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BACKGROUND - Genome-phenome studies have identified thousands of variants that are statistically associated with disease or traits; however, their functional roles are largely unclear. A comprehensive investigation of regulatory mechanisms and the gene regulatory networks between phenome-wide association study (PheWAS) and genome-wide association study (GWAS) is needed to identify novel regulatory variants contributing to risk for human diseases.
METHODS - In this study, we developed an integrative functional genomics framework that maps 215,107 significant single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) traits generated from the PheWAS Catalog and 28,870 genome-wide significant SNP traits collected from the GWAS Catalog into a global human genome regulatory map via incorporating various functional annotation data, including transcription factor (TF)-based motifs, promoters, enhancers, and expression quantitative trait loci (eQTLs) generated from four major functional genomics databases: FANTOM5, ENCODE, NIH Roadmap, and Genotype-Tissue Expression (GTEx). In addition, we performed a tissue-specific regulatory circuit analysis through the integration of the identified regulatory variants and tissue-specific gene expression profiles in 7051 samples across 32 tissues from GTEx.
RESULTS - We found that the disease-associated loci in both the PheWAS and GWAS Catalogs were significantly enriched with functional SNPs. The integration of functional annotations significantly improved the power of detecting novel associations in PheWAS, through which we found a number of functional associations with strong regulatory evidence in the PheWAS Catalog. Finally, we constructed tissue-specific regulatory circuits for several complex traits: mental diseases, autoimmune diseases, and cancer, via exploring tissue-specific TF-promoter/enhancer-target gene interaction networks. We uncovered several promising tissue-specific regulatory TFs or genes for Alzheimer's disease (e.g. ZIC1 and STX1B) and asthma (e.g. CSF3 and IL1RL1).
CONCLUSIONS - This study offers powerful tools for exploring the functional consequences of variants generated from genome-phenome association studies in terms of their mechanisms on affecting multiple complex diseases and traits.
Potentiating anti-tumor immunity by inducing tumor inflammation and T cell-mediated responses are a promising area of cancer therapy. Immunomodulatory agents that promote these effects function via a wide variety of mechanisms, including upregulation of antigen presentation pathways. Here, we show that major histocompatibility class-I (MHC-I) genes are methylated in human breast cancers, suppressing their expression. Treatment of breast cancer cell lines with a next-generation hypomethylating agent, guadecitabine, upregulates MHC-I expression in response to interferon-γ. In murine tumor models of breast cancer, guadecitabine upregulates MHC-I in tumor cells promoting recruitment of CD8+ T cells to the microenvironment. Finally, we show that MHC-I genes are upregulated in breast cancer patients treated with hypomethylating agents. Thus, the immunomodulatory effects of hypomethylating agents likely involve upregulation of class-I antigen presentation to potentiate CD8+ T cell responses. These strategies may be useful to potentiate anti-tumor immunity and responses to checkpoint inhibition in immune-refractory breast cancers.
Transposable element (TE)-derived sequences make up approximately half of most mammalian genomes, and many TEs have been co-opted into gene regulatory elements. However, we lack a comprehensive tissue- and genome-wide understanding of how and when TEs gain regulatory activity in their hosts. We evaluated the prevalence of TE-derived DNA in enhancers and promoters across hundreds of human and mouse cell lines and primary tissues. Promoters are significantly depleted of TEs in all tissues compared with their overall prevalence in the genome (P < 0.001); enhancers are also depleted of TEs, though not as strongly as promoters. The degree of enhancer depletion also varies across contexts (1.5-3×), with reproductive and immune cells showing the highest levels of TE regulatory activity in humans. Overall, in spite of the regulatory potential of many TE sequences, they are significantly less active in gene regulation than expected from their prevalence. TE age is predictive of the likelihood of enhancer activity; TEs originating before the divergence of amniotes are 9.2 times more likely to have enhancer activity than TEs that integrated in great apes. Context-specific enhancers are more likely to be TE-derived than enhancers active in multiple tissues, and young TEs are more likely to overlap context-specific enhancers than old TEs (86% vs. 47%). Once TEs obtain enhancer activity in the host, they have similar functional dynamics to one another and non-TE-derived enhancers, likely driven by pleiotropic constraints. However, a few TE families, most notably endogenous retroviruses, have greater regulatory potential. Our observations suggest a model of regulatory co-option in which TE-derived sequences are initially repressed, after which a small fraction obtains context-specific enhancer activity, with further gains subject to pleiotropic constraints.
