bims-crepig Biomed News
on Chromatin regulation and epigenetics in cell fate and cancer
Issue of 2022‒07‒10
25 papers selected by
Connor Rogerson
University of Cambridge

  1. Nucleic Acids Res. 2022 Jul 08. pii: gkac585. [Epub ahead of print]
      Histone modification is a key epigenetic mechanism for regulation of chromatin dynamics and gene expression. Deleted in breast cancer 1 (DBC1) has been shown to act as a negative regulator of epigenetic modifiers and as a co-activator for nuclear receptors and other transcription factors. However, little is known about the role of DBC1 in the regulation of histone modifications and chromatin landscapes. Here, we analyzed genome-wide profiles of active enhancer and promoter marks in colorectal cancer cells and report DBC1 as a critical positive regulator of histone epigenetic writers KMT2D (H3K4 methyltransferase) and p300 (histone acetyltransferase). DBC1 is required for establishing the landscape of active enhancers, for genome-wide chromatin binding and enhancer recruitment of KMT2D and p300, and for gene activation involved in colorectal cancer progression. DBC1 interacts directly with KMT2D and p300, and enhances KMT2D-mediated histone H3K4 methylation (H3K4me1/2/3) and p300-mediated H3 acetylation. Importantly, DBC1 contributes to super-enhancer formation and function by facilitating the recruitment of KMT2D and p300 and by enhancing their functional interaction and cooperative cross-talk. Our results highlight the critical role of DBC1 as a key positive regulator of KMT2D and p300, and provide insights into regulatory mechanisms underlying the interplay between the enhancer epigenomic writers in enhancer activation.
  2. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 07. 13(1): 3907
      Existing knowledge of the role of epigenetic modifiers in pancreas development has exponentially increased. However, the function of TET dioxygenases in pancreatic endocrine specification remains obscure. We set out to tackle this issue using a human embryonic stem cell (hESC) differentiation system, in which TET1/TET2/TET3 triple knockout cells display severe defects in pancreatic β-cell specification. The integrative whole-genome analysis identifies unique cell-type-specific hypermethylated regions (hyper-DMRs) displaying reduced chromatin activity and remarkable enrichment of FOXA2, a pioneer transcription factor essential for pancreatic endoderm specification. Intriguingly, TET depletion leads to significant changes in FOXA2 binding at the pancreatic progenitor stage, in which gene loci with decreased FOXA2 binding feature low levels of active chromatin modifications and enriches for bHLH motifs. Transduction of full-length TET1 but not the TET1-catalytic-domain in TET-deficient cells effectively rescues β-cell differentiation accompanied by restoring PAX4 hypomethylation. Taking these findings together with the defective generation of functional β-cells upon TET1-inactivation, our study unveils an essential role of TET1-dependent demethylation in establishing β-cell identity. Moreover, we discover a physical interaction between TET1 and FOXA2 in endodermal lineage intermediates, which provides a mechanistic clue regarding the complex crosstalk between TET dioxygenases and pioneer transcription factors in epigenetic regulation during pancreas specification.
  3. Commun Biol. 2022 Jul 08. 5(1): 678
      Cell-to-cell variation in gene expression is a widespread phenomenon, which may play important roles in cellular differentiation, function, and disease development1-9. Chromatin is implicated in contributing to the cellular heterogeneity in gene expression10-16. Fully understanding the mechanisms of cellular heterogeneity requires simultaneous measurement of RNA and occupancy of histone modifications and transcription factors on chromatin due to their critical roles in transcriptional regulation17,18. We generally term the occupancy of histone modifications and transcription factors as Chromatin occupancy. Here, we report a technique, termed scPCOR-seq (single-cell Profiling of Chromatin Occupancy and RNAs Sequencing), for simultaneously profiling genome-wide chromatin protein binding or histone modification marks and RNA expression in the same cell. We demonstrated that scPCOR-seq can profile either H3K4me3 or RNAPII and RNAs in a mixture of human H1, GM12878 and 293 T cells at a single-cell resolution and either H3K4me3, RNAPII, or RNA profile can correctly separate the cells. Application of scPCOR-seq to the in vitro differentiation of the erythrocyte precursor CD36 cells from human CD34 stem or progenitor cells revealed that H3K4me3 and RNA exhibit distinct properties in clustering cells during differentiation. Overall, our work provides a promising approach to understand the relationships among different omics layers.
