdifferentiation but also show an important difference to reprogramming towards pluripotency where promoter DNA demethylation plays a pivotal role.
Transcription factors are common targets of epigenetic inactivation in human cancer. Promoter hypermethylation and subsequent silencing of transcription factors can lead to further deregulation of their targets. In this study, we explored the potential epigenetic deregulation in cancer of Ikaros family genes, which code for essential transcription factors in cell differentiation and exhibit genetic defects in hematologic neoplasias. Unexpectedly, our analysis revealed that Ikaros undergoes very specific promoter hypermethylation in colorectal cancer, including in all the cell lines studied and around 64% of primary colorectal adenocarcinomas, with increasing proportions in advanced Dukes stages. Ikaros hypermethylation occurred in the context of a novel long-range epigenetic silencing (LRES) region. Reintroduction of Ikaros in colorectal cancer cells, ChIP-chip analysis, and validation in primary samples led us to identify a number of direct targets that are possibly related with colorectal cancer progression. Our results not only provide the first evidence that LRES can have functional specific effects in cancer but also identify several deregulated Ikaros targets that may contribute to progression in colorectal adenocarcinoma.
Eukaryotic genomic information is modulated by a variety ofepigenetic modifications that play both a direct role in establishing transcription profiles, modulation of DNA replication and repair processes and also indirect effects on the aforementioned processes through the organization of DNA architecture within the cell nucleus. Nowadays, the role of epigenetic modifications in regulating tissue-specific expression, genomic imprinting or X-chromosome inactivation is widely recognized. In addition, the key role of epigenetic modifications during cell differentiation and development has been highlighted by the identification of a variety of epigenetic alterations in human disease. Particular attention has been focused on the study of epigenetic alterations in cancer, which is the subject of intense multidisciplinary efforts and has an impact not only in understanding the mechanisms of epigenetic regulation but also in guiding the development ofnovel therapies for cancer treatment. In addition, a number of genetic disorders such as immunodeficiency-centromere instability-facial anomalies (ICF) or Rett syndromes are directly associated with defects in elements of the epigenetic machinery. More recently, epigenetic changes in cardiovascular, neurological and autoimmune disorders as well as in other genetically complex diseases have also started to emerge. All these examples illustrate the widespread association ofepigenetic alterations with disease and highlight the need of characterizing the range and extension of epigenetic changes to understand their contribution to fundamental human biological processes.
Most of the studies characterizing DNA methylation patterns have been restricted to particular genomic loci in a limited number of human samples and pathological conditions. Herein, we present a compromise between an extremely comprehensive study of a human sample population with an intermediate level of resolution of CpGs at the genomic level. We obtained a DNA methylation fingerprint of 1628 human samples in which we interrogated 1505 CpG sites. The DNA methylation patterns revealed show this epigenetic mark to be critical in tissue-type definition and stemness, particularly around transcription start sites that are not within a CpG island. For disease, the generated DNA methylation fingerprints show that, during tumorigenesis, human cancer cells underwent a progressive gain of promoter CpG-island hypermethylation and a loss of CpG methylation in non-CpG-island promoters. Although transformed cells are those in which DNA methylation disruption is more obvious, we observed that other common human diseases, such as neurological and autoimmune disorders, had their own distinct DNA methylation profiles. Most importantly, we provide proof of principle that the DNA methylation fingerprints obtained might be useful for translational purposes by showing that we are able to identify the tumor type origin of cancers of unknown primary origin (CUPs). Thus, the DNA methylation patterns identified across the largest spectrum of samples, tissues, and diseases reported to date constitute a baseline for developing higher-resolution DNA methylation maps and provide important clues concerning the contribution of CpG methylation to tissue identity and its changes in the most prevalent human diseases.
The potential roles of epigenetic alterations in the pathogenesis of autoimmune rheumatic diseases are raising great expectations among clinicians and researchers. Epigenetic mechanisms regulate gene expression and are sensitive to external stimuli, bridging the gap between environmental and genetic factors. Considerable evidence of epigenetic changes, particularly altered patterns of DNA methylation, exists in diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and rheumatoid arthritis. The importance of such changes in the pathology of rheumatic diseases has been demonstrated by examining the relationship between gene-specific methylation and SLE in monozygotic twins discordant for the disease, in whom genetic variability is excluded as a cause for discordance. Several studies have highlighted the importance of the tissue-specificity of DNA methylation changes, an aspect which-in contrast with genetic analysis-must be considered when designing epigenetic studies. Here I discuss the proposed mechanisms and implications of DNA methylation changes in the pathogenesis of autoimmune rheumatic diseases, the prospects for future epigenetic studies in rheumatology, the relevance of specific DNA methylation markers and the potential use of drugs with an epigenetic effect in the clinical management of these diseases.