© The Author 2017. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Renal vascular development is a coordinated process that requires ordered endothelial cell proliferation, migration, intercellular adhesion, and morphogenesis. In recent decades, studies have defined the pivotal role of endothelial receptor tyrosine kinases (RPTKs) in the development and maintenance of renal vasculature. However, the expression and the role of receptor tyrosine phosphatases (RPTPs) in renal endothelium are poorly understood, though coupled and counterbalancing roles of RPTKs and RPTPs are well defined in other systems. In this study, we evaluated the promoter activity and immunolocalization of two endothelial RPTPs, VE-PTP and PTPμ, in developing and adult renal vasculature using the heterozygous LacZ knock-in mice and specific antibodies. In adult kidneys, both VE-PTP and PTPμ were expressed in the endothelium of arterial, glomerular, and medullary vessels, while their expression was highly limited in peritubular capillaries and venous endothelium. VE-PTP and PTPμ promoter activity was also observed in medullary tubular segments in adult kidneys. In embryonic (E12.5, E13.5, E15.5, E17.5) and postnatal (P0, P3, P7) kidneys, these RPTPs were expressed in ingrowing renal arteries, developing glomerular microvasculature (as early as the S-shaped stage), and medullary vessels. Their expression became more evident as the vasculatures matured. Peritubular capillary expression of VE-PTP was also noted in embryonic and postnatal kidneys. Compared to VE-PTP, PTPμ immunoreactivity was relatively limited in embryonic and neonatal renal vasculature and evident immunoreactivity was observed from the P3 stage. These findings indicate 1) VE-PTP and PTPμ are expressed in endothelium of arterial, glomerular, and medullary renal vasculature, 2) their expression increases as renal vascular development proceeds, suggesting that these RPTPs play a role in maturation and maintenance of these vasculatures, and 3) peritubular capillary VE-PTP expression is down-regulated in adult kidneys, suggesting a role of VE-PTP in the development of peritubular capillaries.
OBJECTIVE - Blood vessel epicardial substance (BVES) is a tight junction-associated protein that regulates epithelial-mesenchymal states and is underexpressed in epithelial malignancy. However, the functional impact of BVES loss on tumourigenesis is unknown. Here we define the in vivo role of BVES in colitis-associated cancer (CAC), its cellular function and its relevance to patients with IBD.
DESIGN - We determined promoter methylation status using an Infinium HumanMethylation450 array screen of patients with UC with and without CAC. We also measured mRNA levels in a tissue microarray consisting of normal colons and CAC samples. and wild-type mice (controls) were administered azoxymethane (AOM) and dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) to induce tumour formation. Last, we used a yeast two-hybrid screen to identify BVES interactors and performed mechanistic studies in multiple cell lines to define how BVES reduces c-Myc levels.
RESULTS - mRNA was reduced in tumours from patients with CAC via promoter hypermethylation. Importantly, promoter hypermethylation was concurrently present in distant non-malignant-appearing mucosa. As seen in human patients, was underexpressed in experimental inflammatory carcinogenesis, and mice had increased tumour multiplicity and degree of dysplasia after AOM/DSS administration. Molecular analysis of tumours revealed Wnt activation and increased c-Myc levels. Mechanistically, we identified a new signalling pathway whereby BVES interacts with PR61α, a protein phosphatase 2A regulatory subunit, to mediate c-Myc destruction.
CONCLUSION - Loss of BVES promotes inflammatory tumourigenesis through dysregulation of Wnt signalling and the oncogene c-Myc. promoter methylation status may serve as a CAC biomarker.
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Methods enabling kidney-specific gene transfer in adult mice are needed to develop new therapies for kidney disease. We attempted kidney-specific gene transfer following hydrodynamic tail vein injection using the kidney-specific podocin and gamma-glutamyl transferase promoters, but found expression primarily in the liver. In order to achieve kidney-specific transgene expression, we tested direct hydrodynamic injection of a DNA solution into the renal pelvis and found that luciferase expression was strong in the kidney and absent from extra-renal tissues. We observed heterogeneous, low-level transfection of the collecting duct, proximal tubule, distal tubule, interstitial cells, and rarely glomerular cells following injection. To assess renal injury, we performed the renal pelvis injections on uninephrectomised mice and found that their blood urea nitrogen was elevated at two days post-transfer but resolved within two weeks. Although luciferase expression quickly decreased following renal pelvis injection, the use of the piggyBac transposon system improved long-term expression. Immunosuppression with cyclophosphamide stabilised luciferase expression, suggesting immune clearance of the transfected cells occurs in immunocompetent animals. Injection of a transposon expressing erythropoietin raised the haematocrit, indicating that the developed injection technique can elicit a biologic effect in vivo. Hydrodynamic renal pelvis injection enables transposon mediated-kidney specific gene transfer in adult mice.
SET domain-containing proteins play a vital role in regulating gene expression during development through modifications in chromatin structure. Here we show that SET domain-containing 5 (Setd5) is divergently transcribed with Gt(ROSA26)Sor, is necessary for mammalian development, and interacts with the PAF1 co-transcriptional complex and other proteins. Setd5-deficient mouse embryos exhibit severe defects in neural tube formation, somitogenesis and cardiac development, have aberrant vasculogenesis in embryos, yolk sacs and placentas, and die between embryonic day 10.5 and 11.5. Setd5-deficient embryonic stem cells have impaired cellular proliferation, increased apoptosis, defective cell cycle progression, a diminished ability to differentiate into cardiomyocytes and greatly perturbed gene expression. SETD5 co-immunoprecipitates with multiple components of the PAF1 and histone deacetylase-containing NCoR complexes and is not solely required for major histone lysine methylation marks. In the absence of Setd5, histone acetylation is increased at transcription start sites and near downstream regions. These findings suggest that SETD5 functions in a manner similar to yeast Set3p and Drosophila UpSET, and that it is essential for regulating histone acetylation during gene transcription.
