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See detailSingle‑nuclei chromatin profiling of ventral midbrain reveals cell identity transcription factors and cell‑type‑specific gene regulatory variation
Gui, Yujuan; Grzyb, Kamil UL; Thomas, Melanie UL et al

in Epigenetics and Chromatin (2021)

Background: Cell types in ventral midbrain are involved in diseases with variable genetic susceptibility, such as Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia. Many genetic variants affect regulatory regions and ... [more ▼]

Background: Cell types in ventral midbrain are involved in diseases with variable genetic susceptibility, such as Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia. Many genetic variants affect regulatory regions and alter gene expression in a cell-type-specific manner depending on the chromatin structure and accessibility. Results: We report 20,658 single-nuclei chromatin accessibility profiles of ventral midbrain from two genetically and phenotypically distinct mouse strains. We distinguish ten cell types based on chromatin profiles and analysis of accessible regions controlling cell identity genes highlights cell-type-specific key transcription factors. Regulatory variation segregating the mouse strains manifests more on transcriptome than chromatin level. However, cell-type-level data reveals changes not captured at tissue level. To discover the scope and cell-type specificity of cis-acting variation in midbrain gene expression, we identify putative regulatory variants and show them to be enriched at differentially expressed loci. Finally, we find TCF7L2 to mediate trans-acting variation selectively in midbrain neurons. Conclusions: Our data set provides an extensive resource to study gene regulation in mesencephalon and provides insights into control of cell identity in the midbrain and identifies cell-type-specific regulatory variation possibly underlying phenotypic and behavioural differences between mouse strains. [less ▲]

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See detailStress-induced inflammation evoked by immunogenic cell death is blunted by the IRE1α kinase inhibitor KIRA6 through HSP60 targeting
Rufo, Nicole; Korovesis, Dimitris; Van Eygen, Sofie et al

in Cell Death and Differentiation (2021)

Mounting evidence indicates that immunogenic therapies engaging the unfolded protein response (UPR) following endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress favor proficient cancer cell-immune interactions, by ... [more ▼]

Mounting evidence indicates that immunogenic therapies engaging the unfolded protein response (UPR) following endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress favor proficient cancer cell-immune interactions, by stimulating the release of immunomodulatory/ proinflammatory factors by stressed or dying cancer cells. UPR-driven transcription of proinflammatory cytokines/chemokines exert beneficial or detrimental effects on tumor growth and antitumor immunity, but the cell-autonomous machinery governing the cancer cell inflammatory output in response to immunogenic therapies remains poorly defined. Here, we profiled the transcriptome of cancer cells responding to immunogenic or weakly immunogenic treatments. Bioinformatics-driven pathway analysis indicated that immunogenic treatments instigated a NF-κB/AP-1-inflammatory stress response, which dissociated from both cell death and UPR. This stress-induced inflammation was specifically abolished by the IRE1α-kinase inhibitor KIRA6. Supernatants from immunogenic chemotherapy and KIRA6 co-treated cancer cells were deprived of proinflammatory/chemoattractant factors and failed to mobilize neutrophils and induce dendritic cell maturation. Furthermore, KIRA6 significantly reduced the in vivo vaccination potential of dying cancer cells responding to immunogenic chemotherapy. Mechanistically, we found that the anti-inflammatory effect of KIRA6 was still effective in IRE1α-deficient cells, indicating a hitherto unknown off-target effector of this IRE1α-kinase inhibitor. Generation of a KIRA6-clickable photoaffinity probe, mass spectrometry, and co-immunoprecipitation analysis identified cytosolic HSP60 as a KIRA6 off-target in the IKK-driven NF-κB pathway. In sum, our study unravels that HSP60 is a KIRA6-inhibitable upstream regulator of the NF-κB/AP-1-inflammatory stress responses evoked by immunogenic treatments. It also urges caution when interpreting the anti-inflammatory action of IRE1α chemical inhibitors. [less ▲]

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See detailATG5 and ATG7 Expression Levels Are Reduced in Cutaneous Melanoma and Regulated by NRF1
Frangez, Ziva; Gerard, Déborah UL; He, Zhahoyue et al

in Frontiers in Oncology (2021)

