bims-crepig Biomed News
on Chromatin regulation and epigenetics in cell fate and cancer
Issue of 2020‒06‒21
forty-one papers selected by
Connor Rogerson
University of Cambridge, MRC Cancer Unit

  1. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2020 Jun 10. pii: S0022-2828(20)30210-8. [Epub ahead of print]145 30-42
    Liu CF, Abnousi A, Bazeley P, Ni Y, Morley M, Moravec CS, Hu M, Tang WHW.
      BACKGROUND: Acetylation and methylation of histones alter the chromatin structure and accessibility that affect transcriptional regulators binding to enhancers and promoters. The binding of transcriptional regulators enables the interaction between enhancers and promoters, thus affecting gene expression. However, our knowledge of these epigenetic alternations in patients with heart failure remains limited.METHODS AND RESULTS: From the comprehensive analysis of major histone modifications, 3-dimensional chromatin interactions, and transcriptome in left ventricular (LV) tissues from dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) patients and non-heart failure (NF) donors, differential active enhancer and promoter regions were identified between NF and DCM. Moreover, the genome-wide average promoter signal is significantly lower in DCM than in NF. Super-enhancer (SE) analysis revealed that fewer SEs were found in DCM LVs than in NF ones, and three unique SE-associated genes between NF and DCM were identified. Moreover, SEs are enriched within the genomic region associated with long-range chromatin interactions. The differential enhancer-promoter interactions were observed in the known heart failure gene loci and are correlated with the gene expression levels. Motif analysis identified known cardiac factors and possible novel players for DCM.
    CONCLUSIONS: We have established the cistrome of four histone modifications and chromatin interactome for enhancers and promoters in NF and DCM tissues. Differential histone modifications and enhancer-promoter interactions were found in DCM, which were associated with gene expression levels of a subset of disease-associated genes in human heart failure.
    Keywords:  Chromatin interactions; Epigenetics; Heart failure; Histone modifications
  2. J Biol Chem. 2020 Jun 18. pii: jbc.RA120.013348. [Epub ahead of print]
    Liu H, Hilliard S, Kelly E, Chen CH, Saifudeen Z, El-Dahr SS.
      SIX homeobox 2 (SIX2)-positive nephron progenitor cells (NPCs) give rise to all epithelial cell types of the nephron, the filtering unit of the kidney.  NPCs have a limited lifespan and are depleted near the time of birth.   Epigenetic factors are implicated in maintenance of organ-restricted progenitors such as NPCs, but the chromatin-based mechanisms are incompletely understood. Here, using a combination of gene targeting, chromatin profiling, and single-cell RNA analysis, we examined the role of the murine histone 3 Lys-27 (H3K27) methyltransferases enhancer of zeste 1 (EZH1) and EZH2 in NPC maintenance.  We found that EZH2 expression correlates with NPC growth potential, and that EZH2 is the dominant H3K27 methyltransferase in NPCs and epithelial descendants. Surprisingly, NPCs lacking H3K27 trimethylation maintained their progenitor state but cycled slowly, leading to a smaller NPC pool and formation of fewer nephrons.  Unlike Ezh2 loss-of-function, dual inactivation of Ezh1 and Ezh2 triggered overexpression of the transcriptional repressor Hes-related family BHLH transcription factor with YRPW motif 1 (Hey1), down-regulation of Six2, and unscheduled activation of Wnt4-driven differentiation, resulting in early termination of nephrogenesis and severe renal dysgenesis.  Double-mutant NPCs also overexpressed the SIX family member, Six1. However, in this context, SIX1 failed to maintain NPC stemness.  At the chromatin level, EZH1 and EZH2 restricted accessibility to AP-1-binding motifs, and their absence promoted a regulatory landscape akin to differentiated and non-lineage cells.  We conclude that EZH2 is required for NPC renewal potential, and that tempering of the differentiation program requires cooperation of both EZH1 and EZH2.
    Keywords:  Enhancer of Zeste; Histone methylation; development; epigenetics; kidney; nephrology; nephron progenitors; polycomb
  3. PLoS Genet. 2020 Jun;16(6): e1008601
    Houshdaran S, Oke AB, Fung JC, Vo KC, Nezhat C, Giudice LC.
      Programmed cellular responses to cycling ovarian-derived steroid hormones are central to normal endometrial function. Abnormalities therein, as in the estrogen-dependent, progesterone-"resistant" disorder, endometriosis, predispose to infertility and poor pregnancy outcomes. The endometrial stromal fibroblast (eSF) is a master regulator of pregnancy success. However, the complex hormone-epigenome-transcriptome interplay in eSF by each individual steroid hormone, estradiol (E2) and/or progesterone (P4), under physiologic and pathophysiologic conditions, is poorly understood and was investigated herein. Genome-wide analysis in normal, early and late stage eutopic eSF revealed: i) In contrast to P4, E2 extensively affected the eSF DNA methylome and transcriptome. Importantly, E2 resulted in a more open versus closed chromatin, confirmed by histone modification analysis. Combined E2 with P4 affected a totally different landscape than E2 or P4 alone. ii) P4 responses were aberrant in early and late stage endometriosis, and mapping differentially methylated CpG sites with progesterone receptor targets from the literature revealed different but not decreased P4-targets, leading to question the P4-"resistant" phenotype in endometriosis. Interestingly, an aberrant E2-response was noted in eSF from endometriosis women; iii) Steroid hormones affected specific genomic contexts and locations, significantly enriching enhancers and intergenic regions and minimally involving proximal promoters and CpG islands, regardless of hormone type and eSF disease state. iv) In eSF from women with endometriosis, aberrant hormone-induced methylation signatures were mainly due to existing DNA methylation marks prior to hormone treatments and involved known endometriosis genes and pathways. v) Distinct DNA methylation and transcriptomic signatures revealed early and late stage endometriosis comprise unique disease subtypes. Taken together, the data herein, for the first time, provide significant insight into the hormone-epigenome-transcriptome interplay of each steroid hormone in normal eSF, and aberrant E2 response, distinct disease subtypes, and pre-existing epigenetic aberrancies in the setting of endometriosis, provide mechanistic insights into how endometriosis affects endometrial function/dysfunction.
  4. Cell Syst. 2020 Jun 05. pii: S2405-4712(20)30188-5. [Epub ahead of print]
    Bunina D, Abazova N, Diaz N, Noh KM, Krijgsveld J, Zaugg JB.
      Cellular differentiation requires dramatic changes in chromatin organization, transcriptional regulation, and protein production. To understand the regulatory connections between these processes, we generated proteomic, transcriptomic, and chromatin accessibility data during differentiation of mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) into postmitotic neurons and found extensive associations between different molecular layers within and across differentiation time points. We observed that SOX2, as a regulator of pluripotency and neuronal genes, redistributes from pluripotency enhancers to neuronal promoters during differentiation, likely driven by changes in its protein interaction network. We identified ATRX as a major SOX2 partner in neurons, whose co-localization correlated with an increase in active enhancer marks and increased expression of nearby genes, which we experimentally confirmed for three loci. Collectively, our data provide key insights into the regulatory transformation of SOX2 during neuronal differentiation, and we highlight the significance of multi-omic approaches in understanding gene regulation in complex systems.
    Keywords:  Atrx; Sox2; data integration; gene regulation; multi-omics; neuronal differentiation; transcription factors
  5. Genes Dev. 2020 Jun 19.
    Reizel Y, Morgan A, Gao L, Lan Y, Manduchi E, Waite EL, Wang AW, Wells A, Kaestner KH.