© 2016. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.
The glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit 2 (G6PC2) gene encodes an islet-specific glucose-6-phosphatase catalytic subunit. G6PC2 forms a substrate cycle with glucokinase that determines the glucose sensitivity of insulin secretion. Consequently, deletion of G6pc2 lowers fasting blood glucose (FBG) without affecting fasting plasma insulin. Although chronic elevation of FBG is detrimental to health, glucocorticoids induce G6PC2 expression, suggesting that G6PC2 evolved to transiently modulate FBG under conditions of glucocorticoid-related stress. We show, using competition and mutagenesis experiments, that the synthetic glucocorticoid dexamethasone (Dex) induces G6PC2 promoter activity through a mechanism involving displacement of the islet-enriched transcription factor MafA by the glucocorticoid receptor. The induction of G6PC2 promoter activity by Dex is modulated by a single nucleotide polymorphism, previously linked to altered FBG in humans, that affects FOXA2 binding. A 5-day repeated injection paradigm was used to examine the chronic effect of Dex on FBG and glucose tolerance in wild-type (WT) and G6pc2 knockout mice. Acute Dex treatment only induces G6pc2 expression in 129SvEv but not C57BL/6J mice, but this chronic treatment induced G6pc2 expression in both. In 6-hour fasted C57BL/6J WT mice, Dex treatment lowered FBG and improved glucose tolerance, with G6pc2 deletion exacerbating the decrease in FBG and enhancing the improvement in glucose tolerance. In contrast, in 24-hour fasted C57BL/6J WT mice, Dex treatment raised FBG but still improved glucose tolerance, with G6pc2 deletion limiting the increase in FBG and enhancing the improvement in glucose tolerance. These observations demonstrate that G6pc2 modulates the complex effects of Dex on both FBG and glucose tolerance.
Genome-wide association studies (GWASs) have revealed increased breast cancer risk associated with multiple genetic variants at 5p12. Here, we report the fine mapping of this locus using data from 104,660 subjects from 50 case-control studies in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium (BCAC). With data for 3,365 genotyped and imputed SNPs across a 1 Mb region (positions 44,394,495-45,364,167; NCBI build 37), we found evidence for at least three independent signals: the strongest signal, consisting of a single SNP rs10941679, was associated with risk of estrogen-receptor-positive (ER) breast cancer (per-g allele OR ER = 1.15; 95% CI 1.13-1.18; p = 8.35 × 10). After adjustment for rs10941679, we detected signal 2, consisting of 38 SNPs more strongly associated with ER-negative (ER) breast cancer (lead SNP rs6864776: per-a allele OR ER = 1.10; 95% CI 1.05-1.14; p conditional = 1.44 × 10), and a single signal 3 SNP (rs200229088: per-t allele OR ER = 1.12; 95% CI 1.09-1.15; p conditional = 1.12 × 10). Expression quantitative trait locus analysis in normal breast tissues and breast tumors showed that the g (risk) allele of rs10941679 was associated with increased expression of FGF10 and MRPS30. Functional assays demonstrated that SNP rs10941679 maps to an enhancer element that physically interacts with the FGF10 and MRPS30 promoter regions in breast cancer cell lines. FGF10 is an oncogene that binds to FGFR2 and is overexpressed in ∼10% of human breast cancers, whereas MRPS30 plays a key role in apoptosis. These data suggest that the strongest signal of association at 5p12 is mediated through coordinated activation of FGF10 and MRPS30, two candidate genes for breast cancer pathogenesis.
Copyright © 2016 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
AIMS - To investigate the hypothesis that alteration in histone acetylation/deacetylation triggers aberrant STAT1/MyD88 expression in macrophages from diabetics. Increased STAT1/MyD88 expression is correlated with sterile inflammation in type 1 diabetic (T1D) mice.
METHODS - To induce diabetes, we injected low-doses of streptozotocin in C57BL/6 mice. Peritoneal or bone marrow-differentiated macrophages were cultured in 5mM (low) or 25mM (high glucose). ChIP analysis of macrophages from nondiabetic or diabetic mice was performed to determine acetylation of lysine 9 in histone H3 in MyD88 and STAT1 promoter regions. Macrophages from diabetic mice were treated with the histone acetyltransferase inhibitor anacardic acid (AA), followed by determination of mRNA expression by qPCR.
RESULTS - Increased STAT1 and MyD88 expression in macrophages from diabetic but not naive mice cultured in low glucose persisted for up to 6days. Macrophages from diabetic mice exhibited increased activity of histone acetyltransferases (HAT) and decreased histone deacetylases (HDAC) activity. We detected increased H3K9Ac binding to Stat1/Myd88 promoters in macrophages from T1D mice and AA in vitro treatment reduced STAT1 and MyD88 mRNA expression.
CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION - These results indicate that histone acetylation drives elevated Stat1/Myd88 expression in macrophages from diabetic mice, and this mechanism may be involved in sterile inflammation and diabetes comorbidities.
Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.