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See detailPituitary Tumor Transforming Gene 1 Orchestrates Gene Regulatory Variation in Mouse Ventral Midbrain During Aging
Gui, Yujuan UL; Thomas, Mélanie H.; Garcia, Pierre et al

in Frontiers in Genetics (2020)

Dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain are of particular interest due to their role in diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia. Genetic variation between individuals can affect the integrity ... [more ▼]

Dopaminergic neurons in the midbrain are of particular interest due to their role in diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia. Genetic variation between individuals can affect the integrity and function of dopaminergic neurons but the DNA variants and molecular cascades modulating dopaminergic neurons and other cells types of ventral midbrain remain poorly defined. Three genetically diverse inbred mouse strains – C57BL/6J, A/J, and DBA/2J – differ significantly in their genomes (∼7 million variants), motor and cognitive behavior, and susceptibility to neurotoxins. To further dissect the underlying molecular networks responsible for these variable phenotypes, we generated RNA-seq and ChIP-seq data from ventral midbrains of the 3 mouse strains. We defined 1000–1200 transcripts that are differentially expressed among them. These widespread differences may be due to altered activity or expression of upstream transcription factors. Interestingly, transcription factors were significantly underrepresented among the differentially expressed genes, and only one transcription factor, Pttg1, showed significant differences between all three strains. The changes in Pttg1 expression were accompanied by consistent alterations in histone H3 lysine 4 trimethylation at Pttg1 transcription start site. The ventral midbrain transcriptome of 3-month-old C57BL/6J congenic Pttg1–/– mutants was only modestly altered, but shifted toward that of A/J and DBA/2J in 9-month-old mice. Principle component analysis (PCA) identified the genes underlying the transcriptome shift and deconvolution of these bulk RNA-seq changes using midbrain single cell RNA-seq data suggested that the changes were occurring in several different cell types, including neurons, oligodendrocytes, and astrocytes. Taken together, our results show that Pttg1 contributes to gene regulatory variation between mouse strains and influences mouse midbrain transcriptome during aging. [less ▲]

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See detailPhagocytosis‐related NADPH oxidase 2 subunit gp91phox contributes to neurodegeneration after repeated systemic challenge with lipopolysaccharides
Shahraz, Anahita; Wißfeld, Jannis; Ginolhac, Aurélien UL et al

in Glia (2020)

Repeated systemic challenge with lipopolysaccharides (LPS) can induce microglia activation and inflammatory neurodegeneration in the substantia nigra pars compacta region of mice. We now explored the role ... [more ▼]

Repeated systemic challenge with lipopolysaccharides (LPS) can induce microglia activation and inflammatory neurodegeneration in the substantia nigra pars compacta region of mice. We now explored the role of mononuclear phagocytes associated nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate oxidase 2 (NOX‐2) in inflammatory neurodegeneration. Cybb ‐deficient NOX‐2 knock‐out (KO) and control wild type (WT) mice were treated intraperitoneally daily over four consecutive days with 1 μg/gbw/day LPS. Transcriptome analysis by RNA‐seq of total brain tissue indicated increased LPS‐induced upregulation of genes belonging to the reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species production, complement and lysosome activation as well as apoptosis and necroptosis in WT compared to NOX‐2 KO mice. Validation of up‐regulated gene transcripts via qRT‐PCR confirmed that LPS‐challenged NOX‐2 KO mice expressed lower levels of the microglial phagocytosis‐related genes Nos2 , Cd68 , Aif1/Iba1 , Cyba , Itgam , and Fcer1g compared to WT mice at Day 5 after systemic inflammatory challenge, but no significant differences in the pro‐inflammatory genes Tnfα and Il1b as well as microglial IBA1 and CD68 intensities were observed between both genotypes. Furthermore, loss of tyrosine hydroxylase positive (TH+) and NeuN positive neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta upon repeated systemic LPS application were attenuated in NOX‐2 KO mice. Thus, our data demonstrate that loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta after repeated systemic challenge with LPS is associated with a microglial phagocytosis‐related gene activation profile involving the NADPH oxidase subunit Cybb/gp91phox. [less ▲]

