Recent publications

Català-Moll F, Ferreté-Bonastre AG, Godoy-Tena G, Morante-Palacios O, Ciudad L, Barberà L, Fondelli F, Martínez-Cáceres EM, Rodríguez-Ubreva J, Li T, Ballestar E

Vitamin D receptor, STAT3, and TET2 cooperate to establish tolerogenesis.

Cell Rep 18 Jan 2022, 38 (3) 110244.
The active form of vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3, induces a stable tolerogenic phenotype in dendritic cells (DCs). This process involves the vitamin D receptor (VDR), which translocates to the nucleus, binds its cognate genomic sites, and promotes epigenetic and transcriptional remodeling. In this study, we report the occurrence of vitamin D-specific DNA demethylation and transcriptional activation at VDR binding sites associated with the acquisition of tolerogenesis in vitro. Differentiation to tolerogenic DCs associates with activation of the IL-6-JAK-STAT3 pathway. We show that JAK2-mediated STAT3 phosphorylation is specific to vitamin D stimulation. VDR and the phosphorylated form of STAT3 interact with each other to form a complex with methylcytosine dioxygenase TET2. Most importantly, pharmacological inhibition of JAK2 reverts vitamin D-induced tolerogenic properties of DCs. This interplay among VDR, STAT3, and TET2 opens up possibilities for modulating DC immunogenic properties in clinics.
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Esteller, M, Merkel, A

Experimental and Bioinformatic Approaches to Studying DNA Methylation in Cancer

Cancers 2022, 14(2), 349; 11 Jan 2022, .
DNA methylation is an essential epigenetic mark. Alterations of normal DNA methylation are a defining feature of cancer. Here, we review experimental and bioinformatic approaches to showcase the breadth and depth of information that this epigenetic mark provides for cancer research. First, we describe classical approaches for interrogating bulk DNA from cell populations as well as more recently developed approaches for single cells and multi-Omics. Second, we focus on the computational analysis from primary data processing to the identification of unique methylation signatures. Additionally, we discuss challenges such as sparse data and cellular heterogeneity.
Fernández-Serrano M, Winkler R, Santos JC, Le Pannérer MM, Buschbeck M, Roué G

Histone Modifications and Their Targeting in Lymphoid Malignancies.

Int J Mol Sci 27 Dec 2021, 23 (1) . Epub 27 Dec 2021
In a wide range of lymphoid neoplasms, the process of malignant transformation is associated with somatic mutations in B cells that affect the epigenetic machinery. Consequential alterations in histone modifications contribute to disease-specific changes in the transcriptional program. Affected genes commonly play important roles in cell cycle regulation, apoptosis-inducing signal transduction, and DNA damage response, thus facilitating the emergence of malignant traits that impair immune surveillance and favor the emergence of different B-cell lymphoma subtypes. In the last two decades, the field has made a major effort to develop therapies that target these epigenetic alterations. In this review, we discuss which epigenetic alterations occur in B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Furthermore, we aim to present in a close to comprehensive manner the current state-of-the-art in the preclinical and clinical development of epigenetic drugs. We focus on therapeutic strategies interfering with histone methylation and acetylation as these are most advanced in being deployed from the bench-to-bedside and have the greatest potential to improve the prognosis of lymphoma patients.
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Oscar Molina, Alex Bataller, Namitha Thampi, Jordi Ribera, Isabel Granada, Pablo Velasco, José Luis Fuster, Pablo Menéndez

Near-Haploidy and Low-Hypodiploidy in B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia: When Less Is Too Much

Cancers 2022, 14(1), 32; 22 Dec 2021, .
Hypodiploidy with less than 40 chromosomes is a rare genetic abnormality in B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). This condition can be classified based on modal chromosome number as low-hypodiploidy (30–39 chromosomes) and near-haploidy (24–29 chromosomes), with unique cytogenetic and mutational landscapes. Hypodiploid B-ALL with <40 chromosomes has an extremely poor outcome, with 5-year overall survival rates below 50% and 20% in childhood and adult B-ALL, respectively. Accordingly, this genetic feature represents an adverse prognostic factor in B-ALL and is associated with early relapse and therapy refractoriness. Notably, half of all patients with hypodiploid B-ALL with < 40 chromosomes cases ultimately exhibit chromosome doubling of the hypodiploid clone, resulting in clones with 50–78 chromosomes. Doubled clones are often the major clones at diagnosis, leading to “masked hypodiploidy”, which is clinically challenging as patients can be erroneously classified as hyperdiploid B-ALL. Here, we summarize the main cytogenetic and molecular features of hypodiploid B-ALL subtypes, and provide a brief overview of the diagnostic methods, standard-of-care treatments and overall clinical outcome. Finally, we discuss molecular mechanisms that may underlie the origin and leukemogenic impact of hypodiploidy and may open new therapeutic avenues to improve survival rates in these patients.
Iva Guberovic, Sarah Hurtado-Bagès, Ciro Rivera-Casas, Gunnar Knobloch, Roberto Malinverni, Vanesa Valero, Michelle M. Leger, Jesús García, Jerome Basquin, Marta Gómez de Cedrón, Marta Frigolé-Vivas, Manjinder S. Cheema, Ainhoa Pérez, Juan Ausió, Ana Ramírez de Molina, Xavier Salvatella, Iñaki Ruiz-Trillo, Jose M. Eirin-Lopez, Andreas G. Ladurner, Marcus Buschbeck

Evolution of a histone variant involved in compartmental regulation of NAD metabolism

Nat Struct Mol Biol 28, 1009–1019 (2021). 9 Dec 2021, .
NAD metabolism is essential for all forms of life. Compartmental regulation of NAD+ consumption, especially between the nucleus and the mitochondria, is required for energy homeostasis. However, how compartmental regulation evolved remains unclear. In the present study, we investigated the evolution of the macrodomain-containing histone variant macroH2A1.1, an integral chromatin component that limits nuclear NAD+ consumption by inhibiting poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 in vertebrate cells. We found that macroH2A originated in premetazoan protists. The crystal structure of the macroH2A macrodomain from the protist Capsaspora owczarzaki allowed us to identify highly conserved principles of ligand binding and pinpoint key residue substitutions, selected for during the evolution of the vertebrate stem lineage. Metabolic characterization of the Capsaspora lifecycle suggested that the metabolic function of macroH2A was associated with nonproliferative stages. Taken together, we provide insight into the evolution of a chromatin element involved in compartmental NAD regulation, relevant for understanding its metabolism and potential therapeutic applications.


13 May 2022 12:00 - 13:00
Auditorium + Online. Dr Luis Paz-Ares Head of Medical Oncology Department Jefe de Servicio de Oncología Médica Hospital 12 de Octubre

Are we curing in Lung Cancer?