  4. Bioinformatics. 2022 Jul 04. pii: btac444. [Epub ahead of print]
      MOTIVATION: Research on epigenetic modifications and other chromatin features at genomic regulatory elements elucidates essential biological mechanisms including the regulation of gene expression. Despite the growing number of epigenetic datasets, new tools are still needed to discover novel distinctive patterns of heterogeneous epigenetic signals at regulatory elements.RESULTS: We introduce ChromDMM, a product Dirichlet-multinomial mixture model for clustering genomic regions that are characterised by multiple chromatin features. ChromDMM extends the mixture model framework by profile shifting and flipping that can probabilistically account for inaccuracies in the position and strand-orientation of the genomic regions. Owing to hyper-parameter optimisation, ChromDMM can also regularise the smoothness of the epigenetic profiles across the consecutive genomic regions. With simulated data, we demonstrate that ChromDMM clusters, shifts, and strand-orients the profiles more accurately than previous methods. With ENCODE data, we show that the clustering of enhancer regions in the human genome reveals distinct patterns in several chromatin features. We further validate the enhancer clusters by their enrichment for transcriptional regulatory factor binding sites.
    AVAILABILITY: ChromDMM is implemented as an R package and is available at
    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
  5. Genome Biol. 2022 Jul 07. 23(1): 151
      BACKGROUND: While methylation of CpG dinucleotides is traditionally considered antagonistic to the DNA-binding activity of most transcription factors (TFs), recent in vitro studies have revealed a more complex picture, suggesting that over a third of TFs may preferentially bind to methylated sequences. Expanding these in vitro observations to in vivo TF binding preferences is challenging since the effect of methylation of individual CpG sites cannot be easily isolated from the confounding effects of DNA accessibility and regional DNA methylation. Thus, in vivo methylation preferences of most TFs remain uncharacterized.RESULTS: We introduce joint accessibility-methylation-sequence (JAMS) models, which connect the strength of the binding signal observed in ChIP-seq to the DNA accessibility of the binding site, regional methylation level, DNA sequence, and base-resolution cytosine methylation. We show that JAMS models quantitatively explain TF occupancy, recapitulate cell type-specific TF binding, and have high positive predictive value for identification of TFs affected by intra-motif methylation. Analysis of 2209 ChIP-seq experiments results in high-confidence JAMS models for 260 TFs, revealing a negative association between in vivo TF occupancy and intra-motif methylation for 45% of studied TFs, as well as 16 TFs that are predicted to bind to methylated sites, including 11 novel methyl-binding TFs mostly from the multi-zinc finger family.
    CONCLUSIONS: Our study substantially expands the repertoire of in vivo methyl-binding TFs, but also suggests that most TFs that prefer methylated CpGs in vitro present themselves as methylation agnostic in vivo, potentially due to the balancing effect of competition with other methyl-binding proteins.
  6. Bioinformatics. 2022 Jul 09. pii: btac498. [Epub ahead of print]
      MOTIVATION: ChIP-seq detects protein-DNA interactions within chromatin, such as that of chromatin structural components and transcription machinery. ChIP-seq profiles are often noisy and variable across replicates, posing a challenge to the development of effective algorithms to accurately detect differential peaks. Methods have recently been designed for this purpose but sometimes yield conflicting results that are inconsistent with the underlying biology. Most existing algorithms perform well on limited datasets. To improve differential analysis of ChIP-seq, we present a novel Differential analysis method for ChIP-seq based on limma (DiffChIPL).RESULTS: DiffChIPL is adaptive to asymmetrical or symmetrical data and can accurately report global differences. We used simulated and real datasets for transcription factor (TF) and histone modification marks to validate and benchmark our algorithm. DiffChIPL shows superior performance in sensitivity and false positive rate (FPR) in different simulations and control datasets. DiffChIPL also performs well on real ChIP-seq, CUT&RUN, CUT&Tag, and ATAC-seq datasets. DiffChIPL is an accurate and robust method, exhibiting better performance in differential analysis for a variety of applications including TF binding, histone modifications, and chromatin accessibility.
    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.
