Surface antigens on hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) enable prospective isolation and characterization. Here, we compare the cell-surface phenotype of hematopoietic repopulating cells from murine yolk sac, aorta-gonad-mesonephros, placenta, fetal liver, and bone marrow with that of HSCs derived from the in vitro differentiation of murine embryonic stem cells (ESC-HSCs). Whereas c-Kit marks all HSC populations, CD41, CD45, CD34, and CD150 were developmentally regulated: the earliest embryonic HSCs express CD41 and CD34 and lack CD45 and CD150, whereas more mature HSCs lack CD41 and CD34 and express CD45 and CD150. ESC-HSCs express CD41 and CD150, lack CD34, and are heterogeneous for CD45. Finally, although CD48 was absent from all in vivo HSCs examined, ESC-HSCs were heterogeneous for the expression of this molecule. This unique phenotype signifies a developmentally immature population of cells with features of both primitive and mature HSC. The prospective fractionation of ESC-HSCs will facilitate studies of HSC maturation essential for normal functional engraftment in irradiated adults.
CONTEXT: Fatty liver is an important complication of obesity; however, regulatory mechanisms mediating altered gene expression patterns have not been identified. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to identify novel transcriptional changes in human liver that could contribute to hepatic lipid accumulation and associated insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. DESIGN: We evaluated gene expression in surgical liver biopsies from 13 obese (nine with type 2 diabetes) and five control subjects using Affymetrix U133A microarrays. PCR validation was performed in liver biopsies using an additional 16 subjects. We also tested thyroid hormone responses in mice fed chow or high-fat diet. SETTING: Recruitment was performed in an academic medical center. PARTICIPANTS: Individuals undergoing elective surgery for obesity or gallstones participated in the study. RESULTS: The top-ranking gene set, down-regulated in obese subjects, was comprised of genes previously demonstrated to be positively regulated by T(3) in human skeletal muscle (n = 399; P < 0.001; false discovery rate = 0.07). This gene set included genes related to RNA metabolism (SNRPE, HNRPH3, TIA1, and SFRS2), protein catabolism (PSMA1, PSMD12, USP9X, IBE2B, USP16, and PCMT1), and energy metabolism (ATP5C1, COX7C, UQCRB). We verified thyroid hormone regulation of these genes in the liver after injection of C57BL/6J mice with T(3) (100 microg/100 g body weight); furthermore, T(3)-induced increases in expression of these genes were abolished by high-fat diet. In agreement, expression of these genes inversely correlated with liver fat content in humans. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that impaired thyroid hormone action may contribute to altered patterns of gene expression in fatty liver.
The ablation of Apc function or the constitutive activation of beta-catenin in embryonic mouse oral epithelium results in supernumerary tooth formation, but the underlying mechanisms and whether adult tissues retain this potential are unknown. Here we show that supernumerary teeth can form from multiple regions of the jaw and that they are properly mineralized, vascularized, innervated and can start to form roots. Even adult dental tissues can form new teeth in response to either epithelial Apc loss-of-function or beta-catenin activation, and the effect of Apc deficiency is mediated by beta-catenin. The formation of supernumerary teeth via Apc loss-of-function is non-cell-autonomous. A small number of Apc-deficient cells is sufficient to induce surrounding wild-type epithelial and mesenchymal cells to participate in the formation of new teeth. Strikingly, Msx1, which is necessary for endogenous tooth development, is dispensable for supernumerary tooth formation. In addition, we identify Fgf8, a known tooth initiation marker, as a direct target of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling. These studies identify key mechanistic features responsible for supernumerary tooth formation.
Chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (ChIP-seq) is a technique for genome-wide profiling of DNA-binding proteins, histone modifications or nucleosomes. Owing to the tremendous progress in next-generation sequencing technology, ChIP-seq offers higher resolution, less noise and greater coverage than its array-based predecessor ChIP-chip. With the decreasing cost of sequencing, ChIP-seq has become an indispensable tool for studying gene regulation and epigenetic mechanisms. In this Review, I describe the benefits and challenges in harnessing this technique with an emphasis on issues related to experimental design and data analysis. ChIP-seq experiments generate large quantities of data, and effective computational analysis will be crucial for uncovering biological mechanisms.