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See detailMissing heritability in Parkinson’s disease: the emerging role of non‑coding genetic variation
Ohnmacht, Jochen UL; May, Patrick UL; Sinkkonen, Lasse UL et al

in Journal of Neural Transmission (2020)

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. For the stratification of PD patients and the development of advanced clinical ... [more ▼]

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a neurodegenerative disorder caused by a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors. For the stratification of PD patients and the development of advanced clinical trials, including causative treatments, a better understanding of the underlying genetic architecture of PD is required. Despite substantial efforts, genome-wide association studies have not been able to explain most of the observed heritability. The majority of PD-associated genetic variants are located in non-coding regions of the genome. A systematic assessment of their functional role is hampered by our incomplete understanding of genotype-phenotype correlations, for example through differential regulation of gene expression. Here, the recent progress and remaining challenges for the elucidation of the role of non-coding genetic variants is reviewed with a focus on PD as a complex disease with multifactorial origins. The function of gene regulatory elements and the impact of non-coding variants on them, and the means to map these elements on a genome-wide level, will be delineated. Moreover, examples of how the integration of functional genomic annotations can serve to identify disease-associated pathways and to prioritize disease- and cell type-specific regulatory variants will be given. Finally, strategies for functional validation and considerations for suitable model systems are outlined. Together this emphasizes the contribution of rare and common genetic variants to the complex pathogenesis of PD and points to remaining challenges for the dissection of genetic complexity that may allow for better stratification, improved diagnostics and more targeted treatments for PD in the future. [less ▲]

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See detailReduced sialylation triggers homeostatic synapse and neuronal loss in middle-aged mice
Klaus, Christine; Hansen, Jan N.; Ginolhac, Aurélien UL et al

in Neurobiology of Aging (2020)

Sialic acid-binding receptors (Siglecs) are linked to neurodegenerative processes, but the role of sialic acids in physiological aging is still not fully understood. We investigated the impact of reduced ... [more ▼]

Sialic acid-binding receptors (Siglecs) are linked to neurodegenerative processes, but the role of sialic acids in physiological aging is still not fully understood. We investigated the impact of reduced sialylation in the brain of mice heterozygous for the enzyme glucosamine-2-epimerase/N-acetylmannosamine kinase (GNE+/-) that is essential for sialic acid biosynthesis. We demonstrate that GNE+/- mice have hyposialylation in different brain regions, less synapses in the hippocampus and reduced microglial arborization already at 6 months followed by increased loss of neurons at 12 months. A transcriptomic analysis revealed no pro-inflammatory changes indicating an innate homeostatic immune process leading to the removal of synapses and neurons in GNE+/- mice during aging. Crossbreeding with complement C3-deficient mice rescued the earlier onset of neuronal and synaptic loss as well as the changes in microglial arborization. Thus, sialic acids of the glycocalyx contribute to brain homeostasis and act as a recognition system for the innate immune system in the brain. [less ▲]

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See detailIdentification of genes under dynamic post-transcriptional regulation from time-series epigenomic data
Becker, Julia Christina UL; Gerard, Déborah UL; Ginolhac, Aurélien UL et al

in Epigenomics (2019)

Aim: Prediction of genes under dynamic post-transcriptional regulation from epigenomic data. Materials & methods: We used time-series profiles of chromatin immunoprecipitation-seq data of histone ... [more ▼]

Aim: Prediction of genes under dynamic post-transcriptional regulation from epigenomic data. Materials & methods: We used time-series profiles of chromatin immunoprecipitation-seq data of histone modifications from differentiation of mesenchymal progenitor cells toward adipocytes and osteoblasts to predict gene expression levels at five time points in both lineages and estimated the deviation of those predictions from the RNA-seq measured expression levels using linear regression. Results & conclusion: The genes with biggest changes in their estimated stability across the time series are enriched for noncoding RNAs and lineage-specific biological processes. Clustering mRNAs according to their stability dynamics allows identification of post-transcriptionally coregulated mRNAs and their shared regulators through sequence enrichment analysis. We identify miR-204 as an early induced adipogenic microRNA targeting Akr1c14 and Il1rl1. [less ▲]

