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Research in to the basic, epidemiological, preventive, clinical and translational aspects of leukemia and other hematologic malignancies

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Recent publications

Marjanović MP, Hurtado-Bagès S, Lassi M, Valero V, Malinverni R, Delage H, Navarro M, Corujo D, Guberovic I, Douet J, Gama-Perez P, Garcia-Roves PM, Ahel I, Ladurner AG, Yanes O, Bouvet P, Suelves M, Teperino R, Pospisilik JA, Buschbeck M

MacroH2A1.1 regulates mitochondrial respiration by limiting nuclear NAD(+) consumption.

Nat. Struct. Mol. Biol. 9 Oct 2017, . Epub 9 Oct 2017
Histone variants are structural components of eukaryotic chromatin that can replace replication-coupled histones in the nucleosome. The histone variant macroH2A1.1 contains a macrodomain capable of binding NAD(+)-derived metabolites. Here we report that macroH2A1.1 is rapidly induced during myogenic differentiation through a switch in alternative splicing, and that myotubes that lack macroH2A1.1 have a defect in mitochondrial respiratory capacity. We found that the metabolite-binding macrodomain was essential for sustained optimal mitochondrial function but dispensable for gene regulation. Through direct binding, macroH2A1.1 inhibits basal poly-ADP ribose polymerase 1 (PARP-1) activity and thus reduces nuclear NAD(+) consumption. The resultant accumulation of the NAD(+) precursor NMN allows for maintenance of mitochondrial NAD(+) pools that are critical for respiration. Our data indicate that macroH2A1.1-containing chromatin regulates mitochondrial respiration by limiting nuclear NAD(+) consumption and establishing a buffer of NAD(+) precursors in differentiated cells.
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Lo Re O, Fusilli C, Rappa F, Van Haele M, Douet J, Pindjakova J, Rocha SW, Pata I, Valčíková B, Uldrijan S, Yeung RS, Peixoto CA, Roskams T, Buschbeck M, Mazza T, Vinciguerra M

Induction of cancer cell stemness by depletion of macrohistone H2A1 in hepatocellular carcinoma.

Hepatology 15 Sep 2017, . Epub 15 Sep 2017
Hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) contain a sub-population of cancer stem cells (CSCs), which exhibit stem-cell like features and are responsible for tumor relapse, metastasis, and chemoresistance. The development of effective treatments for HCC will depend on a molecular-level understanding of the specific pathways driving CSC emergence and stemness. MacroH2A1 is a variant of the histone H2A and an epigenetic regulator of stem cell function, where it promotes differentiation and, conversely, acts as a barrier to somatic cell reprogramming. Here we focused on the role played by the histone variant macroH2A1 as a potential epigenetic factor promoting CSC differentiation. In human HCC sections we uncovered a significant correlation between low frequencies of macroH2A1 staining and advanced, aggressive HCC subtypes with poorly-differentiated tumor phenotypes. Using HCC cell lines we found that shRNA-mediated macroH2A1 knock-down induces acquisition of CSC-like features, including the growth of significantly larger and less-differentiated tumors when injected into nude mice. MacroH2A1-depleted HCC cells also exhibited reduced proliferation, resistance to chemotherapeutic agents, and stem-like metabolic changes consistent with enhanced hypoxia responses and increased glycolysis. The loss of macroH2A1 increased expression of a panel of stemness-associated genes, and drove hyper-activation of the NF-κBp65 pathway. Blocking phosphorylation of NF-κBp65 on Ser536 inhibited the emergence of CSC-like features in HCC cells knocked-down for macroH2A1.
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Torres-Ruiz R, Martinez-Lage M, Martin MC, Garcia A, Bueno C, Castaño J, Ramirez JC, Menendez P, Cigudosa JC, Rodriguez-Perales S

Efficient Recreation of t(11;22) EWSR1-FLI1(+) in Human Stem Cells Using CRISPR/Cas9.