Eukaryotic DNA is wrapped around a histone protein core to constitute the fundamental repeating units of chromatin, the nucleosomes. The affinity of the histone core for DNA depends on the nucleotide sequence; however, it is unclear to what extent DNA sequence determines nucleosome positioning in vivo, and if the same rules of sequence-directed positioning apply to genomes of varying complexity. Using the data generated by high-throughput DNA sequencing combined with chromatin immunoprecipitation, we have identified positions of nucleosomes containing the H2A.Z histone variant and histone H3 trimethylated at lysine 4 in human CD4(+) T-cells. We find that the 10-bp periodicity observed in nucleosomal sequences in yeast and other organisms is not pronounced in human nucleosomal sequences. This result was confirmed for a broader set of mononucleosomal fragments that were not selected for any specific histone variant or modification. We also find that human H2A.Z nucleosomes protect only approximately 120 bp of DNA from MNase digestion and exhibit specific sequence preferences, suggesting a novel mechanism of nucleosome organization for the H2A.Z variant.
PURPOSE: Sunitinib (SU) is a multitargeted receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor of the vascular endothelial growth factor and platelet-derived growth factor receptors. The present study examined SU and radiotherapy (RT) in a genetically engineered mouse model of soft tissue sarcoma (STS). METHODS AND MATERIALS: Primary extremity STSs were generated in genetically engineered mice. The mice were randomized to treatment with SU, RT (10 Gy x 2), or both (SU+RT). Changes in the tumor vasculature before and after treatment were assessed in vivo using fluorescence-mediated tomography. The control and treated tumors were harvested and extensively analyzed. RESULTS: The mean fluorescence in the tumors was not decreased by RT but decreased 38-44% in tumors treated with SU or SU+RT. The control tumors grew to a mean of 1378 mm(3) after 12 days. SU alone or RT alone delayed tumor growth by 56% and 41%, respectively, but maximal growth inhibition (71%) was observed with the combination therapy. SU target effects were confirmed by loss of target receptor phosphorylation and alterations in SU-related gene expression. Cancer cell proliferation was decreased and apoptosis increased in the SU and RT groups, with a synergistic effect on apoptosis observed in the SU+RT group. RT had a minimal effect on the tumor microvessel density and endothelial cell-specific apoptosis, but SU alone or SU+RT decreased the microvessel density by >66% and induced significant endothelial cell apoptosis. CONCLUSION: SU inhibited STS growth by effects on both cancer cells and tumor vasculature. SU also augmented the efficacy of RT, suggesting that this combination strategy could improve local control of STS.
MOTIVATION: Type 2 diabetes is a chronic metabolic disease that involves both environmental and genetic factors. To understand the genetics of type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance, the DIabetes Genome Anatomy Project (DGAP) was launched to profile gene expression in a variety of related animal models and human subjects. We asked whether these heterogeneous models can be integrated to provide consistent and robust biological insights into the biology of insulin resistance. RESULTS: We perform integrative analysis of the 16 DGAP data sets that span multiple tissues, conditions, array types, laboratories, species, genetic backgrounds and study designs. For each data set, we identify differentially expressed genes compared with control. Then, for the combined data, we rank genes according to the frequency with which they were found to be statistically significant across data sets. This analysis reveals RetSat as a widely shared component of mechanisms involved in insulin resistance and sensitivity and adds to the growing importance of the retinol pathway in diabetes, adipogenesis and insulin resistance. Top candidates obtained from our analysis have been confirmed in recent laboratory studies.
The basal forebrain (BF) cholinergic system is selectively vulnerable in human brain diseases, while the cholinergic groups in the upper pons of the brainstem (BS) resist neurodegeneration. Cholinergic neurons (200 per region per animal) were laser-microdissected from five young (8 months) and five aged (24 months) F344 rats from the BF and the BS pontine lateral dorsal tegmental/pedunculopontine nuclei (LDTN/PPN) and their expression profiles were obtained. The bioinformatics program SigPathway was used to identify gene groups and pathways that were selectively affected by aging. In the BF cholinergic system, aging most significantly altered genes involved with a variety of metabolic functions. In contrast, BS cholinergic neuronal age effects included gene groupings related to neuronal plasticity and a broad range of normal cellular functions. Transcription factor GA-binding protein alpha (GABPalpha), which controls expression of nuclear genes encoding mitochondrial proteins, was more strongly upregulated in the BF cholinergic neurons (+107%) than in the BS cholinergic population (+40%). The results suggest that aging elicits elevates metabolic activity in cholinergic populations and that this occurs to a much greater degree in the BF group than in the BS group.
