DNA methylation is an essential epigenetic feature for the regulation and maintenance of heterochromatin. Satellite DNA is a repetitive sequence component that often occurs in large arrays in heterochromatin of subtelomeric, intercalary and centromeric regions. Knowledge about the methylation status of satellite DNA is important for understanding the role of repetitive DNA in heterochromatization. In this study, we investigated the cytosine methylation of the ancient satellite family pEV in the wild beet Beta procumbens. The pEV satellite is widespread in species-specific pEV subfamilies in the genus Beta and most likely originated before the radiation of the Betoideae and Chenopodioideae. In B. procumbens, the pEV subfamily occurs abundantly and spans intercalary and centromeric regions. To uncover its cytosine methylation, we performed chromosome-wide immunostaining and bisulfite sequencing of pEV satellite repeats. We found that CG and CHG sites are highly methylated while CHH sites show only low levels of methylation. As a consequence of the low frequency of CG and CHG sites and the preferential occurrence of most cytosines in the CHH motif in pEV monomers, this satellite family displays only low levels of total cytosine methylation.
Methyleugenol--a natural constituent of herbs and spices--is hepatocarcinogenic in rodent models. It can form DNA adducts after side-chain hydroxylation and sulfation. We previously demonstrated that human sulfotransferases (SULTs) 1A1 and 1A2 as well as mouse Sult1a1, expressed in Salmonella target strains, are able to activate 1'-hydroxymethyleugenol (1'-OH-ME) and 3'-hydroxymethylisoeugenol (3'-OH-MIE) to mutagens. Now we investigated the role of these enzymes in the formation of hepatic DNA adducts by methyleugenol in the mouse in vivo. We used FVB/N mice [wild-type (wt)] and genetically modified strains in this background: Sult1a1 knockout (ko), transgenic for human SULT1A1/2 (tg) and the combination of both modifications (ko-tg). Methyleugenol (50mg/kg body mass) formed 23, 735, 3770 and 4500 N (2)-(trans-methylisoeugenol-3'-yl)-2'-deoxyguanosine adducts per 10(8) 2'-deoxyribonucleosides (dN) in ko, wt, ko-tg and tg mice, respectively. The corresponding values for an equimolar dose of 1'-OH-ME were 12, 1490, 12 400 and 13 300 per 10(8) dN. Similar relative levels were observed for the minor adduct, N (6)-(trans-methylisoeugenol-3'-yl)-2'-deoxyadenosine. Thus, the adduct formation by both compounds was nearly completely dependent on the presence of SULT1A enzymes, with human SULT1A1/2 producing stronger effects than mouse Sult1a1. Moreover, a dose of 0.05 mg/kg methyleugenol (one-fourth of the estimated average daily exposure of humans) was sufficient to form detectable adducts in humanized (ko-tg) mice. Although 3'-OH-MIE was equally mutagenic to 1'-OH-ME in Salmonella strains expressing human SULT1A1 or 1A2, it only formed 0.14% of hepatic adducts in ko-tg mice compared with an equimolar dose of 1'-OH-ME, suggesting an important role of detoxifying pathways for this isomer in vivo.
1-Methylpyrene, a carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, forms benzylic DNA adducts, in particular N2-(1-methylpyrenyl)-2'-deoxyguanosine, in mice and rats. It is bioactivated via 1-hydroxymethylpyrene (1-HMP) to electrophilic 1-sulfooxymethylpyrene (1-SMP). In this study, we explored the role of individual mouse sulfotransferase (SULT) forms in this activation. First, we showed that all nine mouse SULTs tested were able to activate 1-HMP to a mutagen in the his- Salmonella typhimurium reversion test. Some activation was even observed with Sult2a3 and Sult5a1, orphan forms for which no substrates were identified hitherto. Subsequently, we used cytosolic preparations from tissues of four mouse lines (wild-type, Sult1a1-, Sult1d1-, and transgenic for human SULT1A1/2) for the activation of 1-HMP in the mutagenicity assay. The most prominent impacts of the genetic SULT status were 96% decrease in hepatic activation by Sult1a1 knockout, 99% decrease in renal activation by Sult1d1 knockout, and 100-fold increase in pulmonary activation by transgenic human SULT1A1/2. Finally, we treated the various mouse lines with 1-HMP (19.3 mg/kg, intraperitoneally), and then determined 1-SMP levels in plasma and DNA adducts in tissues. Transgenic human SULT1A1/2 strongly enhanced 1-SMP plasma levels and DNA adduct formation in the liver, lung, heart, and kidney but not in the colon. Sult1a1 and Sult1d1 knockout reduced plasma 1-SMP levels as well as DNA adduct formation in some tissues (strongest effects: 97% decrease in 1-SMP and 89% decrease in hepatic adducts in Sult1a1- mice). The adduct levels detected in various tissues did not accurately reflect the activation capacity of these tissues determined in vitro, probably due to the distribution of the reactive metabolite 1-SMP via the circulation. In conclusion, we demonstrated that many mouse SULT forms are able to activate 1-HMP. In vivo, we verified a prominent role of Sult1a1 in hepatic and renal adduct formation and a smaller but unambiguous role of Sult1d1, and demonstrated the strong impact of transgenic human SULT1A1/2.
