Basic Sciences Publications

Chromosome length and gene density contribute to micronuclear membrane stability

Life Sci Alliance

2022 Anna Mammel; Amanda Gunn; Emily Hatch

Micronuclei are derived from missegregated chromosomes and frequently lose membrane integrity, leading to DNA damage, innate immune activation, and metastatic signaling. Here, we demonstrate that two characteristics of the trapped chromosome, length and gene density, are key contributors to micronuclei membrane stability and determine the timing of micronucleus rupture. We demonstrate that these results are not due to chromosome-specific differences in spindle position or initial protein recruitment during post-mitotic nuclear envelope assembly. Micronucleus size strongly correlates with lamin B1 levels and nuclear pore density in intact micronuclei, but, unexpectedly, lamin B1 levels do not completely predict nuclear lamina organization or membrane stability. Instead, small gene-dense micronuclei have decreased nuclear lamina gaps compared to large micronuclei, despite very low levels of lamin B1. Our data strongly suggest that nuclear envelope composition defects previously correlated with membrane rupture only partly explain membrane stability in micronuclei. We propose that an unknown factor linked to gene density has a separate function that inhibits the appearance of nuclear lamina gaps and delays membrane rupture until late in the cell cycle.

Broadly neutralizing antibodies target a haemagglutinin anchor epitope


2021 Jesse Bloom; Lauren Gentles

Broadly neutralizing antibodies (bnAbs) targeting epitopes of the influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) have the potential to provide near universal protection against influenza virus infection1. However, viral mutants that escape bnAbs have been reported2,3. The identification of bnAb classes that can neutralize viral escape mutants is critical for universal influenza virus vaccine design. Here, we report a distinct class of bnAbs targeting a discrete membrane-proximal anchor epitope of the HA stalk domain. Anchor epitope-targeting antibodies are broadly neutralizing across H1 viruses and can cross-react with pandemic-threat H2 and H5 viruses. Antibodies targeting this anchor epitope utilize a highly restricted repertoire, which encodes for two public binding motifs that make extensive contacts with conserved residues in the fusion peptide. Moreover, anchor epitope-targeting B cells are common in the human memory B cell (MBC) repertoire and were recalled in humans by an oil-in-water adjuvanted chimeric HA (cHA) vaccine4,5, a potential universal influenza virus vaccine. To maximize protection against seasonal and pandemic influenza viruses, vaccines should aim to boost this previously untapped source of bnAbs that are widespread in the human MBC pool.

HIV-1 Vif gained breadth in APOBEC3G specificity after cross-species transmission of its precursors

J Virol

2021 Nicholas Chesarino; Michael Emerman

APOBEC3G (A3G) is a host-encoded cytidine deaminase that potently restricts retroviruses, such as HIV-1, and depends on its ability to package into virions. As a consequence of this, HIV-1 protein Vif has evolved to antagonize human A3G by targeting it for ubiquitination and subsequent degradation. There is an ancient arms-race between Vif and A3G highlighted by amino acids 128 and 130 in A3G that have evolved under positive selection due to Vif-mediated selective pressure in Old World primates. Nonetheless, not all possible amino acid combinations at these sites have been sampled by nature and it is not clear the evolutionary potential of species to resist Vif antagonism. To explore the evolutionary space of positively selected sites in the Vif-binding region of A3G, we designed a combinatorial mutagenesis screen to introduce all 20 amino acids at sites 128 and 130. Our screen uncovered mutants of A3G with several interesting phenotypes, including loss of antiviral activity and resistance of Vif antagonism. However, HIV-1 Vif exhibited remarkable flexibility in antagonizing A3G 128 and 130 mutants, which significantly reduces viable Vif resistance strategies for hominid primates. Importantly, we find that broadened Vif specificity was conferred through Loop 5 adaptations that were required for cross-species adaptation from Old World monkey A3G to hominid A3G. Our evidence suggests that Vif adaptation to novel A3G interfaces during cross-species transmission may train Vif towards broadened specificity that can further facilitate cross-species transmissions and raise the barrier to host resistance. Importance APOBEC3G (A3G) is an antiviral protein that potently restricts retroviruses like HIV. In turn, the HIV-1 protein Vif has evolved to antagonize A3G through degradation. Two rapidly evolving sites in A3G confer resistance to unadapted Vif and act as a barrier to cross-species transmission of retroviruses. We recently identified a single amino acid mutation in an SIV Vif that contributed to the cross-species origins of SIV infecting chimpanzee, and ultimately the HIV-1 pandemic. This mutation broadened specificity of this Vif to both antagonize the A3G of its host while simultaneously overcoming the A3G barrier in the great apes. In this work, we explore the evolutionary space of human A3G at these rapidly evolving sites to understand if the broadened Vif specificity gained during cross-species transmission confers an advantage to HIV-1 Vif in its host-virus arms race with A3G.