  7. Nat Cell Biol. 2022 Jul 04.
      The pancreas and liver arise from a common pool of progenitors. However, the underlying mechanisms that drive their lineage diversification from the foregut endoderm are not fully understood. To tackle this question, we undertook a multifactorial approach that integrated human pluripotent-stem-cell-guided differentiation, genome-scale CRISPR-Cas9 screening, single-cell analysis, genomics and proteomics. We discovered that HHEX, a transcription factor (TF) widely recognized as a key regulator of liver development, acts as a gatekeeper of pancreatic lineage specification. HHEX deletion impaired pancreatic commitment and unleashed an unexpected degree of cellular plasticity towards the liver and duodenum fates. Mechanistically, HHEX cooperates with the pioneer TFs FOXA1, FOXA2 and GATA4, shared by both pancreas and liver differentiation programmes, to promote pancreas commitment, and this cooperation restrains the shared TFs from activating alternative lineages. These findings provide a generalizable model for how gatekeeper TFs like HHEX orchestrate lineage commitment and plasticity restriction in broad developmental contexts.
  8. Nat Metab. 2022 Jul 04.
      DNA methylation is a crucial epigenetic modification in the establishment of cell-type-specific characteristics. However, how DNA methylation is selectively reprogrammed at adipocyte-specific loci during adipogenesis remains unclear. Here, we show that the transcription factor, C/EBPδ, and the DNA methylation eraser, TET3, cooperatively control adipocyte differentiation. We perform whole-genome bisulfite sequencing to explore the dynamics and regulatory mechanisms of DNA methylation in adipocyte differentiation. During adipogenesis, DNA methylation selectively decreases at adipocyte-specific loci carrying the C/EBP binding motif, which correlates with the activity of adipogenic promoters and enhancers. Mechanistically, we find that C/EBPδ recruits a DNA methylation eraser, TET3, to catalyse DNA demethylation at the C/EBP binding motif and stimulate the expression of key adipogenic genes. Ectopic expression of TET3 potentiates in vitro and in vivo adipocyte differentiation and recovers downregulated adipogenic potential, which is observed in aged mice and humans. Taken together, our study highlights how targeted reprogramming of DNA methylation through cooperative action of the transcription factor C/EBPδ, and the DNA methylation eraser TET3, controls adipocyte differentiation.
  9. Genome Biol. 2022 Jul 04. 23(1): 144
      Genome-wide mapping of histone modifications is critical to understanding transcriptional regulation. CUT&Tag is a new method for profiling histone modifications, offering improved sensitivity and decreased cost compared with ChIP-seq. Here, we present GoPeaks, a peak calling method specifically designed for histone modification CUT&Tag data. We compare the performance of GoPeaks against commonly used peak calling algorithms to detect histone modifications that display a range of peak profiles and are frequently used in epigenetic studies. We find that GoPeaks robustly detects genome-wide histone modifications and, notably, identifies a substantial number of H3K27ac peaks with improved sensitivity compared to other standard algorithms.
    Keywords:  ATAC-seq; CUT&RUN; CUT&Tag; ChIP-seq; Epigenetics; GoPeaks; Histone modifications; MACS2; Peak calling; SEACR
  10. Nature. 2022 Jul 06.
      Diffuse large B cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma and remains incurable in around 40% of patients. Efforts to sequence the coding genome identified several genes and pathways that are altered in this disease, including potential therapeutic targets1-5. However, the non-coding genome of DLBCL remains largely unexplored. Here we show that active super-enhancers are highly and specifically hypermutated in 92% of samples from individuals with DLBCL, display signatures of activation-induced cytidine deaminase activity, and are linked to genes that encode B cell developmental regulators and oncogenes. As evidence of oncogenic relevance, we show that the hypermutated super-enhancers linked to the BCL6, BCL2 and CXCR4 proto-oncogenes prevent the binding and transcriptional downregulation of the corresponding target gene by transcriptional repressors, including BLIMP1 (targeting BCL6) and the steroid receptor NR3C1 (targeting BCL2 and CXCR4). Genetic correction of selected mutations restored repressor DNA binding, downregulated target gene expression and led to the counter-selection of cells containing corrected alleles, indicating an oncogenic dependency on the super-enhancer mutations. This pervasive super-enhancer mutational mechanism reveals a major set of genetic lesions deregulating gene expression, which expands the involvement of known oncogenes in DLBCL pathogenesis and identifies new deregulated gene targets of therapeutic relevance.
