Tissue microenvironment influences the function of resident and infiltrating myeloid-derived cells. In the central nervous system (CNS), resident microglia and freshly recruited infiltrating monocyte-derived macrophages (mo-M?) display distinct activities under pathological conditions, yet little is known about the microenvironment-derived molecular mechanism that regulates these differences. Here, we demonstrate that long exposure to transforming growth factor-?1 (TGF?1) impaired the ability of myeloid cells to acquire a resolving anti-inflammatory phenotype. Using genome-wide expression analysis and chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by next-generation sequencing, we show that the capacity to undergo pro- to anti-inflammatory (M1-to-M2) phenotype switch is controlled by the transcription factor interferon regulatory factor 7 (IRF7) that is down-regulated by the TGF?1 pathway. RNAi-mediated perturbation of Irf7 inhibited the M1-to-M2 switch, while IFN?1 (an IRF7 pathway activator) restored it. In vivo induction of Irf7 expression in microglia, following spinal cord injury, reduced their pro-inflammatory activity. These results highlight the key role of tissue-specific environmental factors in determining the fate of resident myeloid-derived cells under both physiological and pathological conditions.
Aging-associated cognitive decline is affected by factors produced inside and outside the brain. By using multiorgan genome-wide analysis of aged mice, we found that the choroid plexus, an interface between the brain and the circulation, shows a type I interferon (IFN-I)-dependent gene expression profile that was also found in aged human brains. In aged mice, this response was induced by brain-derived signals, present in the cerebrospinal fluid. Blocking IFN-I signaling within the aged brain partially restored cognitive function and hippocampal neurogenesis and reestablished IFN-II-dependent choroid plexus activity, which is lost in aging. Our data identify a chronic aging-induced IFN-I signature, often associated with antiviral response, at the brain's choroid plexus and demonstrate its negative influence on brain function, thereby suggesting a target for ameliorating cognitive decline in aging.
In immune cells, as in all mammalian cells, nuclear DNA is wrapped around histones to form nucleosomes. The positioning and modifications of nucleosomes throughout the genome defines the chromatin state of the cell and has a large impact on gene regulation. Chromatin state is dynamic throughout immune cell development and activation. High-throughput open chromatin assays, such as DNase-seq, can be used to find regulatory element across the genome and, when combined with histone modifications, can specify their function. During hematopoiesis, distal regulatory elements, known as enhancers, are established by pioneer factors that alter chromatin state. Some of these enhancers are lost, some are gained, and some are maintained as a memory of the cell's developmental origin. The enhancer landscape is unique to the cell lineage-with different enhancers regulating the same promoter-and determines the mechanism of cell type-specific activation after exposure to stimuli. Histone modification and promoter architecture govern the diverse responses to stimulation. Furthermore, chromatin dynamics may explain the high plasticity of certain tissue-resident immune cell types. Future epigenomic research will depend on the development of more efficient experiments and better methods to associate enhancers with genes. The ultimate goal of mapping genome-wide chromatin state throughout the hematopoietic tree will help illuminate the mechanisms behind immune cell development and function.
Chromatin modifications are crucial for development, yet little is known about their dynamics during differentiation. Hematopoiesis provides a well-defined model to study chromatin state dynamics; however, technical limitations impede profiling of homogeneous differentiation intermediates. We developed a high-sensitivity indexing-first chromatin immunoprecipitation approach to profile the dynamics of four chromatin modifications across 16 stages of hematopoietic differentiation. We identify 48,415 enhancer regions and characterize their dynamics. We find that lineage commitment involves de novo establishment of 17,035 lineage-specific enhancers. These enhancer repertoire expansions foreshadow transcriptional programs in differentiated cells. Combining our enhancer catalog with gene expression profiles, we elucidate the transcription factor network controlling chromatin dynamics and lineage specification in hematopoiesis. Together, our results provide a comprehensive model of chromatin dynamics during development.
