bims-ginsta Biomed News
on Genome instability
Issue of 2023‒09‒10
seventeen papers selected by
Jinrong Hu, National University of Singapore

  1. Development. 2023 Sep 01. pii: dev201535. [Epub ahead of print]150(17):
      Meiotically competent oocytes in mammals undergo cyclic development during folliculogenesis. Oocytes within ovarian follicles are transcriptionally active, producing and storing transcripts required for oocyte growth, somatic cell communication and early embryogenesis. Transcription ceases as oocytes transition from growth to maturation and does not resume until zygotic genome activation. Although SUMOylation, a post-translational modification, plays multifaceted roles in transcriptional regulation, its involvement during oocyte development remains poorly understood. In this study, we generated an oocyte-specific knockout of Ube2i, encoding the SUMO E2 enzyme UBE2I, using Zp3-cre+ to determine how loss of oocyte SUMOylation during folliculogenesis affects oocyte development. Ube2i Zp3-cre+ female knockout mice were sterile, with oocyte defects in meiotic competence, spindle architecture and chromosome alignment, and a premature arrest in metaphase I. Additionally, fully grown Ube2i Zp3-cre+ oocytes exhibited sustained transcriptional activity but downregulated maternal effect genes and prematurely activated genes and retrotransposons typically associated with zygotic genome activation. These findings demonstrate that UBE2I is required for the acquisition of key hallmarks of oocyte development during folliculogenesis, and highlight UBE2I as a previously unreported orchestrator of transcriptional regulation in mouse oocytes.
    Keywords:  Fertility; Germ cell; SUMOylation; UBC9
  2. Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2023 Sep 07.
      To maintain stable DNA concentrations, proliferating cells need to coordinate DNA replication with cell growth. For nuclear DNA, eukaryotic cells achieve this by coupling DNA replication to cell-cycle progression, ensuring that DNA is doubled exactly once per cell cycle. By contrast, mitochondrial DNA replication is typically not strictly coupled to the cell cycle, leaving the open question of how cells maintain the correct amount of mitochondrial DNA during cell growth. Here, we show that in budding yeast, mitochondrial DNA copy number increases with cell volume, both in asynchronously cycling populations and during G1 arrest. Our findings suggest that cell-volume-dependent mitochondrial DNA maintenance is achieved through nuclear-encoded limiting factors, including the mitochondrial DNA polymerase Mip1 and the packaging factor Abf2, whose amount increases in proportion to cell volume. By directly linking mitochondrial DNA maintenance to nuclear protein synthesis and thus cell growth, constant mitochondrial DNA concentrations can be robustly maintained without a need for cell-cycle-dependent regulation.
  3. Cell Stem Cell. 2023 Sep 07. pii: S1934-5909(23)00288-6. [Epub ahead of print]30(9): 1148-1165.e7
      Naive human pluripotent stem cells have the remarkable ability to self-organize into blastocyst-like structures ("blastoids") that model lineage segregation in the pre-implantation embryo. However, the extent to which blastoids can recapitulate the defining features of human post-implantation development remains unexplored. Here, we report that blastoids cultured on thick three-dimensional (3D) extracellular matrices capture hallmarks of early post-implantation development, including epiblast lumenogenesis, rapid expansion and diversification of trophoblast lineages, and robust invasion of extravillous trophoblast cells by day 14. Extended blastoid culture results in the localized activation of primitive streak marker TBXT and the emergence of embryonic germ layers by day 21. We also show that the modulation of WNT signaling alters the balance between epiblast and trophoblast fates in post-implantation blastoids. This work demonstrates that 3D-cultured blastoids offer a continuous and integrated in vitro model system of human embryonic and extraembryonic development from pre-implantation to early gastrulation stages.
    Keywords:  blastocyst; blastoid; epiblast; gastrulation; naive pluripotency; post-implantation development; primitive endoderm; primitive streak; stem cells; trophectoderm
  4. Sci Adv. 2023 Sep 08. 9(36): eadh2023
      Previous studies have revealed a role for proline metabolism in supporting cancer development and metastasis. In this study, we show that many cancer cells respond to loss of attachment by accumulating and secreting proline. Detached cells display reduced proliferation accompanied by a general decrease in overall protein production and de novo amino acid synthesis compared to attached cells. However, proline synthesis was maintained under detached conditions. Furthermore, while overall proline incorporation into proteins was lower in detached cells compared to other amino acids, there was an increased production of the proline-rich protein collagen. The increased excretion of proline from detached cells was also shown to be used by macrophages, an abundant and important component of the tumor microenvironment. Our study suggests that detachment induced accumulation and secretion of proline may contribute to tumor progression by supporting increased production of extracellular matrix and providing proline to surrounding stromal cells.
