Research publications

Found 28 publicacions matching the indicated search criteria.
Lu TT, Heyne S, Dror E, Casas E, Leonhardt L, Boenke T, Yang CH, Arrigoni L, Dalgaard K, Teperino R, Enders L, Selvaraj M, Ruf M, Raja SJ, Xie H, Boenisch U, Orkin SH, Lynn FC, Hoffman BG, Grün D, Vavouri T, Lempradl AM, Pospisilik JA

The Polycomb-Dependent Epigenome Controls β Cell Dysfunction, Dedifferentiation, and Diabetes.

Cell Metab. 4 May 2018, . Epub 4 May 2018
To date, it remains largely unclear to what extent chromatin machinery contributes to the susceptibility and progression of complex diseases. Here, we combine deep epigenome mapping with single-cell transcriptomics to mine for evidence of chromatin dysregulation in type 2 diabetes. We find two chromatin-state signatures that track β cell dysfunction in mice and humans: ectopic activation of bivalent Polycomb-silenced domains and loss of expression at an epigenomically unique class of lineage-defining genes. β cell-specific Polycomb (Eed/PRC2) loss of function in mice triggers diabetes-mimicking transcriptional signatures and highly penetrant, hyperglycemia-independent dedifferentiation, indicating that PRC2 dysregulation contributes to disease. The work provides novel resources for exploring β cell transcriptional regulation and identifies PRC2 as necessary for long-term maintenance of β cell identity. Importantly, the data suggest a two-hit (chromatin and hyperglycemia) model for loss of β cell identity in diabetes.
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Manils J, Fischer H, Climent J, Casas E, García-Martínez C, Bas J, Sukseree S, Vavouri T, Ciruela F, de Anta JM, Tschachler E, Eckhart L, Soler C

Double deficiency of Trex2 and DNase1L2 nucleases leads to accumulation of DNA in lingual cornifying keratinocytes without activating inflammatory responses.

Sci Rep 19 Sep 2017, 7 (1) 11902. Epub 19 Sep 2017
The cornification of keratinocytes on the surface of skin and oral epithelia is associated with the degradation of nuclear DNA. The endonuclease DNase1L2 and the exonuclease Trex2 are expressed specifically in cornifying keratinocytes. Deletion of DNase1L2 causes retention of nuclear DNA in the tongue epithelium but not in the skin. Here we report that lack of Trex2 results in the accumulation of DNA fragments in the cytoplasm of cornifying lingual keratinocytes and co-deletion of DNase1L2 and Trex2 causes massive accumulation of DNA fragments throughout the cornified layers of the tongue epithelium. By contrast, cornification-associated DNA breakdown was not compromised in the epidermis. Aberrant retention of DNA in the tongue epithelium was associated neither with enhanced expression of DNA-driven response genes, such as Ifnb, Irf7 and Cxcl10, nor with inflammation. Of note, the expression of Tlr9, Aim2 and Tmem173, key DNA sensor genes, was markedly lower in keratinocytes and keratinocyte-built tissues than in macrophages and immune tissues, and DNA-driven response genes were not induced by introduction of DNA in keratinocytes. Altogether, our results indicate that DNase1L2 and Trex2 cooperate in the breakdown and degradation of DNA during cornification of lingual keratinocytes and aberrant DNA retention is tolerated in the oral epithelium.
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Klosin A, Reis K, Hidalgo-Carcedo C, Casas E, Vavouri T, Lehner B

Impaired DNA replication derepresses chromatin and generates a transgenerationally inherited epigenetic memory.

Sci Adv Aug 2017, 3 (8) e1701143. Epub 16 Aug 2017
Impaired DNA replication is a hallmark of cancer and a cause of genomic instability. We report that, in addition to causing genetic change, impaired DNA replication during embryonic development can have major epigenetic consequences for a genome. In a genome-wide screen, we identified impaired DNA replication as a cause of increased expression from a repressed transgene in Caenorhabditis elegans. The acquired expression state behaved as an "epiallele," being inherited for multiple generations before fully resetting. Derepression was not restricted to the transgene but was caused by a global reduction in heterochromatin-associated histone modifications due to the impaired retention of modified histones on DNA during replication in the early embryo. Impaired DNA replication during development can therefore globally derepress chromatin, creating new intergenerationally inherited epigenetic expression states.
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Klosin A, Casas E, Hidalgo-Carcedo C, Vavouri T, Lehner B

Transgenerational transmission of environmental information in C. elegans.

Science 21 Apr 2017, 356 (6335) 320-323.
The environment experienced by an animal can sometimes influence gene expression for one or a few subsequent generations. Here, we report the observation that a temperature-induced change in expression from a Caenorhabditis elegans heterochromatic gene array can endure for at least 14 generations. Inheritance is primarily in cis with the locus, occurs through both oocytes and sperm, and is associated with altered trimethylation of histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9me3) before the onset of zygotic transcription. Expression profiling reveals that temperature-induced expression from endogenous repressed repeats can also be inherited for multiple generations. Long-lasting epigenetic memory of environmental change is therefore possible in this animal.
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Jordà M, Díez-Villanueva A, Mallona I, Martín B, Lois S, Barrera V, Esteller M, Vavouri T, Peinado MA

The epigenetic landscape of Alu repeats delineates the structural and functional genomic architecture of colon cancer cells.