Human cancer cells typically harbour multiple chromosomal aberrations, nucleotide substitutions and epigenetic modifications that drive malignant transformation. The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) pilot project aims to assess the value of large-scale multi-dimensional analysis of these molecular characteristics in human cancer and to provide the data rapidly to the research community. Here we report the interim integrative analysis of DNA copy number, gene expression and DNA methylation aberrations in 206 glioblastomas--the most common type of adult brain cancer--and nucleotide sequence aberrations in 91 of the 206 glioblastomas. This analysis provides new insights into the roles of ERBB2, NF1 and TP53, uncovers frequent mutations of the phosphatidylinositol-3-OH kinase regulatory subunit gene PIK3R1, and provides a network view of the pathways altered in the development of glioblastoma. Furthermore, integration of mutation, DNA methylation and clinical treatment data reveals a link between MGMT promoter methylation and a hypermutator phenotype consequent to mismatch repair deficiency in treated glioblastomas, an observation with potential clinical implications. Together, these findings establish the feasibility and power of TCGA, demonstrating that it can rapidly expand knowledge of the molecular basis of cancer.
According to the prevailing view, mammalian X chromosomes are enriched in spermatogenesis genes expressed before meiosis and deficient in spermatogenesis genes expressed after meiosis. The paucity of postmeiotic genes on the X chromosome has been interpreted as a consequence of meiotic sex chromosome inactivation (MSCI)--the complete silencing of genes on the XY bivalent at meiotic prophase. Recent studies have concluded that MSCI-initiated silencing persists beyond meiosis and that most genes on the X chromosome remain repressed in round spermatids. Here, we report that 33 multicopy gene families, representing approximately 273 mouse X-linked genes, are expressed in the testis and that this expression is predominantly in postmeiotic cells. RNA FISH and microarray analysis show that the maintenance of X chromosome postmeiotic repression is incomplete. Furthermore, X-linked multicopy genes exhibit a similar degree of expression as autosomal genes. Thus, not only is the mouse X chromosome enriched for spermatogenesis genes functioning before meiosis, but in addition, approximately 18% of mouse X-linked genes are expressed in postmeiotic cells.
Primary central nervous system (CNS) lymphoma (PCNSL) is a diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) confined to the CNS. A genome-wide gene expression comparison between PCNSL and non-CNS DLBCL was performed, the latter consisting of both nodal and extranodal DLBCL (nDLBCL and enDLBCL), to identify a "CNS signature." Pathway analysis with the program SigPathway revealed that PCNSL is characterized notably by significant differential expression of multiple extracellular matrix (ECM) and adhesion-related pathways. The most significantly up-regulated gene is the ECM-related osteopontin (SPP1). Expression at the protein level of ECM-related SPP1 and CHI3L1 in PCNSL cells was demonstrated by immunohistochemistry. The alterations in gene expression can be interpreted within several biologic contexts with implications for PCNSL, including CNS tropism (ECM and adhesion-related pathways, SPP1, DDR1), B-cell migration (CXCL13, SPP1), activated B-cell subtype (MUM1), lymphoproliferation (SPP1, TCL1A, CHI3L1), aggressive clinical behavior (SPP1, CHI3L1, MUM1), and aggressive metastatic cancer phenotype (SPP1, CHI3L1). The gene expression signature discovered in our study may represent a true "CNS signature" because we contrasted PCNSL with wide-spectrum non-CNS DLBCL on a genomic scale and performed an in-depth bioinformatic analysis.