  5. Mol Cell. 2023 Sep 07. pii: S1097-2765(23)00641-X. [Epub ahead of print]83(17): 3188-3204.e7
      Failure to clear damaged mitochondria via mitophagy disrupts physiological function and may initiate damage signaling via inflammatory cascades, although how these pathways intersect remains unclear. We discovered that nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) essential regulator NF-κB effector molecule (NEMO) is recruited to damaged mitochondria in a Parkin-dependent manner in a time course similar to recruitment of the structurally related mitophagy adaptor, optineurin (OPTN). Upon recruitment, NEMO partitions into phase-separated condensates distinct from OPTN but colocalizing with p62/SQSTM1. NEMO recruitment, in turn, recruits the active catalytic inhibitor of kappa B kinase (IKK) component phospho-IKKβ, initiating NF-κB signaling and the upregulation of inflammatory cytokines. Consistent with a potential neuroinflammatory role, NEMO is recruited to mitochondria in primary astrocytes upon oxidative stress. These findings suggest that damaged, ubiquitinated mitochondria serve as an intracellular platform to initiate innate immune signaling, promoting the formation of activated IKK complexes sufficient to activate NF-κB signaling. We propose that mitophagy and NF-κB signaling are initiated as parallel pathways in response to mitochondrial stress.
    Keywords:  ALS; NEMO; NF-κB; NF-κB effector molecule; Parkin; Parkinson’s disease; SQSTM1/p62; amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; cell stress; innate immunity; mitophagy; neurodegeneration; neuroinflammation; optineurin nuclear factor kappa B; phase separation; ubiquitin
  6. JCI Insight. 2023 Sep 07. pii: e173374. [Epub ahead of print]
      A hallmark of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and other interstitial lung diseases is dysregulated repair of the alveolar epithelium. The Hippo pathway effector transcription factors YAP and TAZ are implicated as essential for type 1 and type 2 alveolar epithelial cell (AT1 and AT2) differentiation in the developing lung, yet aberrant activation of YAP/TAZ is a prominent feature of the dysregulated alveolar epithelium in IPF. In these studies, we sought to define the functional role of YAP/TAZ activity during alveolar regeneration. We demonstrated that Yap and Taz are normally activated in AT2 cells shortly after injury, and deletion of Yap/Taz in AT2 cells led to pathologic alveolar remodeling, failure of AT2 to AT1 cell differentiation, increased collagen deposition, exaggerated neutrophilic inflammation, and increased mortality following injury induced by a single dose of bleomycin. Loss of Yap/Taz activity prior to a LPS injury prevented AT1 cell regeneration, led to intra-alveolar collagen deposition, and resulted in persistent innate inflammation. Together these findings established that AT2 cell Yap/Taz activity is essential for functional alveolar epithelial repair and prevention of fibrotic remodeling.
    Keywords:  Fibrosis; Mouse stem cells; Pulmonology
  7. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Sep 12. 120(37): e2307658120
      The cardiac crescent is the first structure of the heart and contains progenitor cells of the first heart field, which primarily differentiate into left ventricular cardiomyocytes. The interface between the forming cardiac crescent and extraembryonic tissue is known as the juxta-cardiac field (JCF), and progenitor cells in this heart field contribute to the myocardium of the left ventricle and atrioventricular canal as well as the epicardium. However, it is unclear whether there are progenitor cells that differentiate specifically into left ventricular cardiomyocytes. We have previously demonstrated that an enhancer of the gene encoding the Hey2 bHLH transcriptional repressor is activated in the ventricular myocardium during mouse embryonic development. In this study, we aimed to investigate the characteristics of cardiomyocyte progenitor cells and their cell lineages by analyzing Hey2 enhancer activity at the earliest stages of heart formation. We found that the Hey2 enhancer initiated its activity prior to cardiomyocyte differentiation within the JCF. Hey2 enhancer-active cells were present rostrally to the Tbx5-expressing region at the early phase of cardiac crescent formation and differentiated exclusively into left ventricular cardiomyocytes in a lineage distinct from the Tbx5-positive lineage. By the late phase of cardiac crescent formation, Hey2 enhancer activity became significantly overlapped with Tbx5 expression in cells that contribute to the left ventricular myocardium. Our study reveals that a population of unipotent progenitor cells for left ventricular cardiomyocytes emerge in the JCF, providing further insight into the mode of cell type diversification during early cardiac development.