Macrophages respond to the TLR4 agonist LPS with a sequential transcriptional cascade controlled by a complex regulatory network of signaling pathways and transcription factors. At least two distinct pathways are currently known to be engaged by TLR4 and are distinguished by their dependence on the adaptor molecule MyD88. We have used gene expression microarrays to define the effects of each of three variables--LPS dose, LPS versus IFN-? and -?, and genetic background--on the transcriptional response of mouse BMDMs. Analysis of correlation networks generated from the data has identified subnetworks or modules within the macrophage transcriptional network that are activated selectively by these variables. We have identified mouse strain-specific signatures, including a module enriched for SLE susceptibility candidates. In the modules of genes unique to different treatments, we found a module of genes induced by type-I IFN but not by LPS treatment, suggesting another layer of complexity in the LPS-TLR4 signaling feedback control. We also observe that the activation of the complement system, in common with the known activation of MHC class 2 genes, is reliant on IFN-? signaling. Taken together, these data further highlight the exquisite nature of the regulatory systems that control macrophage activation, their likely relevance to disease resistance/susceptibility, and the appropriate response of these cells to proinflammatory stimuli.
Dendritic cells (DC) are critical and functionally versatile innate immune sentinels. Here, we coarsely partition the adult DC lineage into three developmental subtypes and argue that pioneer transcription factors and chromatin remodeling are responsible for specification and plasticity between the DC subsets. Subsequently, intricate signaling-dependent transcription factor networks generate different functional states in response to pathogen stimuli within a specified DC subtype. To expand our understanding of lineage heterogeneity and functional activation states, we discuss the use of single cell genomics approaches in the context of a newly emerging systems immunology era, complementing the dichotomous definition of immune cells based solely on their surface marker expression. Rapid developments in single cell genomics are beginning to provide us with robust tools to potentially revise the working models of DC specification and the common hematopoietic tree.
In multicellular organisms, biological function emerges when heterogeneous cell types form complex organs. Nevertheless, dissection of tissues into mixtures of cellular subpopulations is currently challenging. We introduce an automated massively parallel single-cell RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) approach for analyzing in vivo transcriptional states in thousands of single cells. Combined with unsupervised classification algorithms, this facilitates ab initio cell-type characterization of splenic tissues. Modeling single-cell transcriptional states in dendritic cells and additional hematopoietic cell types uncovers rich cell-type heterogeneity and gene-modules activity in steady state and after pathogen activation. Cellular diversity is thereby approached through inference of variable and dynamic pathway activity rather than a fixed preprogrammed cell-type hierarchy. These data demonstrate single-cell RNA-seq as an effective tool for comprehensive cellular decomposition of complex tissues.
Although transcriptional elongation by RNA polymerase II is coupled with many RNA-related processes, genomewide elongation rates remain unknown. We describe a method, called 4sUDRB-seq, based on reversible inhibition of transcription elongation coupled with tagging newly transcribed RNA with 4-thiouridine and high throughput sequencing to measure simultaneously with high confidence genome-wide transcription elongation rates in cells. We find that most genes are transcribed at about 3.5 Kb/min, with elongation rates varying between 2 Kb/min and 6 Kb/min. 4sUDRB-seq can facilitate genomewide exploration of the involvement of specific elongation factors in transcription and the contribution of deregulated transcription elongation to various pathologies.
Hundreds of immune cell types work in coordination to maintain tissue homeostasis. Upon infection, dramatic changes occur with the localization, migration, and proliferation of the immune cells to first alert the body of the danger, confine it to limit spreading, and finally extinguish the threat and bring the tissue back to homeostasis. Since current technologies can follow the dynamics of only a limited number of cell types, we have yet to grasp the full complexity of global in vivo cell dynamics in normal developmental processes and disease. Here, we devise a computational method, digital cell quantification (DCQ), which combines genome-wide gene expression data with an immune cell compendium to infer in vivo changes in the quantities of 213 immune cell subpopulations. DCQ was applied to study global immune cell dynamics in mice lungs at ten time points during 7 days of flu infection. We find dramatic changes in quantities of 70 immune cell types, including various innate, adaptive, and progenitor immune cells. We focus on the previously unreported dynamics of four immune dendritic cell subtypes and suggest a specific role for CD103(+) CD11b(-) DCs in early stages of disease and CD8(+) pDC in late stages of flu infection.
Mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells are isolated from the inner cell mass of blastocysts, and can be preserved in vitro in a naive inner-cell-mass-like configuration by providing exogenous stimulation with leukaemia inhibitory factor (LIF) and small molecule inhibition of ERK1/ERK2 and GSK3? signalling (termed 2i/LIF conditions). Hallmarks of naive pluripotency include driving Oct4 (also known as Pou5f1) transcription by its distal enhancer, retaining a pre-inactivation X chromosome state, and global reduction in DNA methylation and in H3K27me3 repressive chromatin mark deposition on developmental regulatory gene promoters. Upon withdrawal of 2i/LIF, naive mouse ES cells can drift towards a primed pluripotent state resembling that of the post-implantation epiblast. Although human ES cells share several molecular features with naive mouse ES cells, they also share a variety of epigenetic properties with primed murine epiblast stem cells (EpiSCs). These include predominant use of the proximal enhancer element to maintain OCT4 expression, pronounced tendency for X chromosome inactivation in most female human ES cells, increase in DNA methylation and prominent deposition of H3K27me3 and bivalent domain acquisition on lineage regulatory genes. The feasibility of establishing human ground state naive pluripotency in vitro with equivalent molecular and functional features to those characterized in mouse ES cells remains to be defined. Here we establish defined conditions that facilitate the derivation of genetically unmodified human naive pluripotent stem cells from already established primed human ES cells, from somatic cells through induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell reprogramming or directly from blastocysts. The novel naive pluripotent cells validated herein retain molecular characteristics and functional properties that are highly similar to mouse naive ES cells, and distinct from conventional primed human pluripotent cells. This includes competence in the generation of cross-species chimaeric mouse embryos that underwent organogenesis following microinjection of human naive iPS cells into mouse morulas. Collectively, our findings establish new avenues for regenerative medicine, patient-specific iPS cell disease modelling and the study of early human development in vitro and in vivo.
The recent development of a semiconductor-based, non-optical DNA sequencing technology promises scalable, low-cost and rapid sequence data production. The technology has previously been applied mainly to genomic sequencing and targeted re-sequencing. Here we demonstrate the utility of Ion Torrent semiconductor-based sequencing for sensitive, efficient and rapid chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (ChIP-seq) through the application of sample preparation methods that are optimized for ChIP-seq on the Ion Torrent platform. We leverage this method for epigenetic profiling of tumour tissues.
Somatic cells can be inefficiently and stochastically reprogrammed into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells by exogenous expression of Oct4 (also called Pou5f1), Sox2, Klf4 and Myc (hereafter referred to as OSKM). The nature of the predominant rate-limiting barrier(s) preventing the majority of cells to successfully and synchronously reprogram remains to be defined. Here we show that depleting Mbd3, a core member of the Mbd3/NuRD (nucleosome remodelling and deacetylation) repressor complex, together with OSKM transduction and reprogramming in naive pluripotency promoting conditions, result in deterministic and synchronized iPS cell reprogramming (near 100% efficiency within seven days from mouse and human cells). Our findings uncover a dichotomous molecular function for the reprogramming factors, serving to reactivate endogenous pluripotency networks while simultaneously directly recruiting the Mbd3/NuRD repressor complex that potently restrains the reactivation of OSKM downstream target genes. Subsequently, the latter interactions, which are largely depleted during early pre-implantation development in vivo, lead to a stochastic and protracted reprogramming trajectory towards pluripotency in vitro. The deterministic reprogramming approach devised here offers a novel platform for the dissection of molecular dynamics leading to establishing pluripotency at unprecedented flexibility and resolution.
Dynamic protein binding to DNA elements regulates genome function and cell fate. Although methods for mapping in vivo protein-DNA interactions are becoming crucial for every aspect of genomic research, they are laborious and costly, thereby limiting progress. Here we present a protocol for mapping in vivo protein-DNA interactions using a high-throughput chromatin immunoprecipitation (HT-ChIP) approach. By using paramagnetic beads, we streamline the entire ChIP and indexed library construction process: sample transfer and loss is minimized and the need for manually labor-intensive procedures such as washes, gel extraction and DNA precipitation is eliminated. All of this allows for fully automated, cost effective and highly sensitive 96-well ChIP sequencing (ChIP-seq). Sample preparation takes 3 d from cultured cells to pooled libraries. Compared with previous methods, HT-ChIP is more suitable for large-scale in vivo studies, specifically those measuring the dynamics of a large number of different chromatin modifications/transcription factors or multiple perturbations.
Individual genetic variation affects gene responsiveness to stimuli, often by influencing complex molecular circuits. Here we combine genomic and intermediate-scale transcriptional profiling with computational methods to identify variants that affect the responsiveness of genes to stimuli (responsiveness quantitative trait loci or reQTLs) and to position these variants in molecular circuit diagrams. We apply this approach to study variation in transcriptional responsiveness to pathogen components in dendritic cells from recombinant inbred mouse strains. We identify reQTLs that correlate with particular stimuli and position them in known pathways. For example, in response to a virus-like stimulus, a trans-acting variant responds as an activator of the antiviral response; using RNA interference, we identify Rgs16 as the likely causal gene. Our approach charts an experimental and analytic path to decipher the mechanisms underlying genetic variation in circuits that control responses to stimuli.