      The FoxA transcription factors are critical for liver development through their pioneering activity, which initiates a highly complex regulatory network thought to become progressively resistant to the loss of any individual hepatic transcription factor via mutual redundancy. To investigate the dispensability of FoxA factors for maintaining this regulatory network, we ablated all FoxA genes in the adult mouse liver. Remarkably, loss of FoxA caused rapid and massive reduction in the expression of critical liver genes. Activity of these genes was reduced back to the low levels of the fetal prehepatic endoderm stage, leading to necrosis and lethality within days. Mechanistically, we found FoxA proteins to be required for maintaining enhancer activity, chromatin accessibility, nucleosome positioning, and binding of HNF4α. Thus, the FoxA factors act continuously, guarding hepatic enhancer activity throughout adult life.
    Keywords:  pioneer factor; transcriptional network; winged helix protein
  6. Stem Cell Res. 2020 Jun 03. pii: S1873-5061(20)30168-9. [Epub ahead of print]46 101867
    Ragheb R, Gharbi S, Cramard J, Ogundele O, Kloet SL, Burgold T, Vermeulen M, Reynolds N, Hendrich B.
      Differentiation of mammalian pluripotent cells involves large-scale changes in transcription and, among the molecules that orchestrate these changes, chromatin remodellers are essential to initiate, establish and maintain a new gene regulatory network. The Nucleosome Remodelling and Deacetylation (NuRD) complex is a highly conserved chromatin remodeller which fine-tunes gene expression in embryonic stem cells. While the function of NuRD in mouse pluripotent cells has been well defined, no study yet has defined NuRD function in human pluripotent cells. Here we find that while NuRD activity is required for lineage commitment from primed pluripotency in both human and mouse cells, the nature of this requirement is surprisingly different. While mouse embryonic stem cells (mESC) and epiblast stem cells (mEpiSC) require NuRD to maintain an appropriate differentiation trajectory as judged by gene expression profiling, human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) lacking NuRD fail to even initiate these trajectories. Further, while NuRD activity is dispensable for self-renewal of mESCs and mEpiSCs, hiPSCs require NuRD to maintain a stable self-renewing state. These studies reveal that failure to properly fine-tune gene expression and/or to reduce transcriptional noise through the action of a highly conserved chromatin remodeller can have different consequences in human and mouse pluripotent stem cells.
    Keywords:  Chromatin; Lineage commitment; Pluripotency; Transcriptomics; epiStem cell; iPS cell
  7. Nat Commun. 2020 Jun 15. 11(1): 3019
    Reim A, Ackermann R, Font-Mateu J, Kammel R, Beato M, Nolte S, Mann M, Russmann C, Wierer M.
      Transcription factors (TFs) regulate target genes by specific interactions with DNA sequences. Detecting and understanding these interactions at the molecular level is of fundamental importance in biological and clinical contexts. Crosslinking mass spectrometry is a powerful tool to assist the structure prediction of protein complexes but has been limited to the study of protein-protein and protein-RNA interactions. Here, we present a femtosecond laser-induced crosslinking mass spectrometry (fliX-MS) workflow, which allows the mapping of protein-DNA contacts at single nucleotide and up to single amino acid resolution. Applied to recombinant histone octamers, NF1, and TBP in complex with DNA, our method is highly specific for the mapping of DNA binding domains. Identified crosslinks are in close agreement with previous biochemical data on DNA binding and mostly fit known complex structures. Applying fliX-MS to cells identifies several bona fide crosslinks on DNA binding domains, paving the way for future large scale ex vivo experiments.
  8. Sci Adv. 2020 Jun;6(23): eaaz7249
    Zhang Y, Chan HL, Garcia-Martinez L, Karl DL, Weich N, Slingerland JM, Verdun RE, Morey L.
      RING1B, a core Polycomb repressive complex 1 subunit, is a histone H2A ubiquitin ligase essential for development. RING1B is overexpressed in patients with luminal breast cancer (BC) and recruited to actively transcribed genes and enhancers co-occupied by the estrogen receptor α (ERα). Whether ERα-induced transcriptional programs are mediated by RING1B is not understood. We show that prolonged estrogen administration induces transcriptional output and chromatin landscape fluctuations. RING1B loss impairs full estrogen-mediated gene expression and chromatin accessibility for key BC transcription factors. These effects were mediated, in part, by RING1B enzymatic activity and nucleosome binding functions. RING1B is recruited in a cyclic manner to ERα, FOXA1, and GRHL2 cobound sites and regulates estrogen-induced enhancers and ERα recruitment. Last, ChIP exo revealed multiple binding events of these factors at single-nucleotide resolution, including RING1B occupancy approximately 10 base pairs around ERα bound sites. We propose RING1B as a key regulator of the dynamic, liganded-ERα transcriptional regulatory circuit in luminal BC.
  9. Cell Rep. 2020 Jun 16. pii: S2211-1247(20)30747-6. [Epub ahead of print]31(11): 107767
    Maheshwari U, Kraus D, Vilain N, Holwerda SJB, Cankovic V, Maiorano NA, Kohler H, Satoh D, Sigrist M, Arber S, Kratochwil CF, Di Meglio T, Ducret S, Rijli FM.
      The mammalian precerebellar pontine nucleus (PN) has a main role in relaying cortical information to the cerebellum. The molecular determinants establishing ordered connectivity patterns between cortical afferents and precerebellar neurons are largely unknown. We show that expression of Hox5 transcription factors is induced in specific subsets of postmitotic PN neurons at migration onset. Hox5 induction is achieved by response to retinoic acid signaling, resulting in Jmjd3-dependent derepression of Polycomb chromatin and 3D conformational changes. Hoxa5 drives neurons to settle posteriorly in the PN, where they are monosynaptically targeted by cortical neuron subsets mainly carrying limb somatosensation. Furthermore, Hoxa5 postmigratory ectopic expression in PN neurons is sufficient to attract cortical somatosensory inputs regardless of position and avoid visual afferents. Transcriptome analysis further suggests that Hoxa5 is involved in circuit formation. Thus, Hoxa5 coordinates postmitotic specification, migration, settling position, and sub-circuit assembly of PN neuron subsets in the cortico-cerebellar pathway.
    Keywords:  Ezh2; Hox transcription factor; Kdm6b; corticopontine circuit development; epigenetic chromatin regulation; neuronal positional identity; precerebellar neurons; retinoic acid; somatosensory topographic connectivity map; transsynaptic neuronal tracing
  10. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Jun 15. pii: 202007268. [Epub ahead of print]
    Fang X, Wu Z, Raitskin O, Webb K, Voigt P, Lu T, Howard M, Dean C.
      Noncoding RNA plays essential roles in transcriptional control and chromatin silencing. At Arabidopsis thaliana FLC, antisense transcription quantitatively influences transcriptional output, but the mechanism by which this occurs is still unclear. Proximal polyadenylation of the antisense transcripts by FCA, an RNA-binding protein that physically interacts with RNA 3' processing factors, reduces FLC transcription. This process genetically requires FLD, a homolog of the H3K4 demethylase LSD1. However, the mechanism linking RNA processing to FLD function had not been established. Here, we show that FLD tightly associates with LUMINIDEPENDENS (LD) and SET DOMAIN GROUP 26 (SDG26) in vivo, and, together, they prevent accumulation of monomethylated H3K4 (H3K4me1) over the FLC gene body. SDG26 interacts with the RNA 3' processing factor FY (WDR33), thus linking activities for proximal polyadenylation of the antisense transcripts to FLD/LD/SDG26-associated H3K4 demethylation. We propose this demethylation antagonizes an active transcription module, thus reducing H3K36me3 accumulation and increasing H3K27me3. Consistent with this view, we show that Polycomb Repressive Complex 2 (PRC2) silencing is genetically required by FCA to repress FLC Overall, our work provides insights into RNA-mediated chromatin silencing.