An association between hormones and meningioma has been postulated. No data exist that examine gene expression in meningioma by hormone receptor status. The data are surgical specimens from 31 meningioma patients undergoing neurosurgical resection at Brigham and Women's Hospital from March 15, 2004 to May 10, 2005. Progesterone and estrogen hormone receptors (PR and ER, respectively) were measured via immunohistochemistry and compared with gene expression profiling results. The sample is 77% female with a mean age of 55.7 years. Eighty percent were grade 1 and the mean MIB was 6.2, whereas 33% and 84% were ER+ and PR+, respectively. Gene expression seemed more strongly associated with PR status than with ER status. Genes on the long arm of chromosome 22 and near the neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF2) gene (22q12) were most frequently noted to have expression variation, with significant up-regulation in PR+ versus PR- lesions, suggesting a higher rate of 22q loss in PR- lesions. Pathway analyses indicated that genes in collagen and extracellular matrix pathways were most likely to be differentially expressed by PR status. These data, although preliminary, are the first to examine gene expression for meningioma cases by hormone receptor status and indicate a stronger association with PR than with ER status. PR status is related to the expression of genes near the NF2 gene, mutations in which have been identified as the initial event in many meningiomas. These findings suggest that PR status may be a clinical marker for genetic subgroups of meningioma and warrant further examination in a larger data set.
UNLABELLED: Accurate estimation of DNA copy numbers from array comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) data is important for characterizing the cancer genome. An important part of this process is the segmentation of the log-ratios between the sample and control DNA along the chromosome into regions of different copy numbers. However, multiple algorithms are available in the literature for this procedure and the results can vary substantially among these. Thus, a visualization tool that can display the segmented profiles from a number of methods can be helpful to the biologist or the clinician to ascertain that a feature of interest did not arise as an artifact of the algorithm. Such a tool also allows the methodologist to easily contrast his method against others. We developed a web-based tool that applies a number of popular algorithms to a single array CGH profile entered by the user. It generates a heatmap panel of the segmented profiles for each method as well as a consensus profile. The clickable heatmap can be moved along the chromosome and zoomed in or out. It also displays the time that each algorithm took and provides numerical values of the segmented profiles for download. The web interface calls algorithms written in the statistical language R. We encourage developers of new algorithms to submit their routines to be incorporated into the website. AVAILABILITY: http://compbio.med.harvard.edu/CGHweb.
Recent progress in massively parallel sequencing platforms has enabled genome-wide characterization of DNA-associated proteins using the combination of chromatin immunoprecipitation and sequencing (ChIP-seq). Although a variety of methods exist for analysis of the established alternative ChIP microarray (ChIP-chip), few approaches have been described for processing ChIP-seq data. To fill this gap, we propose an analysis pipeline specifically designed to detect protein-binding positions with high accuracy. Using previously reported data sets for three transcription factors, we illustrate methods for improving tag alignment and correcting for background signals. We compare the sensitivity and spatial precision of three peak detection algorithms with published methods, demonstrating gains in spatial precision when an asymmetric distribution of tags on positive and negative strands is considered. We also analyze the relationship between the depth of sequencing and characteristics of the detected binding positions, and provide a method for estimating the sequencing depth necessary for a desired coverage of protein binding sites.
Throughout development, cell fate decisions are converted into epigenetic information that determines cellular identity. Covalent histone modifications are heritable epigenetic marks and are hypothesized to play a central role in this process. In this report, we assess the concordance of histone H3 lysine 4 dimethylation (H3K4me2) and trimethylation (H3K4me3) on a genome-wide scale in erythroid development by analyzing pluripotent, multipotent, and unipotent cell types. Although H3K4me2 and H3K4me3 are concordant at most genes, multipotential hematopoietic cells have a subset of genes that are differentially methylated (H3K4me2+/me3-). These genes are transcriptionally silent, highly enriched in lineage-specific hematopoietic genes, and uniquely susceptible to differentiation-induced H3K4 demethylation. Self-renewing embryonic stem cells, which restrict H3K4 methylation to genes that contain CpG islands (CGIs), lack H3K4me2+/me3- genes. These data reveal distinct epigenetic regulation of CGI and non-CGI genes during development and indicate an interactive relationship between DNA sequence and differential H3K4 methylation in lineage-specific differentiation.