The signaling pathways that commit cells to migration are incompletely understood. We employed human mammary cells and two stimuli: epidermal growth factor (EGF), which induced cellular migration, and serum factors, which stimulated cell growth. In addition to strong activation of ERK by EGF, and AKT by serum, early transcription remarkably differed: while EGF induced early growth response-1 (EGR1), and this was required for migration, serum induced c-Fos and FosB to enhance proliferation. We demonstrate that induction of EGR1 involves ERK-mediated down-regulation of microRNA-191 and phosphorylation of the ETS2 repressor factor (ERF) repressor, which subsequently leaves the nucleus. Unexpectedly, knockdown of ERF inhibited migration, which implies migratory roles for exported ERF molecules. On the other hand, chromatin immunoprecipitation identified a subset of direct EGR1 targets, including EGR1 autostimulation and SERPINB2, whose transcription is essential for EGF-induced cell migration. In summary, EGR1 and the EGF-ERK-ERF axis emerge from our study as major drivers of growth factor-induced mammary cell migration.
Recent advances in technologies for genome- and proteome-scale measurements and perturbations promise to accelerate discovery in every aspect of biology and medicine. Although such rapid technological progress provides a tremendous opportunity, it also demands that we learn how to use these tools effectively. One application with great potential to enhance our understanding of biological systems is the unbiased reconstruction of genetic and molecular networks. Cells of the immune system provide a particularly useful model for developing and applying such approaches. Here, we review approaches for the reconstruction of signalling and transcriptional networks, with a focus on applications in the mammalian innate immune system.
Massively parallel sequencing of cDNA has enabled deep and efficient probing of transcriptomes. Current approaches for transcript reconstruction from such data often rely on aligning reads to a reference genome, and are thus unsuitable for samples with a partial or missing reference genome. Here we present the Trinity method for de novo assembly of full-length transcripts and evaluate it on samples from fission yeast, mouse and whitefly, whose reference genome is not yet available. By efficiently constructing and analyzing sets of de Bruijn graphs, Trinity fully reconstructs a large fraction of transcripts, including alternatively spliced isoforms and transcripts from recently duplicated genes. Compared with other de novo transcriptome assemblers, Trinity recovers more full-length transcripts across a broad range of expression levels, with a sensitivity similar to methods that rely on genome alignments. Our approach provides a unified solution for transcriptome reconstruction in any sample, especially in the absence of a reference genome.
Cellular RNA levels are determined by the interplay of RNA production, processing and degradation. However, because most studies of RNA regulation do not distinguish the separate contributions of these processes, little is known about how they are temporally integrated. Here we combine metabolic labeling of RNA at high temporal resolution with advanced RNA quantification and computational modeling to estimate RNA transcription and degradation rates during the response of mouse dendritic cells to lipopolysaccharide. We find that changes in transcription rates determine the majority of temporal changes in RNA levels, but that changes in degradation rates are important for shaping sharp peaked responses. We used sequencing of the newly transcribed RNA population to estimate temporally constant RNA processing and degradation rates genome wide. Degradation rates vary significantly between genes and contribute to the observed differences in the dynamic response. Certain transcripts, including those encoding cytokines and transcription factors, mature faster. Our study provides a quantitative approach to study the integrative process of RNA regulation.
Although thousands of large intergenic non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) have been identified in mammals, few have been functionally characterized, leading to debate about their biological role. To address this, we performed loss-of-function studies on most lincRNAs expressed in mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells and characterized the effects on gene expression. Here we show that knockdown of lincRNAs has major consequences on gene expression patterns, comparable to knockdown of well-known ES cell regulators. Notably, lincRNAs primarily affect gene expression in trans. Knockdown of dozens of lincRNAs causes either exit from the pluripotent state or upregulation of lineage commitment programs. We integrate lincRNAs into the molecular circuitry of ES cells and show that lincRNA genes are regulated by key transcription factors and that lincRNA transcripts bind to multiple chromatin regulatory proteins to affect shared gene expression programs. Together, the results demonstrate that lincRNAs have key roles in the circuitry controlling ES cell state.