    Keywords:  Arabidopsis; FLC; chromatin; non-coding RNA; polycomb
  11. Nat Commun. 2020 Jun 15. 11(1): 3013
    Ng AP, Coughlan HD, Hediyeh-Zadeh S, Behrens K, Johanson TM, Low MSY, Bell CC, Gilan O, Chan YC, Kueh AJ, Boudier T, Feltham R, Gabrielyan A, DiRago L, Hyland CD, Ierino H, Mifsud S, Viney E, Willson T, Dawson MA, Allan RS, Herold MJ, Rogers K, Tarlinton DM, Smyth GK, Davis MJ, Nutt SL, Alexander WS.
      B lymphoid development is initiated by the differentiation of hematopoietic stem cells into lineage committed progenitors, ultimately generating mature B cells. This highly regulated process generates clonal immunological diversity via recombination of immunoglobulin V, D and J gene segments. While several transcription factors that control B cell development and V(D)J recombination have been defined, how these processes are initiated and coordinated into a precise regulatory network remains poorly understood. Here, we show that the transcription factor ETS Related Gene (Erg) is essential for early B lymphoid differentiation. Erg initiates a transcriptional network involving the B cell lineage defining genes, Ebf1 and Pax5, which directly promotes expression of key genes involved in V(D)J recombination and formation of the B cell receptor. Complementation of Erg deficiency with a productively rearranged immunoglobulin gene rescued B lineage development, demonstrating that Erg is an essential and stage-specific regulator of the gene regulatory network controlling B lymphopoiesis.
  12. Curr Protoc Hum Genet. 2020 Jun;106(1): e101
    Smith JP, Sheffield NC.
      ATAC-seq, the assay for transposase-accessible chromatin using sequencing, is a quick and efficient approach to investigating the chromatin accessibility landscape. Investigating chromatin accessibility has broad utility for answering many biological questions, such as mapping nucleosomes, identifying transcription factor binding sites, and measuring differential activity of DNA regulatory elements. Because the ATAC-seq protocol is both simple and relatively inexpensive, there has been a rapid increase in the availability of chromatin accessibility data. Furthermore, advances in ATAC-seq protocols are rapidly extending its breadth to additional experimental conditions, cell types, and species. Accompanying the increase in data, there has also been an explosion of new tools and analytical approaches for analyzing it. Here, we explain the fundamentals of ATAC-seq data processing, summarize common analysis approaches, and review computational tools to provide recommendations for different research questions. This primer provides a starting point and a reference for analysis of ATAC-seq data. © 2020 Wiley Periodicals LLC.
    Keywords:  ATAC-seq; bioinformatics tools; chromatin accessibility; data analysis; open chromatin; pipelines
  13. Nat Commun. 2020 Jun 19. 11(1): 3140
    Lee W, Kim J, Yun JM, Ohn T, Gong Q.
      MeCP2 plays a multifaceted role in gene expression regulation and chromatin organization. Interaction between MeCP2 and methylated DNA in the regulation of gene expression is well established. However, the widespread distribution of MeCP2 suggests it has additional interactions with chromatin. Here we demonstrate, by both biochemical and genomic analyses, that MeCP2 directly interacts with nucleosomes and its genomic distribution correlates with that of H3K27me3. In particular, the methyl-CpG-binding domain of MeCP2 shows preferential interactions with H3K27me3. We further observe that the impact of MeCP2 on transcriptional changes correlates with histone post-translational modification patterns. Our findings indicate that MeCP2 interacts with genomic loci via binding to DNA as well as histones, and that interaction between MeCP2 and histone proteins plays a key role in gene expression regulation.
  14. Mol Cell. 2020 Jun 11. pii: S1097-2765(20)30352-X. [Epub ahead of print]
    Brodsky S, Jana T, Mittelman K, Chapal M, Kumar DK, Carmi M, Barkai N.
      Transcription factors (TFs) that bind common DNA motifs in vitro occupy distinct sets of promoters in vivo, raising the question of how binding specificity is achieved. TFs are enriched with intrinsically disordered regions (IDRs). Such regions commonly form promiscuous interactions, yet their unique properties might also benefit specific binding-site selection. We examine this using Msn2 and Yap1, TFs of distinct families that contain long IDRs outside their DNA-binding domains. We find that these IDRs are both necessary and sufficient for localizing to the majority of target promoters. This IDR-directed binding does not depend on any localized domain but results from a multitude of weak determinants distributed throughout the entire IDR sequence. Furthermore, IDR specificity is conserved between distant orthologs, suggesting direct interaction with multiple promoters. We propose that distribution of sensing determinants along extended IDRs accelerates binding-site detection by rapidly localizing TFs to broad DNA regions surrounding these sites.
    Keywords:  DNA binding; intrinsically disordered proteins; intrinsically disordered regions; transcription factors
  15. Nat Commun. 2020 Jun 17. 11(1): 3077
    Chen LH, Pan C, Diplas BH, Xu C, Hansen LJ, Wu Y, Chen X, Geng Y, Sun T, Sun Y, Zhang P, Wu Z, Zhang J, Li D, Zhang Y, Wu W, Wang Y, Li G, Yang J, Wang X, Xu C, Wang S, Waitkus MS, He Y, McLendon RE, Ashley DM, Yan H, Zhang L.
      Brainstem gliomas are a heterogeneous group of tumors that encompass both benign tumors cured with surgical resection and highly lethal cancers with no efficacious therapies. We perform a comprehensive study incorporating epigenetic and genomic analyses on a large cohort of brainstem gliomas, including Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Gliomas. Here we report, from DNA methylation data, distinct clusters termed H3-Pons, H3-Medulla, IDH, and PA-like, each associated with unique genomic and clinical profiles. The majority of tumors within H3-Pons and-H3-Medulla harbors H3F3A mutations but shows distinct methylation patterns that correlate with anatomical localization within the pons or medulla, respectively. Clinical data show significantly different overall survival between these clusters, and pathway analysis demonstrates different oncogenic mechanisms in these samples. Our findings indicate that the integration of genetic and epigenetic data can facilitate better understanding of brainstem gliomagenesis and classification, and guide future studies for the development of novel treatments for this disease.
  16. Elife. 2020 Jun 16. pii: e56178. [Epub ahead of print]9
    Farnung L, Ochmann M, Cramer P.
      Chromatin remodelling plays important roles in gene regulation during development, differentiation and in disease. The chromatin remodelling enzyme CHD4 is a component of the NuRD and ChAHP complexes that are involved in gene repression. Here we report the cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) structure of Homo sapiens CHD4 engaged with a nucleosome core particle in the presence of the non-hydrolysable ATP analogue AMP-PNP at an overall resolution of 3.1 Å. The ATPase motor of CHD4 binds and distorts nucleosomal DNA at superhelical location (SHL) +2, supporting the 'twist defect' model of chromatin remodelling. CHD4 does not induce unwrapping of terminal DNA, in contrast to its homologue Chd1, which functions in gene activation. Our structure also maps CHD4 mutations that are associated with human cancer or the intellectual disability disorder Sifrim-Hitz-Weiss syndrome.
    Keywords:  biochemistry; chemical biology; human; molecular biophysics; structural biology
  17. Genome Biol. 2020 Jun 16. 21(1): 143
    Sun Y, Dong L, Zhang Y, Lin D, Xu W, Ke C, Han L, Deng L, Li G, Jackson D, Li X, Yang F.