Genome Res. Jan 2017, 27 (1) 118-132. Epub 20 Dec 2016
Cancer cells exhibit multiple epigenetic changes with prominent local DNA hypermethylation and widespread hypomethylation affecting large chromosomal domains. Epigenome studies often disregard the study of repeat elements owing to technical complexity and their undefined role in genome regulation. We have developed NSUMA (Next-generation Sequencing of UnMethylated Alu), a cost-effective approach allowing the unambiguous interrogation of DNA methylation in more than 130,000 individual Alu elements, the most abundant retrotransposon in the human genome. DNA methylation profiles of Alu repeats have been analyzed in colon cancers and normal tissues using NSUMA and whole-genome bisulfite sequencing. Normal cells show a low proportion of unmethylated Alu (1%-4%) that may increase up to 10-fold in cancer cells. In normal cells, unmethylated Alu elements tend to locate in the vicinity of functionally rich regions and display epigenetic features consistent with a direct impact on genome regulation. In cancer cells, Alu repeats are more resistant to hypomethylation than other retroelements. Genome segmentation based on high/low rates of Alu hypomethylation allows the identification of genomic compartments with differential genetic, epigenetic, and transcriptomic features. Alu hypomethylated regions show low transcriptional activity, late DNA replication, and its extent is associated with higher chromosomal instability. Our analysis demonstrates that Alu retroelements contribute to define the epigenetic landscape of normal and cancer cells and provides a unique resource on the epigenetic dynamics of a principal, but largely unexplored, component of the primate genome.
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Manils J, Casas E, Viña-Vilaseca A, López-Cano M, Díez-Villanueva A, Gómez D, Marruecos L, Ferran M, Benito C, Perrino FW, Vavouri T, de Anta JM, Ciruela F, Soler C

The Exonuclease Trex2 Shapes Psoriatic Phenotype.

J. Invest. Dermatol. Dec 2016, 136 (12) 2345-2355. Epub 27 Jun 2016
Trex2 is a keratinocyte-specific 3'-deoxyribonuclease that participates in the maintenance of skin homeostasis after DNA damage. Here, we show that this exonuclease is strongly upregulated in human psoriasis, a hyperproliferative and inflammatory skin disease. Similarly, the imiquimod (IMQ)- and Il23-induced mouse psoriasis was associated with a substantial upregulation of Trex2, which was recruited into fragmented chromatin in keratinocytes that were undergoing impaired proliferation, differentiation, and cell death, indicating an important role in DNA processing. Using Trex2 knockout mice, we have found that Trex2 deficiency attenuated IMQ-induced psoriasis-like skin inflammation and enhanced IMQ-induced parakeratosis. Also, Il23-induced ear swelling was diminished in Trex2 knockout mice in comparison with wild-type (wt) mice. Transcriptome analysis identified multiple genes that were deregulated by Trex2 loss after treatment with IMQ. Specifically, immune response genes and pathways normally associated with inflammation were downregulated, whereas those related to skin differentiation and chromatin biology showed increased expression. Interestingly, Trex2 deficiency led to decreased IMQ-induced keratinocyte death via both cell autonomous and noncell autonomous mechanisms. Hence, our data indicate that Trex2 acts as a critical factor in the pathogenesis of psoriasis by promoting keratinocyte apoptosis and enucleation and thereby influencing skin immune responses.
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Dalgaard K, Landgraf K, Heyne S, Lempradl A, Longinotto J, Gossens K, Ruf M, Orthofer M, Strogantsev R, Selvaraj M, Lu TT, Casas E, Teperino R, Surani MA, Zvetkova I, Rimmington D, Tung YC, Lam B, Larder R, Yeo GS, O'Rahilly S, Vavouri T, Whitelaw E, Penninger JM, Jenuwein T, Cheung CL, Ferguson-Smith AC, Coll AP, Körner A, Pospisilik JA

Trim28 Haploinsufficiency Triggers Bi-stable Epigenetic Obesity.