Hundreds of chromatin regulators (CRs) control chromatin structure and function by catalyzing and binding histone modifications, yet the rules governing these key processes remain obscure. Here, we present a systematic approach to infer CR function. We developed ChIP-string, a meso-scale assay that combines chromatin immunoprecipitation with a signature readout of 487 representative loci. We applied ChIP-string to screen 145 antibodies, thereby identifying effective reagents, which we used to map the genome-wide binding of 29 CRs in two cell types. We found that specific combinations of CRs colocalize in characteristic patterns at distinct chromatin environments, at genes of coherent functions, and at distal regulatory elements. When comparing between cell types, CRs redistribute to different loci but maintain their modular and combinatorial associations. Our work provides a multiplex method that substantially enhances the ability to monitor CR binding, presents a large resource of CR maps, and reveals common principles for combinatorial CR function.
Deciphering the signaling networks that underlie normal and disease processes remains a major challenge. Here, we report the discovery of signaling components involved in the Toll-like receptor (TLR) response of immune dendritic cells (DCs), including a previously unkown pathway shared across mammalian antiviral responses. By combining transcriptional profiling, genetic and small-molecule perturbations, and phosphoproteomics, we uncover 35 signaling regulators, including 16 known regulators, involved in TLR signaling. In particular, we find that Polo-like kinases (Plk) 2 and 4 are essential components of antiviral pathways in vitro and in vivo and activate a signaling branch involving a dozen proteins, among which is Tnfaip2, a gene associated with autoimmune diseases but whose role was unknown. Our study illustrates the power of combining systematic measurements and perturbations to elucidate complex signaling circuits and discover potential therapeutic targets.
Epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulates cells by launching gene expression programs that are frequently deregulated in cancer. MicroRNAs, which attenuate gene expression by binding complementary regions in messenger RNAs, are broadly implicated in cancer. Using genome-wide approaches, we showed that EGF stimulation initiates a coordinated transcriptional program of microRNAs and transcription factors. The earliest event involved a decrease in the abundance of a subset of 23 microRNAs. This step permitted rapid induction of oncogenic transcription factors, such as c-FOS, encoded by immediate early genes. In line with roles as suppressors of EGF receptor (EGFR) signaling, we report that the abundance of this early subset of microRNAs is decreased in breast and in brain tumors driven by the EGFR or the closely related HER2. These findings identify specific microRNAs as attenuators of growth factor signaling and oncogenesis.
Recently, more than 1000 large intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs) have been reported. These RNAs are evolutionarily conserved in mammalian genomes and thus presumably function in diverse biological processes. Here, we report the identification of lincRNAs that are regulated by p53. One of these lincRNAs (lincRNA-p21) serves as a repressor in p53-dependent transcriptional responses. Inhibition of lincRNA-p21 affects the expression of hundreds of gene targets enriched for genes normally repressed by p53. The observed transcriptional repression by lincRNA-p21 is mediated through the physical association with hnRNP-K. This interaction is required for proper genomic localization of hnRNP-K at repressed genes and regulation of p53 mediates apoptosis. We propose a model whereby transcription factors activate lincRNAs that serve as key repressors by physically associating with repressive complexes and modulate their localization to sets of previously active genes.
Recognition of microbial danger signals by toll-like receptors (TLR) causes re-programming of macrophages. To investigate kinase cascades triggered by the TLR4 ligand lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on systems level, we performed a global, quantitative and kinetic analysis of the phosphoproteome of primary macrophages using stable isotope labelling with amino acids in cell culture, phosphopeptide enrichment and high-resolution mass spectrometry. In parallel, nascent RNA was profiled to link transcription factor (TF) phosphorylation to TLR4-induced transcriptional activation. We reproducibly identified 1850 phosphoproteins with 6956 phosphorylation sites, two thirds of which were not reported earlier. LPS caused major dynamic changes in the phosphoproteome (24% up-regulation and 9% down-regulation). Functional bioinformatic analyses confirmed canonical players of the TLR pathway and highlighted other signalling modules (e.g. mTOR, ATM/ATR kinases) and the cytoskeleton as hotspots of LPS-regulated phosphorylation. Finally, weaving together phosphoproteome and nascent transcriptome data by in silico promoter analysis, we implicated several phosphorylated TFs in primary LPS-controlled gene expression.