      BACKGROUND: Maize ears and tassels are two separate types of inflorescence which are initiated by similar developmental processes but gradually develop distinct architectures. However, coordinated trans and cis regulation of differentially expressed genes determining ear and tassel architecture within the 3D genome context is largely unknown.RESULTS: We identify 56,055 and 52,633 open chromatin regions (OCRs) in developing maize ear and tassel primordia using ATAC-seq and characterize combinatorial epigenome features around these OCRs using ChIP-seq, Bisulfite-seq, and RNA-seq datasets. Our integrative analysis of coordinated epigenetic modification and transcription factor binding to OCRs highlights the cis and trans regulation of differentially expressed genes in ear and tassel controlling inflorescence architecture. We further systematically map chromatin interactions at high-resolution in corresponding tissues using in situ digestion-ligation-only Hi-C (DLO Hi-C). The extensive chromatin loops connecting OCRs and genes provide a 3D view on cis- and trans-regulatory modules responsible for ear- and tassel-specific gene expression. We find that intergenic SNPs tend to locate in distal OCRs, and our chromatin interaction maps provide a potential mechanism for trait-associated intergenic SNPs that may contribute to phenotypic variation by influencing target gene expression through chromatin loops.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our comprehensive epigenome annotations and 3D genome maps serve as valuable resource and provide a deep understanding of the complex regulatory mechanisms of genes underlying developmental and morphological diversities between maize ear and tassel.
    Keywords:  3D genome; Differential expression; Epigenetic modifications; GWAS; Maize inflorescence; Trans and cis regulation
  18. Nat Biotechnol. 2020 Jun 15.
    Lazzarotto CR, Malinin NL, Li Y, Zhang R, Yang Y, Lee G, Cowley E, He Y, Lan X, Jividen K, Katta V, Kolmakova NG, Petersen CT, Qi Q, Strelcov E, Maragh S, Krenciute G, Ma J, Cheng Y, Tsai SQ.
      Current methods can illuminate the genome-wide activity of CRISPR-Cas9 nucleases, but are not easily scalable to the throughput needed to fully understand the principles that govern Cas9 specificity. Here we describe 'circularization for high-throughput analysis of nuclease genome-wide effects by sequencing' (CHANGE-seq), a scalable, automatable tagmentation-based method for measuring the genome-wide activity of Cas9 in vitro. We applied CHANGE-seq to 110 single guide RNA targets across 13 therapeutically relevant loci in human primary T cells and identified 201,934 off-target sites, enabling the training of a machine learning model to predict off-target activity. Comparing matched genome-wide off-target, chromatin modification and accessibility, and transcriptional data, we found that cellular off-target activity was two to four times more likely to occur near active promoters, enhancers and transcribed regions. Finally, CHANGE-seq analysis of six targets across eight individual genomes revealed that human single-nucleotide variation had significant effects on activity at ~15.2% of off-target sites analyzed. CHANGE-seq is a simplified, sensitive and scalable approach to understanding the specificity of genome editors.
  19. Sci Rep. 2020 Jun 17. 10(1): 9775
    Schnormeier AK, Pommerenke C, Kaufmann M, Drexler HG, Koeppel M.
      Patients suffering from chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) display highly diverse clinical courses ranging from indolent cases to aggressive disease, with genetic and epigenetic features resembling this diversity. Here, we developed a comprehensive approach combining a variety of molecular and clinical data to pinpoint translocation events disrupting long-range chromatin interactions and causing cancer-relevant transcriptional deregulation. Thereby, we discovered a B cell specific cis-regulatory element restricting the expression of genes in the associated locus, including PRMT5 and DAD1, two factors with oncogenic potential. Experimental PRMT5 inhibition identified transcriptional programs similar to those in patients with differences in PRMT5 abundance, especially MYC-driven and stress response pathways. In turn, such inhibition impairs factors involved in DNA repair, sensitizing cells for apoptosis. Moreover, we show that artificial deletion of the regulatory element from its endogenous context resulted in upregulation of corresponding genes, including PRMT5. Furthermore, such disruption renders PRMT5 transcription vulnerable to additional stimuli and subsequently alters the expression of downstream PRMT5 targets. These studies provide a mechanism of PRMT5 deregulation in CLL and the molecular dependencies identified might have therapeutic implementations.
  20. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Jun 15. pii: 201917040. [Epub ahead of print]
    Keller SH, Jena SG, Yamazaki Y, Lim B.
      The regulatory specificity of a gene is determined by the structure of its enhancers, which contain multiple transcription factor binding sites. A unique combination of transcription factor binding sites in an enhancer determines the boundary of target gene expression, and their disruption often leads to developmental defects. Despite extensive characterization of binding motifs in an enhancer, it is still unclear how each binding site contributes to overall transcriptional activity. Using live imaging, quantitative analysis, and mathematical modeling, we measured the contribution of individual binding sites in transcriptional regulation. We show that binding site arrangement within the Rho-GTPase component t48 enhancer mediates the expression boundary by mainly regulating the timing of transcriptional activation along the dorsoventral axis of Drosophila embryos. By tuning the binding affinity of the Dorsal (Dl) and Zelda (Zld) sites, we show that single site modulations are sufficient to induce significant changes in transcription. Yet, no one site seems to have a dominant role; rather, multiple sites synergistically drive increases in transcriptional activity. Interestingly, Dl and Zld demonstrate distinct roles in transcriptional regulation. Dl site modulations change spatial boundaries of t48, mostly by affecting the timing of activation and bursting frequency rather than transcriptional amplitude or bursting duration. However, modulating the binding site for the pioneer factor Zld affects both the timing of activation and amplitude, suggesting that Zld may potentiate higher Dl recruitment to target DNAs. We propose that such fine-tuning of dynamic gene control via enhancer structure may play an important role in ensuring normal development.
    Keywords:  Drosophila; MS2; live imaging; t48; transcription factor
  21. Oncogene. 2020 Jun 13.
    Yi H, Li G, Long Y, Liang W, Cui H, Zhang B, Tan Y, Li Y, Shen L, Deng D, Tang Y, Mao C, Tian S, Cai Y, Zhu Q, Hu Y, Chen W, Fang L.
      Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) program, which facilitates tumor metastasis, stemness and therapy resistance, is a reversible biological process that is largely orchestrated at the epigenetic level under the regulation of different cell signaling pathways. EMT state is often heterogeneous within individual tumors, though the epigenetic drivers underlying such heterogeneity remain elusive. In colon cancer, hyperactivation of the Wnt/β-catenin signaling not only drives tumor initiation, but also promotes metastasis in late stage by promoting EMT program. However, it is unknown whether the intratumorally heterogeneous Wnt activity could directly drive EMT heterogeneity, and, if so, what are the underlying epigenetic driver(s). Here, by analyzing a phenotypically and molecularly heterogeneous colon cancer cell line using single-cell RNA sequencing, we identified two distinct cell populations with positively correlated Wnt activity and EMT state. Integrative multi-omics analysis of these two cell populations revealed RUNX2 as a critical transcription factor epigenetically driving the EMT heterogeneity. Both in vitro and in vivo genetic perturbation assays validated the EMT-enhancing effect of RUNX2, which remodeled chromatin landscape and activated a panel of EMT-associated genes through binding to their promoters and/or potential enhancers. Finally, by exploring the clinical data, we showed that RUNX2 expression is positively correlated with metastasis development and poor survival of colon cancer patients, as well as patients afflicted with other types of cancer. Taken together, our work revealed RUNX2 as a new EMT-promoting epigenetic regulator in colon cancer, which may potentially serve as a prognostic marker for tumor metastasis.
