MicroRNAs (MiRs) are small, noncoding RNAs that regulate gene expression posttranscriptionally. In this study, we show that MiR-210 is induced by Oct-2, a key transcriptional mediator of B cell activation. Germline deletion of MiR-210 results in the development of autoantibodies from 5 mo of age. Overexpression of MiR-210 in vivo resulted in cell autonomous expansion of the B1 lineage and impaired fitness of B2 cells. Mice overexpressing MiR-210 exhibited impaired class-switched Ab responses, a finding confirmed in wild-type B cells transfected with a MiR-210 mimic. In vitro studies demonstrated defects in cellular proliferation and cell cycle entry, which were consistent with the transcriptomic analysis demonstrating downregulation of genes involved in cellular proliferation and B cell activation. These findings indicate that Oct-2 induction of MiR-210 provides a novel inhibitory mechanism for the control of B cells and autoantibody production.
In mammals, homologs that fail to synapse during meiosis are transcriptionally inactivated. This process, meiotic silencing, drives inactivation of the heterologous XY bivalent in male germ cells (meiotic sex chromosome inactivation [MSCI]) and is thought to act as a meiotic surveillance mechanism. The checkpoint protein ATM and Rad3-related (ATR) localizes to unsynapsed chromosomes, but its role in the initiation and maintenance of meiotic silencing is unknown. Here we show that ATR has multiple roles in silencing. ATR first regulates HORMA (Hop1, Rev7, and Mad2) domain protein HORMAD1/2 phosphorylation and localization of breast cancer I (BRCA1) and ATR cofactors ATR-interacting peptide (ATRIP)/topoisomerase 2-binding protein 1 (TOPBP1) at unsynapsed axes. Later, it acts as an adaptor, transducing signaling at unsynapsed axes into surrounding chromatin in a manner that requires interdependence with mediator of DNA damage checkpoint 1 (MDC1) and H2AFX. Finally, ATR catalyzes histone H2AFX phosphorylation, the epigenetic event leading to gene inactivation. Using a novel genetic strategy in which MSCI is used to silence a chosen gene in pachytene, we show that ATR depletion does not disrupt the maintenance of silencing and that silencing comprises two phases: The first is dynamic and reversible, and the second is stable and irreversible. Our work identifies a role for ATR in the epigenetic regulation of gene expression and presents a new technique for ablating gene function in the germline.
Defining the relationship between ageing and cancer is a crucial but challenging task. Mice deficient in Zmpste24, a metalloproteinase mutated in human progeria and involved in nuclear prelamin A maturation, recapitulate multiple features of ageing. However, their short lifespan and serious cell-intrinsic and cell-extrinsic alterations restrict the application and interpretation of carcinogenesis protocols. Here we present Zmpste24 mosaic mice that lack these limitations. Zmpste24 mosaic mice develop normally and keep similar proportions of Zmpste24-deficient (prelamin A-accumulating) and Zmpste24-proficient (mature lamin A-containing) cells throughout life, revealing that cell-extrinsic mechanisms are preeminent for progeria development. Moreover, prelamin A accumulation does not impair tumour initiation and growth, but it decreases the incidence of infiltrating oral carcinomas. Accordingly, silencing of ZMPSTE24 reduces human cancer cell invasiveness. Our results support the potential of cell-based and systemic therapies for progeria and highlight ZMPSTE24 as a new anticancer target.
Low-threshold (T-type) Ca(2+) channels encoded by the Ca(V)3 genes endow neurons with oscillatory properties that underlie slow waves characteristic of the non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep EEG. Three Ca(V)3 channel subtypes are expressed in the thalamocortical (TC) system, but their respective roles for the sleep EEG are unclear. Ca(V)3.3 protein is expressed abundantly in the nucleus reticularis thalami (nRt), an essential oscillatory burst generator. We report the characterization of a transgenic Ca(V)3.3(-/-) mouse line and demonstrate that Ca(V)3.3 channels are indispensable for nRt function and for sleep spindles, a hallmark of natural sleep. The absence of Ca(V)3.3 channels prevented oscillatory bursting in the low-frequency (4-10 Hz) range in nRt cells but spared tonic discharge. In contrast, adjacent TC neurons expressing Ca(V)3.1 channels retained low-threshold bursts. Nevertheless, the generation of synchronized thalamic network oscillations underlying sleep-spindle waves was weakened markedly because of the reduced inhibition of TC neurons via nRt cells. T currents in Ca(V)3.3(-/-) mice were <30% compared with those in WT mice, and the remaining current, carried by Ca(V)3.2 channels, generated dendritic [Ca(2+)](i) signals insufficient to provoke oscillatory bursting that arises from interplay with Ca(2+)-dependent small conductance-type 2 K(+) channels. Finally, naturally sleeping Ca(V)3.3(-/-) mice showed a selective reduction in the power density of the ? frequency band (10-12 Hz) at transitions from NREM to REM sleep, with other EEG waves remaining unaltered. Together, these data identify a central role for Ca(V)3.3 channels in the rhythmogenic properties of the sleep-spindle generator and provide a molecular target to elucidate the roles of sleep spindles for brain function and development.
