bims-ginsta Biomed News
on Genome instability
Issue of 2023‒09‒24
twenty papers selected by
Jinrong Hu, National University of Singapore

  1. Life Sci Alliance. 2023 Dec;pii: e202302260. [Epub ahead of print]6(12):
      SiR-DNA/SiR-Hoechst is a far-red fluorescent DNA probe that is routinely used for live-cell imaging of cell nuclei in interphase and chromosomes during mitosis. Despite being reported to induce DNA damage, SiR-DNA has been used in more than 300 research articles, covering topics like mitosis, chromatin biology, cancer research, cytoskeletal research, and DNA damage response. Here, we used live-cell imaging to perform a comprehensive analysis of the effects of SiR-DNA on mitosis of four human cell lines (RPE-1, DLD-1, HeLa, and U2OS). We report a dose-, time-, and light-dependent effect of SiR-DNA on chromosome segregation. We found that, upon the exposure to light during imaging, nanomolar concentrations of SiR-DNA induce non-centromeric chromosome entanglement that severely impairs sister chromatid segregation and spindle elongation during anaphase. This causes DNA damage that is passed forward to the following cell cycle, thereby having a detrimental effect on genome integrity. Our findings highlight the drawbacks in using SiR-DNA for investigation of late mitotic events and DNA damage-related topics and urge the use of alternative labeling strategies to study these processes.
  2. Curr Biol. 2023 Sep 09. pii: S0960-9822(23)01149-1. [Epub ahead of print]
      During embryonic development, oriented cell divisions are important for patterned tissue growth and cell fate specification. Cell division orientation is controlled in part by asymmetrically localized polarity proteins, which establish functional domains of the cell membrane and interact with microtubule regulators to position the mitotic spindle. For example, in the 8-cell mouse embryo, apical polarity proteins form caps on the outside, contact-free surface of the embryo that position the mitotic spindle to execute asymmetric cell division. A similar radial or "inside-outside" polarity is established at an early stage in many other animal embryos, but in most cases, it remains unclear how inside-outside polarity is established and how it influences downstream cell behaviors. Here, we explore inside-outside polarity in C. elegans somatic blastomeres using spatiotemporally controlled protein degradation and live embryo imaging. We show that PAR polarity proteins, which form apical caps at the center of the contact-free membrane, localize dynamically during the cell cycle and contribute to spindle orientation and proper cell positioning. Surprisingly, isolated single blastomeres lacking cell contacts are able to break symmetry and form PAR-3/atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) caps. Polarity caps form independently of actomyosin flows and microtubules and can regulate spindle orientation in cooperation with the key polarity kinase aPKC. Together, our results reveal a role for apical polarity caps in regulating spindle orientation in symmetrically dividing cells and provide novel insights into how these structures are formed.
    Keywords:  Caenorhabditis elegans; PAR proteins; cell polarity; embryo polarity; mitotic spindle orientation
  3. PLoS Biol. 2023 Sep 18. 21(9): e3002310
      Decline of mitochondrial function is a hallmark of cellular aging. To counteract this process, some cells inherit mitochondria asymmetrically to rejuvenate daughter cells. The molecular mechanisms that control this process are poorly understood. Here, we made use of matrix-targeted D-amino acid oxidase (Su9-DAO) to selectively trigger oxidative damage in yeast mitochondria. We observed that dysfunctional mitochondria become fusion-incompetent and immotile. Lack of bud-directed movements is caused by defective recruitment of the myosin motor, Myo2. Intriguingly, intact mitochondria that are present in the same cell continue to move into the bud, establishing that quality control occurs directly at the level of the organelle in the mother. The selection of healthy organelles for inheritance no longer works in the absence of the mitochondrial Myo2 adapter protein Mmr1. Together, our data suggest a mechanism in which the combination of blocked fusion and loss of motor protein ensures that damaged mitochondria are retained in the mother cell to ensure rejuvenation of the bud.