  11. Nat Genet. 2022 Jul 04.
      Zebrafish, a popular organism for studying embryonic development and for modeling human diseases, has so far lacked a systematic functional annotation program akin to those in other animal models. To address this, we formed the international DANIO-CODE consortium and created a central repository to store and process zebrafish developmental functional genomic data. Our data coordination center ( ) combines a total of 1,802 sets of unpublished and re-analyzed published genomic data, which we used to improve existing annotations and show its utility in experimental design. We identified over 140,000 cis-regulatory elements throughout development, including classes with distinct features dependent on their activity in time and space. We delineated the distinct distance topology and chromatin features between regulatory elements active during zygotic genome activation and those active during organogenesis. Finally, we matched regulatory elements and epigenomic landscapes between zebrafish and mouse and predicted functional relationships between them beyond sequence similarity, thus extending the utility of zebrafish developmental genomics to mammals.
  12. Genome Biol. 2022 Jul 08. 23(1): 152
      Here, we propose DeCAF (DEconvoluted cell type Allele specific Function), a new method to identify cell-fraction (cf) QTLs in tumors by leveraging both allelic and total expression information. Applying DeCAF to RNA-seq data from TCGA, we identify 3664 genes with cfQTLs (at 10% FDR) in 14 cell types, a 5.63× increase in discovery over conventional interaction-eQTL mapping. cfQTLs replicated in external cell-type-specific eQTL data are more enriched for cancer risk than conventional eQTLs. Our new method, DeCAF, empowers the discovery of biologically meaningful cfQTLs from bulk RNA-seq data in moderately sized studies.
  13. Cancer Res. 2022 Jul 08. pii: can.22.0671. [Epub ahead of print]
      Forkhead Box R2 (FOXR2) is a forkhead transcription factor located on the X chromosome whose expression is normally restricted to the testis. In this study, we performed a pan-cancer analysis of FOXR2 activation across more than 10,000 adult and pediatric cancer samples and found FOXR2 to be aberrantly upregulated in 70% of all cancer types and 8% of all individual tumors. The majority of tumors (78%) aberrantly express FOXR2 through a previously undescribed epigenetic mechanism that involves hypomethylation of a novel promoter, which was functionally validated as necessary for both FOXR2 expression as well as proliferation in FOXR2-expressing cancer cells. FOXR2 expression is sufficient to enhance tumor formation, and coopts ETS family transcriptional circuits across cancers. Taken together, this study identifies FOXR2 as potent and ubiquitous oncogene that is epigenetically activated across the majority of human cancers. The identification of ETS transcriptional circuit hijacking by FOXR2 extends the mechanisms known to activate ETS transcription factors and highlights a mechanism through which transcription factor families cooperate to enhance tumorigenesis.
  14. Front Neurosci. 2022 ;16 903881
      Neuronal programming by forced expression of transcription factors (TFs) holds promise for clinical applications of regenerative medicine. However, the mechanisms by which TFs coordinate their activities on the genome and control distinct neuronal fates remain obscure. Using direct neuronal programming of embryonic stem cells, we dissected the contribution of a series of TFs to specific neuronal regulatory programs. We deconstructed the Ascl1-Lmx1b-Foxa2-Pet1 TF combination that has been shown to generate serotonergic neurons and found that stepwise addition of TFs to Ascl1 canalizes the neuronal fate into a diffuse monoaminergic fate. The addition of pioneer factor Foxa2 represses Phox2b to induce serotonergic fate, similar to in vivo regulatory networks. Foxa2 and Pet1 appear to act synergistically to upregulate serotonergic fate. Foxa2 and Pet1 co-bind to a small fraction of genomic regions but mostly bind to different regulatory sites. In contrast to the combinatorial binding activities of other programming TFs, Pet1 does not strictly follow the Foxa2 pioneer. These findings highlight the challenges in formulating generalizable rules for describing the behavior of TF combinations that program distinct neuronal subtypes.
    Keywords:  Foxa2; Pet1; direct programming methods; neuronal differentiation; stem cell differentiation; transcription factor
  15. Genome Biol. 2022 Jul 07. 23(1): 150
      We develop scSTEM, single-cell STEM, a method for clustering dynamic profiles of genes in trajectories inferred from pseudotime ordering of single-cell RNA-seq (scRNA-seq) data. scSTEM uses one of several metrics to summarize the expression of genes and assigns a p-value to clusters enabling the identification of significant profiles and comparison of profiles across different paths. Application of scSTEM to several scRNA-seq datasets demonstrates its usefulness and ability to improve downstream analysis of biological processes. scSTEM is available at .
