UMR3244 – Dynamics of Genetic Information

Team Publications

Year of publication 2019

Pinskaya M., Saci Z., Gallopin M., Nguyen N.H., Gabriel M., Firlej V., Descrimes M., de la Taille A., Londo~no-Vallejo A., Allory Y., Gautheret D., Morillon A. (2019 Jan 1)

Blind exploration of the unreferenced transcriptome reveals novel RNAs for prostate cancer diagnosis

bioRxiv : DOI : 10.1101/644104 Learn more
Summary

The broad use of RNA-sequencing technologies held a promise of improved diagnostic tools based on comprehensive transcript sets. However, mining human transcriptome data for disease biomarkers in clinical specimens is restricted by the limited power of conventional reference-based protocols relying on uniquely mapped reads and transcript annotations. Here, we implemented a blind reference-free computational protocol, DE-kupl, to directly infer RNA variations of any origin, including yet unreferenced RNAs, from high coverage total stranded RNA-sequencing datasets of tissue origin. As a bench test, this protocol was powered for detection of RNA subsequences embedded into unannotated putative long noncoding (lnc)RNAs expressed in prostate cancer tissues. Through filtering and visual inspection of 1,179 candidates, we defined 21 lncRNA probes that were further validated for robust tumor-specific expression by NanoString single molecule-based RNA measurements in 144 tissue specimens. Predictive modeling yielded a restricted probe panel enabling over 90% of true positive detection of cancer in an independent dataset from The Cancer Genome Atlas. Remarkably, this clinical signature made of only 9 unannotated lncRNAs largely outperformed PCA3, the only RNA biomarker approved by the Food and Drug Administration agency, specifically, in detection of high-risk prostate tumors. The proposed reference-free computational workflow is modular, highly sensitive and robust and can be applied to any pathology and any clinical application.

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Year of publication 2018

Antoine Hocher, Myriam Ruault, Petra Kaferle, Marc Descrimes, Mickaël Garnier, Antonin Morillon, Angela Taddei (2018 Oct 26)

Expanding heterochromatin reveals discrete subtelomeric domains delimited by chromatin landscape transitions.

Genome research : DOI : gr.236554.118 Learn more
Summary

The eukaryotic genome is divided into chromosomal domains of heterochromatin and euchromatin. Transcriptionally silent heterochromatin is found at subtelomeric regions, leading to the telomeric position effect (TPE) in yeast fly and human. Heterochromatin generally initiates and spreads from defined loci, and diverse mechanisms prevent the ectopic spread of heterochromatin into euchromatin. Here, we overexpressed the silencing factor Sir3 at varying levels in yeast and found that Sir3 spreads into Extended Silent Domains (ESDs), eventually reaching saturation at subtelomeres. We observed the spread of Sir3 into subtelomeric domains associated with specific histone marks in wild-type cells and stopping at zones of histone mark transitions including H3K79 tri-methylation levels. Our study shows that the conserved H3K79 methyltransferase Dot1 is essential in restricting Sir3 spread beyond ESDs, thus ensuring viability upon overexpression of Sir3. Lastly, our analyses of published data demonstrate how ESDs unveil uncharacterized discrete domains isolating structural and functional subtelomeric features from the rest of the genome. Our work offers a new approach on how to separate subtelomeres from the core chromosome.

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(2018 May 6)

The Guardian of the Genome Revisited: p53 Downregulates Genes Required for Telomere Maintenance, DNA Repair, and Centromere Structure.

Cancers (Basel) : 10(5) : pii: E135 Learn more
Summary

The p53 protein has been extensively studied for its capacity to prevent proliferation of cells with a damaged genome. Surprisingly, however, our recent analysis of mice expressing a hyperactive mutant p53 that lacks the C-terminal domain revealed that increased p53 activity may alter genome maintenance. We showed that p53 downregulates genes essential for telomere metabolism, DNA repair, and centromere structure and that a sustained p53 activity leads to phenotypic traits associated with dyskeratosis congenita and Fanconi anemia. This downregulation is largely conserved in human cells, which suggests that our findings could be relevant to better understand processes involved in bone marrow failure as well as aging and tumor suppression.