A large fraction of eukaryotic genomes is made up of long interspersed nuclear elements (LINEs). Due to their capability to create novel copies via error-prone reverse transcription, they generate multiple families and reach high copy numbers. Although mammalian LINEs have been well described, plant LINEs have been only poorly investigated. Here, we present a systematic cross-species survey of LINEs in higher plant genomes shedding light on plant LINE evolution as well as diversity, and facilitating their annotation in genome projects. Applying a Hidden Markov Model (HMM)-based analysis, 59 390 intact LINE reverse transcriptases (RTs) were extracted from 23 plant genomes. These fall in only two out of 28 LINE clades (L1 and RTE) known in eukaryotes. While plant RTE LINEs are highly homogenous and mostly constitute only a single family per genome, plant L1 LINEs are extremely diverse and form numerous families. Despite their heterogeneity, all members across the 23 species fall into only seven L1 subclades, some of them defined here. Exemplarily focusing on the L1 LINEs of a basal reference plant genome (Beta vulgaris), we show that the subclade classification level does not only reflect RT sequence similarity, but also mirrors structural aspects of complete LINE retrotransposons, like element size, position and type of encoded enzymatic domains. Our comprehensive catalogue of plant LINE RTs serves the classification of highly diverse plant LINEs, while the provided subclade-specific HMMs facilitate their annotation.
A pyrographically decorated gourd, dated to the French Revolution period, has been alleged to contain a handkerchief dipped into the blood of the French king Louis XVI (1754-1793) after his beheading but recent analyses of living males from two Bourbon branches cast doubts on its authenticity. We sequenced the complete genome of the DNA contained in the gourd at low coverage (~2.5×) with coding sequences enriched at a higher ~7.3× coverage. We found that the ancestry of the gourd's genome does not seem compatible with Louis XVI's known ancestry. From a functional perspective, we did not find an excess of alleles contributing to height despite being described as the tallest person in Court. In addition, the eye colour prediction supported brown eyes, while Louis XVI had blue eyes. This is the first draft genome generated from a person who lived in a recent historical period; however, our results suggest that this sample may not correspond to the alleged king.
Methylation of DNA is important for the epigenetic silencing of repetitive DNA in plant genomes. Knowledge about the cytosine methylation status of satellite DNAs, a major class of repetitive DNA, is scarce. One reason for this is that arrays of tandemly arranged sequences are usually collapsed in next-generation sequencing assemblies. We applied strategies to overcome this limitation and quantified the level of cytosine methylation and its pattern in three satellite families of sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) which differ in their abundance, chromosomal localization and monomer size. We visualized methylation levels along pachytene chromosomes with respect to small satellite loci at maximum resolution using chromosome-wide fluorescent in situ hybridization complemented with immunostaining and super-resolution microscopy. Only reduced methylation of many satellite arrays was obtained. To investigate methylation at the nucleotide level we performed bisulfite sequencing of 1569 satellite sequences. We found that the level of methylation of cytosine strongly depends on the sequence context: cytosines in the CHH motif show lower methylation (44-52%), while CG and CHG motifs are more strongly methylated. This affects the overall methylation of satellite sequences because CHH occurs frequently while CG and CHG are rare or even absent in the satellite arrays investigated. Evidently, CHH is the major target for modulation of the cytosine methylation level of adjacent monomers within individual arrays and contributes to their epigenetic function. This strongly indicates that asymmetric cytosine methylation plays a role in the epigenetic modification of satellite repeats in plant genomes.
Krüppel-like factors (Klf) 4 and 5 are two closely related members of the Klf family, known to play key roles in cell cycle regulation, somatic cell reprogramming and pluripotency. Here we focus on the functional divergence between Klf4 and Klf5 in the inhibition of mouse embryonic stem (ES) cell differentiation. Using microarrays and chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled to ultra-high-throughput DNA sequencing, we show that Klf4 negatively regulates the expression of endodermal markers in the undifferentiated ES cells, including transcription factors involved in the commitment of pluripotent stem cells to endoderm differentiation. Knockdown of Klf4 enhances differentiation towards visceral and definitive endoderm. In contrast, Klf5 negatively regulates the expression of mesodermal markers, some of which control commitment to the mesoderm lineage, and knockdown of Klf5 specifically enhances differentiation towards mesoderm. We conclude that Klf4 and Klf5 differentially inhibit mesoderm and endoderm differentiation in murine ES cells.
Biennial sugar beet (Beta vulgaris spp. vulgaris) is a Caryophyllidae that has adapted its growth cycle to the seasonal temperature and daylength variation of temperate regions. This is the first time a holistic study of the expression pattern of non-symbiotic hemoglobins (nsHbs) is being carried out in a member of this group and under two essential environmental conditions for flowering, namely vernalization and length of photoperiod. BvHb genes were identified by sequence homology searches against the latest draft of the sugar beet genome. Three nsHb genes (BvHb1.1, BvHb1.2 and BvHb2) and one truncated Hb gene (BvHb3) were found in the genome of sugar beet. Gene expression profiling of the nsHb genes was carried out by quantitative PCR in different organs and developmental stages, as well as during vernalization and under different photoperiods. BvHb1.1 and BvHb2 showed differential expression during vernalization as well as during long and short days. The high expression of BvHb2 indicates that it has an active role in the cell, maybe even taking over some BvHb1.2 functions, except during germination where BvHb1.2 together with BvHb1.1-both Class 1 nsHbs-are highly expressed. The unprecedented finding of a leader peptide at the N-terminus of BvHb1.1, for the first time in an nsHb from higher plants, together with its observed expression indicate that it may have a very specific role due to its suggested location in chloroplasts. Our findings open up new possibilities for research, breeding and engineering since Hbs could be more involved in plant development than previously was anticipated.