    Keywords:  Gene clustering; Genomics; Single cell; Visualization
  16. Nature. 2022 Jul 06.
      Gonadal development is a complex process that involves sex determination followed by divergent maturation into either testes or ovaries1. Historically, limited tissue accessibility, a lack of reliable in vitro models and critical differences between humans and mice have hampered our knowledge of human gonadogenesis, despite its importance in gonadal conditions and infertility. Here, we generated a comprehensive map of first- and second-trimester human gonads using a combination of single-cell and spatial transcriptomics, chromatin accessibility assays and fluorescent microscopy. We extracted human-specific regulatory programmes that control the development of germline and somatic cell lineages by profiling equivalent developmental stages in mice. In both species, we define the somatic cell states present at the time of sex specification, including the bipotent early supporting population that, in males, upregulates the testis-determining factor SRY and sPAX8s, a gonadal lineage located at the gonadal-mesonephric interface. In females, we resolve the cellular and molecular events that give rise to the first and second waves of granulosa cells that compartmentalize the developing ovary to modulate germ cell differentiation. In males, we identify human SIGLEC15+ and TREM2+ fetal testicular macrophages, which signal to somatic cells outside and inside the developing testis cords, respectively. This study provides a comprehensive spatiotemporal map of human and mouse gonadal differentiation, which can guide in vitro gonadogenesis.
  17. Cell Stem Cell. 2022 Jul 07. pii: S1934-5909(22)00255-7. [Epub ahead of print]29(7): 1031-1050.e12
      Reprogramming of H3K9me3-dependent heterochromatin is required for early development. How H3K9me3 is involved in early human development remains, however, largely unclear. Here, we resolve the temporal landscape of H3K9me3 during human preimplantation development and its regulation for diverse hominoid-specific retrotransposons. At the 8-cell stage, H3K9me3 reprogramming at hominoid-specific retrotransposons termed SINE-VNTR-Alu (SVA) facilitates interaction between certain promoters and SVA-derived enhancers, promoting the zygotic genome activation. In trophectoderm, de novo H3K9me3 domains prevent pluripotent transcription factors from binding to hominoid-specific retrotransposons-derived regulatory elements for inner cell mass (ICM)-specific genes. H3K9me3 re-establishment at SVA elements in the ICM is associated with higher transcription of DNA repair genes, when compared with naive human pluripotent stem cells. Our data demonstrate that species-specific reorganization of H3K9me3-dependent heterochromatin at hominoid-specific retrotransposons plays important roles during early human development, shedding light on how the epigenetic regulation for early development has evolved in mammals.
    Keywords:  H3K9me3; LINE1; SVA; early human development; heterochromatin; inner cell mass; naive pluripotent; retrotransposon; trophectoderm; zygotic genome activation
  18. J Cell Sci. 2022 Jul 04. pii: jcs.259789. [Epub ahead of print]
      Adult stem cells persist in mammalian tissues by entering a state of reversible quiescence/ G0, associated with low transcription. Using cultured myoblasts and muscle stem cells, we report that in G0, global RNA content and synthesis are substantially repressed, correlating with decreased RNA Polymerase II (RNAPII) expression and activation. Integrating RNAPII occupancy and transcriptome profiling, we identify repressed networks and a role for promoter-proximal RNAPII pausing in G0. Strikingly, RNAPII shows enhanced pausing in G0 on repressed genes encoding regulators of RNA biogenesis (Nucleolin, Rps24, Ctdp1); release of pausing is associated with their increased expression in G1. Knockdown of these transcripts in proliferating cells leads to induction of G0 markers, confirming the importance of their repression in establishment of G0. A targeted screen of RNAPII regulators revealed that knockdown of Aff4 (positive regulator of elongation) unexpectedly enhances expression of G0-stalled genes and hastens S phase; NELF, a regulator of pausing appears to be dispensable. We propose that RNAPII pausing contributes to transcriptional control of a subset of G0-repressed genes to maintain quiescence and impacts the timing of the G0-G1 transition.