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Watts BR, Wittmann S, Wery M, Gautier C, Kus K, Birot A, Heo DH, Kilchert C, Morillon A, Vasiljeva L (2018 Mar 26)

Histone deacetylation promotes transcriptional silencing at facultative heterochromatin

Nucleic Acid ResearchHistone deacetylation promotes transcriptional silencing at facultative heterochromatin : DOI : 10.1093/nar/gky232 Learn more
Summary

It is important to accurately regulate the expression of genes involved in development and environmental response. In the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, meiotic genes are tightly repressed during vegetative growth. Despite being embedded in heterochromatin these genes are transcribed and believed to be repressed primarily at the level of RNA. However, the mechanism of facultative heterochromatin formation and the interplay with transcription regulation is not understood. We show genome-wide that HDAC-dependent histone deacetylation is a major determinant in transcriptional silencing of facultative heterochromatin domains. Indeed, mutation of class I/II HDACs leads to increased transcription of meiotic genes and accumulation of their mRNAs. Mechanistic dissection of the pho1 gene where, in response to phosphate, transient facultative heterochromatin is established by overlapping lncRNA transcription shows that the Clr3 HDAC contributes to silencing independently of SHREC, but in an lncRNA-dependent manner. We propose that HDACs promote facultative heterochromatin by establishing alternative transcriptional silencing.

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Porreca RM, Glousker G, Awad A, Matilla Fernandez MI, Gibaud A, Naucke C, Cohen SB, Bryan TM, Tzfati Y, Draskovic I, Londoño-Vallejo A (2018 Mar 7)

Human RTEL1 stabilizes long G-overhangs allowing telomerase-dependent over-extension

Nucleic Acids Research : DOI : 10.1093/nar/gky173 Learn more
Summary

Telomere maintenance protects the cell against genome instability and senescence. Accelerated telomere attrition is a characteristic of premature aging syndromes including Dyskeratosis congenita (DC). Mutations in hRTEL1 are associated with a severe form of DC called Hoyeraal-Hreidarsson syndrome (HHS). HHS patients carry short telomeres and HHS cells display telomere damage. Here we investigated how hRTEL1 contributes to telomere maintenance in human primary as well as tumor cells. Transient depletion of hRTEL1 resulted in rapid telomere shortening only in the context of telomerase-positive cells with very long telomeres and high levels of telomerase. The effect of hRTEL1 on telomere length is telomerase dependent without impacting telomerase biogenesis or targeting of the enzyme to telomeres. Instead, RTEL1 depletion led to a decrease in both G-overhang content and POT1 association with telomeres with limited telomere uncapping. Strikingly, overexpression of POT1 restored telomere length but not the overhang, demonstrating that G-overhang loss is the primary defect caused by RTEL1 depletion. We propose that hRTEL1 contributes to the maintenance of long telomeres by preserving long G-overhangs, thereby facilitating POT1 binding and elongation by telomerase.

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De Muyt A, Pyatnitskaya A, Andréani J, Ranjha L, Ramus C, Laureau R, Fernandez-Vega A, Holoch D, Girard E, Govin J, Margueron R, Couté Y, Cejka P, Guérois R, Borde V. (2018 Feb 1)

A meiotic XPF-ERCC1-like complex recognizes joint molecule recombination intermediates to promote crossover formation

Genes & Development : DOI : 10.1101/gad.308510.117 Learn more
Summary

Meiotic crossover formation requires the stabilization of early recombination intermediates by a set of proteins and occurs within the environment of the chromosome axis, a structure important for the regulation of meiotic recombination events. The molecular mechanisms underlying and connecting crossover recombination and axis localization are elusive. Here, we identified the ZZS (Zip2-Zip4-Spo16) complex, required for crossover formation, which carries two distinct activities: one provided by Zip4, which acts as hub through physical interactions with components of the chromosome axis and the crossover machinery, and the other carried by Zip2 and Spo16, which preferentially bind branched DNA molecules in vitro. We found that Zip2 and Spo16 share structural similarities to the structure-specific XPF-ERCC1 nuclease, although it lacks endonuclease activity. The XPF domain of Zip2 is required for crossover formation, suggesting that, together with Spo16, it has a noncatalytic DNA recognition function. Our results suggest that the ZZS complex shepherds recombination intermediates toward crossovers as a dynamic structural module that connects recombination events to the chromosome axis. The identification of the ZZS complex improves our understanding of the various activities required for crossover implementation and is likely applicable to other organisms, including mammals.