We describe Hi-C, a method that probes the three-dimensional architecture of whole genomes by coupling proximity-based ligation with massively parallel sequencing. We constructed spatial proximity maps of the human genome with Hi-C at a resolution of 1 megabase. These maps confirm the presence of chromosome territories and the spatial proximity of small, gene-rich chromosomes. We identified an additional level of genome organization that is characterized by the spatial segregation of open and closed chromatin to form two genome-wide compartments. At the megabase scale, the chromatin conformation is consistent with a fractal globule, a knot-free, polymer conformation that enables maximally dense packing while preserving the ability to easily fold and unfold any genomic locus. The fractal globule is distinct from the more commonly used globular equilibrium model. Our results demonstrate the power of Hi-C to map the dynamic conformations of whole genomes.
Models of mammalian regulatory networks controlling gene expression have been inferred from genomic data but have largely not been validated. We present an unbiased strategy to systematically perturb candidate regulators and monitor cellular transcriptional responses. We applied this approach to derive regulatory networks that control the transcriptional response of mouse primary dendritic cells to pathogens. Our approach revealed the regulatory functions of 125 transcription factors, chromatin modifiers, and RNA binding proteins, which enabled the construction of a network model consisting of 24 core regulators and 76 fine-tuners that help to explain how pathogen-sensing pathways achieve specificity. This study establishes a broadly applicable, comprehensive, and unbiased approach to reveal the wiring and functions of a regulatory network controlling a major transcriptional response in primary mammalian cells.
There is growing recognition that mammalian cells produce many thousands of large intergenic transcripts. However, the functional significance of these transcripts has been particularly controversial. Although there are some well-characterized examples, most (>95%) show little evidence of evolutionary conservation and have been suggested to represent transcriptional noise. Here we report a new approach to identifying large non-coding RNAs using chromatin-state maps to discover discrete transcriptional units intervening known protein-coding loci. Our approach identified approximately 1,600 large multi-exonic RNAs across four mouse cell types. In sharp contrast to previous collections, these large intervening non-coding RNAs (lincRNAs) show strong purifying selection in their genomic loci, exonic sequences and promoter regions, with greater than 95% showing clear evolutionary conservation. We also developed a functional genomics approach that assigns putative functions to each lincRNA, demonstrating a diverse range of roles for lincRNAs in processes from embryonic stem cell pluripotency to cell proliferation. We obtained independent functional validation for the predictions for over 100 lincRNAs, using cell-based assays. In particular, we demonstrate that specific lincRNAs are transcriptionally regulated by key transcription factors in these processes such as p53, NFkappaB, Sox2, Oct4 (also known as Pou5f1) and Nanog. Together, these results define a unique collection of functional lincRNAs that are highly conserved and implicated in diverse biological processes.
The mononuclear phagocyte system comprises cells as diverse as monocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells (DCs), which collectively play key roles in innate immune responses and the triggering of adaptive immunity. Recent studies have highlighted the role of growth and transcription factors in defining developmental pathways and lineage relations within this cellular compartment. However, contributions of miRNAs to the development of mononuclear phagocytes remain largely unknown. In the present study, we report a comprehensive map of miRNA expression profiles for distinct myeloid populations, including BM-resident progenitors, monocytes, and mature splenic DCs. Each of the analyzed cell populations displayed a distinctive miRNA profile, suggesting a role for miRNAs in defining myeloid cell identities. Focusing on DC development, we found miR-142 to be highly expressed in classic FLT3-L–dependent CD4+ DCs, whereas reduced expression was observed in closely related CD8?+ or CD4- CD8?- DCs. Moreover, mice deficient for miR-142 displayed an impairment of CD4+ DC homeostasis both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, loss of miR-142–dependent CD4+ DCs was accompanied by a severe and specific defect in the priming of CD4+ T cells. The results of our study establish a novel role for miRNAs in myeloid cell specification and define miR-142 as a pivotal genetic component in the maintenance of CD4+ DCs.
A circuit level understanding of immune cells and hematological cancers has been severely impeded by a lack of techniques that enable intracellular perturbation without significantly altering cell viability and function. Here, we demonstrate that vertical silicon nanowires (NWs) enable gene-specific manipulation of diverse murine and human immune cells with negligible toxicity. To illustrate the power of the technique, we then apply NW-mediated gene silencing to investigate the role of the Wnt signaling pathway in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Remarkably, CLL-B cells from different patients exhibit tremendous heterogeneity in their response to the knockdown of a single gene, LEF1. This functional heterogeneity defines three distinct patient groups not discernible by conventional CLL cytogenetic markers and provides a prognostic indicator for patients time to first therapy. Analyses of gene expression signatures associated with these functional patient subgroups reveal unique insights into the underlying molecular basis for disease heterogeneity. Overall, our findings suggest a functional classification that can potentially guide the selection of patient-specific therapies in CLL and highlight the opportunities for nanotechnology to drive biological inquiry.