Cell 28 Jan 2016, 164 (3) 353-64.
More than one-half billion people are obese, and despite progress in genetic research, much of the heritability of obesity remains enigmatic. Here, we identify a Trim28-dependent network capable of triggering obesity in a non-Mendelian, "on/off" manner. Trim28(+/D9) mutant mice exhibit a bi-modal body-weight distribution, with isogenic animals randomly emerging as either normal or obese and few intermediates. We find that the obese-"on" state is characterized by reduced expression of an imprinted gene network including Nnat, Peg3, Cdkn1c, and Plagl1 and that independent targeting of these alleles recapitulates the stochastic bi-stable disease phenotype. Adipose tissue transcriptome analyses in children indicate that humans too cluster into distinct sub-populations, stratifying according to Trim28 expression, transcriptome organization, and obesity-associated imprinted gene dysregulation. These data provide evidence of discrete polyphenism in mouse and man and thus carry important implications for complex trait genetics, evolution, and medicine. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
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Pantano L, Jodar M, Bak M, Ballescà JL, Tommerup N, Oliva R, Vavouri T

The small RNA content of human sperm reveals pseudogene-derived piRNAs complementary to protein-coding genes.

RNA Jun 2015, 21 (6) 1085-95. Epub 22 Apr 2015
At the end of mammalian sperm development, sperm cells expel most of their cytoplasm and dispose of the majority of their RNA. Yet, hundreds of RNA molecules remain in mature sperm. The biological significance of the vast majority of these molecules is unclear. To better understand the processes that generate sperm small RNAs and what roles they may have, we sequenced and characterized the small RNA content of sperm samples from two human fertile individuals. We detected 182 microRNAs, some of which are highly abundant. The most abundant microRNA in sperm is miR-1246 with predicted targets among sperm-specific genes. The most abundant class of small noncoding RNAs in sperm are PIWI-interacting RNAs (piRNAs). Surprisingly, we found that human sperm cells contain piRNAs processed from pseudogenes. Clusters of piRNAs from human testes contain pseudogenes transcribed in the antisense strand and processed into small RNAs. Several human protein-coding genes contain antisense predicted targets of pseudogene-derived piRNAs in the male germline and these piRNAs are still found in mature sperm. Our study provides the most extensive data set and annotation of human sperm small RNAs to date and is a resource for further functional studies on the roles of sperm small RNAs. In addition, we propose that some of the pseudogene-derived human piRNAs may regulate expression of their parent gene in the male germline.
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Öst A, Lempradl A, Casas E, Weigert M, Tiko T, Deniz M, Pantano L, Boenisch U, Itskov PM, Stoeckius M, Ruf M, Rajewsky N, Reuter G, Iovino N, Ribeiro C, Alenius M, Heyne S, Vavouri T, Pospisilik JA

Paternal diet defines offspring chromatin state and intergenerational obesity.

Cell 4 Dec 2014, 159 (6) 1352-64.
The global rise in obesity has revitalized a search for genetic and epigenetic factors underlying the disease. We present a Drosophila model of paternal-diet-induced intergenerational metabolic reprogramming (IGMR) and identify genes required for its encoding in offspring. Intriguingly, we find that as little as 2 days of dietary intervention in fathers elicits obesity in offspring. Paternal sugar acts as a physiological suppressor of variegation, desilencing chromatin-state-defined domains in both mature sperm and in offspring embryos. We identify requirements for H3K9/K27me3-dependent reprogramming of metabolic genes in two distinct germline and zygotic windows. Critically, we find evidence that a similar system may regulate obesity susceptibility and phenotype variation in mice and humans. The findings provide insight into the mechanisms underlying intergenerational metabolic reprogramming and carry profound implications for our understanding of phenotypic variation and evolution.
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Castillo J, Amaral A, Azpiazu R, Vavouri T, Estanyol JM, Ballescà JL, Oliva R

Genomic and proteomic dissection and characterization of the human sperm chromatin.

Mol. Hum. Reprod. Nov 2014, 20 (11) 1041-53. Epub 5 Sep 2014
The mammalian spermatozoon has a unique chromatin structure where the majority of DNA is packaged by protamines, while a small fraction (∼8%) remains associated with nucleosomes. However, the chromatin affinity and repertoire of the additional proteins constituting the different sperm chromatin fractions have not yet been explored. To address this we have carried out a genomic and proteomic characterization of human sperm samples subjected to chromatin fractionation using either 0.65 M NaCl extraction followed by EcoRI/BamHI DNA restriction enzyme digestion, or micrococcal nuclease digestion. DNA fractions corresponding to the nucleosome-packaged DNA were sequenced, confirming an appropriate dissection of the sperm chromatin. In addition we detected and sequenced a subnucleosomal particle. Although both fractions were highly enriched at gene promoters, some sequences were found to be exclusively associated with one of those. The results of the proteomic analyses demonstrate that there are two distinct sets of sperm proteins which differ in chromatin affinity. Histone variants, transcription factors, chromatin-associated and modifying proteins involved in regulatory roles were identified as weakly attached to the sperm DNA, whereas proteins with structural roles were identified in the condensed fraction. Many factors, such as the histone lysine demethylase PHF8 identified for the first time in the human sperm cell in this study, were identified exclusively in soluble fraction. Our results provide additional support to the possibility that all of these factors may constitute additional layers of sperm epigenetic information or have structural or regulatory roles transmitted by the sperm cell to the oocyte at fertilization.
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