Next-generation sequencing is poised to unleash dramatic changes in every area of molecular biology. In the past few years, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) on tiled microarrays (ChIP-chip) has been an important tool for genome-wide mapping of DNA-binding proteins or histone modifications. Now, ChIP followed by direct sequencing of DNA fragments (ChIP-seq) offers superior data with less noise and higher resolution and is likely to replace ChIP-chip in the near future. We will describe advantages of this new technology and outline some of the issues in dealing with the data. ChIP-seq generates considerably larger quantities of data and the most challenging aspect for investigators will be computational and statistical analysis necessary to uncover biological insights hidden in the data.
Array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) is a technique for measuring chromosomal aberrations in genomic DNA. With the availability of high-resolution microarrays, detailed characterization of the cancer genome has become possible. In this review, we discuss several issues in the generation and interpretation of aCGH data, including array platforms, experimental design, and data analysis. Due to the complexity of the data, application of appropriate statistical methods is crucial for avoiding false positive findings. We also describe integration of copy number data with other types of data to identify functional significance of observed aberrations.
MOTIVATION: DNA copy number aberrations (CNAs) and gene expression (GE) changes provide valuable information for studying chromosomal instability and its consequences in cancer. While it is clear that the structural aberrations and the transcript levels are intertwined, their relationship is more complex and subtle than initially suspected. Most studies so far have focused on how a CNA affects the expression levels of those genes contained within that CNA. RESULTS: To better understand the impact of CNAs on expression, we investigated the correlation of each CNA to all other genes in the genome. The correlations are computed over multiple patients that have both expression and copy number measurements in brain, bladder and breast cancer data sets. We find that a CNA has a direct impact on the gene amplified or deleted, but it also has a broad, indirect impact elsewhere. To identify a set of CNAs that is coordinately associated with the expression changes of a set of genes, we used a biclustering algorithm on the correlation matrix. For each of the three cancer types examined, the aberrations in several loci are associated with cancer-type specific biological pathways that have been described in the literature: CNAs of chromosome (chr) 7p13 were significantly correlated with epidermal growth factor receptor signaling pathway in glioblastoma multiforme, chr 13q with NF-kappaB cascades in bladder cancer, and chr 11p with Reck pathway in breast cancer. In all three data sets, gene sets related to cell cycle/division such as M phase, DNA replication and cell division were also associated with CNAs. Our results suggest that CNAs are both directly and indirectly correlated with changes in expression and that it is beneficial to examine the indirect effects of CNAs. AVAILABILITY: The code is available upon request.
The male-specific lethal (MSL) complex upregulates the single male X chromosome to achieve dosage compensation in Drosophila melanogaster. We have proposed that MSL recognition of specific entry sites on the X is followed by local targeting of active genes marked by histone H3 trimethylation (H3K36me3). Here we analyze the role of the MSL3 chromodomain in the second targeting step. Using ChIP-chip analysis, we find that MSL3 chromodomain mutants retain binding to chromatin entry sites but show a clear disruption in the full pattern of MSL targeting in vivo, consistent with a loss of spreading. Furthermore, when compared to wild type, chromodomain mutants lack preferential affinity for nucleosomes containing H3K36me3 in vitro. Our results support a model in which activating complexes, similarly to their silencing counterparts, use the nucleosomal binding specificity of their respective chromodomains to spread from initiation sites to flanking chromatin.
The distribution of nucleosomes along the genome is a significant aspect of chromatin structure and is thought to influence gene regulation through modulation of DNA accessibility. However, properties of nucleosome organization remain poorly understood, particularly in mammalian genomes. Toward this goal we used tiled microarrays to identify stable nucleosome positions along the HOX gene clusters in human cell lines. We show that nucleosome positions exhibit sequence properties and long-range organization that are different from those characterized in other organisms. Despite overall variability of internucleosome distances, specific loci contain regular nucleosomal arrays with 195-bp periodicity. Moreover, such arrays tend to occur preferentially toward the 3' ends of genes. Through comparison of different cell lines, we find that active transcription is correlated with increased positioning of nucleosomes, suggesting an unexpected role for transcription in the establishment of well-positioned nucleosomes.