Complex genomes utilize insulators and boundary elements to help define spatial and temporal gene expression patterns. We report that a genome-wide B1 SINE (Short Interspersed Nuclear Element) retrotransposon (B1-X35S) has potent intrinsic insulator activity in cultured cells and live animals. This insulation is mediated by binding of the transcription factors dioxin receptor (AHR) and SLUG (SNAI2) to consensus elements present in the SINE. Transcription of B1-X35S is required for insulation. While basal insulator activity is maintained by RNA polymerase (Pol) III transcription, AHR-induced insulation involves release of Pol III and engagement of Pol II transcription on the same strand. B1-X35S insulation is also associated with enrichment of heterochromatin marks H3K9me3 and H3K27me3 downstream of B1-X35S, an effect that varies with cell type. B1-X35S binds parylated CTCF and, consistent with a chromatin barrier activity, its positioning between two adjacent genes correlates with their differential expression in mouse tissues. Hence, B1 SINE retrotransposons represent genome-wide insulators activated by transcription factors that respond to developmental, oncogenic, or toxicological stimuli.
In mammals, the stress-activated protein kinase (SAPK) p38 coordinates a rapid and complex transcriptional program to adapt to sudden changes in the extracellular environment. Although a number of genes have been reported to be under the control of p38, the basic mechanisms of transcriptional regulation by this SAPK remain uncharacterized. Here we show that in response to osmotic shock, anisomycin- or TNF?-activated p38 SAPK is recruited to stress-induced genes. The MAPKK MKK6 is also found at stress-responsive promoters. The recruitment of RNA polymerase II complex to the target promoters requires p38 activity. Moreover, when tethered to DNA as a LexA fusion protein, p38 activates transcription in a stress-regulated manner. Thus, p38 activity allows for recruitment of RNA polymerase and transcription initiation. p38 directly phosphorylates and interacts with the transcription factor Elk1. p38 activity is necessary for the recruitment of Elk1 to the c-Fos promoter, and knocking down Elk1 by siRNAs compromises both p38 recruitment to the c-Fos promoter and c-Fos transcriptional up-regulation upon osmostress. In addition, p38 recruitment to the osmoinducible gene Cox2 and the TNF? target gene IL8 is mediated by the transcription factors AP1 and NF?B, respectively. Therefore, anchoring of active SAPK to target genes is mediated by transcription factors. The presence of active p38 at open reading frames also suggests the involvement of the SAPK in elongation. Taken together, SAPK recruitment to target genes appears to be a broad mechanism to regulate transcription that has been preserved from yeast to mammals.
In human Estrogen Receptor alpha (ERalpha)-positive breast cancers, 5 end dense methylation of the estrogen-regulated pS2/TFF1 gene correlates with its transcriptional inhibition. However, in some ERalpha-rich biopsies, pS2 expression is observed despite the methylation of its TATA-box region. Herein, we investigated the methylation-dependent mechanism of pS2 regulation.
Monozygotic (MZ) twins are partially concordant for most complex diseases, including autoimmune disorders. Whereas phenotypic concordance can be used to study heritability, discordance suggests the role of non-genetic factors. In autoimmune diseases, environmentally driven epigenetic changes are thought to contribute to their etiology. Here we report the first high-throughput and candidate sequence analyses of DNA methylation to investigate discordance for autoimmune disease in twins. We used a cohort of MZ twins discordant for three diseases whose clinical signs often overlap: systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis, and dermatomyositis. Only MZ twins discordant for SLE featured widespread changes in the DNA methylation status of a significant number of genes. Gene ontology analysis revealed enrichment in categories associated with immune function. Individual analysis confirmed the existence of DNA methylation and expression changes in genes relevant to SLE pathogenesis. These changes occurred in parallel with a global decrease in the 5-methylcytosine content that was concomitantly accompanied with changes in DNA methylation and expression levels of ribosomal RNA genes, although no changes in repetitive sequences were found. Our findings not only identify potentially relevant DNA methylation markers for the clinical characterization of SLE patients but also support the notion that epigenetic changes may be critical in the clinical manifestations of autoimmune disease.
Adult skeletal muscle provides a unique paradigm for studying stem to differentiated cell transitions. In response to environmental stress, quiescent muscle stem cells (satellite cells) are activated and proliferative, at which stage they can either differentiate and fuse to form new muscle fibers or alternatively self-renew and maintain the muscle stem cell reservoir. This multi-step myogenic process is orchestrated by muscle regulatory proteins such as Pax3/Pax7 and members of the MyoD family of transcription factors. Findings published over the past few years have uncovered that epigenetic mechanisms critically repress, maintain or induce muscle-specific transcriptional programs during myogenesis. These studies are increasing our understanding of how muscle lineage-specific information encoded in chromatin merges with muscle regulatory factors to drive muscle stem cells through transitions during myogenesis.