  4. Mol Cell. 2023 Sep 08. pii: S1097-2765(23)00659-7. [Epub ahead of print]
      Mitotic DNA synthesis (MiDAS) is an unusual form of DNA replication that occurs during mitosis. Initially, MiDAS was characterized as a process associated with intrinsically unstable loci known as common fragile sites that occurs after cells experience DNA replication stress (RS). However, it is now believed to be a more widespread "salvage" mechanism that is called upon to complete the duplication of any under-replicated genomic region. Emerging data suggest that MiDAS is a DNA repair process potentially involving two or more pathways working in parallel or sequentially. In this review, we introduce the causes of RS, regions of the human genome known to be especially vulnerable to RS, and the strategies used to complete DNA replication outside of S phase. Additionally, because MiDAS is a prominent feature of aneuploid cancer cells, we will discuss how targeting MiDAS might potentially lead to improvements in cancer therapy.
    Keywords:  BIR; MiDAS; MiDAS-seq; break-induced replication; fragile sites; homologous recombination; mitotic DNA synthesis; replication stress
  5. J Cell Biol. 2023 11 06. pii: e202210093. [Epub ahead of print]222(11):
      UHRF1 is an epigenetic coordinator bridging DNA methylation and histone modifications. Additionally, UHRF1 regulates DNA replication and cell cycle, and its deletion induces G1/S or G2/M cell cycle arrest. The roles of UHRF1 in the regulation of G2/M transition remain poorly understood. UHRF1 depletion caused chromosome misalignment, thereby inducing cell cycle arrest at mitotic metaphase, and these cells exhibited the defects of spindle geometry, prominently manifested as shorter spindles. Mechanistically, UHRF1 protein directly interacts with EG5, a kinesin motor protein, during mitosis. Furthermore, UHRF1 induced EG5 polyubiquitination at the site of K1034 and further promoted the interaction of EG5 with spindle assembly factor TPX2, thereby ensuring accurate EG5 distribution to the spindles during metaphase. Our study clarifies a novel UHRF1 function as a nuclear protein catalyzing EG5 polyubiquitination for proper spindle architecture and faithful genomic transmission, which is independent of its roles in epigenetic regulation and DNA damage repair inside the nucleus. These findings revealed a previously unknown mechanism of UHRF1 in controlling mitotic spindle architecture and chromosome behavior and provided mechanistic evidence for UHRF1 deletion-mediated G2/M arrest.
  6. Mol Cell. 2023 Sep 14. pii: S1097-2765(23)00694-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      Histone variants provide versatility in the basic unit of chromatin, helping to define dynamic landscapes and cell fates. Maintaining genome integrity is paramount for the cell, and it is intimately linked with chromatin dynamics, assembly, and disassembly during DNA transactions such as replication, repair, recombination, and transcription. In this review, we focus on the family of H3 variants and their dynamics in space and time during the cell cycle. We review the distinct H3 variants' specific features along with their escort partners, the histone chaperones, compiled across different species to discuss their distinct importance considering evolution. We place H3 dynamics at different times during the cell cycle with the possible consequences for genome stability. Finally, we examine how their mutation and alteration impact disease. The emerging picture stresses key parameters in H3 dynamics to reflect on how when they are perturbed, they become a source of stress for genome integrity.
    Keywords:  DNA replication; H3 histone variants; chromatin dynamics
  7. Nat Commun. 2023 Sep 21. 14(1): 5862
      While the accessibility of enhancers is dynamically regulated during development, promoters tend to be constitutively accessible and poised for activation by paused Pol II. By studying Lola-I, a Drosophila zinc finger transcription factor, we show here that the promoter state can also be subject to developmental regulation independently of gene activation. Lola-I is ubiquitously expressed at the end of embryogenesis and causes its target promoters to become accessible and acquire paused Pol II throughout the embryo. This promoter transition is required but not sufficient for tissue-specific target gene activation. Lola-I mediates this function by depleting promoter nucleosomes, similar to the action of pioneer factors at enhancers. These results uncover a level of regulation for promoters that is normally found at enhancers and reveal a mechanism for the de novo establishment of paused Pol II at promoters.
  8. Nat Commun. 2023 Sep 22. 14(1): 5904
      Glial cells have been proposed as a source of neural progenitors, but the mechanisms underpinning the neurogenic potential of adult glia are not known. Using single cell transcriptomic profiling, we show that enteric glial cells represent a cell state attained by autonomic neural crest cells as they transition along a linear differentiation trajectory that allows them to retain neurogenic potential while acquiring mature glial functions. Key neurogenic loci in early enteric nervous system progenitors remain in open chromatin configuration in mature enteric glia, thus facilitating neuronal differentiation under appropriate conditions. Molecular profiling and gene targeting of enteric glial cells in a cell culture model of enteric neurogenesis and a gut injury model demonstrate that neuronal differentiation of glia is driven by transcriptional programs employed in vivo by early progenitors. Our work provides mechanistic insight into the regulatory landscape underpinning the development of intestinal neural circuits and generates a platform for advancing glial cells as therapeutic agents for the treatment of neural deficits.