    Keywords:  Adult stem cells; Cell cycle re-entry; Myoblast; Promoter proximal RNAPII pausing; Quiescence; Reversible arrest
  19. Biophys J. 2022 Jul 06. pii: S0006-3495(22)00547-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      In multicellular organisms, nucleosomes carry epigenetic information that defines distinct patterns of gene expression, which are inherited over multiple generations. The enhanced capacity for information storage arises by nucleosome modifications, are triggered by enzymes. Modified nucleosomes can transfer the mark to others that are in proximity by a positive feedback (modification begets modification) mechanism. We created a generic polymer model, referred to as 3DSpreader, in which each bead, representing a nucleosome, stochastically switches between unmodified (U) and modified (M) states depending on the states of the neighbors. Modification begins at a specific nucleation site (NS) that is permanently in the M state, and could spread to other loci that is dictated by chromatin dynamics. Transfer of marks among the non-nucleation loci occurs stochastically as chromatin evolves in time. If the spreading rate is slower than the chromatin relaxation rate, which is biologically pertinent, then finite-sized domains form, driven by contacts between nucleosomes through a three-dimensional looping mechanism. Surprisingly, simulations based on the 3DSpreader model results in finite bounded domains arise without the need for any boundary elements. Maintenance of spatially and temporally stable domains requires the presence of the NS whose removal eliminates finite-sized modified domains. The theoretical predictions are in excellent agreement with experimental data for H3K9me3 spreading in Mouse Embryonic Stem cells.
  20. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 08. 13(1): 3955
      Protein arginine methyltransferase 5 (PRMT5) is the primary methyltransferase generating symmetric-dimethyl-arginine marks on histone and non-histone proteins. PRMT5 dysregulation is implicated in multiple oncogenic processes. Here, we report that PRMT5-mediated methylation of protein kinase B (AKT) is required for its subsequent phosphorylation at Thr308 and Ser473. Moreover, pharmacologic or genetic inhibition of PRMT5 abolishes AKT1 arginine 15 methylation, thereby preventing AKT1 translocation to the plasma membrane and subsequent recruitment of its upstream activating kinases PDK1 and mTOR2. We show that PRMT5/AKT signaling controls the expression of the epithelial-mesenchymal-transition transcription factors ZEB1, SNAIL, and TWIST1. PRMT5 inhibition significantly attenuates primary tumor growth and broadly blocks metastasis in multiple organs in xenograft tumor models of high-risk neuroblastoma. Collectively, our results suggest that PRMT5 inhibition augments anti-AKT or other downstream targeted therapeutics in high-risk metastatic cancers.
  21. Nat Commun. 2022 Jul 08. 13(1): 3961
      Satellite cells are required for the growth, maintenance, and regeneration of skeletal muscle. Quiescent satellite cells possess a primary cilium, a structure that regulates the processing of the GLI family of transcription factors. Here we find that GLI3 processing by the primary cilium plays a critical role for satellite cell function. GLI3 is required to maintain satellite cells in a G0 dormant state. Strikingly, satellite cells lacking GLI3 enter the GAlert state in the absence of injury. Furthermore, GLI3 depletion stimulates expansion of the stem cell pool. As a result, satellite cells lacking GLI3 display rapid cell-cycle entry, increased proliferation and augmented self-renewal, and markedly enhanced regenerative capacity. At the molecular level, we establish that the loss of GLI3 induces mTORC1 signaling activation. Therefore, our results provide a mechanism by which GLI3 controls mTORC1 signaling, consequently regulating muscle stem cell activation and fate.
  22. Nucleic Acids Res. 2022 Jul 08. pii: gkac593. [Epub ahead of print]
      Autophagy, a catabolic process to remove unnecessary or dysfunctional organelles, is triggered by various signals including nutrient starvation. Depending on the types of the nutrient deficiency, diverse sensing mechanisms and signaling pathways orchestrate for transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of autophagy. However, our knowledge about nutrient type-specific transcriptional regulation during autophagy is limited. To understand nutrient type-dependent transcriptional mechanisms during autophagy, we performed single cell RNA sequencing (scRNAseq) in the mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) with or without glucose starvation (GS) as well as amino acid starvation (AAS). Trajectory analysis using scRNAseq identified sequential induction of potential transcriptional regulators for each condition. Gene regulatory rules inferred using TENET newly identified CCAAT/enhancer binding protein γ (C/EBPγ) as a regulator of autophagy in AAS, but not GS, condition, and knockdown experiment confirmed the TENET result. Cell biological and biochemical studies validated that activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) is responsible for conferring specificity to C/EBPγ for the activation of autophagy genes under AAS, but not under GS condition. Together, our data identified C/EBPγ as a previously unidentified key regulator under AAS-induced autophagy.