Cytokine genes are targets of multiple epigenetic mechanisms in T lymphocytes. 5-azacytidine (5-azaC) is a nucleoside-based DNA methyltransferase inhibitor that induces demethylation and gene reactivation. In the current study, we analyzed the effect of 5-azaC in T-cell function and observed that 5-azaC inhibits T-cell proliferation and activation, blocking cell cycle in the G(0) to G(1) phase and decreasing the production of proinflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha and interferon-gamma. This effect was not attributable to a proapoptotic effect of the drug but to the down-regulation of genes involved in T-cell cycle progression and activation such as CCNG2, MTCP1, CD58, and ADK and up-regulation of genes that induce cell-growth arrest, such as DCUN1D2, U2AF2, GADD45B, or p53. A longer exposure to the drug leads to demethylation of FOXP3 promoter, overexpression of FOXP3, and expansion of regulatory T cells. Finally, the administration of 5-azaC after transplantation prevented the development of graft-versus-host disease, leading to a significant increase in survival in a fully mismatched bone marrow transplantation mouse model. In conclusion, the current study shows the effect of 5-azaC in T lymphocytes and illustrates its role in the allogeneic transplantation setting as an immunomodulatory drug, describing new pathways that must be explored to prevent graft-versus-host disease.
Disruption of circadian rhythms, daily oscillations in biological processes that are regulated by an endogenous clock, has been linked to tumorigenesis. Normal and malignant tissues often show asynchronies in cell proliferation and metabolic rhythms. Cancer chronotherapy takes biological time into account to improve the therapy. However, alterations of the circadian clock machinery genes have rarely been reported in human cancer. Herein, we show that the BMAL1 gene, a core component of the circadian clock, is transcriptionally silenced by promoter CpG island hypermethylation in hematologic malignancies, such as diffuse large B-cell lymphoma and acute lymphocytic and myeloid leukemias. We also describe how BMAL1 reintroduction in hypermethylated leukemia/lymphoma cells causes growth inhibition in colony assays and nude mice, whereas BMAL1 depletion by RNA interference in unmethylated cells enhances tumor growth. We also show that BMAL1 epigenetic inactivation impairs the characteristic circadian clock expression pattern of genes such as C-MYC, catalase, and p300 in association with a loss of BMAL1 occupancy in their respective promoters. Furthermore, the DNA hypermethylation-associated loss of BMAL1 also prevents the recruitment of its natural partner, the CLOCK protein, to their common targets, further enhancing the perturbed circadian rhythm of the malignant cells. These findings suggest that BMAL1 epigenetic inactivation contributes to the development of hematologic malignancies by disrupting the cellular circadian clock.
The therapeutic use of multipotent stem cells depends on their differentiation potential, which has been shown to be variable for different populations. These differences are likely to be the result of key changes in their epigenetic profiles.
Lymphomas are assumed to originate at different stages of lymphocyte development through chromosomal aberrations. Thus, different lymphomas resemble lymphocytes at distinct differentiation stages and show characteristic morphologic, genetic, and transcriptional features. Here, we have performed a microarray-based DNA methylation profiling of 83 mature aggressive B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas (maB-NHLs) characterized for their morphologic, genetic, and transcriptional features, including molecular Burkitt lymphomas and diffuse large B-cell lymphomas. Hierarchic clustering indicated that methylation patterns in maB-NHLs were not strictly associated with morphologic, genetic, or transcriptional features. By supervised analyses, we identified 56 genes de novo methylated in all lymphoma subtypes studied and 22 methylated in a lymphoma subtype-specific manner. Remarkably, the group of genes de novo methylated in all lymphoma subtypes was significantly enriched for polycomb targets in embryonic stem cells. De novo methylated genes in all maB-NHLs studied were expressed at low levels in lymphomas and normal hematopoietic tissues but not in nonhematopoietic tissues. These findings, especially the enrichment for polycomb targets in stem cells, indicate that maB-NHLs with different morphologic, genetic, and transcriptional background share a similar stem cell-like epigenetic pattern. This suggests that maB-NHLs originate from cells with stem cell features or that stemness was acquired during lymphomagenesis by epigenetic remodeling.