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Adam C, Guérois R, Citarella A, Verardi L, Adolphe F Béneut C, Sommermeyer V, Ramus C, Govin J, Couté Y, Borde V (2018 Feb 1)

The PHD finger protein Spp1 has distinct functions in the Set1 and the meiotic DSB formation complexes

PLoS Genetics : 14(2) : DOI : 10.1371/journal.pgen.1007223 Learn more
Summary

Histone H3K4 methylation is a feature of meiotic recombination hotspots shared by many organisms including plants and mammals. Meiotic recombination is initiated by programmed double-strand break (DSB) formation that in budding yeast takes place in gene promoters and is promoted by histone H3K4 di/trimethylation. This histone modification is recognized by Spp1, a PHD finger containing protein that belongs to the conserved histone H3K4 methyltransferase Set1 complex. During meiosis, Spp1 binds H3K4me3 and interacts with a DSB protein, Mer2, to promote DSB formation close to gene promoters. How Set1 complex- and Mer2- related functions of Spp1 are connected is not clear. Here, combining genome-wide localization analyses, biochemical approaches and the use of separation of function mutants, we show that Spp1 is present within two distinct complexes in meiotic cells, the Set1 and the Mer2 complexes. Disrupting the Spp1-Set1 interaction mildly decreases H3K4me3 levels and does not affect meiotic recombination initiation. Conversely, the Spp1-Mer2 interaction is required for normal meiotic recombination initiation, but dispensable for Set1 complex-mediated histone H3K4 methylation. Finally, we provide evidence that Spp1 preserves normal H3K4me3 levels independently of the Set1 complex. We propose a model where Spp1 works in three ways to promote recombination initiation: first by depositing histone H3K4 methylation (Set1 complex), next by “reading” and protecting histone H3K4 methylation, and finally by making the link with the chromosome axis (Mer2-Spp1 complex). This work deciphers the precise roles of Spp1 in meiotic recombination and opens perspectives to study its functions in other organisms where H3K4me3 is also present at recombination hotspots.

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Alculumbre SG, Saint-André V, Di Domizio J, Vargas P, Sirven P, Bost P, Maurin M, Maiuri P, Wery M, Roman MS, Savey L, Touzot M, Terrier B, Saadoun D, Conrad C, Gilliet M, Morillon A, Soumelis V (2018 Jan 1)

Diversification of human plasmacytoid predendritic cells in response to a single stimulus

Nature Immunology : 19(1) : 63-75 : DOI : 10.1038/s41590-017-0012-z Learn more
Summary

Innate immune cells adjust to microbial and inflammatory stimuli through a process termed environmental plasticity, which links a given individual stimulus to a unique activated state. Here, we report that activation of human plasmacytoid predendritic cells (pDCs) with a single microbial or cytokine stimulus triggers cell diversification into three stable subpopulations (P1-P3). P1-pDCs (PD-L1+CD80-) displayed a plasmacytoid morphology and specialization for type I interferon production. P3-pDCs (PD-L1-CD80+) adopted a dendritic morphology and adaptive immune functions. P2-pDCs (PD-L1+CD80+) displayed both innate and adaptive functions. Each subpopulation expressed a specific coding- and long-noncoding-RNA signature and was stable after secondary stimulation. P1-pDCs were detected in samples from patients with lupus or psoriasis. pDC diversification was independent of cell divisions or preexisting heterogeneity within steady-state pDCs but was controlled by a TNF autocrine and/or paracrine communication loop. Our findings reveal a novel mechanism for diversity and division of labor in innate immune cells

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Year of publication 2017

Jahn A, Rane G, Paszkowski-Rogacz M, Sayols S, Bluhm A, Han CT, Draškovič I, Londoño-Vallejo JA, Kumar AP, Buchholz F, Butter F, Kappei D (2017 Jun 1)

ZBTB48 is both a vertebrate telomere-binding protein and a transcriptional activator

EMBO Report : 18(6) : DOI : 10.15252/embr.201744095 Learn more
Summary

Telomeres constitute the ends of linear chromosomes and together with the shelterin complex form a structure essential for genome maintenance and stability. In addition to the constitutive binding of the shelterin complex, other direct, yet more transient interactions are mediated by the CST complex and HOT1/HMBOX1, while subtelomeric variant repeats are recognized by NR2C/F transcription factors. Recently, the Kruppel-like zinc finger protein ZBTB48/HKR3/TZAP has been described as a novel telomere-associated factor in the vertebrate lineage. Here, we show that ZBTB48 binds directly both to telomeric and to subtelomeric variant repeat sequences. ZBTB48 is found at telomeres of human cancer cells regardless of the mode of telomere maintenance and it acts as a negative regulator of telomere length. In addition to its telomeric function, we demonstrate through a combination of RNAseq, ChIPseq and expression proteomics experiments that ZBTB48 acts as a transcriptional activator on a small set of target genes, including mitochondrial fission process 1 (MTFP1). This discovery places ZBTB48 at the interface of telomere length regulation, transcriptional control and mitochondrial metabolism.