  23. J Biol Chem. 2022 Jul 01. pii: S0021-9258(22)00591-9. [Epub ahead of print] 102149
      Skeletal muscle differentiation (myogenesis) is a complex and highly coordinated biological process regulated by a series of myogenic marker genes. Chromatin interactions between gene's promoters and their enhancers have an important role in transcriptional control. However, the high-resolution chromatin interactions of myogenic genes and their functional enhancers during myogenesis remain largely unclear. Here, we used circularized chromosome conformation capture coupled with next-generation sequencing (4C-seq) to investigate eight myogenic marker genes in C2C12 myoblasts (C2C12-MBs) and C2C12 myotubes (C2C12-MTs). We revealed dynamic chromatin interactions of these marker genes during differentiation, and identified 163 and 314 significant interaction sites (SISs) in C2C12-MBs and C2C12-MTs, respectively. The interacting genes of SISs in C2C12-MTs were mainly involved in muscle development, and histone modifications of the SISs changed during differentiation. Through functional genomic screening, we also identified 25 and 41 putative active enhancers in C2C12-MBs and C2C12-MTs, respectively. Using luciferase reporter assays for putative enhancers of Myog and Myh3, we identified eight activating enhancers. Furthermore, dCas9-KRAB epigenome editing and RNA-seq revealed a role for Myog enhancers in the regulation of Myog expression and myogenic differentiation in the native genomic context. Taken together, this study lays the groundwork for understanding 3D chromatin interaction changes of myogenic genes during myogenesis and provides insights that contribute to our understanding of the role of enhancers in regulating myogenesis.
    Keywords:  3D chromatin; 4C-seq; Myogenesis; Promoter-enhancer interaction; Transcription regulation
  24. Oncogene. 2022 Jul 06.
      The transcription factor, forkhead box M1 (FOXM1), has been implicated in the natural history and outcome of newly diagnosed high-risk myeloma (HRMM) and relapsed/refractory myeloma (RRMM), but the mechanism with which FOXM1 promotes the growth of neoplastic plasma cells is poorly understood. Here we show that FOXM1 is a positive regulator of myeloma metabolism that greatly impacts the bioenergetic pathways of glycolysis and oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos). Using FOXM1-deficient myeloma cells as principal experimental model system, we find that FOXM1 increases glucose uptake, lactate output, and oxygen consumption in myeloma. We demonstrate that the novel 1,1-diarylethylene small-compound FOXM1 inhibitor, NB73, suppresses myeloma in cell culture and human-in-mouse xenografts using a mechanism that includes enhanced proteasomal FOXM1 degradation. Consistent with the FOXM1-stabilizing chaperone function of heat shock protein 90 (HSP90), the HSP90 inhibitor, geldanamycin, collaborates with NB73 in slowing down myeloma. These findings define FOXM1 as a key driver of myeloma metabolism and underscore the feasibility of targeting FOXM1 for new approaches to myeloma therapy and prevention.
  25. Dev Cell. 2022 Jul 01. pii: S1534-5807(22)00447-6. [Epub ahead of print]
      Alveolar epithelial cell fate decisions drive lung development and regeneration. Using transcriptomic and epigenetic profiling coupled with genetic mouse and organoid models, we identified the transcription factor Klf5 as an essential determinant of alveolar epithelial cell fate across the lifespan. We show that although dispensable for both adult alveolar epithelial type 1 (AT1) and alveolar epithelial type 2 (AT2) cell homeostasis, Klf5 enforces AT1 cell lineage fidelity during development. Using infectious and non-infectious models of acute respiratory distress syndrome, we demonstrate that Klf5 represses AT2 cell proliferation and enhances AT2-AT1 cell differentiation in a spatially restricted manner during lung regeneration. Moreover, ex vivo organoid assays identify that Klf5 reduces AT2 cell sensitivity to inflammatory signaling to drive AT2-AT1 cell differentiation. These data define the roll of a major transcriptional regulator of AT1 cell lineage commitment and of the AT2 cell response to inflammatory crosstalk during lung regeneration.
    Keywords:  Klf5; alveolar epithelial cells; cell fate; hyperoxia; influenza; lung development; lung regeneration; organoid