  9. PLoS Genet. 2023 Sep 21. 19(9): e1010951
      The accurate distribution of genetic material is crucial for all organisms. In most bacteria, chromosome segregation is achieved by the ParABS system, in which the ParB-bound parS sequence is actively partitioned by ParA. While this system is highly conserved, its adaptation in organisms with unique lifestyles and its regulation between developmental stages remain largely unexplored. Bdellovibrio bacteriovorus is a predatory bacterium proliferating through polyploid replication and non-binary division inside other bacteria. Our study reveals the subcellular dynamics and multi-layered regulation of the ParABS system, coupled to the cell cycle of B. bacteriovorus. We found that ParA:ParB ratios fluctuate between predation stages, their balance being critical for cell cycle progression. Moreover, the parS chromosomal context in non-replicative cells, combined with ParB depletion at cell division, critically contribute to the unique cell cycle-dependent organization of the centromere in this bacterium, highlighting new levels of complexity in chromosome segregation and cell cycle control.
  10. Sci Adv. 2023 Sep 22. 9(38): eadf3497
      How flexible developmental programs integrate information from internal and external factors to modulate stem cell behavior is a fundamental question in developmental biology. Cells of the Arabidopsis stomatal lineage modify the balance of stem cell proliferation and differentiation to adjust the size and cell type composition of mature leaves. Here, we report that meristemoids, one type of stomatal lineage stem cell, trigger the transition from asymmetric self-renewing divisions to commitment and terminal differentiation by crossing a critical cell size threshold. Through computational simulation, we demonstrate that this cell size-mediated transition allows robust, yet flexible termination of stem cell proliferation, and we observe adjustments in the number of divisions before the differentiation threshold under several genetic manipulations. We experimentally evaluate several mechanisms for cell size sensing, and our data suggest that this stomatal lineage transition is dependent on a nuclear factor that is sensitive to DNA content.
  11. bioRxiv. 2023 Sep 05. pii: 2023.09.04.556166. [Epub ahead of print]
      The faithful segregation of intact genetic material and the perpetuation of chromatin states through mitotic cell divisions are pivotal for maintaining cell function and identity across cell generations. However, most exogenous mutagens generate long-lasting DNA lesions that are segregated during mitosis. How this segregation is controlled is unknown. Here, we uncover a mitotic chromatin-marking pathway that governs the segregation of UV-induced damage in human cells. Our mechanistic analyses reveal two layers of control: histone ADP-ribosylation, and the incorporation of newly synthesized histones at UV damage sites, that both prevent local mitotic phosphorylations on histone H3 serines. Functionally, this chromatin-marking pathway drives the asymmetric segregation of UV damage in the cell progeny with potential consequences on daughter cell fate. We propose that this mechanism may help preserve the integrity of stem cell compartments during asymmetric cell divisions.
  12. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Sep 26. 120(39): e2303752120
      Isochromosomes are mirror-imaged chromosomes with simultaneous duplication and deletion of genetic material which may contain two centromeres to create isodicentric chromosomes. Although isochromosomes commonly occur in cancer and developmental disorders and promote genome instability, mechanisms that prevent isochromosomes are not well understood. We show here that the tumor suppressor and methyltransferase SETD2 is essential to prevent these errors. Using cellular and cytogenetic approaches, we demonstrate that loss of SETD2 or its epigenetic mark, histone H3 lysine 36 trimethylation (H3K36me3), results in the formation of isochromosomes as well as isodicentric and acentric chromosomes. These defects arise during DNA replication and are likely due to faulty homologous recombination by RAD52. These data provide a mechanism for isochromosome generation and demonstrate that SETD2 and H3K36me3 are essential to prevent the formation of this common mutable chromatin structure known to initiate a cascade of genomic instability in cancer.