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Dan Filipescu, Monica Naughtin, Katrina Podsypanina, Vincent Lejour, Laurence Wilson, Zachary A Gurard-Levin, Guillermo A Orsi, Iva Simeonova, Eleonore Toufektchan, Laura D Attardi, Franck Toledo, Geneviève Almouzni (2017 Mar 31)

Essential role for centromeric factors following p53 loss and oncogenic transformation.

Genes & development : 463-480 : DOI : 10.1101/gad.290924.116 Learn more
Summary

In mammals, centromere definition involves the histone variant CENP-A (centromere protein A), deposited by its chaperone, HJURP (Holliday junction recognition protein). Alterations in this process impair chromosome segregation and genome stability, which are also compromised by p53 inactivation in cancer. Here we found that CENP-A and HJURP are transcriptionally up-regulated in p53-null human tumors. Using an established mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) model combining p53 inactivation with E1A or HRas-V12 oncogene expression, we reproduced a similar up-regulation of HJURP and CENP-A. We delineate functional CDE/CHR motifs within the Hjurp and Cenpa promoters and demonstrate their roles in p53-mediated repression. To assess the importance of HJURP up-regulation in transformed murine and human cells, we used a CRISPR/Cas9 approach. Remarkably, depletion of HJURP leads to distinct outcomes depending on their p53 status. Functional p53 elicits a cell cycle arrest response, whereas, in p53-null transformed cells, the absence of arrest enables the loss of HJURP to induce severe aneuploidy and, ultimately, apoptotic cell death. We thus tested the impact of HJURP depletion in pre-established allograft tumors in mice and revealed a major block of tumor progression in vivo. We discuss a model in which an “epigenetic addiction” to the HJURP chaperone represents an Achilles’ heel in p53-deficient transformed cells.

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Yann Duroc, Rajeev Kumar, Lepakshi Ranjha, Céline Adam, Raphaël Guérois, Khan Md Muntaz, Marie-Claude Marsolier-Kergoat, Florent Dingli, Raphaëlle Laureau, Damarys Loew, Bertrand Llorente, Jean-Baptiste Charbonnier, Petr Cejka, Valérie Borde (2017 Jan 5)

Concerted action of the MutLβ heterodimer and Mer3 helicase regulates the global extent of meiotic gene conversion.

eLife : DOI : 10.7554/eLife.21900 Learn more
Summary

Gene conversions resulting from meiotic recombination are critical in shaping genome diversification and evolution. How the extent of gene conversions is regulated is unknown. Here we show that the budding yeast mismatch repair related MutLβ complex, Mlh1-Mlh2, specifically interacts with the conserved meiotic Mer3 helicase, which recruits it to recombination hotspots, independently of mismatch recognition. This recruitment is essential to limit gene conversion tract lengths genome-wide, without affecting crossover formation. Contrary to expectations, Mer3 helicase activity, proposed to extend the displacement loop (D-loop) recombination intermediate, does not influence the length of gene conversion events, revealing non-catalytical roles of Mer3. In addition, both purified Mer3 and MutLβ preferentially recognize D-loops, providing a mechanism for limiting gene conversion in vivo. These findings show that MutLβ is an integral part of a new regulatory step of meiotic recombination, which has implications to prevent rapid allele fixation and hotspot erosion in populations.