  22. Mol Cell. 2020 Jun 12. pii: S1097-2765(20)30350-6. [Epub ahead of print]
    Quintero-Cadena P, Lenstra TL, Sternberg PW.
      RNA polymerase II (RNA Pol II) contains a disordered C-terminal domain (CTD) whose length enigmatically correlates with genome size. The CTD is crucial to eukaryotic transcription, yet the functional and evolutionary relevance of this variation remains unclear. Here, we investigate how CTD length and disorder influence transcription. We find that length modulates the size and frequency of transcriptional bursting. Disorder is highly conserved and facilitates CTD-CTD interactions, an ability we show is separable from protein sequence and necessary for efficient transcription. We build a data-driven quantitative model, simulations of which recapitulate experiments and support that CTD length promotes initial polymerase recruitment to the promoter and slows down its release from it and that CTD-CTD interactions enable recruitment of multiple polymerases. Our results reveal how these parameters provide access to a range of transcriptional activity, offering a new perspective for the mechanistic significance of CTD length and disorder in transcription across eukaryotes.
    Keywords:  CTD length; RNA Pol II; phase separation; transcription scaling; transcriptional bursting
  23. Nat Commun. 2020 Jun 19. 11(1): 3153
    Dahlet T, Argüeso Lleida A, Al Adhami H, Dumas M, Bender A, Ngondo RP, Tanguy M, Vallet J, Auclair G, Bardet AF, Weber M.
      Mouse embryos acquire global DNA methylation of their genome during implantation. However the exact roles of DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) in embryos have not been studied comprehensively. Here we systematically analyze the consequences of genetic inactivation of Dnmt1, Dnmt3a and Dnmt3b on the methylome and transcriptome of mouse embryos. We find a strict division of function between DNMT1, responsible for maintenance methylation, and DNMT3A/B, solely responsible for methylation acquisition in development. By analyzing severely hypomethylated embryos, we uncover multiple functions of DNA methylation that is used as a mechanism of repression for a panel of genes including not only imprinted and germline genes, but also lineage-committed genes and 2-cell genes. DNA methylation also suppresses multiple retrotransposons and illegitimate transcripts from cryptic promoters in transposons and gene bodies. Our work provides a thorough analysis of the roles of DNA methyltransferases and the importance of DNA methylation for transcriptome integrity in mammalian embryos.
  24. Cell Death Differ. 2020 Jun 18.
    Lee H, Hong Y, Kong G, Lee DH, Kim M, Tran Q, Cho H, Kim C, Park S, Kim SH, Kwon SH, Park J, Park J.
      The development of skeletal muscle requires progression of a highly ordered cascade of events comprising myogenic lineage commitment, myoblast proliferation, and terminal differentiation. The process of myogenesis is controlled by several myogenic transcription factors that act as terminal effectors of signaling cascades and produce appropriate developmental stage-specific transcripts. PHD finger protein 20 (PHF20) is a multidomain protein and subunit of a lysine acetyltransferase complex that acetylates histone H4 and p53, but its function is unclear. Notably, it has been reported that PHF20 knockout mice die shortly after birth and display a wide variety of phenotypes within the skeletal and hematopoietic systems. Therefore, the putative role of PHF20 in myogenic differentiation was further investigated. In the present study, we found that protein and mRNA expression levels of PHF20 were decreased during myogenic differentiation in C2C12 cells. At the same time, Yin Yang 1 (YY1) was also decreased during myogenic differentiation. PHF20 overexpression increased YY1 expression during myogenic differentiation, together with a delay in MyoD expression. PHF20 expression enhanced the transcriptional activity of YY1 while shRNA-mediated depletion of PHF20 resulted in the reduction of YY1 promoter activity in C2C12 cells. In addition, PHF20 directly bounds to the YY1 promoter in C2C12 cells. In a similar manner, YY1 expression was elevated while myosin heavy chain expression was decreased in PHF20 transgenic (TG) mice. Histological analysis revealed abnormalities in the shape and length of muscles in PHF20-TG mice. Furthermore, PHF20-TG muscles slowly regenerated after cardiotoxin injection, indicating that PHF20 affected muscle differentiation and regeneration after injury in vivo. Taken together, these results suggested that PHF20 plays an important role in myogenic differentiation by regulating YY1.
  25. Biochemistry. 2020 Jun 16.
    Mao SQ, Cuesta SM, Tannahill D, Balasubramanian S.
      Cytosine methylation is an important epigenetic mark, but how the distinctive patterns of DNA methylation arise remain elusive. For the first time, we systematically investigated how these patterns can be imparted by the inherent enzymatic preferences of mammalian de novo DNA methyltransferases in vitro and the extent to which this applies in cells. In a biochemical experiment we subjected a wide variety of DNA sequences to methylation by DNMT3A or DNMT3B, then applied deep bisulfite sequencing to quantitatively determine the sequence preferences for methylation. The data shows that DNMT3A prefers CpG and non-CpG sites followed by a 3'-pyrimidine, whereas DNMT3B favours a 3'-purine. Overall, we show that DNMT3A has sequence preference for a TNC[G/A]CC context, whilst DNMT3B prefers TAC[G/A]GC. We extended our finding using publicly available data from mouse Dnmt1/3a/3b-triple-knockout cells in which reintroduction of either DNMT3A or DNMT3B expression results in the acquisition of the same enzyme-specific signature sequences observed in vitro. Furthermore, loss of DNMT3A or DNMT3B in human embryonic stem cells leads to a loss of methylation at the corresponding enzyme-specific signatures. Therefore, the global DNA methylation landscape of the mammalian genome can be fundamentally determined by the inherent sequence preference of de novo methyltransferases.
  26. Nucleic Acids Res. 2020 Jun 16. pii: gkaa500. [Epub ahead of print]
    Crossley MP, Bocek MJ, Hamperl S, Swigut T, Cimprich KA.
      R-loops are dynamic, co-transcriptional nucleic acid structures that facilitate physiological processes but can also cause DNA damage in certain contexts. Perturbations of transcription or R-loop resolution are expected to change their genomic distribution. Next-generation sequencing approaches to map RNA-DNA hybrids, a component of R-loops, have so far not allowed quantitative comparisons between such conditions. Here, we describe quantitative differential DNA-RNA immunoprecipitation (qDRIP), a method combining synthetic RNA-DNA-hybrid internal standards with high-resolution, strand-specific sequencing. We show that qDRIP avoids biases inherent to read-count normalization by accurately profiling signal in regions unaffected by transcription inhibition in human cells, and by facilitating accurate differential peak calling between conditions. We also use these quantitative comparisons to make the first estimates of the absolute count of RNA-DNA hybrids per cell and their half-lives genome-wide. Finally, we identify a subset of RNA-DNA hybrids with high GC skew which are partially resistant to RNase H. Overall, qDRIP allows for accurate normalization in conditions where R-loops are perturbed and for quantitative measurements that provide previously unattainable biological insights.
  27. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2020 Jun 15. pii: 202002166. [Epub ahead of print]
    Clark NM, Fisher AP, Berckmans B, Van den Broeck L, Nelson EC, Nguyen TT, Bustillo-Avendaño E, Zebell SG, Moreno-Risueno MA, Simon R, Gallagher KL, Sozzani R.