    Keywords:  Hey2 enhancer; cell lineage; juxta-cardiac field; progenitor cells; ventricular cardiomyocytes
  8. Mol Cell. 2023 Sep 07. pii: S1097-2765(23)00642-1. [Epub ahead of print]83(17): 3095-3107.e9
      The nucleolus is the largest biomolecular condensate and facilitates transcription, processing, and assembly of ribosomal RNA (rRNA). Although nucleolar function is thought to require multiphase liquid-like properties, nucleolar fluidity and its connection to the highly coordinated transport and biogenesis of ribosomal subunits are poorly understood. Here, we use quantitative imaging, mathematical modeling, and pulse-chase nucleotide labeling to examine nucleolar material properties and rRNA dynamics. The mobility of rRNA is several orders of magnitude slower than that of nucleolar proteins, with rRNA steadily moving away from the transcriptional sites in a slow (∼1 Å/s), radially directed fashion. This constrained but directional mobility, together with polymer physics-based calculations, suggests that nascent rRNA forms an entangled gel, whose constant production drives outward flow. We propose a model in which progressive maturation of nascent rRNA reduces its initial entanglement, fluidizing the nucleolar periphery to facilitate the release of assembled pre-ribosomal particles.
    Keywords:  biomolecular condensate; liquid-liquid phase separation; membraneless organelle; nucleolus; ribonucleoprotein assembly; ribosome biogenesis; transcription; viscoelasticity
  9. Nat Commun. 2023 Sep 08. 14(1): 5524
      The decline of endothelial autophagy is closely related to vascular senescence and disease, although the molecular mechanisms connecting these outcomes in vascular endothelial cells (VECs) remain unclear. Here, we identify a crucial role for CD44, a multifunctional adhesion molecule, in controlling autophagy and ageing in VECs. The CD44 intercellular domain (CD44ICD) negatively regulates autophagy by reducing PIK3R4 and PIK3C3 levels and disrupting STAT3-dependent PtdIns3K complexes. CD44 and its homologue clec-31 are increased in ageing vascular endothelium and Caenorhabditis elegans, respectively, suggesting that an age-dependent increase in CD44 induces autophagy decline and ageing phenotypes. Accordingly, CD44 knockdown ameliorates age-associated phenotypes in VECs. The endothelium-specific CD44ICD knock-in mouse is shorter-lived, with VECs exhibiting obvious premature ageing characteristics associated with decreased basal autophagy. Autophagy activation suppresses the premature ageing of human and mouse VECs overexpressing CD44ICD, function conserved in the CD44 homologue clec-31 in C. elegans. Our work describes a mechanism coordinated by CD44 function bridging autophagy decline and ageing.
  10. Nat Genet. 2023 Sep;55(9): 1567-1578
      Modified parental histones are segregated symmetrically to daughter DNA strands during replication and can be inherited through mitosis. How this may sustain the epigenome and cell identity remains unknown. Here we show that transmission of histone-based information during DNA replication maintains epigenome fidelity and embryonic stem cell plasticity. Asymmetric segregation of parental histones H3-H4 in MCM2-2A mutants compromised mitotic inheritance of histone modifications and globally altered the epigenome. This included widespread spurious deposition of repressive modifications, suggesting elevated epigenetic noise. Moreover, H3K9me3 loss at repeats caused derepression and H3K27me3 redistribution across bivalent promoters correlated with misexpression of developmental genes. MCM2-2A mutation challenged dynamic transitions in cellular states across the cell cycle, enhancing naïve pluripotency and reducing lineage priming in G1. Furthermore, developmental competence was diminished, correlating with impaired exit from pluripotency. Collectively, this argues that epigenetic inheritance of histone modifications maintains a correctly balanced and dynamic chromatin landscape able to support mammalian cell differentiation.
  11. Nat Commun. 2023 Sep 05. 14(1): 5430
      Homologous recombination factors play a crucial role in protecting nascent DNA during DNA replication, but the role of chromatin in this process is largely unknown. Here, we used the bacterial Tus/Ter barrier known to induce a site-specific replication fork stalling in S. cerevisiae. We report that the Set1C subunit Spp1 is recruited behind the stalled replication fork independently of its interaction with Set1. Spp1 chromatin recruitment depends on the interaction of its PHD domain with H3K4me3 parental histones deposited behind the stalled fork. Its recruitment prevents the accumulation of ssDNA at the stalled fork by restricting the access of Exo1. We further show that deleting SPP1 increases the mutation rate upstream of the barrier favoring the accumulation of microdeletions. Finally, we report that Spp1 protects nascent DNA at the Tus/Ter stalled replication fork. We propose that Spp1 limits the remodeling of the fork, which ultimately limits nascent DNA availability to nucleases.