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See detailImpaired serine metabolism complements LRRK2-G2019S pathogenicity in PD patients
Nickels, Sarah UL; Walter, Jonas; Bolognin, Silvia UL et al

in Parkinsonism and Related Disorders (2019)

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See detailTemporal enhancer profiling of parallel lineages identifies AHR and GLIS1 as regulators of mesenchymal multipotency
Gerard, Déborah UL; Schmidt, Florian; Ginolhac, Aurélien UL et al

in Nucleic Acids Research (2018)

Temporal data on gene expression and context-specific open chromatin states can improve identification of key transcription factors (TFs) and the gene regulatory networks (GRNs) controlling cellular ... [more ▼]

Temporal data on gene expression and context-specific open chromatin states can improve identification of key transcription factors (TFs) and the gene regulatory networks (GRNs) controlling cellular differentiation. However, their integration remains challenging. Here, we delineate a general approach for data-driven and unbiased identification of key TFs and dynamic GRNs, called EPIC-DREM. We generated time-series transcriptomic and epigenomic profiles during differentiation of mouse multipotent bone marrow stromal cell line (ST2) toward adipocytes and osteoblasts. Using our novel approach we constructed time-resolved GRNs for both lineages and identifed the shared TFs involved in both differentiation processes. To take an alternative approach to prioritize the identified shared regulators, we mapped dynamic super-enhancers in both lineages and associated them to target genes with correlated expression profiles. The combination of the two approaches identified aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) and Glis family zinc finger 1 (GLIS1) as mesenchymal key TFs controlled by dynamic cell type-specific super-enhancers that become repressed in both lineages. AHR and GLIS1 control differentiation-induced genes and their overexpression can inhibit the lineage commitment of the multipotent bone marrow-derived ST2 cells. [less ▲]

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See detailTREM2 triggers microglial density and age‐related neuronal loss
Linnartz-Gerlach, Bettina; Bodea, Liviu-Gabriel; Klaus, Christine et al

in Glia (2018)

The microglial triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) signals via the activatory membrane adaptor molecule TYROBP. Genetic variants or mutations of TREM2 or TYROBP have been linked to ... [more ▼]

The microglial triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) signals via the activatory membrane adaptor molecule TYROBP. Genetic variants or mutations of TREM2 or TYROBP have been linked to inflammatory neurodegenerative diseases associated with aging. The typical aging process goes along with microglial changes and mild neuronal loss, but the exact contribution of TREM2 is still unclear. Aged TREM2 knock‐out mice showed decreased age‐related neuronal loss in the substantia nigra and the hippocampus. Transcriptomic analysis of the brains of 24 months old TREM2 knock‐out mice revealed 211 differentially expressed genes mostly downregulated and associated with complement activation and oxidative stress response pathways. Consistently, 24 months old TREM2 knock‐out mice showed lower transcription of microglial (Aif1 and Tmem119), oxidative stress markers (Inos, Cyba, and Cybb) and complement components (C1qa, C1qb, C1qc, C3, C4b, Itgam, and Itgb2), decreased microglial numbers and expression of the microglial activation marker Cd68, as well as accumulation of oxidized lipids. Cultured microglia of TREM2 knock‐out mice showed reduced phagocytosis and oxidative burst. Thus, microglial TREM2 contributes to age‐related microglial changes, phagocytic oxidative burst, and loss of neurons with possible detrimental effects during physiological aging. [less ▲]

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See detailAnalysis of primary microRNA loci from nascent transcriptomes reveals regulatory domains governed by chromatin architecture
Bouvy-Liivrand, Maria; Hernandez de Sande, Ana; Pölönen, Petri et al

in Nucleic Acids Research (2017)

Changes in mature microRNA (miRNA) levels that occur downstream of signaling cascades play an important role during human development and disease. However, the regulation of primary microRNA (pri-miRNA ... [more ▼]