Understanding the principles governing mammalian gene regulation has been hampered by the difficulty in measuring in vivo binding dynamics of large numbers of transcription factors (TF) to DNA. Here, we develop a high-throughput Chromatin ImmunoPrecipitation (HT-ChIP) method to systematically map protein-DNA interactions. HT-ChIP was applied to define the dynamics of DNA binding by 25 TFs and 4 chromatin marks at 4 time-points following pathogen stimulus of dendritic cells. Analyzing over 180,000 TF-DNA interactions we find that TFs vary substantially in their temporal binding landscapes. This data suggests a model for transcription regulation whereby TF networks are hierarchically organized into cell differentiation factors, factors that bind targets prior to stimulus to prime them for induction, and factors that regulate specific gene programs. Overlaying HT-ChIP data on gene-expression dynamics shows that many TF-DNA interactions are established prior to the stimuli, predominantly at immediate-early genes, and identified specific TF ensembles that coordinately regulate gene-induction.
Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) can be derived from somatic cells by ectopic expression of different transcription factors, classically Oct4 (also known as Pou5f1), Sox2, Klf4 and Myc (abbreviated as OSKM). This process is accompanied by genome-wide epigenetic changes, but how these chromatin modifications are biochemically determined requires further investigation. Here we show in mice and humans that the histone H3 methylated Lys?27 (H3K27) demethylase Utx (also known as Kdm6a) regulates the efficient induction, rather than maintenance, of pluripotency. Murine embryonic stem cells lacking Utx can execute lineage commitment and contribute to adult chimaeric animals; however, somatic cells lacking Utx fail to robustly reprogram back to the ground state of pluripotency. Utx directly partners with OSK reprogramming factors and uses its histone demethylase catalytic activity to facilitate iPSC formation. Genomic analysis indicates that Utx depletion results in aberrant dynamics of H3K27me3 repressive chromatin demethylation in somatic cells undergoing reprogramming. The latter directly hampers the derepression of potent pluripotency promoting gene modules (including Sall1, Sall4 and Utf1), which can cooperatively substitute for exogenous OSK supplementation in iPSC formation. Remarkably, Utx safeguards the timely execution of H3K27me3 demethylation observed in embryonic day 10.5-11 primordial germ cells (PGCs), and Utx-deficient PGCs show cell-autonomous aberrant epigenetic reprogramming dynamics during their embryonic maturation in vivo. Subsequently, this disrupts PGC development by embryonic day 12.5, and leads to diminished germline transmission in mouse chimaeras generated from Utx-knockout pluripotent cells. Thus, we identify Utx as a novel mediator with distinct functions during the re-establishment of pluripotency and germ cell development. Furthermore, our findings highlight the principle that molecular regulators mediating loss of repressive chromatin during in vivo germ cell reprogramming can be co-opted during in vitro reprogramming towards ground state pluripotency.
Gene expression shows a significant variation (noise) between genetically identical cells. Noise depends on the gene expression process regulated by the chromatin environment. We screened for chromatin factors that modulate noise in S. cerevisiae and analyzed the results using a theoretical model that infers regulatory mechanisms from the noise versus mean relationship. Distinct activities of the Rpd3(L) and Set3 histone deacetylase complexes were predicted. Both HDACs repressed expression. Yet, Rpd3(L)C decreased the frequency of transcriptional bursts, while Set3C decreased the burst size, as did H2B monoubiquitination (ubH2B). We mapped the acetylation of H3 lysine 9 (H3K9ac) upon deletion of multiple subunits of Set3C and Rpd3(L)C and of ubH2B effectors. ubH2B and Set3C appear to function in the same pathway to reduce the probability that an elongating PolII produces a functional transcript (PolII processivity), while Rpd3(L)C likely represses gene expression at a step preceding elongation.
The integration of chromatin modifiers into specific regulatory networks is not fully understood. In this issue of Immunity, Austenaa et al. (2012) demonstrate a specific role for the histone methyltransferase MLL4 (Wbp7) in controlling the expression of critical molecules in the Toll-like receptor pathway.
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