    Keywords:  chromosome; epigenetics; intratumoral heterogeneity; isochromosome; mitosis
  13. Nat Cell Biol. 2023 Sep 21.
      Dedifferentiation is the process by which terminally differentiated cells acquire the properties of stem cells. During mouse skin wound healing, the differentiated Gata6-lineage positive cells of the sebaceous duct are able to dedifferentiate. Here we have integrated lineage tracing and single-cell mRNA sequencing to uncover the underlying mechanism. Gata6-lineage positive and negative epidermal stem cells in wounds are transcriptionally indistinguishable. Furthermore, in contrast to reprogramming of induced pluripotent stem cells, the same genes are expressed in the epidermal dedifferentiation and differentiation trajectories, indicating that dedifferentiation does not involve adoption of a new cell state. We demonstrate that dedifferentiation is not only induced by wounding, but also by retinoic acid treatment or mechanical expansion of the epidermis. In all three cases, dedifferentiation is dependent on the master transcription factor c-Myc. Mechanotransduction and actin-cytoskeleton remodelling are key features of dedifferentiation. Our study elucidates the molecular basis of epidermal dedifferentiation, which may be generally applicable to adult tissues.
  14. Nat Commun. 2023 09 20. 14(1): 5846
      Single-cell open chromatin profiling via scATAC-seq has become a mainstream measurement of open chromatin in single-cells. Here we present epiAneufinder, an algorithm that exploits the read count information from scATAC-seq data to extract genome-wide copy number alterations (CNAs) for individual cells, allowing the study of CNA heterogeneity present in a sample at the single-cell level. Using different cancer scATAC-seq datasets, we show that epiAneufinder can identify intratumor clonal heterogeneity in populations of single cells based on their CNA profiles. We demonstrate that these profiles are concordant with the ones inferred from single-cell whole genome sequencing data for the same samples. EpiAneufinder allows the inference of single-cell CNA information from scATAC-seq data, without the need of additional experiments, unlocking a layer of genomic variation which is otherwise unexplored.
  15. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Sep 26. 120(39): e2303376120
      In many species, only one oocyte is specified among a group of interconnected germline sister cells. In Drosophila melanogaster, 16 interconnected cells form a germline cyst, where one cell differentiates into an oocyte, while the rest become nurse cells that supply the oocyte with mRNAs, proteins, and organelles through intercellular cytoplasmic bridges named ring canals via microtubule-based transport. In this study, we find that a microtubule polymerase Mini spindles (Msps), the Drosophila homolog of XMAP215, is essential for maintenance of the oocyte specification. mRNA encoding Msps is transported and concentrated in the oocyte by dynein-dependent transport along microtubules. Translated Msps stimulates microtubule polymerization in the oocyte, causing more microtubule plus ends to grow from the oocyte through the ring canals into nurse cells, further enhancing nurse cell-to-oocyte transport by dynein. Knockdown of msps blocks the oocyte growth and causes gradual loss of oocyte determinants. Thus, the Msps-dynein duo creates a positive feedback loop, ensuring oocyte fate maintenance by promoting high microtubule polymerization activity in the oocyte, and enhancing dynein-dependent nurse cell-to-oocyte transport.
    Keywords:  Drosophila; cell fate; dynein; microtubule; oocyte
  16. J Cell Biol. 2023 10 02. pii: e202309067. [Epub ahead of print]222(10):
      Naive T cells must shift from a state of quiescence to an active metabolic state. To do this, T cells must ramp up their production of ribosomes. In this issue, Zhou et al. (2023. J. Cell Biol. identify DDB1 and Cul4-associated factor 13 (DCAF13) as a T cell activation-induced nucleolar protein that functions to enhance ribosome biosynthesis. DCAF13 binds to nucleophosmin 1 (NPM1) to form a biomolecular condensate that functions, in part, by recruiting the endonuclease UTP23 into the nucleolus.