      Stem cells divide and differentiate to form all of the specialized cell types in a multicellular organism. In the Arabidopsis root, stem cells are maintained in an undifferentiated state by a less mitotically active population of cells called the quiescent center (QC). Determining how the QC regulates the surrounding stem cell initials, or what makes the QC fundamentally different from the actively dividing initials, is important for understanding how stem cell divisions are maintained. Here we gained insight into the differences between the QC and the cortex endodermis initials (CEI) by studying the mobile transcription factor SHORTROOT (SHR) and its binding partner SCARECROW (SCR). We constructed an ordinary differential equation model of SHR and SCR in the QC and CEI which incorporated the stoichiometry of the SHR-SCR complex as well as upstream transcriptional regulation of SHR and SCR. Our model prediction, coupled with experimental validation, showed that high levels of the SHR-SCR complex are associated with more CEI division but less QC division. Furthermore, our model prediction allowed us to propose the putative upstream SHR regulators SEUSS and WUSCHEL-RELATED HOMEOBOX 5 and to experimentally validate their roles in QC and CEI division. In addition, our model established the timing of QC and CEI division and suggests that SHR repression of QC division depends on formation of the SHR homodimer. Thus, our results support that SHR-SCR protein complex stoichiometry and regulation of SHR transcription modulate the division timing of two different specialized cell types in the root stem cell niche.
    Keywords:  expression dynamics; intercellular protein movement; mathematical modeling; protein complex stoichiometry; transcription factor
  28. Mol Cancer. 2020 Jun 17. 19(1): 106
    Chen X, Xu M, Xu X, Zeng K, Liu X, Pan B, Li C, Sun L, Qin J, Xu T, He B, Pan Y, Sun H, Wang S.
      BACKGROUND: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is one of the leading causes of tumor-related death worldwide, and its main cause of death is distant metastasis. Methyltransferase-like 14(METTL14), a major RNA N6-adenosine methyltransferase, is involved in tumor progression via regulating RNA function. The goal of the study is to uncover the biological function and molecular mechanism of METTL14 in CRC.METHODS: Quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR), western blot and immunohistochemical (IHC) assays were employed to detect METTL14 and SOX4 in CRC cell lines and tissues. The biological functions of METTL14 were demonstrated using in vitro and in vivo experiments. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), Transcrptomic RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq), m6A-RNA immunoprecipitation sequencing (MeRIP-Seq), RNA immunoprecipitation and luciferase reporter assays were used to explore the mechanism of METTL14 action.
    RESULTS: METTL14 expression was significantly downregulated in CRC and decreased METTL14 was associated with poor overall survival (OS). Both the univariate and multivariate Cox regression analysis indicated that METTL14 was an independent prognostic factor in CRC. Moreover, lysine-specific histone demethylase 5C(KDM5C)-mediated demethylation of histone H3 lysine 4 tri-methylation(H3K4me3) in the promoter of METTL14 inhibited METTL14 transcription. Functionally, we verified that METTL14 inhibited CRC cells migration, invasion and metastasis through in vitro and in vivo assays, respectively. Furthermore, we identified SRY-related high-mobility-group box 4(SOX4) as a target of METTL14-mediated m6A modification. Knockdown of METTL14 markedly abolished SOX4 mRNA m6A modification and elevated SOX4 mRNA expression. We also revealed that METTL14-mediated SOX4 mRNA degradation relied on the YTHDF2-dependent pathway. Lastly, we demonstrated that METTL14 might inhibit CRC malignant process partly through SOX4-mediated EMT process and PI3K/Akt signals.
    CONCLUSIONS: Decreased METTL14 facilitates tumor metastasis in CRC, suggesting that METTL14 might be a potential prognostic biomarker and effective therapeutic target for CRC.
    Keywords:  Colorectal cancer (CRC); METTL14; N6-methyladenosine(m6A); SOX4; YTHDF2
  29. Front Genet. 2020 ;11 392
    Li H, Sharma A, Luo K, Qin ZS, Sun X, Liu H.
      While our understanding of cellular and molecular processes has grown exponentially, issues related to the cell microenvironment and cellular heterogeneity have sparked a new debate concerning the cell identity. Cell composition (chromatin and nuclear architecture) poses a strong risk for dynamic changes in the diseased condition. Since chromatin accessibility patterns play a major role in human diseases, it is therefore anticipated that a deconvolution tool based on open chromatin data will provide better performance in identifying cell composition. Herein, we have designed the deconvolution tool "DeconPeaker," which can precisely define the uniqueness among subpopulations of cells using open chromatin datasets. Using this tool, we simultaneously evaluated chromatin accessibility and gene expression datasets to estimate cell types and their respective proportions in a mixture of samples. In comparison to other known deconvolution methods, we observed the lowest average root-mean-square error (RMSE = 0.042) and the highest average correlation coefficient (r = 0.919) between the prediction and "true" proportion. As a proof-of-concept, we also tested chromatin accessibility data from acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and successfully obtained unique cell types associated with AML progression. Furthermore, we showed that chromatin accessibility represents more essential characteristics in the identification of cell types than gene expression. Taken together, DeconPeaker as a powerful tool has the potential to combine different datasets (primarily, chromatin accessibility and gene expression) and define different cell types in mixtures. The Python package of DeconPeaker is now available at
    Keywords:  cell type; chromatin accessibility; deconvolution; gene expression; mixture samples
  30. Sci Rep. 2020 Jun 15. 10(1): 9653
    Barthez M, Poplineau M, Elrefaey M, Caruso N, Graba Y, Saurin AJ.
      Autophagy is an essential cellular process that maintains homeostasis by recycling damaged organelles and nutrients during development and cellular stress. ZKSCAN3 is the sole identified master transcriptional repressor of autophagy in human cell lines. How ZKSCAN3 achieves autophagy repression at the mechanistic or organismal level however still remains to be elucidated. Furthermore, Zkscan3 knockout mice display no discernable autophagy-related phenotypes, suggesting that there may be substantial differences in the regulation of autophagy between normal tissues and tumor cell lines. Here, we demonstrate that vertebrate ZKSCAN3 and Drosophila M1BP are functionally homologous transcription factors in autophagy repression. Expression of ZKSCAN3 in Drosophila prevents premature autophagy onset due to loss of M1BP function and conversely, M1BP expression in human cells can prevent starvation-induced autophagy due to loss of nuclear ZKSCAN3 function. In Drosophila ZKSCAN3 binds genome-wide to sequences targeted by M1BP and transcriptionally regulates the majority of M1BP-controlled genes, demonstrating the evolutionary conservation of the transcriptional repression of autophagy. This study thus  allows the potential for transitioning the mechanisms, gene targets and plethora metabolic processes controlled by M1BP onto ZKSCAN3 and opens up Drosophila as a tool in studying the function of ZKSCAN3 in autophagy and tumourigenesis.
  31. Development. 2020 Jun 15. pii: dev.187997. [Epub ahead of print]
    Shpargel KB, Mangini CL, Xie G, Ge K, Magnuson T.
      Kabuki syndrome (KS) is a congenital craniofacial disorder resulting from mutations in the KMT2D histone methylase (KS1) or the UTX histone demethylase (KS2). With small cohorts of KS2 patients, it is not clear if differences exist in clinical manifestations relative to KS1. We mutated KMT2D in neural crest cells (NCCs) to study cellular and molecular functions in craniofacial development with respect to UTX. Similar to UTX, KMT2D NCC knockout mice demonstrate hypoplasia with reductions in frontonasal bone lengths. We have traced the onset of KMT2D and UTX mutant NCC frontal dysfunction to a stage of altered osteochondral progenitor differentiation. KMT2D NCC loss of function does exhibit unique phenotypes distinct from UTX mutation including fully penetrant cleft palate, mandible hypoplasia, and deficits in cranial base ossification. KMT2D mutant NCCs lead to defective secondary palatal shelf elevation with reduced expression of extracellular matrix components. KMT2D mutant chondrocytes in the cranial base fail to properly differentiate leading to defective endochondral ossification. We conclude that KMT2D is required for appropriate cranial NCC differentiation and KMT2D specific phenotypes may underlie differences between Kabuki syndrome subtypes.