Stem Cell Reports 9 May 2017, 8 (5) 1408-1420.
Efficient methodologies for recreating cancer-associated chromosome translocations are in high demand as tools for investigating how such events initiate cancer. The CRISPR/Cas9 system has been used to reconstruct the genetics of these complex rearrangements at native loci while maintaining the architecture and regulatory elements. However, the CRISPR system remains inefficient in human stem cells. Here, we compared three strategies aimed at enhancing the efficiency of the CRISPR-mediated t(11;22) translocation in human stem cells, including mesenchymal and induced pluripotent stem cells: (1) using end-joining DNA processing factors involved in repair mechanisms, or (2) ssODNs to guide the ligation of the double-strand break ends generated by CRISPR/Cas9; and (3) all-in-one plasmid or ribonucleoprotein complex-based approaches. We report that the generation of targeted t(11;22) is significantly increased by using a combination of ribonucleoprotein complexes and ssODNs. The CRISPR/Cas9-mediated generation of targeted t(11;22) in human stem cells opens up new avenues in modeling Ewing sarcoma.
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Romero-Moya D, Santos-Ocaña C, Castaño J, Garrabou G, Rodríguez-Gómez JA, Ruiz-Bonilla V, Bueno C, González-Rodriguez P, Giorgetti A, Perdiguero E, Prieto C, Moren-Nuñez C, Fernández-Ayala DJ, Cascajo MV, Velasco I, Canals JM, Montero R, Yubero D, Jou C, López-Barneo J, Cardellach F, Muñoz-Cánoves P, Artuch R, Navas P, Menéndez P

Genetic rescue of Mitochondrial and Skeletal Muscle Impairment in an IPSCs Model of Coenzyme Q10 Deficiency.

Stem Cells 4 May 2017, . Epub 4 May 2017
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10 ) plays a crucial role in mitochondria as an electron carrier within the mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC), and is an essential antioxidant. Mutations in genes responsible for CoQ10 biosynthesis (COQ genes) cause primary CoQ10 deficiency, a rare and heterogeneous mitochondrial disorder with no clear genotype-phenotype association, mainly affecting tissues with high-energy demand including brain and skeletal muscle (SkM). Here, we report a 4-year old girl diagnosed with minor mental retardation and lethal rhabdomyolysis harboring a heterozygous mutation (c.483G>C (E161D)) in COQ4. The patient's fibroblasts showed a decrease in [CoQ10 ], CoQ10 biosynthesis, MRC activity affecting complexes I/II+III, and respiration defects. Bona fide induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSCs) lines carrying the COQ4 mutation (CQ4-iPSCs) were generated, characterized and genetically edited using the CRISPR-Cas9 system (CQ4(ed) -iPSCs). Extensive differentiation and metabolic assays of control-iPSCs, CQ4-iPSCs and CQ4(ed) -iPSCs demonstrated a genotype association, reproducing the disease phenotype. The COQ4 mutation in iPSC was associated with CoQ10 deficiency, metabolic dysfunction, and respiration defects. iPSC differentiation into SkM was compromised, and the resulting SkM also displayed respiration defects. Remarkably, iPSC differentiation in dopaminergic or motor neurons was unaffected. This study offers an unprecedented iPSC model recapitulating CoQ10 deficiency-associated functional and metabolic phenotypes caused by COQ4 mutation. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
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Pesarrodona M, Crosas E, Cubarsi R, Sánchez-Chardi A, Saccardo P, Unzueta U, Rueda F, Sanchez-García L, Serna N, Mangues R, Ferrer-Miralles N, Vázquez E, Villaverde A

Intrinsic functional and architectonic heterogeneity of tumor-targeted protein nanoparticles.

Nanoscale 2 May 2017, . Epub 2 May 2017
Self-assembling proteins are gaining attention as building blocks for application-tailored nanoscale materials. This is mostly due to the biocompatibility, biodegradability, and functional versatility of peptide chains. Such a potential for adaptability is particularly high in the case of recombinant proteins, which are produced in living cells and are suitable for genetic engineering. However, how the cell factory itself and the particular protein folding machinery influence the architecture and function of the final material is still poorly explored. In this study we have used diverse analytical approaches, including small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) to determine the fine architecture and geometry of recombinant, tumor-targeted protein nanoparticles of interest as drug carriers, constructed on a GFP-based modular scheme. A set of related oligomers were produced in alternative Escherichia coli strains with variant protein folding networks. This resulted in highly regular populations of morphometric types, ranging from 2.4 to 28 nm and from spherical- to rod-shaped materials. These differential geometric species, whose relative proportions were determined by the features of the producing strain, were found associated with particular fluorescence emission, cell penetrability and receptor specificity profiles. Then, nanoparticles with optimal properties could be analytically identified and further isolated from producing cells for use. The cell's protein folding machinery greatly modulates the final geometry reached by the constructs, which in turn defines the key parameters and biological performance of the material.
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