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Klein K., Wang W., Borrman T., Chan S., Zhang D., Weng Z., Hastie A., Chen C., Gilbert D.M., Rhind N. (2017 Jan 1)

Genome-Wide Identification of Early-Firing Human Replication Origins by Optical Replication Mapping

bioRxiv : 214841 : DOI : 10.1101/214841 Learn more
Summary

The timing of DNA replication is largely regulated by the location and timing of replication origin firing. Therefore, much effort has been invested in identifying and analyzing human replication origins. However, the heterogeneous nature of eukaryotic replication kinetics and the low efficiency of individual origins in metazoans has made mapping the location and timing of replication initiation in human cells difficult. We have mapped early-firing origins in HeLa cells using Optical Replication Mapping, a high-throughput single-molecule approach based on Bionano Genomics genomic mapping technology. The single-molecule nature and 290-fold coverage of our dataset allowed us to identify origins that fire with as little as 1% efficiency. We find sites of human replication initiation in early S phase are not confined to well-defined efficient replication origins, but are instead distributed across broad initiation zones consisting of many inefficient origins. These early-firing initiation zones co-localize with initiation zones inferred from Okazaki-fragment-mapping analysis and are enriched in ORC1 binding sites. Although most early-firing origins fire in early-replication regions of the genome, a significant number fire in late-replicating regions, suggesting that the major difference between origins in early and late replicating regions is their probability of firing in early S-phase, as opposed to qualitative differences in their firing-time distributions. This observation is consistent with stochastic models of origin timing regulation, which explain the regulation of replication timing in yeast.

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Ourliac-Garnier I, Londoño-Vallejo A (2017 Jan 1)

Telomere Length Analysis by Quantitative Fluorescent in Situ Hybridization (Q-FISH)

Methods in Molecular Biology : 29-39 : DOI : 10.1007/978-1-4939-6892-3_3 Learn more
Summary

Length is a functional parameter of telomeres, the nucleoprotein structures that protect chromosome ends. The availability of highly specific, high affinity probes for telomeric repeat sequences allowed the development of quantitative approaches aimed at measuring telomere length directly on chromosomes or in interphase nuclei. Here, we describe a general method for telomere quantitative FISH on metaphase chromosomes and discuss its most common applications in research

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Year of publication 2016

Loic Verlingue, Aurélien Dugourd, Gautier Stoll, Emmanuel Barillot, Laurence Calzone, Arturo Londoño-Vallejo (2016 Sep 11)

A comprehensive approach to the molecular determinants of lifespan using a Boolean model of geroconversion.

Aging cell : DOI : 10.1111/acel.12504 Learn more
Summary

Altered molecular responses to insulin and growth factors (GF) are responsible for late-life shortening diseases such as type-2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and cancers. We have built a network of the signaling pathways that control S-phase entry and a specific type of senescence called geroconversion. We have translated this network into a Boolean model to study possible cell phenotype outcomes under diverse molecular signaling conditions. In the context of insulin resistance, the model was able to reproduce the variations of the senescence level observed in tissues related to T2DM’s main morbidity and mortality. Furthermore, by calibrating the pharmacodynamics of mTOR inhibitors, we have been able to reproduce the dose-dependent effect of rapamycin on liver degeneration and lifespan expansion in wild-type and HER2-neu mice. Using the model, we have finally performed an in silico prospective screen of the risk-benefit ratio of rapamycin dosage for healthy lifespan expansion strategies. We present here a comprehensive prognostic and predictive systems biology tool for human aging.

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Vijayalakshmi V Subramanian, Amy J MacQueen, Gerben Vader, Miki Shinohara, Aurore Sanchez, Valérie Borde, Akira Shinohara, Andreas Hochwagen (2016 Feb 13)

Chromosome Synapsis Alleviates Mek1-Dependent Suppression of Meiotic DNA Repair.

PLoS biology : e1002369 : DOI : 10.1371/journal.pbio.1002369 Learn more
Summary

Faithful meiotic chromosome segregation and fertility require meiotic recombination between homologous chromosomes rather than the equally available sister chromatid, a bias that in Saccharomyces cerevisiae depends on the meiotic kinase, Mek1. Mek1 is thought to mediate repair template bias by specifically suppressing sister-directed repair. Instead, we found that when Mek1 persists on closely paired (synapsed) homologues, DNA repair is severely delayed, suggesting that Mek1 suppresses any proximal repair template. Accordingly, Mek1 is excluded from synapsed homologues in wild-type cells. Exclusion requires the AAA+-ATPase Pch2 and is directly coupled to synaptonemal complex assembly. Stage-specific depletion experiments further demonstrate that DNA repair in the context of synapsed homologues requires Rad54, a repair factor inhibited by Mek1. These data indicate that the sister template is distinguished from the homologue primarily by its closer proximity to inhibitory Mek1 activity. We propose that once pairing or synapsis juxtaposes homologues, exclusion of Mek1 is necessary to avoid suppression of all templates and accelerate repair progression.

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