Changes in mature microRNA (miRNA) levels that occur downstream of signaling cascades play an important role during human development and disease. However, the regulation of primary microRNA (pri-miRNA) genes remains to be dissected in detail. To address this, we followed a data-driven approach and developed a transcript identification, validation and quantification pipeline for characterizing the regulatory domains of pri-miRNAs. Integration of 92 nascent transcriptomes and multilevel data from cells arising from ecto-, endo- and mesoderm lineages reveals cell type-specific expression patterns, allows fine-resolution mapping of transcription start sites (TSS) and identification of candidate regulatory regions. We show that inter- and intragenic pri-miRNA transcripts span vast genomic regions and active TSS locations differ across cell types, exemplified by the mir-29a∼29b-1, mir-100∼let-7a-2∼125b-1 and miR-221∼222 clusters. Considering the presence of multiple TSS as an important regulatory feature at miRNA loci, we developed a strategy to quantify differential TSS usage. We demonstrate that the TSS activities associate with cell type-specific super-enhancers, differential stimulus responsiveness and higher-order chromatin structure. These results pave the way for building detailed regulatory maps of miRNA loci. [less ▲]

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See detailIntegrated metabolic modelling reveals cell-type specific epigenetic control points of the macrophage metabolic network
Pacheco, Maria UL; John, Elisabeth UL; Kaoma, Tony et al

in BMC Genomics (2015), 16(809),

Background: The reconstruction of context-specific metabolic models from easily and reliably measurable features such as transcriptomics data will be increasingly important in research and medicine ... [more ▼]

Background: The reconstruction of context-specific metabolic models from easily and reliably measurable features such as transcriptomics data will be increasingly important in research and medicine. Current reconstruction methods suffer from high computational effort and arbitrary threshold setting. Moreover, understanding the underlying epigenetic regulation might allow the identification of putative intervention points within metabolic networks. Genes under high regulatory load from multiple enhancers or super-enhancers are known key genes for disease and cell identity. However, their role in regulation of metabolism and their placement within the metabolic networks has not been studied. Methods: Here we present FASTCORMICS, a fast and robust workflow for the creation of high-quality metabolic models from transcriptomics data. FASTCORMICS is devoid of arbitrary parameter settings and due to its low computational demand allows cross-validation assays. Applying FASTCORMICS, we have generated models for 63 primary human cell types from microarray data, revealing significant differences in their metabolic networks. Results: To understand the cell type-specific regulation of the alternative metabolic pathways we built multiple models during differentiation of primary human monocytes to macrophages and performed ChIP-Seq experiments for histone H3 K27 acetylation (H3K27ac) to map the active enhancers in macrophages. Focusing on the metabolic genes under high regulatory load from multiple enhancers or super-enhancers, we found these genes to show the most cell type-restricted and abundant expression profiles within their respective pathways. Importantly, the high regulatory load genes are associated to reactions enriched for transport reactions and other pathway entry points, suggesting that they are critical regulatory control points for cell type-specific metabolism. Conclusions: By integrating metabolic modelling and epigenomic analysis we have identified high regulatory load as a common feature of metabolic genes at pathway entry points such as transporters within the macrophage metabolic network. Analysis of these control points through further integration of metabolic and gene regulatory networks in various contexts could be beneficial in multiple fields from identification of disease intervention strategies to cellular reprogramming. [less ▲]

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See detailCell type-selective disease-association of genes under high regulatory load
Galhardo, Mafalda Sofia UL; Berninger, Philipp; Nguyen, Thanh-Phuong UL et al

in Nucleic Acids Research (2015), 43(18), 8839-8855

We previously showed that disease-linked metabolic genes are often under combinatorial regulation. Using the genome-wide ChIP-Seq binding profiles for 93 transcription factors in nine different cell lines ... [more ▼]

We previously showed that disease-linked metabolic genes are often under combinatorial regulation. Using the genome-wide ChIP-Seq binding profiles for 93 transcription factors in nine different cell lines, we show that genes under high regulatory load are significantly enriched for disease-association across cell types. We find that transcription factor load correlates with the enhancer load of the genes and thereby allows the identification of genes under high regulatory load by epigenomic mapping of active enhancers. Identification of the high enhancer load genes across 139 samples from 96 different cell and tissue types reveals a consistent enrichment for disease-associated genes in a cell type-selective manner. The underlying genes are not limited to super-enhancer genes and show several types of disease-association evidence beyond genetic variation (such as biomarkers). Interestingly, the high regulatory load genes are involved in more KEGG pathways than expected by chance, exhibit increased betweenness centrality in the interaction network of liver disease genes, and carry longer 3'UTRs with more microRNA (miRNA) binding sites than genes on average, suggesting a role as hubs integrating signals within regulatory networks. In summary, epigenetic mapping of active enhancers presents a promising and unbiased approach for identification of novel disease genes in a cell type-selective manner. [less ▲]