Here we describe a lineage reprogramming system consisting of a B cell line with an estradiol-inducible form of C/EBPalpha where cells can be converted into macrophage-like cells at 100% efficiency within 2 to 3 days. The reprogrammed cells are larger, contain altered organelle and cytoskeletal structures, are phagocytic, and exhibit an inflammatory response. Time-lapse experiments showed that the cells acquire a macrophage morphology and increased migratory activity as early as 10 hr. During induction, thousands of genes become up- or downregulated, including several dozen transcription and chromatin-remodeling factors. Time-limited exposure of cells to the inducer showed that the reprogrammed cells become transgene independent within 1 to 2 days. The reprogramming can be inhibited, at least partially, by perturbation experiments with B cell and macrophage transcription factors. The tightness, robustness, and speed of the system described make it a versatile tool to study biochemical and biological aspects of lineage reprogramming.
Notch1 activation is essential for T-lineage specification of lymphomyeloid progenitors seeding the thymus. Progression along the T cell lineage further requires cooperative signaling provided by the interleukin 7 receptor (IL-7R), but the molecular mechanisms responsible for the dynamic and lineage-specific regulation of IL-7R during thymopoiesis are unknown. We show that active Notch1 binds to a conserved CSL-binding site in the human IL7R gene promoter and critically regulates IL7R transcription and IL-7R alpha chain (IL-7Ralpha) expression via the CSL-MAML complex. Defective Notch1 signaling selectively impaired IL-7Ralpha expression in T-lineage cells, but not B-lineage cells, and resulted in a compromised expansion of early human developing thymocytes, which was rescued upon ectopic IL-7Ralpha expression. The pathological implications of these findings are demonstrated by the regulation of IL-7Ralpha expression downstream of Notch1 in T cell leukemias. Thus, Notch1 controls early T cell development, in part by regulating the stage- and lineage-specific expression of IL-7Ralpha.
The natural history of cancers associated with virus exposure is intriguing, since only a minority of human tissues infected with these viruses inevitably progress to cancer. However, the molecular reasons why the infection is controlled or instead progresses to subsequent stages of tumorigenesis are largely unknown. In this article, we provide the first complete DNA methylomes of double-stranded DNA viruses associated with human cancer that might provide important clues to help us understand the described process. Using bisulfite genomic sequencing of multiple clones, we have obtained the DNA methylation status of every CpG dinucleotide in the genome of the Human Papilloma Viruses 16 and 18 and Human Hepatitis B Virus, and in all the transcription start sites of the Epstein-Barr Virus. These viruses are associated with infectious diseases (such as hepatitis B and infectious mononucleosis) and the development of human tumors (cervical, hepatic, and nasopharyngeal cancers, and lymphoma), and are responsible for 1 million deaths worldwide every year. The DNA methylomes presented provide evidence of the dynamic nature of the epigenome in contrast to the genome. We observed that the DNA methylome of these viruses evolves from an unmethylated to a highly methylated genome in association with the progression of the disease, from asymptomatic healthy carriers, through chronically infected tissues and pre-malignant lesions, to the full-blown invasive tumor. The observed DNA methylation changes have a major functional impact on the biological behavior of the viruses.
The methylcytosine hydroxylase Tet2 has been implicated in hematopoietic differentiation and the formation of myeloid malignancies when mutated. An ideal system to study the role of Tet2 in myelopoeisis is CEBP?-induced transdifferentiation of pre-B cells into macrophages. Here we found that CEBP? binds to upstream regions of Tet2 and that the gene becomes activated. Tet2 knockdowns impaired the upregulation of macrophage markers as well as phagocytic capacity, suggesting that the enzyme is required for both early and late stage myeloid differentiation. A slightly weaker effect was seen in primary cells with a Tet2 ablation. Expression arrays of transdifferentiating cells with Tet2 knockdowns permitted the identification of a small subset of myeloid genes whose upregulation was blunted. Activation of these target genes was accompanied by rapid increases of promoter hydroxy-methylation. Our observations indicate that Tet2 helps CEBP? rapidly derepress myeloid genes during the conversion of pre-B cells into macrophages.
Altered promoter DNA methylation, one of the most important molecular alterations in cancer, is proposed to correlate with deregulation of DNA methyltransferases, although the molecular mechanisms implicated are still poorly understood. Here we show that the de novo DNA methyltransferase DNMT3B is frequently repressed in human colorectal cancer cell lines (CCL) and primary tumours by aberrant DNA hypermethylation of its distal promoter. At the epigenome level, DNMT3B promoter hypermethylation was associated with the hypomethylation of gene promoters usually hypermethylated in the healthy colon. Forced DNMT3B overexpression in cancer cells restored the methylation levels of these promoters in the healthy colon. Our results show a new molecular mechanism of aberrant DNMT3B regulation in colon cancer and suggest that its expression is associated with the methylation of constitutively hypermethylated promoters in the healthy colon.
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