  12. Mol Cell. 2023 Aug 30. pii: S1097-2765(23)00643-3. [Epub ahead of print]
      Cells respond to intrinsic and extrinsic stresses by reducing global protein synthesis and activating gene programs necessary for survival. Here, we show that the integrated stress response (ISR) is driven by the non-canonical cap-binding protein eIF3d that acts as a critical effector to control core stress response orchestrators, the translation factor eIF2α and the transcription factor ATF4. We find that during persistent stress, eIF3d activates the translation of the kinase GCN2, inducing eIF2α phosphorylation and inhibiting general protein synthesis. In parallel, eIF3d upregulates the m6A demethylase ALKBH5 to drive 5' UTR-specific demethylation of stress response genes, including ATF4. Ultimately, this cascade converges on ATF4 expression by increasing mRNA engagement of translation machinery and enhancing ribosome bypass of upstream open reading frames (uORFs). Our results reveal that eIF3d acts in a life-or-death decision point during chronic stress and uncover a synergistic signaling mechanism in which translational cascades complement transcriptional amplification to control essential cellular processes.
    Keywords:  ATF4; GCN2; RNA methylation; eIF3d; integrated stress response; m(6)A; translation regulation
  13. Cell Rep. 2023 Sep 01. pii: S2211-1247(23)01072-0. [Epub ahead of print]42(9): 113061
      Lon is a widely distributed AAA+ (ATPases associated with diverse cellular activities) protease known for degrading poorly folded and damaged proteins and is often classified as a weak protein unfoldase. Here, using a Lon-degron pair from Mesoplasma florum (MfLon and MfssrA, respectively), we perform ensemble and single-molecule experiments to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underpinning MfLon function. Notably, we find that MfLon unfolds and degrades stably folded substrates and that translocation of these unfolded polypeptides occurs with a ∼6-amino-acid step size. Moreover, the time required to hydrolyze one ATP corresponds to the dwell time between steps, indicating that one step occurs per ATP-hydrolysis-fueled "power stroke." Comparison of MfLon to related AAA+ enzymes now provides strong evidence that HCLR-clade enzymes function using a shared power-stroke mechanism and, surprisingly, that MfLon is more processive than ClpXP and ClpAP. We propose that ample unfoldase strength and substantial processivity are features that contribute to the Lon family's evolutionary success.
    Keywords:  AAA+ enzyme processivity; AAA+ motors; AAA+ unfoldase translocation step size; CP: Molecular biology; protein degradation; single-molecule optical trapping
  14. Nat Commun. 2023 Sep 08. 14(1): 5544
      Cellular metabolism relies on just a few redox cofactors. Selective compartmentalization may prevent competition between metabolic reactions requiring the same cofactor. Is such compartmentalization necessary for optimal cell function? Is there an optimal compartment size? Here we probe these fundamental questions using peroxisomal compartmentalization of the last steps of lysine and histidine biosynthesis in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces japonicus. We show that compartmentalization of these NAD+ dependent reactions together with a dedicated NADH/NAD+ recycling enzyme supports optimal growth when an increased demand for anabolic reactions taxes cellular redox balance. In turn, compartmentalization constrains the size of individual organelles, with larger peroxisomes accumulating all the required enzymes but unable to support both biosynthetic reactions at the same time. Our reengineering and physiological experiments indicate that compartmentalized biosynthetic reactions are sensitive to the size of the compartment, likely due to scaling-dependent changes within the system, such as enzyme packing density.
  15. J Clin Invest. 2023 Sep 05. pii: e169399. [Epub ahead of print]
      Identifying branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) oxidation enzymes in the nucleus led us to predict that they are a source of propionyl-CoA that are utilized for histone propionylation and, thereby, regulate gene expression. To investigate the effects of BCAA on the development of cardiac hypertrophy and failure, we applied pressure overload on the heart in mice maintained on a diet with standard levels of BCAA (BCAA-control) versus a BCAA-free diet. The former was associated with an increase in histone H3K23-propionyl (H3K23Pr) at the promoters of upregulated genes [e.g., cell signaling and extracellular matrix genes] and a decrease at the promoters of downregulated genes [e.g., electron transfer complex (ETC I-V) and metabolic genes]. Intriguingly, the BCAA-free diet tempered the increases in promoter-H3K23Pr, thus, reducing collagen gene expression and fibrosis during cardiac hypertrophy. Conversely, the BCAA-free diet inhibited the reductions in promoter-H3K23Pr and abolished the downregulation of ETC I-V subunits, enhanced mitochondrial respiration, and curbed progression of cardiac hypertrophy. Thus, lowering the intake of BCAA reduces pressure overload-induced changes in histone propionylation-dependent gene expression in the heart, which retards the development of cardiomyopathy.
    Keywords:  Cardiology; Cardiovascular disease; Epigenetics; Metabolism; Transcription
  16. Cell Metab. 2023 09 05. pii: S1550-4131(23)00301-7. [Epub ahead of print]35(9): 1495-1497
      Promoting healthy aging is contingent on understanding the underlying mechanisms for the age-associated decline in metabolic physiology. Through developing a novel concept of "metabolic elasticity" to evaluate metabolic adaptability in response to cyclical changes in energy balance, Zhou et al. present an impactful gauge of metabolic health that is particularly relevant to aging.