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See detailChIP-seq profiling of the active chromatin marker H3K4me3 and PPARγ, CEBPα and LXR target genes in human SGBS adipocytes
Galhardo, Mafalda Sofia UL; Sinkkonen, Lasse UL; Berninger, Philipp et al

in Genomics Data (2014), 2

Transcription factors (TFs) represent key factors to establish a cellular phenotype. It is known that several TFs could play a role in disease, yet less is known so far how their targets overlap. We ... [more ▼]

Transcription factors (TFs) represent key factors to establish a cellular phenotype. It is known that several TFs could play a role in disease, yet less is known so far how their targets overlap. We focused here on identifying the most highly induced TFs and their putative targets during human adipogenesis. Applying chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled with deep sequencing (ChIP-Seq) in the human SGBS pre-adipocyte cell line, we identified genes with binding sites in their vicinity for the three TFs studied, PPARγ, CEBPα and LXR. Here we describe the experimental design and quality controls in detail for the deep sequencing data and related results published by Galhardo et al. in Nucleic Acids Research 2014 [1] associated with the data uploaded to NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus (). [less ▲]

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See detailTranscriptomics profiling of human SGBS adipogenesis
Galhardo, Mafalda Sofia UL; Sinkkonen, Lasse UL; Berninger, Philipp et al

in Genomics Data (2014), 2

Obesity is an ever-growing epidemic where tissue homeostasis is influenced by the differentiation of adipocytes that function in lipid metabolism, endocrine and inflammatory processes. While this ... [more ▼]

Obesity is an ever-growing epidemic where tissue homeostasis is influenced by the differentiation of adipocytes that function in lipid metabolism, endocrine and inflammatory processes. While this differentiation process has been well-characterized in mice, limited data is available from human cells. Applying microarray expression profiling in the human SGBS pre-adipocyte cell line, we identified genes with differential expression during differentiation in combination with constraint-based modeling of metabolic pathway activity. Here we describe the experimental design and quality controls in detail for the gene expression and related results published by Galhardo et al. in Nucleic Acids Research 2014 associated with the data uploaded to NCBI Gene Expression Omnibus (). [less ▲]

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See detailNeurodegeneration by Activation of the Microglial Complement–Phagosome Pathway
Bodea, Liviu-Gabriel; Wang, Yiner; Linnartz-Gerlach, Bettina et al

in Journal of Neuroscience (2014), 34(25), 8546-8556

Systemic inflammatory reactions have been postulated to exacerbate neurodegenerative diseases via microglial activation. We now demonstrate in vivo that repeated systemic challenge of mice over four ... [more ▼]

Systemic inflammatory reactions have been postulated to exacerbate neurodegenerative diseases via microglial activation. We now demonstrate in vivo that repeated systemic challenge of mice over four consecutive days with bacterial LPS maintained an elevated microglial inflammatory phenotype and induced loss of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra. The same total cumulative LPS dose given within a single application did not induce neurodegeneration. Whole-genome transcriptome analysis of the brain demonstrated that repeated systemic LPS application induced an activation pattern involving the classical complement system and its associated phagosome pathway. Loss of dopaminergic neurons induced by repeated systemic LPS application was rescued in complement C3-deficient mice, confirming the involvement of the complement system in neurodegeneration. Our data demonstrate that a phagosomal inflammatory response of microglia is leading to complement-mediated loss of dopaminergic neurons. [less ▲]

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See detailCombinatorial regulation of lipoprotein lipase by microRNAs during mouse adipogenesis
Liivrand, Maria UL; Heinäniemi, Merja UL; John, Elisabeth UL et al

in RNA Biology (2014), 11(1), 76-91

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression directly through base pairing to their targets or indirectly through participating in multi-scale regulatory networks. Often miRNAs take part in feed-forward ... [more ▼]