The 21-23 nucleotide, single-stranded RNAs classified as microRNAs (miRNA) perform fundamental roles in diverse cellular and developmental processes. In contrast to the situation for protein-coding genes, no public resource of miRNA mouse mutant alleles exists. Here we describe a collection of 428 miRNA targeting vectors covering 476 of the miRNA genes annotated in the miRBase registry. Using these vectors, we generated a library of highly germline-transmissible C57BL/6N mouse embryonic stem (ES) cell clones harboring targeted deletions for 392 miRNA genes. For most of these targeted clones, chimerism and germline transmission can be scored through a coat color marker. The targeted alleles have been designed to be adaptable research tools that can be efficiently altered by recombinase-mediated cassette exchange to create reporter, conditional and other allelic variants. This miRNA knockout (mirKO) resource can be searched electronically and is available from ES cell repositories for distribution to the scientific community.
During male but not female mammalian meiosis, there is efficient apoptotic elimination of cells with unpaired (univalent) chromosomes at the first meiotic metaphase (MI) . Apoptotic elimination of MI spermatocytes is seen in response to the univalent X chromosome of XSxr(a)O male mice , in which the X chromosome carries Sxr(a) [3, 4], the Y-chromosome-derived sex-reversal factor that includes the testis determinant Sry. Sxr(b) is an Sxr(a)-derived variant in which a deletion has removed six Y short-arm genes and created a Zfy2/Zfy1 fusion gene spanning the deletion breakpoint [4, 5]. XSxr(b)O males have spermatogonial arrest that can be overcome by the re-addition of Eif2s3y from the deletion as a transgene; however, XSxr(b)OEif2s3y transgenic males do not show the expected elimination of MI spermatocytes in response to the univalent . Here we show that these XSxr(b)OEif2s3y males have an impaired apoptotic response with completion of the first meiotic division, but there is no second meiotic division. We then show that Zfy2 (but not the closely related Zfy1) is sufficient to reinstate the apoptotic response to the X univalent. These findings provide further insight into the basis for the much lower transmission of chromosomal errors originating at the first meiotic division in men than in women .
The mammalian X and Y chromosomes share little homology and are largely unsynapsed during normal meiosis. This asynapsis triggers inactivation of X- and Y-linked genes, or meiotic sex chromosome inactivation (MSCI). Whether MSCI is essential for male meiosis is unclear. Pachytene arrest and apoptosis is observed in mouse mutants in which MSCI fails, e.g., Brca1(-/-), H2afx(-/-), Sycp1(-/-), and Msh5(-/-). However, these also harbor defects in synapsis and/or recombination and as such may activate a putative pachytene checkpoint. Here we present evidence that MSCI failure is sufficient to cause pachytene arrest. XYY males exhibit Y-Y synapsis and Y chromosomal escape from MSCI without accompanying synapsis/recombination defects. We find that XYY males, like synapsis/recombination mutants, display pachytene arrest and that this can be circumvented by preventing Y-Y synapsis and associated Y gene expression. Pachytene expression of individual Y genes inserted as transgenes on autosomes shows that expression of the Zfy 1/2 paralogs in XY males is sufficient to phenocopy the pachytene arrest phenotype; insertion of Zfy 1/2 on the X chromosome where they are subject to MSCI prevents this response. Our findings show that MSCI is essential for male meiosis and, as such, provide insight into the differential severity of meiotic mutations effects on male and female meiosis.
The transcription factor Oct4 is key in embryonic stem cell identity and reprogramming. Insight into its partners should illuminate how the pluripotent state is established and regulated. Here, we identify a considerably expanded set of Oct4-binding proteins in mouse embryonic stem cells. We find that Oct4 associates with a varied set of proteins including regulators of gene expression and modulators of Oct4 function. Half of its partners are transcriptionally regulated by Oct4 itself or other stem cell transcription factors, whereas one-third display a significant change in expression upon cell differentiation. The majority of Oct4-associated proteins studied to date show an early lethal phenotype when mutated. A fraction of the human orthologs is associated with inherited developmental disorders or causative of cancer. The Oct4 interactome provides a resource for dissecting mechanisms of Oct4 function, enlightening the basis of pluripotency and development, and identifying potential additional reprogramming factors.