High-throughput single-cell epigenomic profiling by targeted insertion of promoters (TIP-seq)

J Cell Biol

2021 Steven Henikoff

Chromatin profiling in single cells has been extremely challenging and almost exclusively limited to histone proteins. In cases where single-cell methods have shown promise, many require highly specialized equipment or cell type-specific protocols and are relatively low throughput. Here, we combine the advantages of tagmentation, linear amplification, and combinatorial indexing to produce a high-throughput single-cell DNA binding site mapping method that is simple, inexpensive, and capable of multiplexing several independent samples per experiment. Targeted insertion of promoters sequencing (TIP-seq) uses Tn5 fused to proteinA to insert a T7 RNA polymerase promoter adjacent to a chromatin protein of interest. Linear amplification of flanking DNA with T7 polymerase before sequencing library preparation provides ∼10-fold higher unique reads per single cell compared with other methods. We applied TIP-seq to map histone modifications, RNA polymerase II (RNAPII), and transcription factor CTCF binding sites in single human and mouse cells.

Coordinated mis-splicing of TMEM14C and ABCB7 causes ring sideroblast formation in SF3B1-mutant myelodysplastic syndrome


2021 Derek Stirewalt; Janice Ilagan; Khrystyna North; Youn Na; Arvind Subramaniam; Robert Bradley; Sergei Doulatov; Janis Abkowitz

SF3B1 splicing factor mutations are near-universally found in myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) with ring sideroblasts, a clonal hematopoietic disorder characterized by abnormal erythroid cells with iron-loaded mitochondria. Despite this remarkably strong genotype-to-phenotype correlation, the mechanism by which mutant SF3B1 dysregulates iron metabolism to cause ring sideroblasts (RS) remains unclear due to an absence of physiological models of RS formation. Here, we report an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) model of SF3B1-mutant MDS that for the first time recapitulates robust RS formation during in vitro erythroid differentiation. Mutant SF3B1 induces mis-splicing of ~100 genes throughout erythroid differentiation, including proposed RS driver genes TMEM14C, PPOX, and ABCB7. All three mis-splicing events reduce protein expression, notably occurring via 5' UTR alteration and reduced translation efficiency for TMEM14C. Functional rescue of TMEM14C and ABCB7, but not the non-rate-limiting enzyme PPOX, markedly decreased RS, and their combined rescue nearly abolished RS formation. Our study demonstrates that coordinated mis-splicing of mitochondrial transporters TMEM14C and ABCB7 by mutant SF3B1 sequesters iron in mitochondria, causing ring sideroblast formation.

Steering ecological-evolutionary dynamics to improve artificial selection of microbial communities

Nat Commun

2021 Li Xie; Wenying Shou

Microbial communities often perform important functions that depend on inter-species interactions. To improve community function via artificial selection, one can repeatedly grow many communities to allow mutations to arise, and "reproduce" the highest-functioning communities by partitioning each into multiple offspring communities for the next cycle. Since improvement is often unimpressive in experiments, we study how to design effective selection strategies in silico. Specifically, we simulate community selection to improve a function that requires two species. With a "community function landscape", we visualize how community function depends on species and genotype compositions. Due to ecological interactions that promote species coexistence, the evolutionary trajectory of communities is restricted to a path on the landscape. This restriction can generate counter-intuitive evolutionary dynamics, prevent the attainment of maximal function, and importantly, hinder selection by trapping communities in locations of low community function heritability. We devise experimentally-implementable manipulations to shift the path to higher heritability, which speeds up community function improvement even when landscapes are high dimensional or unknown. Video walkthroughs: ; .