  17. Nucleic Acids Res. 2023 Sep 22. pii: gkad734. [Epub ahead of print]
      Enhancer reprogramming has been proposed as a key source of transcriptional dysregulation during tumorigenesis, but the molecular mechanisms underlying this process remain unclear. Here, we identify an enhancer cluster required for normal development that is aberrantly activated in breast and lung adenocarcinoma. Deletion of the SRR124-134 cluster disrupts expression of the SOX2 oncogene, dysregulates genome-wide transcription and chromatin accessibility and reduces the ability of cancer cells to form colonies in vitro. Analysis of primary tumors reveals a correlation between chromatin accessibility at this cluster and SOX2 overexpression in breast and lung cancer patients. We demonstrate that FOXA1 is an activator and NFIB is a repressor of SRR124-134 activity and SOX2 transcription in cancer cells, revealing a co-opting of the regulatory mechanisms involved in early development. Notably, we show that the conserved SRR124 and SRR134 regions are essential during mouse development, where homozygous deletion results in the lethal failure of esophageal-tracheal separation. These findings provide insights into how developmental enhancers can be reprogrammed during tumorigenesis and underscore the importance of understanding enhancer dynamics during development and disease.
  18. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Sep 26. 120(39): e2303077120
      Cell size and cell count are adaptively regulated and intimately linked to growth and function. Yet, despite their widespread relevance, the relation between cell size and count has never been formally examined over the whole human body. Here, we compile a comprehensive dataset of cell size and count over all major cell types, with data drawn from >1,500 published sources. We consider the body of a representative male (70 kg), which allows further estimates of a female (60 kg) and 10-y-old child (32 kg). We build a hierarchical interface for the cellular organization of the body, giving easy access to data, methods, and sources ( In total, we estimate total body counts of ≈36 trillion cells in the male, ≈28 trillion in the female, and ≈17 trillion in the child. These data reveal a surprising inverse relation between cell size and count, implying a trade-off between these variables, such that all cells within a given logarithmic size class contribute an equal fraction to the body's total cellular biomass. We also find that the coefficient of variation is approximately independent of mean cell size, implying the existence of cell-size regulation across cell types. Our data serve to establish a holistic quantitative framework for the cells of the human body, and highlight large-scale patterns in cell biology.
    Keywords:  cell biomass; cell count; cell size; size distribution; size homeostasis
  19. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2023 Sep 26. 120(39): e2306480120
      Kinesin-5 motor proteins play essential roles during mitosis in most organisms. Their tetrameric structure and plus-end-directed motility allow them to bind to and move along antiparallel microtubules, thereby pushing spindle poles apart to assemble a bipolar spindle. Recent work has shown that the C-terminal tail is particularly important to kinesin-5 function: The tail affects motor domain structure, ATP hydrolysis, motility, clustering, and sliding force measured for purified motors, as well as motility, clustering, and spindle assembly in cells. Because previous work has focused on presence or absence of the entire tail, the functionally important regions of the tail remain to be identified. We have therefore characterized a series of kinesin-5/Cut7 tail truncation alleles in fission yeast. Partial truncation causes mitotic defects and temperature-sensitive growth, while further truncation that removes the conserved BimC motif is lethal. We compared the sliding force generated by cut7 mutants using a kinesin-14 mutant background in which some microtubules detach from the spindle poles and are pushed into the nuclear envelope. These Cut7-driven protrusions decreased as more of the tail was truncated, and the most severe truncations produced no observable protrusions. Our observations suggest that the C-terminal tail of Cut7p contributes to both sliding force and midzone localization. In the context of sequential tail truncation, the BimC motif and adjacent C-terminal amino acids are particularly important for sliding force. In addition, moderate tail truncation increases midzone localization, but further truncation of residues N-terminal to the BimC motif decreases midzone localization.
    Keywords:  fission yeast; force; kinesin-5; mitosis; truncation alleles
  20. Nat Commun. 2023 09 20. 14(1): 5841
      Complex signalling between the apical ectodermal ridge (AER - a thickening of the distal epithelium) and the mesoderm controls limb patterning along the proximo-distal axis (humerus to digits). However, the essential in vivo requirement for AER-Fgf signalling makes it difficult to understand the exact roles that it fulfils. To overcome this barrier, we developed an amenable ex vivo chick wing tissue explant system that faithfully replicates in vivo parameters. Using inhibition experiments and RNA-sequencing, we identify a transient role for Fgfs in triggering the distal patterning phase. Fgfs are then dispensable for the maintenance of an intrinsic mesodermal transcriptome, which controls proliferation/differentiation timing and the duration of patterning. We also uncover additional roles for Fgf signalling in maintaining AER-related gene expression and in suppressing myogenesis. We describe a simple logic for limb patterning duration, which is potentially applicable to other systems, including the main body axis.