The low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor gene family is a highly conserved group of membrane receptors with diverse functions in developmental processes, lipoprotein trafficking, and cell signaling. The low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor-related protein 1b (LRP1B) was reported to be deleted in several types of human malignancies, including non-small cell lung cancer. Our group has previously reported that a distal extracellular truncation of murine Lrp1b that is predicted to secrete the entire intact extracellular domain (ECD) is fully viable with no apparent phenotype.
In vertebrates hearing is dependent upon the microvilli-like mechanosensory stereocilia and their length gradation. The staircase-like organization of the stereocilia bundle is dynamically maintained by variable actin turnover rates. Two unconventional myosins were previously implicated in stereocilia length regulation but the mechanisms of their action remain unknown. MyosinXVa is expressed in stereocilia tips at levels proportional to stereocilia length and its absence produces staircase-like bundles of very short stereocilia. MyosinVIIa localizes to the tips of the shorter stereocilia within bundles, and when absent, the stereocilia are abnormally long. We show here that myosinVIIa interacts with twinfilin-2, an actin binding protein, which inhibits actin polymerization at the barbed end of the filament, and that twinfilin localization in stereocilia overlaps with myosinVIIa. Exogenous expression of myosinVIIa in fibroblasts results in a reduced number of filopodia and promotes accumulation of twinfilin-2 at the filopodia tips. We hypothesize that the newly described interaction between myosinVIIa and twinfilin-2 is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of slower rates of actin turnover in shorter stereocilia, and that interplay between complexes of myosinVIIa/twinfilin-2 and myosinXVa/whirlin is responsible for stereocilia length gradation within the bundle staircase.
We report the characterization of a highly germline competent C57BL/6N mouse embryonic stem cell line, JM8. To simplify breeding schemes, the dominant agouti coat color gene was restored in JM8 cells by targeted repair of the C57BL/6 nonagouti mutation. These cells provide a robust foundation for large-scale mouse knockout programs that aim to provide a public resource of targeted mutations in the C57BL/6 genetic background.
Bmi1 is a member of the polycomb repressive complex 1 and plays different roles during embryonic development, depending on the developmental context. Bmi1 over expression is observed in many types of cancer, including tumors of astroglial and neural origin. Although genetic depletion of Bmi1 has been described to result in tumor inhibitory effects partly through INK4A/Arf mediated senescence and apoptosis and also through INK4A/Arf independent effects, it has not been proven that Bmi1 can be causally involved in the formation of these tumors. To see whether this is the case, we developed two conditional Bmi1 transgenic models that were crossed with GFAP-Cre mice to activate transgenic expression in neural and glial lineages. We show here that these mice generate intermediate and anterior lobe pituitary tumors that are positive for ACTH and beta-endorphin. Combined transgenic expression of Bmi1 together with conditional loss of Rb resulted in pituitary tumors but was insufficient to induce medulloblastoma therefore indicating that the oncogenic function of Bmi1 depends on regulation of p16(INK4A)/Rb rather than on regulation of p19(ARF)/p53. Human pituitary adenomas show Bmi1 overexpression in over 50% of the cases, which indicates that Bmi1 could be causally involved in formation of these tumors similarly as in our mouse model.
Hair cells of the inner ear are not normally replaced during an animals life, and must continually renew components of their various organelles. Among these are the stereocilia, each with a core of several hundred actin filaments that arise from their apical surfaces and that bear the mechanotransduction apparatus at their tips. Actin turnover in stereocilia has previously been studied by transfecting neonatal rat hair cells in culture with a ?-actin-GFP fusion, and evidence was found that actin is replaced, from the top down, in 2-3 days. Overexpression of the actin-binding protein espin causes elongation of stereocilia within 12-24 hours, also suggesting rapid regulation of stereocilia lengths. Similarly, the mechanosensory tip links are replaced in 5-10 hours after cleavage in chicken and mammalian hair cells. In contrast, turnover in chick stereocilia in vivo is much slower. It might be that only certain components of stereocilia turn over quickly, that rapid turnover occurs only in neonatal animals, only in culture, or only in response to a challenge like breakage or actin overexpression. Here we quantify protein turnover by feeding animals with a (15)N-labelled precursor amino acid and using multi-isotope imaging mass spectrometry to measure appearance of new protein. Surprisingly, in adult frogs and mice and in neonatal mice, in vivo and in vitro, the stereocilia were remarkably stable, incorporating newly synthesized protein at <10% per day. Only stereocilia tips had rapid turnover and no treadmilling was observed. Other methods confirmed this: in hair cells expressing ?-actin-GFP we bleached fiducial lines across hair bundles, but they did not move in 6 days. When we stopped expression of ?- or ?-actin with tamoxifen-inducible recombination, neither actin isoform left the stereocilia, except at the tips. Thus, rapid turnover in stereocilia occurs only at the tips and not by a treadmilling process.
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