Local chromatin fiber folding represses transcription and loop extrusion in quiescent cells


2021 Dakota Hunt; Sarah Swygert; Toshio Tsukiyama

A longstanding hypothesis is that chromatin fiber folding mediated by interactions between nearby nucleosomes represses transcription. However, it has been difficult to determine the relationship between local chromatin fiber compaction and transcription in cells. Further, global changes in fiber diameters have not been observed, even between interphase and mitotic chromosomes. We show that an increase in the range of local inter-nucleosomal contacts in quiescent yeast drives the compaction of chromatin fibers genome-wide. Unlike actively dividing cells, inter-nucleosomal interactions in quiescent cells require a basic patch in the histone H4 tail. This quiescence-specific fiber folding globally represses transcription and inhibits chromatin loop extrusion by condensin. These results reveal that global changes in chromatin fiber compaction can occur during cell state transitions, and establish physiological roles for local chromatin fiber folding in regulating transcription and chromatin domain formation.

NGLY1: Insights from C. elegans

J Biochem

2021 Nicolas Lehrbach

Peptide:N-glycanase is an evolutionarily conserved deglycosylating enzyme that catalyzes the removal of N-linked glycans from cytosolic glycoproteins. Recessive mutations that inactivate this enzyme cause NGLY1 deficiency, a multisystemic disorder with symptoms including developmental delay and defects in cognition and motor control. Developing treatments for NGLY1 deficiency will require an understanding of how failure to deglycosylate NGLY1 substrates perturbs cellular and organismal function. In this review, I highlight insights into peptide:N-glycanase biology gained by studies in the highly tractable genetic model animal C. elegans. I focus on the recent discovery of SKN-1A/Nrf1, an N-glycosylated transcription factor, as a peptide:N-glycanase substrate critical for regulation of the proteasome. I describe the elaborate post-translational mechanism that culminates in activation of SKN-1A/Nrf1 via NGLY1-dependent 'sequence editing' and discuss the implications of these findings for our understanding of NGLY1 deficiency.

Automated CUT&Tag profiling of chromatin heterogeneity in mixed-lineage leukemia

Nat Genet

2021 Ekaterina Babaeva; Michael Meers; Kamran Ahmad; Steven Wu; Steven Henikoff; Derek Janssens; Jay Sarthy; Soheil Meshinchi

Acute myeloid and lymphoid leukemias often harbor chromosomal translocations involving the KMT2A gene, encoding the KMT2A lysine methyltransferase (also known as mixed-lineage leukemia-1), and produce in-frame fusions of KMT2A to other chromatin-regulatory proteins. Here we map fusion-specific targets across the genome for diverse KMT2A oncofusion proteins in cell lines and patient samples. By modifying CUT&Tag chromatin profiling for full automation, we identify common and tumor-subtype-specific sites of aberrant chromatin regulation induced by KMT2A oncofusion proteins. A subset of KMT2A oncofusion-binding sites are marked by bivalent (H3K4me3 and H3K27me3) chromatin signatures, and single-cell CUT&Tag profiling reveals that these sites display cell-to-cell heterogeneity suggestive of lineage plasticity. In addition, we find that aberrant enrichment of H3K4me3 in gene bodies is sensitive to Menin inhibitors, demonstrating the utility of automated chromatin profiling for identifying therapeutic vulnerabilities. Thus, integration of automated and single-cell CUT&Tag can uncover epigenomic heterogeneity within patient samples and predict sensitivity to therapeutic agents.

Divergence in Dimerization and Activity of Primate APOBEC3C

J Mol Biol

2021 Michael Emerman

The APOBEC3 (A3) family of single-stranded DNA cytidine deaminases are host restriction factors that inhibit lentiviruses, such as HIV-1, in the absence of the Vif protein that causes their degradation. Deamination of cytidine in HIV-1 (-)DNA forms uracil that causes inactivating mutations when uracil is used as a template for (+)DNA synthesis. For APOBEC3C (A3C), the chimpanzee and gorilla orthologues are more active than human A3C, and we determined that Old World Monkey A3C from rhesus macaque (rh) is not active against HIV-1. Biochemical, virological, and coevolutionary analyses combined with molecular dynamics simulations showed that the key amino acids needed to promote rhA3C antiviral activity, 44, 45, and 144, also promoted dimerization and changes to the dynamics of loop 1, near the enzyme active site. Although forced evolution of rhA3C resulted in a similar dimer interface with hominid A3C, the key amino acid contacts were different. Overall, our results determine the basis for why rhA3C is less active than human A3C and establish the amino acid network for dimerization and increased activity. Based on identification of the key amino acids determining Old World Monkey antiviral activity we predict that other Old World Monkey A3Cs did not impart anti-lentiviral activity, despite fixation of a key residue needed for hominid A3C activity. Overall, the coevolutionary analysis of the A3C dimerization interface presented also provides a basis from which to analyze dimerization interfaces of other A3 family members.