    Keywords:  Craniofacial; Histone methylation; KMT2D; Kabuki syndrome; MLL4; Neural crest
  32. Genome Biol. 2020 Jun 16. 21(1): 144
    Kralemann LEM, Liu S, Trejo-Arellano MS, Muñoz-Viana R, Köhler C, Hennig L.
      BACKGROUND: Stable gene repression is essential for normal growth and development. Polycomb repressive complexes 1 and 2 (PRC1&2) are involved in this process by establishing monoubiquitination of histone 2A (H2Aub1) and subsequent trimethylation of lysine 27 of histone 3 (H3K27me3). Previous work proposed that H2Aub1 removal by the ubiquitin-specific proteases 12 and 13 (UBP12 and UBP13) is part of the repressive PRC1&2 system, but its functional role remains elusive.RESULTS: We show that UBP12 and UBP13 work together with PRC1, PRC2, and EMF1 to repress genes involved in stimulus response. We find that PRC1-mediated H2Aub1 is associated with gene responsiveness, and its repressive function requires PRC2 recruitment. We further show that the requirement of PRC1 for PRC2 recruitment depends on the initial expression status of genes. Lastly, we demonstrate that removal of H2Aub1 by UBP12/13 prevents loss of H3K27me3, consistent with our finding that the H3K27me3 demethylase REF6 is positively associated with H2Aub1.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our data allow us to propose a model in which deposition of H2Aub1 permits genes to switch between repression and activation by H3K27me3 deposition and removal. Removal of H2Aub1 by UBP12/13 is required to achieve stable PRC2-mediated repression.
    Keywords:  DUB; EMF1; H2AK121ub; H2Aub; H3K27me3; LHP1; PRC1; PRC2; REF6; Responsiveness
  33. Int J Mol Sci. 2020 Jun 11. pii: E4172. [Epub ahead of print]21(11):
    Reina C, Cavalieri V.
      G-quadruplexes are four-stranded helical nucleic acid structures formed by guanine-rich sequences. A considerable number of studies have revealed that these noncanonical structural motifs are widespread throughout the genome and transcriptome of numerous organisms, including humans. In particular, G-quadruplexes occupy strategic locations in genomic DNA and both coding and noncoding RNA molecules, being involved in many essential cellular and organismal functions. In this review, we first outline the fundamental structural features of G-quadruplexes and then focus on the concept that these DNA and RNA structures convey a distinctive layer of epigenetic information that is critical for the complex regulation, either positive or negative, of biological activities in different contexts. In this framework, we summarize and discuss the proposed mechanisms underlying the functions of G-quadruplexes and their interacting factors. Furthermore, we give special emphasis to the interplay between G-quadruplex formation/disruption and other epigenetic marks, including biochemical modifications of DNA bases and histones, nucleosome positioning, and three-dimensional organization of chromatin. Finally, epigenetic roles of RNA G-quadruplexes in post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression are also discussed. Undoubtedly, the issues addressed in this review take on particular importance in the field of comparative epigenetics, as well as in translational research.
    Keywords:  DNA bases modifications; G-quadruplex; G-quartet; chromatin architecture; epigenetics; histone post-translational modifications; histone-modifying activities; noncoding RNA; nucleosome remodeling; post-transcriptional regulation
  34. Development. 2020 Jun 15. pii: dev.190272. [Epub ahead of print]
    Goodson NB, Kaufman MA, Park KU, Brzezinski JA.
      The transcription factor Otx2 is required for photoreceptor and bipolar cell formation in the retina. It directly activates the transcription factors Prdm1 and Vsx2 through cell type-specific enhancers. Prdm1 and Vsx2 work in opposition, such that Prdm1 promotes photoreceptor fate and Vsx2 bipolar cell fate. To determine how OTX2+ cell fates are regulated, we deleted Prdm1 and Vsx2 or their cell type-specific enhancers simultaneously using a CRISPR/Cas9 in vivo retina electroporation strategy. Double gene or enhancer targeting effectively removed PRDM1 and VSX2 protein expression. However, double enhancer targeting favored bipolar fate outcomes whereas double gene targeting favored photoreceptor fates. Both conditions generated excess amacrine cells. Combined, these fate changes suggest that photoreceptors are a default fate outcome in OTX2+ cells and that VSX2 must be present in a narrow temporal window to drive bipolar cell formation. Prdm1 and Vsx2 also appear to redundantly restrict the competence of OTX2+ cells, preventing amacrine cell formation. By taking a combinatorial deletion approach of both coding sequences and enhancers, our work provides new insights into the complex regulatory mechanisms that control cell fate choice.
    Keywords:  Bipolar; Enhancers; Photoreceptors; Prdm1; Retina; Vsx2
  35. Sci Rep. 2020 Jun 18. 10(1): 9903
    Spakman D, King GA, Peterman EJG, Wuite GJL.
      As the basic building blocks of chromatin, nucleosomes play a key role in dictating the accessibility of the eukaryotic genome. Consequently, nucleosomes are involved in essential genomic transactions such as DNA transcription, replication and repair. In order to unravel the mechanisms by which nucleosomes can influence, or be altered by, DNA-binding proteins, single-molecule techniques are increasingly employed. To this end, DNA molecules containing a defined series of nucleosome positioning sequences are often used to reconstitute arrays of nucleosomes in vitro. Here, we describe a novel method to prepare DNA molecules containing defined arrays of the '601' nucleosome positioning sequence by exploiting Gibson Assembly cloning. The approaches presented here provide a more accessible and efficient means to generate arrays of nucleosome positioning motifs, and facilitate a high degree of control over the linker sequences between these motifs. Nucleosomes reconstituted on such arrays are ideal for interrogation with single-molecule techniques. To demonstrate this, we use dual-trap optical tweezers, in combination with fluorescence microscopy, to monitor nucleosome unwrapping and histone localisation as a function of tension. We reveal that, although nucleosomes unwrap at ~20 pN, histones (at least histone H3) remain bound to the DNA, even at tensions beyond 60 pN.
  36. Cancer Genet. 2020 May 18. pii: S2210-7762(20)30235-0. [Epub ahead of print]245 17-26
    Qian Y, Li Y, Zheng C, Lu T, Sun R, Mao Y, Yu S, Fan H, Zhang Z.
      Although it is becoming increasingly apparent that histone methyltransferases and histone demethylases play crucial roles in the cellular response to hypoxia, the impact of hypoxic environments on global patterns of histone methylation is not well demonstrated. In this study, we try to detect the global levels of histone lysine methylation in HCC cases and analyze the correlation between these modifications and the activation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α). Immunohistochemistry was used to detect the global levels of histone H3 lysine 9 dimethylation (H3K9me2), histone H3 lysine 9 trimethylation (H3K9me3), histone H3 lysine 27 trimethylation (H3K27me3) and the nuclear expression of HIF-1α in tissue arrays from 111 paraffin-embedded HCC samples. Our analyses revealed that the global levels of H3K9me2, H3K9me3 and the nuclear expression of HIF-1α were distinctly higher in HCC tissues than in peritumoral tissues. Both H3K9me2 and H3K9me3 were positively correlated with the degree of tumor differentiation and the patients' prognosis. Analysis based on the Pearson's correlation coefficient indicated a positive correlation between H3K9me2 and the nuclear expression of HIF-1α, and meanwhile, a significant correlation between the expression of H3K9me2 and H3K9me3 was also found. In addition, the combination of H3K9me2, H3K9me3 and HIF-1α, rather than one single histone modification or molecular maker, is a better prognostic maker for HCC patients. These findings provide new insights on the complex networks underlying cellular and genomic regulation in response to hypoxia and may provide novel targets for future therapies.