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) regulate gene expression directly through base pairing to their targets or indirectly through participating in multi-scale regulatory networks. Often miRNAs take part in feed-forward motifs where a miRNA and a transcription factor act on shared targets to achieve accurate regulation of processes such as cell differentiation. Here we show that the expression levels of miR-27a and miR-29a inversely correlate with the mRNA levels of lipoprotein lipase (Lpl), their predicted combinatorial target, and its key transcriptional regulator peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma (Pparg) during 3T3-L1 adipocyte differentiation. More importantly, we show that Lpl, a key lipogenic enzyme, can be negatively regulated by the two miRNA families in a combinatorial fashion on the mRNA and functional level in maturing adipocytes. This regulation is mediated through the Lpl 3′UTR as confirmed by reporter gene assays. In addition, a small mathematical model captures the dynamics of this feed-forward motif and predicts the changes in Lpl mRNA levels upon network perturbations. The obtained results might offer an explanation to the dysregulation of LPL in diabetic conditions and could be extended to quantitative modeling of regulation of other metabolic genes under similar regulatory network motifs. [less ▲]

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See detailIntegrated analysis of transcript-level regulation of metabolism reveals disease-relevant nodes of the human metabolic network
Galhardo, Mafalda Sofia UL; Sinkkonen, Lasse UL; Berninger, Philippe et al

in Nucleic Acids Research (2013)

Metabolic diseases and comorbidities represent an ever-growing epidemic where multiple cell types impact tissue homeostasis. Here, the link between the metabolic and gene regulatory networks was studied ... [more ▼]

Metabolic diseases and comorbidities represent an ever-growing epidemic where multiple cell types impact tissue homeostasis. Here, the link between the metabolic and gene regulatory networks was studied through experimental and computational analysis. Integrating gene regulation data with a human metabolic network prompted the establishment of an open-sourced web portal, IDARE (Integrated Data Nodes of Regulation), for visualizing various gene-related data in context of metabolic pathways. Motivated by increasing availability of deep sequencing studies, we obtained ChIP-seq data from widely studied human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Interestingly, we found that association of metabolic genes with multiple transcription factors (TFs) enriched disease-associated genes. To demonstrate further extensions enabled by examining these networks together, constraintbased modeling was applied to data from human preadipocyte differentiation. In parallel, data on gene expression, genome-wide ChIP-seq profiles for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) c, CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (CEBP) a, liver X receptor (LXR) and H3K4me3 and microRNA target identification for miR-27a, miR-29a and miR-222 were collected. Disease-relevant key nodes, including mitochondrial glycerol-phosphateacyltransferase (GPAM), were exposed from metabolic pathways predicted to change activity by focusing on association with multiple regulators. In both cell types, our analysis reveals the convergence of microRNAs and TFs within the branched chain amino acid (BCAA) metabolic pathway, possibly providing an explanation for its downregulation in obese and diabetic conditions. [less ▲]

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See detailGene-pair expression signatures reveal lineage control
Heinäniemi, Merja UL; Nykter, Matti; Kramer, Roger et al

in Nature Methods (2013)

The distinct cell types of multicellular organisms arise due to constraints imposed by gene regulatory networks on the collective change of gene expression across the genome, creating self-stabilizing ... [more ▼]

The distinct cell types of multicellular organisms arise due to constraints imposed by gene regulatory networks on the collective change of gene expression across the genome, creating self-stabilizing expression states, or attractors. We compiled a resource of curated human expression data comprising 166 cell types and 2,602 transcription regulating genes and developed a data driven method built around the concept of expression reversal defined at the level of gene pairs, such as those participating in toggle switch circuits. This approach allows us to organize the cell types into their ontogenetic lineage-relationships and to reflect regulatory relationships among genes that explain their ability to function as determinants of cell fate. We show that this method identifies genes belonging to regulatory circuits that control neuronal fate, pluripotency and blood cell differentiation, thus offering a novel large-scale perspective on lineage specification. [less ▲]

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