Molecular markers are a highly valuable tool for creating genetic maps. Like in many other crops, sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) breeding is increasingly supported by the application of such genetic markers. Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) based markers have a high potential for automated analysis and high-throughput genotyping. We developed a bioinformatics workflow that uses Sanger and 2nd-generation sequence data for detection, evaluation and verification of new transcript-associated SNPs from sugar beet. RNAseq data from one parent of an established mapping population were produced by 454-FLX sequencing and compared to Sanger ESTs derived from the other parent. The workflow established for SNP detection considers the quality values of both types of reads, provides polymorphic alignments as well as selection criteria for reliable SNP detection and allows painless generation of new genetic markers within genes. We obtained a total of 14,323 genic SNPs and InDels. According to empirically optimised settings for the quality parameters, we classified these SNPs into four usability categories. Validation of a subset of the in silico detected SNPs by genotyping the mapping population indicated a high success rate of the SNP detection. Finally, a total of 307 new markers were integrated with existing data into a new genetic map of sugar beet which offers improved resolution and the integration of terminal markers.
Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) genomic alterations have emerged as a potent predictor of benefit from treatment with ALK inhibitors in several cancers. Currently, there is no information about ALK gene alterations in urothelial carcinoma (UC) and its correlation with clinical or pathologic features and outcome.
In the obesity-resistant SJL mouse strain, we previously identified a naturally occurring loss-of-function mutation in the gene for Tbc1d1. Characterization of recombinant inbred mice that carried the Tbc1d1(SJL) allele on a C57BL/6J background indicated that loss of TBC1D1 protects from obesity, presumably by increasing the use of fat as energy source. To provide direct functional evidence for an involvement of TBC1D1 in energy substrate metabolism, we generated and characterized conventional Tbc1d1 knockout mice. TBC1D1-deficient mice showed moderately reduced body weight, decreased respiratory quotient, and an elevated resting metabolic rate. Ex vivo analysis of intact isolated skeletal muscle revealed a severe impairment in insulin- and AICAR-stimulated glucose uptake in glycolytic extensor digitorum longus muscle and a substantially increased rate of fatty acid oxidation in oxidative soleus muscle. Our results provide direct evidence that TBC1D1 plays a major role in glucose and lipid utilization, and energy substrate preference in skeletal muscle.
Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) plays an important function in the regulation of cell growth, proliferation, and differentiation by binding to its receptor (EGFR) and providing cancer cells with increased survival responsiveness. Signal transduction carried out by EGF has been extensively studied at both transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. Little is known about the involvement of microRNAs (miRNAs) in the EGF signaling pathway. miRNAs have emerged as major players in the complex networks of gene regulation, and cancer miRNA expression studies have evidenced a direct involvement of miRNAs in cancer progression.
It has been argued that the evolution of plant genome size is principally unidirectional and increasing owing to the varied action of whole-genome duplications (WGDs) and mobile element proliferation. However, extreme genome size reductions have been reported in the angiosperm family tree. Here we report the sequence of the 82-megabase genome of the carnivorous bladderwort plant Utricularia gibba. Despite its tiny size, the U. gibba genome accommodates a typical number of genes for a plant, with the main difference from other plant genomes arising from a drastic reduction in non-genic DNA. Unexpectedly, we identified at least three rounds of WGD in U. gibba since common ancestry with tomato (Solanum) and grape (Vitis). The compressed architecture of the U. gibba genome indicates that a small fraction of intergenic DNA, with few or no active retrotransposons, is sufficient to regulate and integrate all the processes required for the development and reproduction of a complex organism.
Sugar beet (Beta vulgaris ssp. vulgaris) is an important crop of temperate climates which provides nearly 30% of the worlds annual sugar production and is a source for bioethanol and animal feed. The species belongs to the order of Caryophylalles, is diploid with 2n = 18 chromosomes, has an estimated genome size of 714-758?megabases and shares an ancient genome triplication with other eudicot plants. Leafy beets have been cultivated since Roman times, but sugar beet is one of the most recently domesticated crops. It arose in the late eighteenth century when lines accumulating sugar in the storage root were selected from crosses made with chard and fodder beet. Here we present a reference genome sequence for sugar beet as the first non-rosid, non-asterid eudicot genome, advancing comparative genomics and phylogenetic reconstructions. The genome sequence comprises 567?megabases, of which 85% could be assigned to chromosomes. The assembly covers a large proportion of the repetitive sequence content that was estimated to be 63%. We predicted 27,421 protein-coding genes supported by transcript data and annotated them on the basis of sequence homology. Phylogenetic analyses provided evidence for the separation of Caryophyllales before the split of asterids and rosids, and revealed lineage-specific gene family expansions and losses. We sequenced spinach (Spinacia oleracea), another Caryophyllales species, and validated features that separate this clade from rosids and asterids. Intraspecific genomic variation was analysed based on the genome sequences of sea beet (Beta vulgaris ssp. maritima; progenitor of all beet crops) and four additional sugar beet accessions. We identified seven million variant positions in the reference genome, and also large regions of low variability, indicating artificial selection. The sugar beet genome sequence enables the identification of genes affecting agronomically relevant traits, supports molecular breeding and maximizes the plants potential in energy biotechnology.
Modern sequencing technologies have massively increased the amount of data available for comparative genomics. Whole-transcriptome shotgun sequencing (RNA-seq) provides a powerful basis for comparative studies. In particular, this approach holds great promise for emerging model species in fields such as evolutionary developmental biology (evo-devo).
Chromoviruses are one of the three genera of Ty3-gypsy long terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons, and are present in high copy numbers in plant genomes. They are widely distributed within the plant kingdom, with representatives even in lower plants such as green and red algae. Their hallmark is the presence of a chromodomain at the C-terminus of the integrase. The chromodomain exhibits structural characteristics similar to proteins of the heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) family, which mediate the binding of each chromovirus type to specific histone variants. A specific integration via the chromodomain has been shown for only a few chromoviruses. However, a detailed study of different chromoviral clades populating a single plant genome has not yet been carried out.
Dysregulation of fatty acid oxidation plays a pivotal role in the pathophysiology of obesity and insulin resistance. Medium- and short-chain-3-hydroxyacyl-coenzyme A (CoA) dehydrogenase (SCHAD) (gene name, hadh) catalyze the third reaction of the mitochondrial ?-oxidation cascade, the oxidation of 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA to 3-ketoacyl-CoA, for medium- and short-chain fatty acids. We identified hadh as a putative obesity gene by comparison of two genome-wide scans, a quantitative trait locus analysis previously performed in the polygenic obese New Zealand obese mouse and an earlier described small interfering RNA-mediated mutagenesis in Caenorhabditis elegans. In the present study, we show that mice lacking SCHAD (hadh(-/-)) displayed a lower body weight and a reduced fat mass in comparison with hadh(+/+) mice under high-fat diet conditions, presumably due to an impaired fuel efficiency, the loss of acylcarnitines via the urine, and increased body temperature. Food intake, total energy expenditure, and locomotor activity were not altered in knockout mice. Hadh(-/-) mice exhibited normal fat tolerance at 20 C. However, during cold exposure, knockout mice were unable to clear triglycerides from the plasma and to maintain their normal body temperature, indicating that SCHAD plays an important role in adaptive thermogenesis. Blood glucose concentrations in the fasted and postprandial state were significantly lower in hadh(-/-) mice, whereas insulin levels were elevated. Accordingly, insulin secretion in response to glucose and glucose plus palmitate was elevated in isolated islets of knockout mice. Therefore, our data indicate that SCHAD is involved in thermogenesis, in the maintenance of body weight, and in the regulation of nutrient-stimulated insulin secretion.
Soluble sulfotransferases (SULTs) generate electrophilically reactive metabolites from numerous food-borne compounds, environmental contaminants and drugs, often resulting in mutagenicity and carcinogenicity. Substrate specificity, regulation and tissue distribution of SULTs show large interspecies differences. In humans, therefore, SULTs may be involved in the induction of cancer in different tissues than in standard animal models. To construct a rodent model taking some species differences into account, we transferred a 68.5 kb human (h) genomic sequence that comprised the transcribed and long flanking regions of SULT1A1 and 1A2 into murine oocytes. This approach resulted in several mouse lines expressing these human genes in a copy number-dependent manner with a tissue distribution similar to that in humans. In previous in vitro studies, we had demonstrated that human SULT1A1 and 1A2 efficiently catalyze the terminal activation of 2-amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP) to a mutagen. The transgenic mice were used to study the hSULT1A1/1A2-mediated activation. Tissue distribution and levels of DNA adducts were determined in hSULT1A1/1A2 transgenic and wild-type mice after an oral dosage of PhIP. Transgenic mice exhibited significantly elevated PhIP-DNA adduct levels compared with the wild-type in liver (13-fold), lung (3.8-fold), colon (2-fold), kidney (1.6-fold) and cecum (1.5-fold). Moreover, among the eight tissues examined, liver was the one with the lowest and highest adduct levels in wild-type and transgenic mice, respectively. Hence, expression of hSULT1A1/1A2 not only enhanced the genotoxicity but also substantially changed the organotropism of PhIP.
The generation and analysis of high-throughput sequencing data are becoming a major component of many studies in molecular biology and medical research. Illuminas Genome Analyzer (GA) and HiSeq instruments are currently the most widely used sequencing devices. Here, we comprehensively evaluate properties of genomic HiSeq and GAIIx data derived from two plant genomes and one virus, with read lengths of 95 to 150 bases.
Here we perform whole-exome sequencing of samples from 105 individuals with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most frequent leukemia in adults in Western countries. We found 1,246 somatic mutations potentially affecting gene function and identified 78 genes with predicted functional alterations in more than one tumor sample. Among these genes, SF3B1, encoding a subunit of the spliceosomal U2 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (snRNP), is somatically mutated in 9.7% of affected individuals. Further analysis in 279 individuals with CLL showed that SF3B1 mutations were associated with faster disease progression and poor overall survival. This work provides the first comprehensive catalog of somatic mutations in CLL with relevant clinical correlates and defines a large set of new genes that may drive the development of this common form of leukemia. The results reinforce the idea that targeting several well-known genetic pathways, including mRNA splicing, could be useful in the treatment of CLL and other malignancies.
Embryonic stem (ES) cells offer a valuable source for generating insulin-producing cells. However, current differentiation protocols often result in heterogeneous cell populations of various developmental stages. Here we show the activin A-induced differentiation of mouse ES cells carrying a homologous dsRed-IRES-puromycin knock-in within the Sox17 locus into the endoderm lineage. Sox17-expressing cells were selected by fluorescence-assisted cell sorting (FACS) and characterized at the transcript and protein level. Treatment of ES cells with high concentrations of activin A for 10 days resulted in up to 19% Sox17-positive cells selected by FACS. Isolated Sox17-positive cells were characterized by defini- tive endoderm-specific Sox17/Cxcr4/Foxa2 transcripts, but lacked pluripotency-associated Oct4 mRNA and protein. The Sox17-expressing cells showed downregulation of extraembryonic endoderm (Sox7, Afp, Sdf1)-, mesoderm (Foxf1, Meox1)- and ectoderm (Pax6, NeuroD6)-specific transcripts. The presence of Hnf4?, Hes1 and Pdx1 mRNA demonstrated the expression of primitive gut/foregut cell-specific markers. Ngn3, Nkx6.1 and Nkx2.2 transcripts in Sox17-positive cells were determined as properties of pancreatic endocrine progenitors. Immunocytochemistry of activin A-induced Sox17-positive embryoid bodies revealed coexpression of Cxcr4 and Foxa2. Moreover, the histochemical demonstration of E-cadherin-, Cxcr4-, Sox9-, Hnf1?- and Ngn3-positive epithelial-like structures underlined the potential of Sox17-positive cells to further differentiate into the pancreatic lineage. By reducing the heterogeneity of the ES cell progeny, Sox17-expressing cells are a suitable model to evaluate the effects of growth and differentiation factors and of culture conditions to delineate the differentiation process for the generation of pancreatic cells in vitro.
Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), the most frequent leukaemia in adults in Western countries, is a heterogeneous disease with variable clinical presentation and evolution. Two major molecular subtypes can be distinguished, characterized respectively by a high or low number of somatic hypermutations in the variable region of immunoglobulin genes. The molecular changes leading to the pathogenesis of the disease are still poorly understood. Here we performed whole-genome sequencing of four cases of CLL and identified 46 somatic mutations that potentially affect gene function. Further analysis of these mutations in 363 patients with CLL identified four genes that are recurrently mutated: notch 1 (NOTCH1), exportin 1 (XPO1), myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MYD88) and kelch-like 6 (KLHL6). Mutations in MYD88 and KLHL6 are predominant in cases of CLL with mutated immunoglobulin genes, whereas NOTCH1 and XPO1 mutations are mainly detected in patients with unmutated immunoglobulins. The patterns of somatic mutation, supported by functional and clinical analyses, strongly indicate that the recurrent NOTCH1, MYD88 and XPO1 mutations are oncogenic changes that contribute to the clinical evolution of the disease. To our knowledge, this is the first comprehensive analysis of CLL combining whole-genome sequencing with clinical characteristics and clinical outcomes. It highlights the usefulness of this approach for the identification of clinically relevant mutations in cancer.
Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) is a key regulatory growth factor activating many processes relevant to normal development and disease, affecting cell proliferation and survival. Here we use a combined approach to study the EGF dependent transcriptome of HeLa cells by using multiple long oligonucleotide based microarray platforms (from Agilent, Operon, and Illumina) in combination with digital gene expression profiling (DGE) with the Illumina Genome Analyzer.
The tumor suppressor gene p53 is mutated or deleted in over 50% of human tumors. As functional p53 plays a pivotal role in protecting against cancer development, several strategies for restoring wild-type (wt) p53 function have been investigated. In this study, we applied an approach using gene repair with zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs). We adapted a commercially-available yeast one-hybrid (Y1H) selection kit to allow rapid building and optimization of 4-finger constructs from randomized PCR libraries. We thus generated novel functional zinc finger nucleases against two DNA sites in the human p53 gene, near cancer mutation hotspots. The ZFNs were first validated using in vitro cleavage assays and in vivo episomal gene repair assays in HEK293T cells. Subsequently, the ZFNs were used to restore wt-p53 status in the SF268 human cancer cell line, via ZFN-induced homologous recombination. The frequency of gene repair and mutation by non-homologous end-joining was then ascertained in several cancer cell lines, using a deep sequencing strategy. Our Y1H system facilitates the generation and optimisation of novel, sequence-specific four- to six-finger peptides, and the p53-specific ZFN described here can be used to mutate or repair p53 in genomic loci.
Proline rich 15 (Prr15), which encodes a protein of unknown function, is expressed almost exclusively in postmitotic cells both during fetal development and in adult tissues, such as the intestinal epithelium and the testis. To determine if this specific expression is lost in intestinal neoplasias, we examined Prr15 expression by in situ hybridization (ISH) on mouse intestinal tumors caused by different gene mutations, and on human colorectal cancer (CRC) samples. Prr15/PRR15 expression was consistently observed in mouse gastrointestinal (GI) tumors caused by mutations in the Apc gene, as well as in several advanced stage human CRCs. In contrast, no Prr15 expression was detected in intestinal tumors derived from mice carrying mutations in the Smad3, Smad4, or Cdkn1b genes. These findings, combined with the fact that a majority of sporadic human CRCs carry APC mutations, strongly suggest that the expression of Prr15/PRR15 in mouse and human GI tumors is linked, directly or indirectly, to the absence of the APC protein or, more generally, to the disruption of the Wnt signaling pathway.
Sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) chromosomes consist of large heterochromatic blocks in pericentromeric, centromeric, and intercalary regions comprised of two different highly abundant DNA satellite families. To investigate DNA methylation at single base resolution at heterochromatic regions, we applied a method for strand-specific bisulfite sequencing of more than 1,000 satellite monomers followed by statistical analyses. As a result, we uncovered diversity in the distribution of different methylation patterns in both satellite families. Heavily methylated CG and CHG (H=A, T, or C) sites occur more frequently in intercalary heterochromatin, while CHH sites, with the exception of CAA, are only sparsely methylated, in both intercalary and pericentromeric/centromeric heterochromatin. We show that the difference in DNA methylation intensity is correlated to unequal distribution of heterochromatic histone H3 methylation marks. While clusters of H3K9me2 were absent from pericentromeric heterochromatin and restricted only to intercalary heterochromatic regions, H3K9me1 and H3K27me1 were observed in all types of heterochromatin. By sequencing of a small RNA library consisting of 6.76 million small RNAs, we identified small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) of 24 nucleotides in size which originated from both strands of the satellite DNAs. We hypothesize an involvement of these siRNAs in the regulation of DNA and histone methylation for maintaining heterochromatin.
Several studies support that antisense-mediated regulation may affect a large proportion of genes. Using the Illumina next-generation sequencing platform, we developed DSSS (direct strand specific sequencing), a strand-specific protocol for transcriptome sequencing. We tested DSSS with RNA from two samples, prokaryotic (Mycoplasma pneumoniae) as well as eukaryotic (Mus musculus), and obtained data containing strand-specific information, using single-read and paired-end sequencing. We validated our results by comparison with a strand-specific tiling array data set for strain M129 of the simple prokaryote M. pneumoniae, and by quantitative PCR (qPCR). The results of DSSS were very well supported by the results from tiling arrays and qPCR. Moreover, DSSS provided higher dynamic range and single-base resolution, thus enabling efficient antisense detection and the precise mapping of transcription start sites and untranslated regions. DSSS data for mouse confirmed strand specificity of the protocol and the general applicability of the approach to studying eukaryotic transcription. We propose DSSS as a simple and efficient strategy for strand-specific transcriptome sequencing and as a tool for genome annotation exploiting the increased read lengths that next-generation sequencing technology now is capable to deliver.
The International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) was launched to coordinate large-scale cancer genome studies in tumours from 50 different cancer types and/or subtypes that are of clinical and societal importance across the globe. Systematic studies of more than 25,000 cancer genomes at the genomic, epigenomic and transcriptomic levels will reveal the repertoire of oncogenic mutations, uncover traces of the mutagenic influences, define clinically relevant subtypes for prognosis and therapeutic management, and enable the development of new cancer therapies.
We describe a novel approach for high-throughput development of genetic markers using representational oligonucleotide microarray analysis. We test the performance of the method in sugar beet (Beta vulgaris L.) as a model for crop plants with little sequence information available. Genomic representations of both parents of a mapping population were hybridized on microarrays containing in total 146,554 custom made oligonucleotides based on sugar beet bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) end sequences and expressed sequence tags (ESTs). Oligonucleotides showing a signal with one parental line only, were selected as potential marker candidates and placed onto an array, designed for genotyping of 184 F(2) individuals from the mapping population. Utilizing known co-dominant anchor markers we obtained 511 new dominant markers (392 derived from BAC end sequences, and 119 from ESTs) distributed over all nine sugar beet linkage groups and calculated genetic maps. Further improvements for large-scale application of the approach are discussed and its feasibility for the cost-effective and flexible generation of genetic markers is presented.
Brachyury(+) mesodermal cell population with purity over 79% was obtained from differentiating brachyury embryonic stem cells (ESC) generated with brachyury promoter driven enhanced green fluorescent protein and puromycin-N-acetyltransferase. A comprehensive transcriptomic analysis of brachyury(+) cells enriched with puromycin application from 6-day-old embryoid bodies (EBs), 6-day-old control EBs and undifferentiated ESCs led to identification of 1573 uniquely up-regulated and 1549 uniquely down-regulated transcripts in brachyury(+) cells. Furthermore, transcripts up-regulated in brachyury(+) cells have overrepresented the Gene Ontology annotations (cell differentiation, blood vessel morphogenesis, striated muscle development, placenta development and cell motility) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes pathway annotations (mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling and transforming growth factor beta signaling). Transcripts representing Larp2 and Ankrd34b are notably up-regulated in brachyury(+) cells. Knockdown of Larp2 resulted in a significantly down-regulation BMP-2 expression, and knockdown of Ankrd34b resulted in alteration of NF-H, PPARgamma and PECAM1 expression. The elucidation of transcriptomic signatures of ESCs-derived brachyury(+) cells will contribute toward defining the genetic and cellular identities of presumptive mesodermal cells. Furthermore, there is a possible involvement of Larp2 in the regulation of the late mesodermal marker BMP-2. Ankrd34b might be a positive regulator of neurogenesis and a negative regulator of adipogenesis.
Ojoplano (Opo) is a morphogenetic gene playing an important role during embryogenesis in medaka. This report focuses on the identification and characterization of the mouse Opo gene. We examined Opo expression by whole-mount in situ hybridization and in situ hybridization on sagittal sections during mouse embryogenesis. First expression in whole-mounts was detected at Theiler stages 15-17 (E 9.5-10.5dpc) as a spotted specific staining in migrating neural crest cells and in placodal structures. A complex expression pattern was observed in Theiler stage 22-23 (E 14.5dpc) in sagittal sections, including expression in skeletal structures (skull, vertebrae, ribs, bones of the locomotor system), in the nasal region, the heart and the eye. Fusion proteins revealed the localization of OPO within the cytoplasm with a reticular distribution that largely overlapped with the endoplasmic reticulum. Opo shows homology to human transcripts linked to a hereditary craniofacial malformation, orofacial cleft 1 (OFC1). The expression of mouse Opo in neural crest derivatives and skull elements further supports this link.
Although the vertebrate retina is a well-studied paradigm for organogenesis, the morphogenetic mechanisms that carve the architecture of the vertebrate optic cup remain largely unknown. Understanding how the hemispheric shape of an eye is formed requires addressing the fundamental problem of how individual cell behaviour is coordinated to direct epithelial morphogenesis. Here, we analyze the role of ojoplano (opo), an uncharacterized gene whose human ortholog is associated with orofacial clefting syndrome, in the morphogenesis of epithelial tissues. Most notably, when opo is mutated in medaka fish, optic cup folding is impaired. We characterize optic cup morphogenesis in vivo and determine at the cellular level how opo affects this process. opo encodes a developmentally regulated transmembrane protein that localizes to compartments of the secretory pathway and to basal end-feet of the neuroepithelial precursors. We show that Opo regulates the polarized localization of focal adhesion components to the basal cell surface. Furthermore, tissue-specific interference with integrin-adhesive function impairs optic cup folding, resembling the ocular phenotype observed in opo mutants. We propose a model of retinal morphogenesis whereby opo-mediated formation of focal contacts is required to transmit the mechanical tensions that drive the macroscopic folding of the vertebrate optic cup.
Embryonic stem (ES) cells have high self-renewal capacity and the potential to differentiate into a large variety of cell types. To investigate gene networks operating in pluripotent ES cells and their derivatives, the "Functional Genomics in Embryonic Stem Cells" consortium (FunGenES) has analyzed the transcriptome of mouse ES cells in eleven diverse settings representing sixty-seven experimental conditions. To better illustrate gene expression profiles in mouse ES cells, we have organized the results in an interactive database with a number of features and tools. Specifically, we have generated clusters of transcripts that behave the same way under the entire spectrum of the sixty-seven experimental conditions; we have assembled genes in groups according to their time of expression during successive days of ES cell differentiation; we have included expression profiles of specific gene classes such as transcription regulatory factors and Expressed Sequence Tags; transcripts have been arranged in "Expression Waves" and juxtaposed to genes with opposite or complementary expression patterns; we have designed search engines to display the expression profile of any transcript during ES cell differentiation; gene expression data have been organized in animated graphs of KEGG signaling and metabolic pathways; and finally, we have incorporated advanced functional annotations for individual genes or gene clusters of interest and links to microarray and genomic resources. The FunGenES database provides a comprehensive resource for studies into the biology of ES cells.
In mammals, chromosomes occupy defined positions in sperm, whereas previous work in chicken showed random chromosome distribution. Monotremes (platypus and echidnas) are the most basal group of living mammals. They have elongated sperm like chicken and a complex sex chromosome system with homology to chicken sex chromosomes. We used platypus and chicken genomic clones to investigate genome organization in sperm. In chicken sperm, about half of the chromosomes investigated are organized non-randomly, whereas in platypus chromosome organization in sperm is almost entirely non-random. The use of genomic clones allowed us to determine chromosome orientation and chromatin compaction in sperm. We found that in both species chromosomes maintain orientation of chromosomes in sperm independent of random or non-random positioning along the sperm nucleus. The distance of loci correlated with the total length of sperm nuclei, suggesting that chromatin extension depends on sperm elongation. In platypus, most sex chromosomes cluster in the posterior region of the sperm nucleus, presumably the result of postmeiotic association of sex chromosomes. Chicken and platypus autosomes sharing homology with the human X chromosome located centrally in both species suggesting that this is the ancestral position. This suggests that in some therian mammals a more anterior position of the X chromosome has evolved independently.
We characterized two overlapping sugar beet (Beta vulgaris) bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clones representing different haplotypes. A total of 254 kbp of the genomic sequence was determined, of which the two BACs share 92 kbp. Eleven of 15 genes discovered in the sequenced interval locate to the overlap region. The haplotypes differ in exons by 1% (nucleotide level) and in non-coding regions by 9% (6% mismatches, 3% gaps; alignable regions only). Large indels or high sequence divergence comprised 11% of either sequence. Of such indels, 68 and 45%, respectively, could be attributed to haplotype-specific integration of transposable elements. We identified novel repeat candidates by comparing the two BAC sequences to a set of genomic sugar beet sequences. Synteny was found with Arabidopsis chromosome 1 (At1), At2 and At4, Medicago chromosome 7, Vitis chromosome 15 and paralogous regions on poplar chromosomes II and XIV.
LTR retrotransposons and retroviruses are closely related. Although a viral envelope gene is found in some LTR retrotransposons and all retroviruses, only the latter show infectivity. The identification of Ty3-gypsy-like retrotransposons possessing putative envelope-like open reading frames blurred the taxonomical borders and led to the establishment of the Errantivirus, Metavirus and Chromovirus genera within the Metaviridae. Only a few plant Errantiviruses have been described, and their evolutionary history is not well understood. In this study, we investigated 27 retroelements of four abundant Elbe retrotransposon families belonging to the Errantiviruses in Beta vulgaris (sugar beet). Retroelements of the Elbe lineage integrated between 0.02 and 5.59 million years ago, and show family-specific variations in autonomy and degree of rearrangements: while Elbe3 members are highly fragmented, often truncated and present in a high number of solo LTRs, Elbe2 members are mainly autonomous. We observed extensive reshuffling of structural motifs across families, leading to the formation of new retrotransposon families. Elbe retrotransposons harbor a typical envelope-like gene, often encoding transmembrane domains. During the course of Elbe evolution, the additional open reading frames have been strongly modified or independently acquired. Taken together, the Elbe lineage serves as retrotransposon model reflecting the various stages in Errantivirus evolution, and allows a detailed analysis of retrotransposon family formation.
Life cycle adaptation to latitudinal and seasonal variation in photoperiod and temperature is a major determinant of evolutionary success in flowering plants. Whereas the life cycle of the dicotyledonous model species Arabidopsis thaliana is controlled by two epistatic genes, FLOWERING LOCUS C and FRIGIDA, three unrelated loci (VERNALIZATION) determine the spring and winter habits of monocotyledonous plants such as temperate cereals. In the core eudicot species Beta vulgaris, whose lineage diverged from that leading to Arabidopsis shortly after the monocot-dicot split 140 million years ago, the bolting locus B is a master switch distinguishing annuals from biennials. Here, we isolated B and show that the pseudo-response regulator gene BOLTING TIME CONTROL 1 (BvBTC1), through regulation of the FLOWERING LOCUS T genes, is absolutely necessary for flowering and mediates the response to both long days and vernalization. Our results suggest that domestication of beets involved the selection of a rare partial loss-of-function BvBTC1 allele that imparts reduced sensitivity to photoperiod that is restored by vernalization, thus conferring bienniality, and illustrate how evolutionary plasticity at a key regulatory point can enable new life cycle strategies.
Small nucleolar and small Cajal body RNAs (snoRNAs and scaRNAs) of the H/ACA box and C/D box type are generated by exonucleolytic shortening of longer precursors. Removal of the last few nucleotides at the 3 end is known to be a distinct step. We report that, in human cells, knock-down of the poly(A) specific ribonuclease (PARN), previously implicated only in mRNA metabolism, causes the accumulation of oligoadenylated processing intermediates of H/ACA box but not C/D box RNAs. In agreement with a role of PARN in snoRNA and scaRNA processing, the enzyme is concentrated in nucleoli and Cajal bodies. Oligo(A) tails are attached to a short stub of intron sequence remaining beyond the mature 3 end of the snoRNAs. The noncanonical poly(A) polymerase PAPD5 is responsible for addition of the oligo(A) tails. We suggest that deadenylation is coupled to clean 3 end trimming, which might serve to enhance snoRNA stability.
Antibodies against epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)--cetuximab and panitumumab--are widely used to treat colorectal cancer. Unfortunately, patients eventually develop resistance to these agents. We describe an acquired EGFR ectodomain mutation (S492R) that prevents cetuximab binding and confers resistance to cetuximab. Cells with this mutation, however, retain binding to and are growth inhibited by panitumumab. Two of ten subjects studied here with disease progression after cetuximab treatment acquired this mutation. A subject with cetuximab resistance harboring the S492R mutation responded to treatment with panitumumab.
Genome-wide analyses of repetitive DNA suggest a significant impact particularly of transposable elements on genome size and evolution of virtually all eukaryotic organisms. In this study, we analyzed the abundance and diversity of the hAT transposon superfamily of the sugar beet (B. vulgaris) genome, using molecular, bioinformatic and cytogenetic approaches. We identified 81 transposase-coding sequences, three of which are part of structurally intact but nonfunctional hAT transposons (BvhAT), in a B. vulgaris BAC library as well as in whole genome sequencing-derived data sets. Additionally, 116 complete and 497 truncated non-autonomous BvhAT derivatives lacking the transposase gene were in silico-detected. The 116 complete derivatives were subdivided into four BvhATpin groups each characterized by a distinct terminal inverted repeat motif. Both BvhAT and BvhATpin transposons are specific for species of the genus Beta and closely related species, showing a localization on B. vulgaris chromosomes predominantely in euchromatic regions. The lack of any BvhAT transposase function together with the high degree of degeneration observed for the BvhAT and the BvhATpin genomic fraction contrasts with the abundance and activity of autonomous and non-autonomous hAT transposons revealed in other plant species. This indicates a possible genus-specific structural and functional repression of the hAT transposon superfamily during Beta diversification and evolution.
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