    Keywords:  H3K9me2; H3K9me3; HCC; HIF-1α; Prognosis
  37. Cancer Res. 2020 Jun 19. pii: canres.4046.2019. [Epub ahead of print]
    Duncan RM, Reyes L, Moats K, Robinson RM, Murphy SA, Kaur B, Stessman HAF, Dolloff NG.
      Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) are largely ineffective in the treatment of solid tumors. In this study, we describe a new class of protein disulfide isomerase (PDI) inhibitors that significantly and synergistically enhance the anti-tumor activity of HDACi in glioblastoma and pancreatic cancer preclinical models. RNA-seq screening coupled with gene silencing studies identified ATF3 as the driver of this anti-tumor synergy. ATF3 was highly induced by combined PDI and HDACi treatment as a result of increased acetylation of key histone lysine residues (H3K27-ac, H3K18-ac) flanking the ATF3 promoter region. These chromatin marks were associated with increased RNA Polymerase II recruitment to the ATF3 promoter, a synergistic upregulation of ATF3, and a subsequent apoptotic response in cancer cells. The HSP40/HSP70 family genes DNAJB1 and HSPA6 were found to be critical ATF3-dependent genes that elicited the anti-tumor response after PDI and HDAC inhibition. In summary this study presents a synergistic anti-tumor combination of PDI and HDAC inhibitors and demonstrates a mechanistic and tumor suppressive role of ATF3. Combined treatment with PDI and HDAC inhibitors offers a dual therapeutic strategy in solid tumors and the opportunity to achieve previously unrealized activity of HDACi in oncology.
  38. Stem Cell Reports. 2020 Jun 09. pii: S2213-6711(20)30186-7. [Epub ahead of print]
    Lezmi E, Weissbein U, Golan-Lev T, Nissim-Rafinia M, Meshorer E, Benvenisty N.
      Chromatin regulators play fundamental roles in controlling pluripotency and differentiation. We examined the effect of mutations in 703 genes from nearly 70 chromatin-modifying complexes on human embryonic stem cell (ESC) growth. While the vast majority of chromatin-associated complexes are essential for ESC growth, the only complexes that conferred growth advantage upon mutation of their members, were the repressive complexes LSD-CoREST and BHC. Both complexes include the most potent growth-restricting chromatin-related protein, ZMYM2. Interestingly, while ZMYM2 expression is rather low in human blastocysts, its expression peaks in primed ESCs and is again downregulated upon differentiation. ZMYM2-null ESCs overexpress pluripotency genes and show genome-wide promotor-localized histone H3 hyper-acetylation. These mutant cells were also refractory to differentiate in vitro and failed to produce teratomas upon injection into immunodeficient mice. Our results suggest a central role for ZMYM2 in the transcriptional regulation of the undifferentiated state and in the exit-from-pluripotency of human ESCs.
    Keywords:  chromatin; differentiation; human pluripotent stem cells; naive cells; primed cells; teratoma
  39. Nat Commun. 2020 Jun 18. 11(1): 3096
    Zhu B, Poeta ML, Costantini M, Zhang T, Shi J, Sentinelli S, Zhao W, Pompeo V, Cardelli M, Alexandrov BS, Otlu B, Hua X, Jones K, Brodie S, Dabrowska ME, Toro JR, Yeager M, Wang M, Hicks B, Alexandrov LB, Brown KM, Wedge DC, Chanock S, Fazio VM, Gallucci M, Landi MT.
      Intratumor heterogeneity (ITH) and tumor evolution have been well described for clear cell renal cell carcinomas (ccRCC), but they are less studied for other kidney cancer subtypes. Here we investigate ITH and clonal evolution of papillary renal cell carcinoma (pRCC) and rarer kidney cancer subtypes, integrating whole-genome sequencing and DNA methylation data. In 29 tumors, up to 10 samples from the center to the periphery of each tumor, and metastatic samples in 2 cases, enable phylogenetic analysis of spatial features of clonal expansion, which shows congruent patterns of genomic and epigenomic evolution. In contrast to previous studies of ccRCC, in pRCC, driver gene mutations and most arm-level somatic copy number alterations (SCNAs) are clonal. These findings suggest that a single biopsy would be sufficient to identify the important genetic drivers and that targeting large-scale SCNAs may improve pRCC treatment, which is currently poor. While type 1 pRCC displays near absence of structural variants (SVs), the more aggressive type 2 pRCC and the rarer subtypes have numerous SVs, which should be pursued for prognostic significance.
  40. Sci Rep. 2020 Jun 16. 10(1): 9735
    Han BA, Yang XP, Hosseini DK, Zhang P, Zhang Y, Yu JT, Chen S, Zhang F, Zhou T, Sun HY.
      Aberrant methylated genes (DMGs) play an important role in the etiology and pathogenesis of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC). In this study, we aimed to integrate three cohorts profile datasets to ascertain aberrant methylated-differentially expressed genes and pathways associated with ESCC by comprehensive bioinformatics analysis. We downloaded data of gene expression microarrays (GSE20347, GSE38129) and gene methylation microarrays (GSE52826) from the Gene Expression Omnibus (GEO) database. Aberrantly differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were obtained by GEO2R tool. The David database was then used to perform Gene ontology (GO) analysis and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Gene and Genome pathway enrichment analyses on selected genes. STRING and Cytoscape software were used to construct a protein-protein interaction (PPI) network, then the modules in the PPI networks were analyzed with MCODE and the hub genes chose from the PPI networks were verified by Oncomine and TCGA database. In total, 291 hypomethylation-high expression genes and 168 hypermethylation-low expression genes were identified at the screening step, and finally found six mostly changed hub genes including KIF14, CDK1, AURKA, LCN2, TGM1, and DSG1. Pathway analysis indicated that aberrantly methylated DEGs mainly associated with the P13K-AKT signaling, cAMP signaling and cell cycle process. After validation in multiple databases, most hub genes remained significant. Patients with high expression of AURKA were associated with shorter overall survival. To summarize, we have identified six feasible aberrant methylated-differentially expressed genes and pathways in ESCC by bioinformatics analysis, potentially providing valuable information for the molecular mechanisms of ESCC. Our data combined the analysis of gene expression profiling microarrays and gene methylation profiling microarrays, simultaneously, and in this way, it can shed a light for screening and diagnosis of ESCC in future.
  41. Cell Syst. 2020 May 20. 10(5): 397-407.e5
    Zhang R, Ma J.
      Recent advances in ligation-free, genome-wide chromatin interaction mapping such as SPRITE and ChIA-Drop have enabled the identification of simultaneous interactions involving multiple genomic loci within the same nuclei, which are informative to delineate higher-order genome organization and gene regulation mechanisms at single-nucleus resolution. Unfortunately, computational methods for analyzing multi-way chromatin interaction data are significantly underexplored. Here we develop an algorithm, called MATCHA, based on hypergraph representation learning where multi-way chromatin interactions are represented as hyperedges. Applications to SPRITE and ChIA-Drop data suggest that MATCHA is effective to denoise the data and make de novo predictions, which greatly enhances the data quality for analyzing the properties of multi-way chromatin interactions. MATCHA provides a promising framework to significantly improve the analysis of multi-way chromatin interaction data and has the potential to offer unique insights into higher-order chromosome organization and function. MATCHA is freely available for download here: