QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq FWD for Illumina

BRCA2 deficiency instigates cGAS-mediated inflammatory signaling and confers sensitivity to tumor necrosis factor-alpha-mediated cytotoxicity

Anne Margriet Heijink, Francien Talens, Lucas T. Jae, Stephanie E. van Gijn, Rudolf S. N. Fehrmann, Thijn R. Brummelkamp & Marcel A. T. M. van Vugt

Nature Communicationsvolume 10, Article number: 100 (2019)

Loss of BRCA2 affects genome stability and is deleterious for cellular survival. Using a genome-wide genetic screen in near-haploid KBM-7 cells, we show that tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) signaling is a determinant of cell survival upon BRCA2 inactivation. Specifically, inactivation of the TNF receptor (TNFR1) or its downstream effector SAM68 rescues cell death induced by BRCA2 inactivation. BRCA2 inactivation leads to pro-inflammatory cytokine production, including TNFα, and increases sensitivity to TNFα. Enhanced TNFα sensitivity is not restricted to BRCA2 inactivation, as BRCA1 or FANCD2 inactivation, or hydroxyurea treatment also sensitizes cells to TNFα. Mechanistically, BRCA2 inactivation leads to cGAS-positive micronuclei and results in a cell-intrinsic interferon response, as assessed by quantitative mass-spectrometry and gene expression profiling, and requires ASK1 and JNK signaling. Combined, our data reveals that micronuclei induced by loss of BRCA2 instigate a cGAS/STING-mediated interferon response, which encompasses re-wired TNFα signaling and enhances TNFα sensitivity.

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Emergence of a floral colour polymorphism by pollinator-mediated overdominance

Roman T. Kellenberger, Kelsey J. R. P. Byers, Rita M. De Brito Francisco, Yannick M. Staedler, Amy M. LaFountain, Jürg Schönenberger, Florian P. Schiestl & Philipp M. Schlüter

Nature Communicationsvolume 10, Article number: 63 (2019)

Maintenance of polymorphism by overdominance (heterozygote advantage) is a fundamental concept in evolutionary biology. In most examples known in nature, overdominance is a result of homozygotes suffering from deleterious effects. Here we show that overdominance maintains a non-deleterious polymorphism with black, red and white floral morphs in the Alpine orchid Gymnadenia rhellicani. Phenotypic, metabolomic and transcriptomic analyses reveal that the morphs differ solely in cyanidin pigments, which are linked to differential expression of an anthocyanidin synthase (ANS) gene. This expression difference is caused by a premature stop codon in an ANS-regulating R2R3-MYBtranscription factor, which is heterozygous in the red colour morph. Furthermore, field observations show that bee and fly pollinators have opposite colour preferences; this results in higher fitness (seed set) of the heterozygous morph without deleterious effects in either homozygous morph. Together, these findings demonstrate that genuine overdominance exists in nature.

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A comparison between whole transcript and 3’ RNA sequencing methods using Kapa and Lexogen library preparation methods

Feiyang Ma, Brie K. Fuqua, Yehudit Hasin, Clara Yukhtman, Chris D. Vulpe, Aldons J. Lusis and Matteo Pellegrini

BMC Genomics2019, doi:10.1186/s12864-018-5393-3


3’ RNA sequencing provides an alternative to whole transcript analysis. However, we do not know a priori the relative advantage of each method. Thus, a comprehensive comparison between the whole transcript and the 3′ method is needed to determine their relative merits. To this end, we used two commercially available library preparation kits, the KAPA Stranded mRNA-Seq kit (traditional method) and the Lexogen QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq kit (3′ method), to prepare libraries from mouse liver RNA. We then sequenced and analyzed the libraries to determine the advantages and disadvantages of these two approaches.


We found that the traditional whole transcript method and the 3’ RNA-Seq method had similar levels of reproducibility. As expected, the whole transcript method assigned more reads to longer transcripts, while the 3′ method assigned roughly equal numbers of reads to transcripts regardless of their lengths. We found that the 3’ RNA-Seq method detected more short transcripts than the whole transcript method. With regard to differential expression analysis, we found that the whole transcript method detected more differentially expressed genes, regardless of the level of sequencing depth.


The 3’ RNA-Seq method was better able to detect short transcripts, while the whole transcript RNA-Seq was able to detect more differentially expressed genes. Thus, both approaches have relative advantages and should be selected based on the goals of the experiment.

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Commensal-specific T cell plasticity promotes rapid tissue adaptation to injury

Oliver J. Harrison, Jonathan L. Linehan, Han-Yu Shih, Nicolas Bouladoux, Seong-Ji Han, Margery Smelkinson, Shurjo K. Sen, Allyson L. Byrd, Michel Enamorado, Chen Yao, Samira Tamoutounour, Francois Van Laethem, Charlotte Hurabielle1, Nicholas Collins, Andrea Paun, Rosalba Salcedo, John J. O’Shea, Yasmine Belkaid

Science, doi:10.1126/science.aat6280

Barrier tissues are primary targets of environmental stressors and home to the largest number of antigen-experienced lymphocytes in the body, including commensal-specific T cells. Here, we show that skin-resident commensal-specific T cells harbor a paradoxical program characterized by a type-17 program associated with a poised type-2 state. Thus, in the context of injury and exposure to inflammatory mediators such as IL-18, these cells rapidly release type-2 cytokines, thereby acquiring contextual functions. Notably, such acquisition of a type-2 effector program promotes tissue repair. Aberrant type-2 responses can also be unleashed in the context of local defects in immunoregulation. Thus, commensal-specific T cells co-opt tissue residency and cell-intrinsic flexibility as a means to promote both local immunity and tissue adaptation to injury.

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Stress exposure is associated with risk for adverse pregnancy outcomes, potentially in part through dysregulated immune and inflammatory activity. Evidence suggests that stress during pregnancy is associated with inflammation during pregnancy, consistent with risk for preterm birth. However, research has not tested whether complementary changes are reflected in immune cell gene expression, or upstream regulation of inflammation. The purpose of this study was to test associations between preconception and prenatal stress exposure and third trimester immune cell gene expression, focusing specifically on sets of genes previously linked to stress in non-pregnant samples: Pro-inflammatory genes, and antiviral and antibody genes.


A sample of 116 low-income, diverse women was recruited from 5 U.S. sites by the Community Child and Health Network at the birth of a child. This study is of the subgroup of women who became pregnant again over the two-year follow-up period, and provided information on stressful life events that occurred both preconception and during the third trimester of the subsequent pregnancy. Dried blood spots (DBS) were collected in the third trimester of pregnancy, and used for gene expression analysis.


Women with more prenatal stressful life events had higher expression of pro-inflammatory genes when compared to those with fewer life events, and the effect was driven by increased activation of pro-inflammatory transcription factors, NF-κB and AP-1. Preconception stressful life event exposure was not associated with gene expression profiles. When entered into models simultaneously, only prenatal stressful life events were associated with up-regulation of pro-inflammatory genes. No differences between high or low stress groups emerged for antiviral or antibody genes.


Prenatal stress exposure was associated with up-regulated pro-inflammatory gene expression during pregnancy, and increased activity of NF-κB and AP-1. In contrast, stress occurring preconception was not associated with gene expression. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that stress-induced activation of pro-inflammatory transcriptional pathways in pregnancy, but not earlier, may increase risk for inflammation-driven adverse pregnancy outcomes.

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It has been reported that various plant species may enhance the elimination of fatigue-related metabolites. However, relatively few studies have directly addressed the potential anti-fatigue effects.


The objective of this study was to investigate the anti-fatigue potential of a hot water extract of Sasa quelpaertensis Nakai leaf (SQH) in male ICR mice.


The animals were divided into three groups. The normal control (NC) group was administered saline without exercise every day for 7 days. The exercise control (EC) and exercise with SQH (ES) groups were administered saline and SQH (50 mg/kg of body weight), respectively, every day for 7 days and underwent swimming exercise. RNA sequencing technology was used to analyze the transcriptome profiles of muscle.


Swimming times were prolonged in the ES group compared with the EC group. The ES group had higher blood glucose and lower blood lactate levels, and higher muscular glycogen and lower muscular lactate levels, compared with the EC group. The groups did not differ in histopathological parameters of the muscle and liver, but muscle cell sizes were smaller in the EC group than in the ES and NC groups. RNA sequencing analysis revealed that SQH administration regulated genes associated with energy-generating metabolic pathways in skeletal muscle.


These results suggest that SQH exerts anti-fatigue properties by balancing various biological systems and helping maintain the basic harmonious pattern of the body.

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Dynamic molecular monitoring reveals that SWI–SNF mutations mediate resistance to ibrutinib plus venetoclax in mantle cell lymphoma

Rishu Agarwal, Yih-Chih Chan, Constantine S. Tam, Tane Hunter, Dane Vassiliadis, Charis E. Teh, Rachel Thijssen, Paul Yeh, Stephen Q. Wong, Sarah Ftouni, Enid Y. N. Lam, Mary Ann Anderson, Christiane Pott, Omer Gilan, Charles C. Bell, Kathy Knezevic, Piers Blombery, Kathleen Rayeroux, Adrian Zordan, Jason Li, David C. S. Huang, Meaghan Wall, John F. Seymour, Daniel H. D. Gray, Andrew W. Roberts, Mark A. Dawson & Sarah-Jane Dawson

Nature Medicine, doi:10.1038/s41591-018-0243-z

Ibrutinib plus venetoclax is a highly effective combination in mantle cell lymphoma. However, strategies to enable the evaluation of therapeutic response are required. Our prospective analyses of patients within the AIM study revealed genomic profiles that clearly dichotomized responders and nonresponders. Mutations in ATM were present in most patients who achieved a complete response, while chromosome 9p21.1–p24.3 loss and/or mutations in components of the SWI–SNF chromatin-remodeling complex were present in all patients with primary resistance and two-thirds of patients with relapsed disease. Circulating tumor DNA analysis revealed that these alterations could be dynamically monitored, providing concurrent information on treatment response and tumor evolution. Functional modeling demonstrated that compromise of the SWI–SNF complex facilitated transcriptional upregulation of BCL2L1 (Bcl-xL) providing a selective advantage against ibrutinib plus venetoclax. Together these data highlight important insights into the molecular basis of therapeutic response and provide a model for real-time assessment of innovative targeted therapies.

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OKN-007 Increases temozolomide (TMZ) Sensitivity and Suppresses TMZ-Resistant Glioblastoma (GBM) Tumor Growth

Rheal A.Towner, Nataliya Smith, Debra Saunders, Chase A.Brown, Xue Cai, Jadith Ziegler, Samantha Mallory, Mikhail G. Dozmorov, Patricia Coutinho De Souza, Graham Wiley, Kyeongsoon Kim, Shinwook Kang, Doo-Sik Kong, Young-TaeKim, Kar-MingFung, Jonathan D. Wren, James Battiste

Translational Oncology, doi:10.1016/j.tranon.2018.10.002

Treatment of glioblastoma (GBM) remains a challenge using conventional chemotherapy, such as temozolomide (TMZ), and is often ineffective as a result of drug resistance. We have assessed a novel nitrone-based agent, OKN-007, and found it to be effective in decreasing tumor volumes and increasing survival in orthotopic GBM xenografts by decreasing cell proliferation and angiogenesis and increasing apoptosis. In this study, we assessed combining OKN-007 with TMZ in vivo in a human G55 GBM orthotopic xenograft model and in vitro in TMZ-resistant and TMZ-sensitive human GBM cell lines. For the in vivo studies, magnetic resonance imaging was used to assess tumor growth and vascular alterations. Percent animal survival was also determined. For the in vitro studies, cell growth, IC50 values, RNA-seq, RT-PCR, and ELISA were used to assess growth inhibition, possible mechanism-of actions (MOAs) associated with combined OKN-007 + TMZ versus TMZ alone, and gene and protein expression levels, respectively. Microarray analysis of OKN-007–treated rat F98 glioma tumors was also carried out to determine possible MOAs of OKN-007 in glioma-bearing animals either treated or not treated with OKN-007. OKN-007 seems to elicit its effect on GBM tumors via inhibition of tumorigenic TGF-β1, which affects the extracellular matrix. When combined with TMZ, OKN-007 significantly increases percent survival, decreases tumor volumes, and normalizes tumor blood vasculature in vivocompared to untreated tumors and seems to affect TMZ-resistant GBM cells possibly via IDO-1SUMO2, and PFN1 in vitro. Combined OKN-007 + TMZ may be a potentially potent treatment strategy for GBM patients.

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TBX2 is a neuroblastoma core regulatory circuitry component enhancing MYCN/FOXM1 reactivation of DREAM targets

Bieke Decaesteker, Geertrui Denecker, Christophe Van Neste, Emmy M. Dolman, Wouter Van Loocke, Moritz Gartlgruber, Carolina Nunes, Fanny De Vloed, Pauline Depuydt, Karen Verboom, Dries Rombaut, Siebe Loontiens, Jolien De Wyn, Waleed M. Kholosy, Bianca Koopmans, Anke H. W. Essing, Carl Herrmann, Daniel Dreidax, Kaat Durinck, Dieter Deforce, Filip van Nieuwerburgh, Anton Henssen, Rogier Versteeg, Valentina Boeva, Gudrun Schleiermacher, Johan van Nes, Pieter Mestdagh, Suzanne Vanhauwaert, Johannes H. Schulte, Frank Westermann, Jan J. Molenaar, Katleen De Preter & Frank Speleman

Nature Communications, doi:10.1038/s41467-018-06699-9

Chromosome 17q gains are almost invariably present in high-risk neuroblastoma cases. Here, we perform an integrative epigenomics search for dosage-sensitive transcription factors on 17q marked by H3K27ac defined super-enhancers and identify TBX2 as top candidate gene. We show that TBX2 is a constituent of the recently established core regulatory circuitry in neuroblastoma with features of a cell identity transcription factor, driving proliferation through activation of p21-DREAM repressed FOXM1 target genes. Combined MYCN/TBX2 knockdown enforces cell growth arrest suggesting that TBX2 enhances MYCN sustained activation of FOXM1 targets. Targeting transcriptional addiction by combined CDK7 and BET bromodomain inhibition shows synergistic effects on cell viability with strong repressive effects on CRC gene expression and p53 pathway response as well as several genes implicated in transcriptional regulation. In conclusion, we provide insight into the role of the TBX2 CRC gene in transcriptional dependency of neuroblastoma cells warranting clinical trials using BET and CDK7 inhibitors.

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The Trithorax protein Ash1L promotes myoblast fusion by activating Cdon expression

Ilaria Castiglioni, Roberta Caccia, Jose Manuel Garcia-Manteiga, Giulia Ferri, Giuseppina Caretti, Ivan Molineris, Kenichi Nishioka & Davide Gabellini

Nature Communications, doi:10.1038/s41467-018-07313-8

Myoblast fusion (MF) is required for muscle growth and repair, and its alteration contributes to muscle diseases. The mechanisms governing this process are incompletely understood, and no epigenetic regulator has been previously described. Ash1L is an epigenetic activator belonging to the Trithorax group of proteins and is involved in FSHD muscular dystrophy, autism and cancer. Its physiological role in skeletal muscle is unknown. Here we report that Ash1L expression is positively correlated with MF and reduced in Duchenne muscular dystrophy. In vivo, ex vivo and in vitro experiments support a selective and evolutionary conserved requirement for Ash1L in MF. RNA- and ChIP-sequencing indicate that Ash1L is required to counteract Polycomb repressive activity to allow activation of selected myogenesis genes, in particular the key MF gene Cdon. Our results promote Ash1L as an important epigenetic regulator of MF and suggest that its activity could be targeted to improve cell therapy for muscle diseases.

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Inflammatory pathways are upregulated in the nasal epithelium in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Marc A. Sala, Yalbi Itzel Balderas-Martínez, Ivette Buendía-Roldan, Hiam Abdala-Valencia, Kiwon Nam, Manu Jain, Sangeeta Bhorade, Ankit Bharat, Paul A. Reyfman, Karen M. Ridge, Annie Pardo, Jacob I. Sznajder, G. R. Scott Budinger, Alexander V. Misharin and Moises Selman

Respiratory Research, doi:10.1186/s12931-018-0932-7

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is characterized by progressive scarring of the lung parenchyma, leading to respiratory failure and death. High resolution computed tomography of the chest is often diagnostic for IPF, but its cost and the risk of radiation exposure limit its use as a screening tool even in patients at high risk for the disease. In patients with lung cancer, investigators have detected transcriptional signatures of disease in airway and nasal epithelial cells distal to the site of disease that are clinically useful as screening tools. Here we assessed the feasibility of distinguishing patients with IPF from age-matched controls through transcriptomic profiling of nasal epithelial curettage samples, which can be safely and repeatedly sampled over the course of a patient’s illness. We recruited 10 patients with IPF and 23 age-matched healthy control subjects. Using 3′ messenger RNA sequencing (mRNA-seq), we identified 224 differentially expressed genes, most of which were upregulated in patients with IPF compared with controls. Pathway enrichment analysis revealed upregulation of pathways related to immune response and inflammatory signaling in IPF patients compared with controls. These findings support the concept that fibrosis is associated with upregulation of inflammatory pathways across the respiratory epithelium with possible implications for disease detection and pathobiology.

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Multidimensional Assessment of the Host Response in Mechanically Ventilated Patients with Suspected Pneumonia

James M Walter, Ziyou Ren, Tyrone Yacoub, Paul A Reyfman, Raj D. Shah, Hiam Abdala-Valencia, Kiwon Nam, Vince K Morgan, Kishore R Anekalla, Nikita Joshi, Alexandra C McQuattie-Pimentel, Ching-I Chen, Monica Chi, SeungHye Han, Francisco J Gonzalez-Gonzalez, Saul Soberanes, Raul P. Aillon, Satoshi Watanabe, Kinola J.N. Williams, Ziyan Lu, Joseph Paonessa, Peter Hountras, Madonna Breganio, Nicole Borkowski, Helen K Donnelly, Jonathan P. Allen, Luis A Amaral, Ankit Bharat, Alexander V Misharin, Neda Bagheri, Alan R. Hauser, G.R. Scott Budinger, Richard G Wunderink

American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, doi:10.1164/rccm.201804-0650OC

Rationale: The identification of informative elements of the host response to infection may improve the diagnosis and management of bacterial pneumonia. Objective: To determine whether the absence of alveolar neutrophilia can exclude bacterial pneumonia in critically ill patients with suspected infection and to test whether signatures of bacterial pneumonia can be identified in the alveolar macrophage transcriptome. Methods: We determined the test characteristics of alveolar neutrophilia for the diagnosis of bacterial pneumonia in 3 cohorts of mechanically ventilated patients. In one cohort, we also isolated macrophages from alveolar lavage fluid and used the transcriptome to identify signatures of bacterial pneumonia. Finally, we developed a humanized mouse model of Pseudomonas aeruginosa pneumonia to determine if pathogen-specific signatures can be identified in human alveolar macrophages. Measurements and Main Results: An alveolar neutrophil percentage < 50% had a negative predictive value of > 90% for bacterial pneumonia in both the retrospective (N = 851) and validation cohorts (N = 76 and N = 79). A transcriptional signature of bacterial pneumonia was present in both resident and recruited macrophages. Gene signatures from both cell types identified patients with bacterial pneumonia with test characteristics similar to alveolar neutrophilia. Conclusions: The absence of alveolar neutrophilia has a high negative predictive value for bacterial pneumonia in critically ill patients with suspected infection. Macrophages can be isolated from alveolar lavage fluid obtained during routine care and used for RNA-Seq analysis. This novel approach may facilitate a longitudinal and multidimensional assessment of the host response to bacterial pneumonia.

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HEXIM1-Tat chimera inhibits HIV-1 replication

Marie Leoz, Petra Kukanja, Zeping Luo, Fang Huang, Daniele C. Cary, B. Matija Peterlin, Koh Fujinaga

PLoS Pathogens, doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1007402

Transcription of HIV provirus is a key step of the viral cycle, and depends on the recruitment of the cellular positive transcription elongation factor (P-TEFb) to the HIV promoter. The viral transactivator Tat can displace P-TEFb from the 7SK small nuclear ribonucleoprotein, where it is bound and inactivated by HEXIM1, and bring it to TAR, which allows the stalled RNA polymerase II to transition to successful transcription elongation. In this study, we designed a chimeric inhibitor of HIV transcription by combining functional domains from HEXIM1 and Tat. The chimera (HT1) potently inhibited gene expression from the HIV promoter, by competing with Tat for TAR and P-TEFb binding, while keeping the latter inactive. HT1 inhibited spreading infection as well as viral reactivation in lymphocyte T cell line models of HIV latency, with little effect on cellular transcription and metabolism. This proof-of-concept study validates an innovative approach to interfering with HIV transcription via peptide mimicry and competition for RNA-protein interactions. HT1 represents a new candidate for HIV therapy, or HIV cure via the proposed block and lock strategy.

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Maize (Zea mays) is one of the most important staple crops worldwide. Every year, significant proportion of the commercial maize production is lost to insect herbivores and phytopathogens despite extensive control measures. This global issue can be alleviated by harnessing the innate biochemical defense mechanisms of maize, which may have been sacrificed over the course of crop domestication for higher yield. In this thesis, I use Fusarium graminearum, a widespread fungal pathogen of maize, as a model pathosystem, to study the genetic and physiological control of maize specialized metabolism and biochemical defense. By integrating untargeted metabolomics and transcriptomics data into quantitative genetics framework, I am able to discover novel regulatory genes and mechanisms of specific metabolites, as well as to establish a metabolome-scale resource of metabolite-genetic loci associations at high resolution. Through comparative metabolomics analyses, I identify two F. graminearum-resistancerelated acetylated diferuloylsucrose compounds, smiglaside C and smilaside A, which have not been confirmed in maize previously. In an in vitro fungal growth inhibition assay, only the diacetylated smilaside A demonstrates significant bioactivity, whereas the tri-acetylated smiglaside C does not. Genetic mapping of these two compounds, alongside with mutant analyses and physiological experiments, show that ethylene signaling can regulate the metabolism of these two compounds. While ethylene production is required for the accumulation of both compounds in planta, their relative abundance is fine-tuned by ethylene sensitivity. Interestingly, the relative abundance, rather than the absolute amount of these two compounds appears to have a more significant influence on maize resistance against F. graminearum infection. In the same genetic mapping population, genetic mapping and metabolite-transcript correlation analyses suggest that a putative vesicular transport protein is a negative regulator of accumulation of benzaoxazinoids, the most abundant class of specialized metabolites in maize seedlings. This hypothesis is partially supported by genetic mutant analyses and pharmacological disruption of the vesicular transport system in planta. However, further experimental evidence is required to establish a role for the vesicular transport system in benzoxazinoid metabolism. Finally, the chemical genetics approach is extended to a much more diverse maize genome-wide association mapping diversity panel. Multivariate statistical analyses of the large untargeted metabolomics dataset reveal that different classes of specialized metabolites are selectively differentiated between developmental stages and genetic subpopulations. Using liquid chromatography retention time as a proxy of metabolite structure relatedness, it is shown that structurally similar metabolites tend to be co-regulated by shared genetic loci. To demonstrate the utility of the thousands of metabolite-genetic loci association, I experimentally validate that different alleles of a maize citrate synthase gene is responsible for the different structural isomers of hydroxycinnamic acid-hydroxycitric acid conjugates accumulated in the tropical versus temperate maize inbred lines. In summary, work presented in this thesis demonstrates the power of integrating multiomics dataset to dissect specialized metabolism in maize. It provides examples of metabolic and regulatory gene discovery using a forward genetics approach, and set up a platform for future validation of candidate genetic loci associated with potential metabolites of interest.

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Dietary β-adrenergic agonists (β-AA) are used in livestock to increase muscle protein accretion and decrease adipose deposition during the last 20 to 40 d of the finishing period (Johnson et al., 2014). These β-AA act through specific seven transmembrane receptors and are classified by the receptor isoform to which they primarily bind (Mersmann, 1998). Two β-AA are approved for use in beef cattle in the United States: ractopamine HCl (RAC, β1 agonist) and zilpaterol HCl (ZH, β2 agonist) (Johnson et al., 2014). Supplementation of β-AA increases efficiency of the animal and results in a leaner carcass (Elam et al., 2009). However, the skeletal muscle’s genomic response to these treatments is not well understood. Heat stress (HS) has long been a major concern in the livestock industry. HS occurs when an animal’s body temperature rises above its thermoneutral zone, at which point the heat load exceeds the animal’s capacity for heat dissipation (Bernabucci et al., 2010), resulting in decreased feed intake and poor performance (Marai et al., 2007). Therefore, growth and production decrease during HS, affecting economically important carcass and reproductive traits. As a result, millions of dollars are lost each year due to HS (Renaudeau et al., 2012). Individually, HS and β-AA supplementation have antagonistic effects on muscle growth. However, there is a gap in understanding of the genomic mechanisms through which animals respond to these factors individually and in concert. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of β-AA, HS, and their interaction in skeletal muscle using transcriptomic analyses.

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Intestinal barrier tightening by a cell‐penetrating antibody to Bin1, a candidate target for immunotherapy of ulcerative colitis

Sunil Thomas, Kevther Hoxha, Walker Alexander, John Gilligan, Rima Dilbarova, Kelly Whittaker, Andrew Kossenkov, George C. Prendergast, James M. Mullin

Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, doi:10.1002/jcb.27716

Patients afflicted with ulcerative colitis (UC) are at increased risk of colorectal cancer. While its causes are not fully understood, UC is associated with defects in colonic epithelial barriers that sustain inflammation of the colon mucosa caused by recruitment of lymphocytes and neutrophils into the lamina propria. Based on genetic evidence that attenuation of the bridging integrator 1 (Bin1) gene can limit UC pathogenicity in animals, we have explored Bin1 targeting as a therapeutic option. Early feasibility studies in the dextran sodium sulfate mouse model of experimental colitis showed that administration of a cell‐penetrating Bin1 monoclonal antibody (Bin1 mAb 99D) could prevent lesion formation in the colon mucosa in part by preventing rupture of lymphoid follicles. In vivo administration of Bin1 mAb altered tight junction protein expression and cecal barrier function. Strikingly, electrophysiology studies in organ cultures showed that Bin1 mAb could elevate resistance and lower 14C‐mannitol leakage across the cecal mucosa, consistent with a direct strengthening of colonic barrier function. Transcriptomic analyses of colitis tissues highlighted altered expression of genes involved in circadian rhythm, lipid metabolism, and inflammation, with a correction of the alterations by Bin1 mAb treatment to patterns characteristic of normal tissues. Overall, our results suggest that Bin1 mAb protects against UC by directly improving colonic epithelial barrier function to limit gene expression and cytokine programs associated with colonic inflammation.

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Transcriptome-wide effects of expansin gene manipulation in etiolated Arabidopsis seedling

Iqmal Asyraf Ilias, Kohei Negishi, Keito Yasue, Naohiro Jomura, Kengo Morohashi, Syarul Nataqain Baharum, Hoe-Han Goh

Journal of Plant Research, doi:10.1007/s10265-018-1067-0

Expansin is a non-enzymatic protein which plays a pivotal role in cell wall loosening by inducing stress relaxation and extension in the plant cell wall. Previous studies on Arabidopsis, Petunia × hybrida, and tomato demonstrated that the suppression of expansin gene expression reduced plant growth but expansin overexpression does not necessarily promotes growth. In this study, both expansin gene suppression and overexpression in dark-grown transgenic Arabidopsis seedlings resulted in reduced hypocotyl length at late growth stages with a more pronounced effect for the overexpression. This defect in hypocotyl elongation raises questions about the molecular effect of expansin gene manipulation. RNA-seq analysis of the transcriptomic changes between day 3 and day 5 seedlings for both transgenic lines found numerous differentially expressed genes (DEGs) including transcription factors and hormone-related genes involved in different aspects of cell wall development. These DEGs imply that the observed hypocotyl growth retardation is a consequence of the concerted effect of regulatory factors and multiple cell-wall related genes, which are important for cell wall remodelling during rapid hypocotyl elongation. This is further supported by co-expression analysis through network-centric approach of differential network cluster analysis. This first transcriptome-wide study of expansin manipulation explains why the effect of expansin overexpression is greater than suppression and provides insights into the dynamic nature of molecular regulation during etiolation.

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A stably self-renewing adult blood-derived induced neural stem cell exhibiting patternability and epigenetic rejuvenation

Chao Sheng, Johannes Jungverdorben, Hendrik Wiethoff, Qiong Lin, Lea J. Flitsch, Daniela Eckert, Matthias Hebisch, Julia Fischer, Jaideep Kesavan, Beatrice Weykopf, Linda Schneider, Dominik Holtkamp, Heinz Beck, Andreas Till, Ullrich Wüllner, Michael J. Ziller, Wolfgang Wagner, Michael Peitz & Oliver Brüstle

Nature Communications, doi:10.1038/s41467-018-06398-5

Recent reports suggest that induced neurons (iNs), but not induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived neurons, largely preserve age-associated traits. Here, we report on the extent of preserved epigenetic and transcriptional aging signatures in directly converted induced neural stem cells (iNSCs). Employing restricted and integration-free expression of SOX2 and c-MYC, we generated a fully functional, bona fide NSC population from adult blood cells that remains highly responsive to regional patterning cues. Upon conversion, low passage iNSCs display a profound loss of age-related DNA methylation signatures, which further erode across extended passaging, thereby approximating the DNA methylation age of isogenic iPSC-derived neural precursors. This epigenetic rejuvenation is accompanied by a lack of age-associated transcriptional signatures and absence of cellular aging hallmarks. We find iNSCs to be competent for modeling pathological protein aggregation and for neurotransplantation, depicting blood-to-NSC conversion as a rapid alternative route for both disease modeling and neuroregeneration.

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Maternal immune activation alters brain microRNA expression in mouse offspring

Jun‐Sang Sunwoo, Daejong Jeon, Soon‐Tae Lee, Jangsup Moon, Jung‐Suk Yu, Dong‐Kyu Park, Ji‐Yeon Bae, Doo Young Lee, Sangwoo Kim, Keun‐Hwa Jung, Kyung‐Il Park, Ki‐Young Jung, Manho Kim, Sang Kun Lee, Kon Chu

Annals of Clinical and Translational Neurology, doi: 10.1002/acn3.652


Maternal immune activation (MIA) is associated with an increased risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in offspring. Herein, we investigate the altered expression of microRNAs (miRNA), and that of their target genes, in the brains of MIA mouse offspring.


To generate MIA model mice, pregnant mice were injected with polyriboinosinic:polyribocytidylic acid on embryonic day 12.5. We performed miRNA microarray and mRNA sequencing in order to determine the differential expression of miRNA and mRNA between MIA mice and controls, at 3 weeks of age. We further identified predicted target genes of dysregulated miRNAs, and miRNA‐target interactions, based on the inverse correlation of their expression levels.


Mice prenatally subjected to MIA exhibited behavioral abnormalities typical of ASD, such as a lack of preference for social novelty and reduced prepulse inhibition. We found 29 differentially expressed miRNAs (8 upregulated and 21 downregulated) and 758 differentially expressed mRNAs (542 upregulated and 216 downregulated) in MIA offspring compared to controls. Based on expression levels of the predicted target genes, 18 downregulated miRNAs (340 target genes) and three upregulated miRNAs (60 target genes) were found to be significantly enriched among the differentially expressed genes. miRNA and target gene interactions were most significant between mmu‐miR‐466i‐3p and Hfm1 (ATP‐dependent DNA helicase homolog), and between mmu‐miR‐877‐3p and Aqp6 (aquaporin 6).


Our results provide novel information regarding miRNA expression changes and their putative targets in the early postnatal period of brain development. Further studies will be needed to evaluate potential pathogenic roles of the dysregulated miRNAs.

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Differential effects of partial and complete loss of TREM2 on microglial injury response and tauopathy

Faten A. Sayed, Maria Telpoukhovskaia, Lay Kodama, Yaqiao Li, Yungui Zhou, David Le, Axel Hauduc, Connor Ludwig, Fuying Gao, Claire Clelland, Lihong Zhan, Yonatan A. Cooper, Dimitrios Davalos, Katerina Akassoglou, Giovanni Coppola, and Li Gan

PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1811411115

Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common form of dementia, is characterized by the abnormal accumulation of amyloid plaques and hyperphosphorylated tau aggregates, as well as microgliosis. Hemizygous missense variants in Triggering Receptor Expressed on Myeloid Cells 2 (TREM2) are associated with elevated risk for developing late-onset AD. These variants are hypothesized to result in loss of function, mimicking TREM2 haploinsufficiency. However, the consequences of TREM2 haploinsufficiency on tau pathology and microglial function remain unknown. We report the effects of partial and complete loss of TREM2 on microglial function and tau-associated deficits. In vivo imaging revealed that microglia from aged TREM2-haploinsufficient mice show a greater impairment in their injury response compared with microglia from aged TREM2-KO mice. In transgenic mice expressing mutant human tau, TREM2 haploinsufficiency, but not complete loss of TREM2, increased tau pathology. In addition, whereas complete TREM2 deficiency protected against tau-mediated microglial activation and atrophy, TREM2 haploinsufficiency elevated expression of proinflammatory markers and exacerbated atrophy at a late stage of disease. The differential effects of partial and complete loss of TREM2 on microglial function and tau pathology provide important insights into the critical role of TREM2 in AD pathogenesis.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Prospective Isolation and Characterization of Genetically and Functionally Distinct AML Subclones

Bauke de Boer, Janine Prick, Maurien G. Pruis, Peter Keane, Maria Rosaria Imperato, Jennifer Jaques, Annet Z. Brouwers-Vos, Shanna M. Hogeling, Carolien M. Woolthuis, Marije T. Nijk, Arjan Diepstra, Sebastian Wandinger, Matthias Versele, Ricardo M. Attar, Peter N. Cockerill, Gerwin Huls, Edo Vellenga, André B. Mulder, Constanze Bonifer, Jan Jacob Schuringa

Cancer Cell, doi: 10.1016/j.ccell.2018.08.014

Intra-tumor heterogeneity caused by clonal evolution is a major problem in cancer treatment. To address this problem, we performed label-free quantitative proteomics on primary acute myeloid leukemia (AML) samples. We identified 50 leukemia-enriched plasma membrane proteins enabling the prospective isolation of genetically distinct subclones from individual AML patients. Subclones differed in their regulatory phenotype, drug sensitivity, growth, and engraftment behavior, as determined by RNA sequencing, DNase I hypersensitive site mapping, transcription factor occupancy analysis, in vitro culture, and xenograft transplantation. Finally, we show that these markers can be used to identify and longitudinally track distinct leukemic clones in patients in routine diagnostics. Our study describes a strategy for a major improvement in stratifying cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

The non-conventional yeast species Zygosaccharomyces bailii is remarkably tolerant to acetic acid, a highly important microbial inhibitory compound in Food Industry and Biotechnology. ZbHaa1 is the functional homologue of S. cerevisiae Haa1 and a bifunctional transcription factor able to modulate Z. bailii adaptive response to acetic acid and copper stress. In this study, RNA-Seq was used to investigate genomic transcription changes in Z. bailii during early response to sublethal concentrations of acetic acid (140 mM, pH 4.0) or copper (0.08 mM) and uncover the regulatory network activated by these stresses under ZbHaa1 control. Differentially expressed genes in response to acetic acid exposure (297) are mainly related with the tricarboxylic acid cycle, protein folding and stabilization and modulation of plasma membrane composition and cell wall architecture, 17 of which, directly or indirectly, ZbHaa1-dependent. Copper stress induced the differential expression of 190 genes mainly involved in the response to oxidative stress, 15 ZbHaa1-dependent. This study provides valuable mechanistic insights regarding Z. bailiiadaptation to acetic acid or copper stress, as well as useful information on transcription regulatory networks in pre-whole genome duplication (WGD) (Z. bailii) and post-WGD (S. cerevisiae) yeast species, contributing to the understanding of transcriptional networks’ evolution in yeasts.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Transcriptome profiling in blood before and after hepatitis B vaccination shows significant differences in gene expression between responders and non-responders

Esther Bartholomeus, Nicolas De Neuter, Pieter Meysman, Arvid Suls, Nina Keersmaekers, George Elias, Hilde Jansens, Niel Hens, Evelien Smits, Viggo Van Tendeloo, Philippe Beutels, Pierre Van Damme, Benson Ogunjimi, Kris Laukens, Geert Mortier

Vaccine, doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.09.001

As the hepatitis B virus is widely spread and responsible for considerable morbidity and mortality, WHO recommends vaccination from infancy to reduce acute infection and chronic carriers. However, current subunit vaccines are not 100% efficacious and leave 5–10% of recipients unprotected.

To evaluate immune responses after Engerix-B vaccination, we determined, using mRNA-sequencing, whole blood early gene expression signatures before, at day 3 and day 7 after the first dose and correlated this with the resulting antibody titer after two vaccine doses.

Our results indicate that immune related genes are differentially expressed in responders mostly at day 3 and in non-responders mostly at day 7. The most remarkable difference between responders and non-responders were the differentially expressed genes before vaccination. The granulin precursor gene (GRN) was significantly downregulated in responders while upregulated in non-responders at day 0. Furthermore, absolute granulocytes numbers were significantly higher in non-responders at day 0.

The non-responders already showed an activated state of the immune system before vaccination. Furthermore, after vaccination, they exhibited a delayed and partial immune response in comparison to the responders. Our data may indicate that the baseline and untriggered immune system can influence the response upon hepatitis B vaccination.

Differential gene expressionEngerix-B vaccineHepatitis BImmune response

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Lipocalin-2 is a pathogenic determinant and biomarker of neuropsychiatric lupus

Elise V. Mike, Hadijat M. Makinde, Maria Gulinello, Kamala Vanarsa, Leal Herlitz, Gaurav Gadhvi, Deborah R. Winter, Chandra Mohan, John G. Hanly, C.C. Mok, Carla M. Cuda, Chaim Puttermanah

Journal of Autoimmunity, 10.1016/j.jaut.2018.08.005

Neuropsychiatric manifestations in lupus (NPSLE) affect ∼20–40% of patients. In the central nervous system, lipocalin-2 (LCN2) can promote injury through mechanisms directly linked to NPSLE, including brain barrier disruption, neurotoxicity, and glial activation. Since LCN2 is elevated in lupus and has been implicated in neuroinflammation, we investigated whether LCN2 is required for the pathogenesis of NPSLE. Here, we investigated the effects of LCN2 deficiency on the development of neurobehavioral deficits in the B6.Sle1.Sle3 (Sle1,3) mouse lupus model. Sle1,3 mice exhibited depression-like behavior and impaired spatial and recognition memory, and these deficits were attenuated in Sle1,3-LCN2KO mice. Whole-brain flow cytometry showed a significant increase in brain infiltrating leukocytes in Sle1,3 mice that was not reduced by LCN2 deficiency. RNA sequencing on sorted microglia revealed that several genes differentially expressed between B6 and Sle1,3 mice were regulated by LCN2, and that these genes are key mediators of the neuroinflammatory cascade. Importantly, LCN2 is upregulated in the cerebrospinal fluid of NPSLE patients across 2 different ethnicities. Our findings establish the Sle1,3 strain as an NPSLE model, demonstrate that LCN2 is a major regulator of the detrimental neuroimmune response in NPSLE, and identify CSF LCN2 as a novel biomarker for NPSLE.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Self-Renewing Trophoblast Organoids Recapitulate the Developmental Program of the Early Human Placenta

Sandra Haider, Gudrun Meinhardt, Leila Saleh, Viktoria Kunihs, Magdalena Gamperl, Ulrich Kaindl, Adolf Ellinger, Thomas R. Burkard, Christian Fiala, Jürgen Pollheimer, Sasha Mendjan, Paulina A. Latos, Martin Knöfler

Stem Cell Reports, 10.1016/j.stemcr.2018.07.004

Defective placentation is the underlying cause of various pregnancy complications, such as severe intrauterine growth restriction and preeclampsia. However, studies on human placental development are hampered by the lack of a self-renewing in vitro model that would recapitulate formation of trophoblast progenitors and differentiated subtypes, syncytiotrophoblast (STB) and invasive extravillous trophoblast (EVT), in a 3D orientation. Hence, we established long-term expanding organoid cultures from purified first-trimester cytotrophoblasts (CTBs). Molecular analyses revealed that the CTB organoid cultures (CTB-ORGs) express markers of trophoblast stemness and proliferation and are highly similar to primary CTBs at the level of global gene expression. Whereas CTB-ORGs spontaneously generated STBs, withdrawal of factors for self-renewal induced trophoblast outgrowth, expressing the EVT progenitor marker NOTCH1, and provoked formation of adjacent, distally located HLA-G+ EVTs. In summary, we established human CTB-ORGs that grow and differentiate under defined culture conditions, allowing future human placental disease modeling.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

The enhancer landscape of pluripotent stem cells undergoes extensive reorganization during early mammalian development. The functions and mechanisms behind such reorganization, however, are unclear. Here, we show that the transcription factor GRHL2 is necessary and sufficient to activate an epithelial subset of enhancers as naive embryonic stem cells (ESCs) transition into formative epiblast-like cells (EpiLCs). Surprisingly, many GRHL2 target genes do not change in expression during the ESC-EpiLC transition. Instead, enhancers regulating these genes in ESCs diminish in activity in EpiLCs while GRHL2-dependent alternative enhancers become activated to maintain transcription. GRHL2 therefore assumes control over a subset of the naive network via enhancer switching to maintain expression of epithelial genes upon exit from naive pluripotency. These data evoke a model where the naive pluripotency network becomes partitioned into smaller, independent networks regulated by EpiLC-specific transcription factors, thereby priming cells for lineage specification.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

SLAM-seq defines direct gene-regulatory functions of the BRD4-MYC axis

Matthias Muhar, Anja Ebert, Tobias Neumann, Christian Umkehrer, Julian Jude, Corinna Wieshofer, Philipp Rescheneder, Jesse J. Lipp, Veronika A. Herzog, Brian Reichholf, David A. Cisneros, Thomas Hoffmann, Moritz F. Schlapansky, Pooja Bhat, Arndt von Haeseler, Thomas Köcher, Anna C. Obenauf, Johannes Popow, Stefan L. Ameres, Johannes Zuber

Science, doi:10.1126/science.aao2793

Defining direct targets of transcription factors and regulatory pathways is key to understanding their roles in physiology and disease. Here we combine SLAM-seq, a method for direct quantification of newly synthesized mRNAs, with pharmacological and chemical-genetic perturbation to define regulatory functions of two transcriptional hubs in cancer, BRD4 and MYC, and to interrogate direct responses to BET bromodomain inhibitors (BETi). We find that BRD4 acts as general co-activator of RNA polymerase II (Pol2)-dependent transcription, which is broadly repressed upon high-dose BETi treatment. At doses triggering selective effects in leukemia, BETi deregulate a small set of hypersensitive targets including MYC. In contrast to BRD4, MYC primarily acts as a selective transcriptional activator controlling metabolic processes such as ribosome biogenesis and de-novo purine synthesis. Our study establishes a simple and scalable strategy to identify direct transcriptional targets of any gene or pathway.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina and SLAMseq Metabolic RNA Labeling Kit for RNA-Seq

Dysregulation of expression correlates with rare-allele burden and fitness loss in maize

Karl A. G. Kremling, Shu-Yun Chen, Mei-Hsiu Su, Nicholas K. Lepak, M. Cinta Romay, Kelly L. Swarts, Fei Lu, Anne Lorant, Peter J. Bradbury & Edward S. Buckler

Nature, doi:10.1038/nature25966

Here we report a multi-tissue gene expression resource that represents the genotypic and phenotypic diversity of modern inbred maize, and includes transcriptomes in an average of 255 lines in seven tissues. We mapped expression quantitative trait loci and characterized the contribution of rare genetic variants to extremes in gene expression. Some of the new mutations that arise in the maize genome can be deleterious; although selection acts to keep deleterious variants rare, their complete removal is impeded by genetic linkage to favourable loci and by finite population size. Modern maize breeders have systematically reduced the effects of this constant mutational pressure through artificial selection and self-fertilization, which have exposed rare recessive variants in elite inbred lines. However, the ongoing effect of these rare alleles on modern inbred maize is unknown. By analysing this gene expression resource and exploiting the extreme diversity and rapid linkage disequilibrium decay of maize, we characterize the effect of rare alleles and evolutionary history on the regulation of expression. Rare alleles are associated with the dysregulation of expression, and we correlate this dysregulation to seed-weight fitness. We find enrichment of ancestral rare variants among expression quantitative trait loci mapped in modern inbred lines, which suggests that historic bottlenecks have shaped regulation. Our results suggest that one path for further genetic improvement in agricultural species lies in purging the rare deleterious variants that have been associated with crop fitness.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Neurogenomic Profiling Reveals Distinct Gene Expression Profiles Between Brain Parts That Are Consistent in Ophthalmotilapia Cichlids

Sofie Derycke, Loic Kéver, Koen Herten, Koen Van den Berge, Maarten Van Steenberge, Jeroen Van Houdt, Lieven Clement, Pascal Poncin, Eric Parmentier and Erik Verheyen

Frontiers in Neuroscience, doi:10.3389/fnins.2018.00136

The detection of external and internal cues alters gene expression in the brain which in turn may affect neural networks that underly behavioral responses. Previous studies have shown that gene expression profiles differ between major brain regions within individuals and between species with different morphologies, cognitive abilities and/or behaviors. A detailed description of gene expression in all macroanatomical brain regions and in species with similar morphologies and behaviors is however lacking. Here, we dissected the brain of two cichlid species into six macroanatomical regions. Ophthalmotilapia nasuta and O. ventralis have similar morphology and behavior and occasionally hybridize in the wild. We use 3′ mRNA sequencing and a stage-wise statistical testing procedure to identify differential gene expression between females that were kept in a social setting with other females. Our results show that gene expression differs substantially between all six brain parts within species: out of 11,577 assessed genes, 8,748 are differentially expressed (DE) in at least one brain part compared to the average expression of the other brain parts. At most 16% of these DE genes have |log2FC| significantly higher than two. Functional differences between brain parts were consistent between species. The majority (61–79%) of genes that are DE in a particular brain part were shared between both species. Only 32 genes show significant differences in fold change across brain parts between species. These genes are mainly linked to transport, transmembrane transport, transcription (and its regulation) and signal transduction. Moreover, statistical equivalence testing reveals that within each comparison, on average 89% of the genes show an equivalent fold change between both species. The pronounced differences in gene expression between brain parts and the conserved patterns between closely related species with similar morphologies and behavior suggest that unraveling the interactions between genes and behavior will benefit from neurogenomic profiling of distinct brain regions.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Homologous recombination (HR), which ensures accurate DNA replication and strand-break repair, is necessary to preserve embryonic stem cell (ESC) self-renewal. However, little is known about how HR factors modulate ESC differentiation and replication stress-associated DNA breaks caused by unique cell-cycle progression. Here, we report that ESCs utilize Rad51-dependent HR to enhance viability and induce rapid proliferation through a replication-coupled pathway. In addition, ESC differentiation was shown to be enhanced by ectopic expression of a subset of recombinases. Abundant expression of HR proteins throughout the ESC cycle, but not during differentiation, facilitated immediate HR-mediated repair of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) gaps incurred during S-phase, via a mechanism that does not perturb cellular progression. Intriguingly, combined ectopic expression of two recombinases, Rad51 and Rad52, resulted in efficient ESC differentiation and diminished cell death, indicating that HR factors promote cellular differentiation by repairing global DNA breaks induced by chromatin remodeling signals. Collectively, these findings provide insight into the role of key HR factors in rapid DNA break repair following chromosome duplication during self-renewal and differentiation of ESCs.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Single Cell Molecular Alterations Reveal Pathogenesis and Targets of Concussive Brain Injury *REVIEW

Douglas Arneson, Yumei Zhuang, Hyae Ran Byun, In Sook Ahn, Zhe Ying, Guanglin Zhang, Fernando Gomez-Pinilla, Xia Yang

bioRxiv, doi:10.1101/250381

The complex neuropathology of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is difficult to dissect in the hippocampus considering the convoluted hippocampal cytoarchitecture. As a major casualty of TBI, hippocampal dysfunction results in cognitive decline that may escalate to other neurological disorders, and the molecular basis is hidden in the genomic programs of individual hippocampal cells. Using the unbiased single cell sequencing method Drop-seq, we uncovered the hippocampal cell types most sensitive to concussive mild TBI (mTBI) as well as the vulnerable genes, pathways and cell-cell interactions predictive of disease pathogenesis in a cell-type specific manner, revealing hidden pathogenic mechanisms and potential targets. Targeting Ttr, encoding the thyroid hormone T4 transporter transthyretin, mitigated the genomic and behavioral abnormalities associated with mTBI. Single cell genomics provides unique evidence about altered circuits and pathogenic pathways, and pinpoints new targets amenable to therapeutics in mTBI and related disorders.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Gene-level differential expression analysis based on RNA-Seq is more robust, powerful and biologically actionable than transcript-level differential analysis. However aggregation of transcript counts prior to analysis results can mask transcript-level dynamics. We demonstrate that aggregating the results of transcript-level analysis allow for gene-level analysis with transcript-level resolution. We also show that p-value aggregation methods, typically used for meta-analyses, greatly increase the sensitivity of gene-level differential analyses. Furthermore, such aggregation can be applied directly to transcript compatibility counts obtained during pseudoalignment, thereby allowing for rapid and accurate model-free differential testing. The methods are general, allowing for testing not only of genes but also of any groups of transcripts, and we showcase an example where we apply them to perturbation analysis of gene ontologies.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Combined CDK4/6 and PI3Kα Inhibition Is Synergistic and Immunogenic in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer

Zhi Ling Teo, Stephanie Versaci, Sathana Dushyanthen, Franco Caramia, Peter Savas, Chris P. Mintoff, Magnus Zethoven, Balaji Virassamy, Stephen J. Luen, Grant A. McArthur, Wayne A. Phillips, Phillip K. Darcy and Sherene Loi

Cancer Research, doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-2210

New treatments for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) are urgently needed. Despite there being little evidence of clinical activity as single-agent therapies, we show that dual blockade of PI3Kα and CDK4/6 is synergistically effective against multiple RB1-wild-type TNBC models. Combined PI3Kα and CDK4/6 inhibition significantly increased apoptosis, cell-cycle arrest, and tumor immunogenicity and generated immunogenic cell death in human TNBC cell lines. Combination treatment also significantly improved disease control in human xenograft models compared with either monotherapy. Combined PI3Kα and CDK4/6 inhibition significantly increased tumor-infiltrating T-cell activation and cytotoxicity and decreased the frequency of immunosuppressive myeloid-derived suppressor cells in a syngeneic TNBC mouse model. Notably, combined PI3Kα and CDK4/6 inhibition, along with inhibition of immune checkpoints PD-1 and CTLA-4, induced complete and durable regressions (>1 year) of established TNBC tumors in vivo. Overall, our results illustrate convergent mechanisms of PI3Kα and CDK4/6 blockade on cell-cycle progression, DNA damage response, and immune-modulation and may provide a novel therapeutic approach for TNBC.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

We and others have proposed that coactivator binding inhibitors, which block the interaction of estrogen receptor and steroid receptor coactivators, may represent a potential class of new breast cancer therapeutics. The development of coactivator binding inhibitors has been limited, however, because many of the current molecules which are active in in vitro and biochemical assays are not active in cell-based assays. Our goal in this work was to prepare a coactivator binding inhibitor active in cellular models of breast cancer. To accomplish this, we used molecular dynamics simulations to convert a high-affinity stapled peptide with poor cell permeability into R4K1, a cell-penetrating stapled peptide. R4K1 displays high binding affinity for estrogen receptor α, inhibits the formation of estrogen receptor/coactivator complexes, and distributes throughout the cell with a high percentage of nuclear localization. R4K1 represses native gene transcription mediated by estrogen receptor α and inhibits proliferation of estradiol-stimulated MCF-7 cells. Using RNA-Seq, we demonstrate that almost all of the effects of R4K1 on global gene transcription are estrogen-receptor-associated. This chemical probe provides a significant proof-of-concept for preparing cell-permeable stapled peptide inhibitors of the estrogen receptor/coactivator interaction.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Development of zebrafish medulloblastoma-like PNET model by TALEN-mediated somatic gene inactivation

Jaegal Shim, Jung-Hwa Choi, Moon-Hak Park, Hyena Kim, Jong Hwan Kim, Seon-Young Kim, Dongwan Hong, Sunshin Kim, Ji Eun Lee, Cheol-Hee Kim, Jeong-Soo Lee and Young-Ki Bae

Oncotarget, doi:10.18632/oncotarget.19424

Genetically engineered animal tumor models have traditionally been generated by the gain of single or multiple oncogenes or the loss of tumor suppressor genes; however, the development of live animal models has been difficult given that cancer phenotypes are generally induced by somatic mutation rather than by germline genetic inactivation. In this study, we developed somatically mutated tumor models using TALEN-mediated somatic gene inactivation of cdkn2a/b or rb1 tumor suppressor genes in zebrafish. One-cell stage injection of cdkn2a/b-TALEN mRNA resulted in malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors with high frequency (about 39%) and early onset (about 35 weeks of age) in F0 tp53e7/e7 mutant zebrafish. Injection of rb1-TALEN mRNA also led to the formation of brain tumors at high frequency (58%, 31 weeks of age) in F0 tp53e7/e7 mutant zebrafish. Analysis of each tumor induced by somatic inactivation showed that the targeted genes had bi-allelic mutations. Tumors induced by rb1 somatic inactivation were characterized as medulloblastoma-like primitive neuroectodermal tumors based on incidence location, histopathological features, and immunohistochemical tests. In addition, 3′ mRNA Quanti-Seq analysis showed differential activation of genes involved in cell cycle, DNA replication, and protein synthesis; especially, genes involved in neuronal development were up-regulated.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Lin28B and miR-142-3p regulate neuronal differentiation by modulating Staufen1 expression

Younseo Oh, Jungyun Park, Jin-Il Kim, Mi-Yoon Chang, Sang-Hun Lee, Youl-Hee Cho & Jungwook Hwang

Cell Death and Differentiation, doi:10.1038/cdd.2017.182

Staufen1 (STAU1) and Lin28B are RNA-binding proteins that are involved in neuronal differentiation as a function of post-transcriptional regulation. STAU1 triggers post-transcriptional regulation, including mRNA export, mRNA relocation, translation and mRNA decay. Lin28B also has multiple functions in miRNA biogenesis and the regulation of translation. Here, we examined the connection between STAU1 and Lin28B and found that Lin28B regulates the abundance of STAU1 mRNA via miRNA maturation. Decreases in the expression of both STAU1 and Lin28B were observed during neuronal differentiation. Depletion of STAU1 or Lin28B inhibited neuronal differentiation, and overexpression of STAU1 or Lin28B enhanced neuronal differentiation. Interestingly, the stability of STAU1 mRNA was modulated by miR-142-3p, whose maturation was regulated by Lin28B. Thus, miR-142-3p expression increased as Lin28B expression decreased during differentiation, leading to the reduction of STAU1 expression. The transcriptome from Staufen-mediated mRNA decay (SMD) targets during differentiation was analyzed, confirming that STAU1 was a key factor in neuronal differentiation. In support of this finding, regulation of STAU1 expression in mouse neural precursor cells had the same effects on neuronal differentiation as it did in human neuroblastoma cells. These results revealed the collaboration of two RNA-binding proteins, STAU1 and Lin28B, as a regulatory mechanism in neuronal differentiation.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

IL-1R8 is a checkpoint in NK cells regulating anti-tumour and anti-viral activity

Martina Molgora, Eduardo Bonavita, Andrea Ponzetta, Federica Riva, Marialuisa Barbagallo, Sébastien Jaillon, Branka Popović, Giovanni Bernardini, Elena Magrini, Francesca Gianni, Santiago Zelenay, Stipan Jonjić, Angela Santoni, Cecilia Garlanda & Alberto Mantovani

Nature, doi:10.1038/nature24293

Interleukin-1 receptor 8 (IL-1R8, also known as single immunoglobulin IL-1R-related receptor, SIGIRR, or TIR8) is a member of the IL-1 receptor (ILR) family with distinct structural and functional characteristics, acting as a negative regulator of ILR and Toll-like receptor (TLR) downstream signalling pathways and inflammation. Natural killer (NK) cells are innate lymphoid cells which mediate resistance against pathogens and contribute to the activation and orientation of adaptive immune responses. NK cells mediate resistance against haematopoietic neoplasms but are generally considered to play a minor role in solid tumour carcinogenesis. Here we report that IL-1R8 serves as a checkpoint for NK cell maturation and effector function. Its genetic blockade unleashes NK-cell-mediated resistance to hepatic carcinogenesis, haematogenous liver and lung metastasis, and cytomegalovirus infection.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

SLAM-ITseq: Sequencing cell type-specific transcriptomes without cell sorting

Wayo Matsushima, Veronika A Herzog, Tobias Neumann, Katharina Gapp, Johannes Zuber, Stefan L Ameres, Eric A Miska

Development, doi:10.1242/dev.164640

Cell type-specific transcriptome analysis is an essential tool in understanding biological processes in which diverse types of cells are involved. Although cell isolation methods such as fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) in combination with transcriptome analysis have widely been used so far, their time-consuming and harsh procedures limit their applications. Here, we report a novel in vivo metabolic RNA sequencing method, SLAM-ITseq, which metabolically labels RNA with 4-thiouracil in a specific cell type in vivo followed by detection through an RNA-seq-based method that specifically distinguishes the thiolated uridine by base conversion. This method has successfully identified the cell type-specific transcriptome in three different tissues: endothelial cells in brain, epithelial cells in intestine, and adipocytes in white adipose tissue. Since this method does not require isolation of cells or RNA prior to the transcriptomic analysis, SLAM-ITseq provides an easy yet accurate snapshot of the transcriptional state in vivo.

Features SLAMseq Metabolic RNA Labeling Kit for RNA-Seq and QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Post-transcriptional 3´-UTR cleavage of mRNA transcripts generates thousands of stable uncapped autonomous RNA fragments

Yuval Malka, Avital Steiman-Shimony, Eran Rosenthal, Liron Argaman, Leonor Cohen-Daniel, Eliran Arbib, Hanah Margalit, Tommy Kaplan & Michael Berger

Nature Communicationsvolume, doi:10.1038/s41467-017-02099-7

The majority of mammalian genes contain one or more alternative polyadenylation sites. Choice of polyadenylation sites was suggested as one of the underlying mechanisms for generating longer/shorter transcript isoforms. Here, we demonstrate that mature mRNA transcripts can undergo additional cleavage and polyadenylation at a proximal internal site in the 3′-UTR, resulting in two stable, autonomous, RNA fragments: a coding sequence with a shorter 3′-UTR (body) and an uncapped 3′-UTR sequence downstream of the cleavage point (tail). Analyses of the human transcriptome has revealed thousands of such cleavage positions, suggesting a widespread post-transcriptional phenomenon producing thousands of stable 3′-UTR RNA tails that exist alongside their transcripts of origin. By analyzing the impact of microRNAs, we observed a significantly stronger effect for microRNA regulation at the body compared to the tail fragments. Our findings open a variety of future research prospects and call for a new perspective on 3′-UTR-dependent gene regulation.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Identification of USP7 as an essential component to maintain integrity and function of non-canonical PRC1.1 in leukemia

Henny Maat, Jennifer Jaques, Aida Rodriguez Lopez, Marcel P de Vries, Chantal Gravesteijn, Annet Brouwers-Vos, Gerwin Huls, Edo Vellenga, Vincent van den Boom, Jan Jacob Schuringa

BioRxiv, doi:10.1101/221093

Polycomb proteins are essential epigenetic regulators of gene transcription. KDM2B, the chromatin-binding moiety of non-canonical PRC1.1, is critically important for human leukemias. Here, we investigated the complete interactome of KDM2B in human leukemic cells and identified that the deubiquitinase USP7 is an essential component of PRC1.1 and required for its stability and function. USP7 inhibition results in disassembly of the PRC1.1 complex and consequently loss of binding to its target loci. PRC1.1 can be associated with active loci and loss of PRC1.1 binding coincided with loss of H2AK119ub, reduced H3K27ac levels and reduced gene transcription, whereas H3K4me3 levels remained unaffected. Survival was reduced in (primary) acute myeloid leukemia cells in both cycling as well as quiescent populations upon USP7 inhibition, also independent of the USP7-MDM2-p53 axis. Finally, we evaluated the efficacy of USP7 inhibition in vivo and find that progression of MLL-AF9-induced leukemia is delayed, although in a niche-dependent manner.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Non-classical Immunity Controls Microbiota Impact on Skin Immunity and Tissue Repair

Jonathan L. Linehan, Oliver J. Harrison, Seong-Ji Han, Allyson L. Byrd, Ivan Vujkovic-Cvijin, Alejandro V. Villarino, Shurjo K. Sen, Jahangheer Shaik, Margery Smelkinson, Samira Tamoutounour, Nicholas Collins, Nicolas Bouladoux, Amiran Dzutsev, Stephan P. Rosshart, Jesse H. Arbuckle, Chyung-Ru Wang, Thomas M. Kristie, Barbara Rehermann, Giorgio Trinchieri, Jason M. Brenchley, John J. O’Shea, Yasmine Belkaid

Cell, doi:10.1016/j.cell.2017.12.033

Mammalian barrier surfaces are constitutively colonized by numerous microorganisms. We explored how the microbiota was sensed by the immune system and the defining properties of such responses. Here, we show that a skin commensal can induce T cell responses in a manner that is restricted to non-classical MHC class I molecules. These responses are uncoupled from inflammation and highly distinct from pathogen-induced cells. Commensal-specific T cells express a defined gene signature that is characterized by expression of effector genes together with immunoregulatory and tissue-repair signatures. As such, non-classical MHCI-restricted commensal-specific immune responses not only promoted protection to pathogens, but also accelerated skin wound closure. Thus, the microbiota can induce a highly physiological and pleiotropic form of adaptive immunity that couples antimicrobial function with tissue repair. Our work also reveals that non-classical MHC class I molecules, an evolutionarily ancient arm of the immune system, can promote homeostatic immunity to the microbiota.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Network-Guided Discovery of Extensive Epistasis between Transcription Factors Involved in Aliphatic Glucosinolate Biosynthesis

Baohua Li, Michelle Tang, Ayla Nelson, Hart Caligagan, Xue Zhou, Caitlin Clark-Wiest, Richard Ngo, Siobhan M. Brady, Daniel J. Kliebenstein

The Plant cell, doi:10.1105/tpc.17.00805

Plants use diverse mechanisms influenced by vast regulatory networks of indefinite scale to adapt to their environment. These regulatory networks have an unknown potential for epistasis between genes within and across networks. To test for epistasis within an adaptive trait genetic network, we generated and tested 47 Arabidopsis thaliana double mutant combinations for 20 transcription factors, which all influence the accumulation of aliphatic glucosinolates, the defense metabolites that control fitness. The epistatic combinations were used to test if there is more or less epistasis depending on gene membership within the same or different phenotypic subnetworks. Extensive epistasis was observed between the transcription factors, regardless of subnetwork membership. Metabolite accumulation displayed antagonistic epistasis, suggesting the presence of a buffering mechanism. Epistasis affecting enzymatic estimated activity was highly conditional on the tissue and environment and shifted between both antagonistic and synergistic forms. Transcriptional analysis showed that epistasis shifts depend on how the trait is measured. Because the 47 combinations described here represent a small sampling of the potential epistatic combinations in this genetic network, there is potential for significantly more epistasis. Additionally, the main effect of the individual gene was not predictive of the epistatic effects, suggesting that there is a need for further studies.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

An ultra-effective method of generating extramultipotent cells from human fibroblasts by ultrasound

Yong Seung Lee, Hyejung Heo, Jonghwan Lee, Sung Ung Moon, Woon Yong Jung, Yong Keun Park, Min Geun Park, Seung-Hun Oh, Soonhag Kim

Biomaterials, doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2017.07.033

Multipotent cells have similar basic features of all stem cells but limitation in ability of self-renewal and differentiation compared with pluripotent cells. Here, we have developed an ultra effective, gene- and chemical-free method of generating extra multipotent (xpotent) cells which have differentiation potential more than limited cell types, by the mechanism of ultrasound-directed permeation of environmental transition-guided cellular reprogramming (Entr). Ultrasound stimulus generated a massive number of Entr-mediated xpotent (x/Entr) spheroids from human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs) 6 days after treatment. The emergence of x/Entr was first initiated by the introduction of human embryonic stem cell (ESC) environments into the HDFs to start fast cellular reprogramming including activation of stress-related kinase signaling pathways, subsequent chromatin remodeling, and expression of pluripotent-related genes via transient membrane damage caused by ultrasound-induced cavitation. And then, pluripotent markers were transported into their adjacent HDFs via direct cell-to-cell connections in order to generate xpotent clusters. The features of x/Entr cells were intermediate between pluripotency and multipotency in terms of pluripotency with three germ layer markers, multi-lineage differentiation potential, and no teratoma formation. This physical stimulus-mediated reprogramming strategy was cost-effective, simple, quick, produced significant yields, and was safe, and can therefore provide a new paradigm for clinical application.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

The Transcriptional Landscape of Radiation-Treated Human Prostate Cancer: Analysis of a Prospective Tissue Cohort

Simon P. Keam, PhD, Franco Caramia, BCompSci, MBioinf, Cristina Gamell, PhD, Piotr J. Paul, MD, Gisela Mir Arnau, PhD, Paul J. Neeson, PhD, Scott G. Williams, MBBS, MD, MD Scott G. WilliamsEmail the author MBBS, MD Scott G. Williams, Ygal Haupt, PhD

International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics, doi:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2017.09.037


The resistance of prostate cancer to radiation therapy (RT) is a significant clinical issue and still largely unable to be guided by patient-specific molecular characteristics. The present study describes the gene expression changes induced in response to RT in human prostate tissue obtained from a prospective tissue acquisition study designed for radiobiology research.

Methods and Materials

A prospective cohort of 5 men with intermediate-risk and clinically localized tumors were treated with high-dose-rate brachytherapy with 2 × 10-Gy fractions. Image-guided transperineal biopsy specimens were taken immediately before and 14 days after the first high-dose-rate brachytherapy fraction. Using genome-wide 3′ RNA sequencing on total RNA extracted from 10 biopsy specimens, we obtained quantitative expression data for a median of 13,244 genes. We computed the fold-change information for each gene and extracted high-confidence lists of transcripts with either increased or decreased expression (≥1.5-fold) after radiation in ≥4 of the 5 patients. Several gene ontology analyses were then used to identify functionally enriched pathways.


The predominant change in response to RT was elevation of the transcript levels, including that of DNA damage binding protein 2 and p21, and collagens, laminins, and integrins. We observed strong upregulation of the p53 pathway, without observable dysregulation of p53 itself. Interstitial remodeling, extracellular matrix proteins, and focal adhesion pathways were also strongly upregulated, as was inflammation. Functional network analysis showed clustering of the changes inherent in apoptosis and programmed cell death, extracellular matrix organization, and immune regulation.


In the present prospective study of matched clinical tissues, we successfully recognized known radiation-sensitive transcriptional pathways and identified numerous other novel and significantly altered genes with no current association with RT. These data could be informative in the development of future personalized therapeutic agents.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Cdon deficiency causes cardiac remodeling through hyperactivation of WNT/β-catenin signaling

Myong-Ho Jeong, Hyun-Ji Kim, Jung-Hoon Pyun, Kyu-Sil Choi, Dong I. Lee, Soroosh Solhjoo, Brian O’Rourke, Gordon F. Tomaselli, Dong Seop Jeong, Hana Cho and Jong-Sun Kang

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, doi:10.1073/pnas.1615105114

On pathological stress, Wnt signaling is reactivated and induces genes associated with cardiac remodeling and fibrosis. We have previously shown that a cell surface receptor Cdon (cell-adhesion associated, oncogene regulated) suppresses Wnt signaling to promote neuronal differentiation however its role in heart is unknown. Here, we demonstrate a critical role of Cdon in cardiac function and remodeling. Cdon is expressed and predominantly localized at intercalated disk in both mouse and human hearts. Cdon-deficient mice develop cardiac dysfunction including reduced ejection fraction and ECG abnormalities. Cdon−/− hearts exhibit increased fibrosis and up-regulation of genes associated with cardiac remodeling and fibrosis. Electrical remodeling was demonstrated by up-regulation and mislocalization of the gap junction protein, Connexin 43 (Cx43) in Cdon−/− hearts. In agreement with altered Cx43 expression, functional analysis both using Cdon−/− cardiomyocytes and shRNA-mediated knockdown in rat cardiomyocytes shows aberrant gap junction activities. Analysis of the underlying mechanism reveals that Cdon−/− hearts exhibit hyperactive Wnt signaling as evident by β-catenin accumulation and Axin2 up-regulation. On the other hand, the treatment of rat cardiomyocytes with a Wnt activator TWS119 reduces Cdon levels and aberrant Cx43 activities, similarly to Cdon-deficient cardiomyocytes, suggesting a negative feedback between Cdon and Wnt signaling. Finally, inhibition of Wnt/β-catenin signaling by XAV939, IWP2 or dickkopf (DKK)1 prevented Cdon depletion-induced up-regulation of collagen 1a and Cx43. Taken together, these results demonstrate that Cdon deficiency causes hyperactive Wnt signaling leading to aberrant intercellular coupling and cardiac fibrosis. Cdon exhibits great potential as a target for the treatment of cardiac fibrosis and cardiomyopathy.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is the fourth-leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States with metastasis to the liver as the major cause of mortality. While the propensity of PDAC to spread to the liver may reflect mechanical trapping of tumor cells that enter the portal circulation, primary tumor cells have also been suggested to secrete factors that may promote recruitment of myeloid cells to establish a pro-metastatic niche. In this study, we used the LSL-KrasG12D/+;LSL-Trp53R127H/+;Pdx-1-Cre (KPC) mouse model of PDAC to investigate the impact of PDAC development on the formation of a pro-metastatic niche in the liver. We found that KPC mice (compared to age- and gender-matched control mice) demonstrated an increased susceptibility to tumor seeding in the liver even prior to development of invasive PDAC. Examination of the liver of KPC mice revealed diffuse activation of Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling, particularly in hepatocytes. Although hepatocytes are recognized as important regulators of inflammation, their role in establishing a pro-metastatic niche is unknown. To define changes in the liver associated with development of a pro-metastatic niche, we performed QuantSeq analysis on RNA isolated from the liver of KPC versus control PC mice. Our results showed increased transcriptional levels of myeloid chemoattractants, particularly serum amyloid A proteins that are predominantly produced by hepatocytes. Consistent with this finding, we observed an accumulation of F4/80+ and Ly6G+ myeloid cells in the liver of KPC mice by immunofluorescence microscopy. We next determined the role of tumor cells in driving cellular activation seen in the liver by establishing intraperitoneal and orthotopic models of PDAC. Using these models, we found that implantation of pancreatic tumor cells induced STAT3 activation in hepatocytes and stimulated F4/80+ and Ly6G+ myeloid cell recruitment to the liver. To determine whether cellular activation in the liver was associated with systemic release of soluble factors, we performed parabiotic joining of tumor-implanted mice and control wild type mice, and we found evidence of STAT3 activation and myeloid recruitment to the liver in parabiotic pairs. As interleukin-6 (IL-6) is a key inflammatory cytokine that can activate STAT3 signaling, we hypothesized a role for IL-6 directed STAT3 activation in hepatocytes for development of a pro-metastatic niche in the liver. Consistent with this hypothesis, we found that IL-6 receptor blocking antibodies administered after tumor implantation reduced STAT3 activation in hepatocytes and decreased transcriptional levels of hepatocyte-derived chemoattractants. Together, our findings support a role for IL-6/STAT3 signaling in hepatocytes in driving a pro-metastatic niche in the liver during PDAC development.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Transcriptomic analysis of purified human cortical microglia reveals age-associated changes

Thais F Galatro, Inge R Holtman, Antonio M Lerario, Ilia D Vainchtein, Nieske Brouwer, Paula R Sola, Mariana M Veras, Tulio F Pereira, Renata E P Leite, Thomas Möller, Paul D Wes, Mari C Sogayar, Jon D Laman, Wilfred den Dunnen, Carlos A Pasqualucci, Sueli M Oba-Shinjo, Erik W G M Boddeke, Suely K N Marie & Bart J L Eggen

Nature Neuroscience, doi:10.1038/nn.4597

Microglia are essential for CNS homeostasis and innate neuroimmune function, and play important roles in neurodegeneration and brain aging. Here we present gene expression profiles of purified microglia isolated at autopsy from the parietal cortex of 39 human subjects with intact cognition. Overall, genes expressed by human microglia were similar to those in mouse, including established microglial genes CX3CR1, P2RY12 and ITGAM (CD11B). However, a number of immune genes, not identified as part of the mouse microglial signature, were abundantly expressed in human microglia, including TLR, Fcγ and SIGLEC receptors, as well as TAL1 and IFI16, regulators of proliferation and cell cycle. Age-associated changes in human microglia were enriched for genes involved in cell adhesion, axonal guidance, cell surface receptor expression and actin (dis)assembly. Limited overlap was observed in microglial genes regulated during aging between mice and humans, indicating that human and mouse microglia age differently.

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The Toll pathway underlies host sexual dimorphism in resistance to both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria in mated Drosophila

David F. Duneau, Hannah C. Kondolf, Joo Hyun Im, Gerardo A. Ortiz, Christopher Chow, Michael A. Fox, Ana T. Eugénio, J. Revah, Nicolas Buchon and Brian P. Lazzaro

BMC Biology, doi:10.1186/s12915-017-0466-3


Host sexual dimorphism is being increasingly recognized to generate strong differences in the outcome of infectious disease, but the mechanisms underlying immunological differences between males and females remain poorly characterized. Here, we used Drosophila melanogaster to assess and dissect sexual dimorphism in the innate response to systemic bacterial infection.


We demonstrated sexual dimorphism in susceptibility to infection by a broad spectrum of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. We found that both virgin and mated females are more susceptible than mated males to most, but not all, infections. We investigated in more detail the lower resistance of females to infection with Providencia rettgeri, a Gram-negative bacterium that naturally infects D. melanogaster. We found that females have a higher number of phagocytes than males and that ablation of hemocytes does not eliminate the dimorphism in resistance to P. rettgeri, so the observed dimorphism does not stem from differences in the cellular response. The Imd pathway is critical for the production of antimicrobial peptides in response to Gram-negative bacteria, but mutants for Imd signaling continued to exhibit dimorphism even though both sexes showed strongly reduced resistance. Instead, we found that the Toll pathway is responsible for the dimorphism in resistance. The Toll pathway is dimorphic in genome-wide constitutive gene expression and in induced response to infection. Toll signaling is dimorphic in both constitutive signaling and in induced activation in response to P. rettgeri infection. The dimorphism in pathway activation can be specifically attributed to Persephone-mediated immune stimulation, by which the Toll pathway is triggered in response to pathogen-derived virulence factors. We additionally found that, in absence of Toll signaling, males become more susceptible than females to the Gram-positive Enterococcus faecalis. This reversal in susceptibility between male and female Toll pathway mutants compared to wildtype hosts highlights the key role of the Toll pathway in D. melanogaster sexual dimorphism in resistance to infection.


Altogether, our data demonstrate that Toll pathway activity differs between male and female D. melanogaster in response to bacterial infection, thus identifying innate immune signaling as a determinant of sexual immune dimorphism.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Inhibition of Endosteal Vascular Niche Remodeling Rescues Hematopoietic Stem Cell Loss in AML

Delfim Duarte, Edwin D. Hawkins, Olufolake Akinduro, Heather Ang, Katia De Filippo, Isabella Y. Kong, Myriam Haltalli, Nicola Ruivo, Lenny Straszkowski, Stephin J. Vervoort, Catriona McLean, Tom S. Weber, Reema Khorshed, Chiara Pirillo, Andrew Wei, Saravana K. Ramasamy, Anjali P. Kusumbe, Ken Duffy, Ralf H. Adams, Louise E. Purton, Leo M. Carlin, Cristina Lo Celso

Cell stem cell, doi:10.1016/j.stem.2017.11.006

Bone marrow vascular niches sustain hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and are drastically remodeled in leukemia to support pathological functions. Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells produce angiogenic factors, which likely contribute to this remodeling, but anti-angiogenic therapies do not improve AML patient outcomes. Using intravital microscopy, we found that AML progression leads to differential remodeling of vasculature in central and endosteal bone marrow regions. Endosteal AML cells produce pro-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic cytokines and gradually degrade endosteal endothelium, stromal cells, and osteoblastic cells, whereas central marrow remains vascularized and splenic vascular niches expand. Remodeled endosteal regions have reduced capacity to support non-leukemic HSCs, correlating with loss of normal hematopoiesis. Preserving endosteal endothelium with the small molecule deferoxamine or a genetic approach rescues HSCs loss, promotes chemotherapeutic efficacy, and enhances survival. These findings suggest that preventing degradation of the endosteal vasculature may improve current paradigms for treating AML.

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A global genetic interaction network maps a wiring diagram of cellular function

Costanzo M, VanderSluis B, Koch EN, Baryshnikova A, Pons C, Tan G, Wang W, Usaj M, Hanchard J, Lee SD, Pelechano V, Styles EB, Billmann M, van Leeuwen J, van Dyk N, Lin ZY, Kuzmin E, Nelson J, Piotrowski JS, Srikumar T, Bahr S, Chen Y, Deshpande R, Kurat CF, Li SC, Li Z, Usaj MM, Okada H, Pascoe N, San Luis BJ, Sharifpoor S, Shuteriqi E, Simpkins SW, Snider J, Suresh HG, Tan Y, Zhu H, Malod-Dognin N, Janjic V, Przulj N, Troyanskaya OG, Stagljar I, Xia T, Ohya Y, Gingras AC, Raught B, Boutros M, Steinmetz LM, Moore CL, Rosebrock AP, Caudy AA, Myers CL, Andrews B, Boone C.

Science, doi:10.1126/science.aaf1420


Genetic interactions occur when mutations in two or more genes combine to generate an unexpected phenotype. An extreme negative or synthetic lethal genetic interaction occurs when two mutations, neither lethal individually, combine to cause cell death. Conversely, positive genetic interactions occur when two mutations produce a phenotype that is less severe than expected. Genetic interactions identify functional relationships between genes and can be harnessed for biological discovery and therapeutic target identification. They may also explain a considerable component of the undiscovered genetics associated with human diseases. Here, we describe construction and analysis of a comprehensive genetic interaction network for a eukaryotic cell.


Genome sequencing projects are providing an unprecedented view of genetic variation. However, our ability to interpret genetic information to predict inherited phenotypes remains limited, in large part due to the extensive buffering of genomes, making most individual eukaryotic genes dispensable for life. To explore the extent to which genetic interactions reveal cellular function and contribute to complex phenotypes, and to discover the general principles of genetic networks, we used automated yeast genetics to construct a global genetic interaction network.


We tested most of the ~6000 genes in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae for all possible pairwise genetic interactions, identifying nearly 1 million interactions, including ~550,000 negative and ~350,000 positive interactions, spanning ~90% of all yeast genes. Essential genes were network hubs, displaying five times as many interactions as nonessential genes. The set of genetic interactions or the genetic interaction profile for a gene provides a quantitative measure of function, and a global network based on genetic interaction profile similarity revealed a hierarchy of modules reflecting the functional architecture of a cell. Negative interactions connected functionally related genes, mapped core bioprocesses, and identified pleiotropic genes, whereas positive interactions often mapped general regulatory connections associated with defects in cell cycle progression or cellular proteostasis. Importantly, the global network illustrates how coherent sets of negative or positive genetic interactions connect protein complex and pathways to map a functional wiring diagram of the cell.


A global genetic interaction network highlights the functional organization of a cell and provides a resource for predicting gene and pathway function. This network emphasizes the prevalence of genetic interactions and their potential to compound phenotypes associated with single mutations. Negative genetic interactions tend to connect functionally related genes and thus may be predicted using alternative functional information. Although less functionally informative, positive interactions may provide insights into general mechanisms of genetic suppression or resiliency. We anticipate that the ordered topology of the global genetic network, in which genetic interactions connect coherently within and between protein complexes and pathways, may be exploited to decipher genotype-to-phenotype relationships.

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BRD3/4 inhibition and FLT3-ligand deprivation target pathways that are essential for the survival of human MLL-AF9+ leukemic cells

Marco Carretta, Annet Z. Brouwers-Vos, Matthieu Bosman, Sarah J. Horton, Joost H. A. Martens, Edo Vellenga, Jan Jacob Schuringa

PloS one, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0189102

In the present work we aimed to identify targetable signaling networks in human MLL-AF9 leukemias. We show that MLL-AF9 cells critically depend on FLT3-ligand induced pathways as well as on BRD3/4 for their survival. We evaluated the in vitro and in vivo efficacy of the BRD3/4 inhibitor I-BET151 in various human MLL-AF9 (primary) models and patient samples and analyzed the transcriptome changes following treatment. To further understand the mode of action of BRD3/4 inhibition, we performed ChIP-seq experiments on the MLL-AF9 complex in THP1 cells and compared it to RNA-seq data of I-BET151 treated cells. While we could confirm a consistent and specific downregulation of key-oncogenic drivers such as MYC and BCL2, we found that the majority of I-BET151-responsive genes were not direct MLL-AF9 targets. In fact, MLL-AF9 specific targets such as the HOXA cluster, MEIS1 and other cell cycle regulators such as CDK6 were not affected by I-BET151 treatment. Furthermore, we also highlight how MLL-AF9 transformed cells are dependent on the function of non-mutated hematopoietic transcription factors and tyrosine kinases such as the FLT3-TAK1/NF-kB pathway, again impacting on BCL2 but not on the HOXA cluster. We conclude that BRD3/4 and the FLT3-TAK1/NF-kB pathways collectively control a set of targets that are critically important for the survival of human MLL-AF9 cells.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Transcriptome analysis for UVB-induced phototoxicity in mouse retina

Mi‐Jin An, Chul‐Hong Kim, Gyu‐You Nam, Dae‐Hyun Kim, Sangmyung Rhee, Sung‐Jin Cho, Jung‐Woong Kim

Environmental Toxicology, doi:10.1002/tox.22494

Throughout life, the human eye is continuously exposed to sunlight and artificial lighting. Ambient light exposure can lead to visual impairment and transient or permanent blindness. To mimic benign light stress conditions, Mus musculus eyes were exposed to low‐energy UVB radiation, ensuring no severe morphological changes in the retinal structure post‐exposure. We performed RNA‐seq analysis to reveal the early transcriptional changes and key molecular pathways involved before the activation of the canonical cell death pathway. RNA‐seq analysis identified 537 genes that were differentially modulated, out of which 126 were clearly up regulated (>2‐fold, P < .01) and 51 were significantly down regulated (<2‐fold, P < .01) in response to UVB irradiation in the mouse retina. Gene ontology analysis revealed that UVB exposure affected pathways for cellular stress and signaling (eg, Creb3Ddrgk1Grin1Map7Uqcc2Uqcrb), regulation of chromatin and gene expression (eg, Chd5Jarid2Kat6aSmarcc2Sumo1Zfp84), transcription factors (eg, Asxl2Atf7Per1Phox2aRxra), RNA processing, and neuronal genes (eg, B4gal2Drd1Grm5Rnf40Rnps1Usp39Wbp4). The differentially expressed genes from the RNA‐seq analysis were validated by quantitative PCR. Both analyses yielded similar gene expression patterns. The genes and pathways identified here improve the understanding of early transcriptional responses to UVB irradiation. They may also help in elucidating the genes responsible for the inherent susceptibility of humans to UVB‐induced retinal diseases.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Gene expression in retinal ischemic post-conditioning

Konrad Kadzielawa, Biji Mathew, Clara R. Stelman, Arden Zhengdeng Lei, Leianne Torres, Steven Roth

Graefe’s Archive for Clinical and Experimental Ophthalmology, doi:10.1007/s00417-018-3905-0


The pathophysiology of retinal ischemia involves mechanisms including inflammation and apoptosis. Ischemic post-conditioning (Post-C), a brief non-lethal ischemia, induces a long-term ischemic tolerance, but the mechanisms of ischemic post-conditioning in the retina have only been described on a limited basis. Accordingly, we conducted this study to determine the molecular events in retinal ischemic post-conditioning and to identify targets for therapeutic strategies for retinal ischemia.


To determine global molecular events in ischemic post-conditioning, a comprehensive study of the transcriptome of whole retina was performed. We utilized RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq), a recently developed, deep sequencing technique enabling quantitative gene expression, with low background noise, dynamic detection range, and discovery of novel genes. Rat retina was subjected to ischemia in vivoby elevation of intraocular pressure above systolic blood pressure. At 24 h after ischemia, Post-C or sham Post-C was performed by another, briefer period of ischemia, and 24 h later, retinas were collected and RNA processed.


There were 71 significantly affected pathways in post-conditioned/ischemic vs. normals and 43 in sham post conditioned/ischemic vs. normals. Of these, 28 were unique to Post-C and ischemia. Seven biological pathways relevant to ischemic injury, in Post-C as opposed to sham Post-C, were examined in detail. Apoptosis, p53, cell cycle, JAK-STAT, HIF-1, MAPK and PI3K-Akt pathways significantly differed in the number as well as degree of fold change in genes between conditions.


Post-C is a complex molecular signaling process with a multitude of altered molecular pathways. We identified potential gene candidates in Post-C. Studying the impact of altering expression of these factors may yield insight into new methods for treating or preventing damage from retinal ischemic disorders.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Triphenyl phosphate (TPHP) is an unsubstituted aryl phosphate ester used as a flame retardant and plasticizer within the United States. Using zebrafish as a model, the objectives of this study were to rely on (1) mRNA-sequencing to uncover pathways disrupted following embryonic TPHP exposure and (2) high-content screening to identify nuclear receptor ligands that enhance or mitigate TPHP-induced cardiotoxicity. Based on mRNA-sequencing, TPHP exposure from 24 to 72-h postfertilization (hpf) resulted in a concentration-dependent increase in the number of transcripts significantly affected at 72 hpf, and pathway analysis revealed that 5 out of 9 nuclear receptor pathways were associated with the retinoid X receptor (RXR). Based on a screen of 74 unique nuclear receptor ligands as well as follow-up experiments, 2 compounds—ciglitazone (a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma, or PPARγ, agonist) and fenretinide (a pan-retinoic acid receptor, or RAR, agonist)—reliably mitigated TPHP-induced cardiotoxicity in the absence of effects on TPHP uptake or metabolism. As these data suggested that TPHP may be activating RXR (a heterodimer for both RARs and PPARγ), we coexposed embryos to HX 531—a pan-RXR antagonist—from 24 to 72 hpf and, contrary to our hypothesis, found that coexposure to HX 531 significantly enhanced TPHP-induced cardiotoxicity. Using a luciferase reporter assay, we also found that TPHP did not activate nor inhibit chimeric human RXRα, RXRβ, or RXRγ, suggesting that TPHP does not directly bind nor interact with RXRs. Overall, our data suggest that TPHP may interfere with RXR-dependent pathways involved in cardiac development.

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Mutant forms of p53 protein often possess protumorigenic functions, conferring increased survival and migration to tumor cells via their “gain-of-function” activity. Whether and how a common polymorphism in TP53 at amino acid 72 (Pro72Arg; referred to here as P72 and R72) impacts this gain of function has not been determined. We show that mutant p53 enhances migration and metastasis of tumors through the ability to bind and regulate PGC-1α and that this regulation is markedly impacted by the codon 72 polymorphism. Tumor cells with the R72 variant of mutant p53 show increased PGC-1α function along with greatly increased mitochondrial function and metastatic capability. Breast cancers containing mutant p53 and the R72 variant show poorer prognosis compared with P72. The combined results reveal PGC-1α as a novel “gain-of-function” partner of mutant p53 and indicate that the codon 72 polymorphism influences the impact of mutant p53 on metabolism and metastasis.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Mutant p53 controls tumor metabolism and metastasis by regulating PGC-1α

Chiara Rossi, Melania Cusimano, Martina Zambito, Annamaria Finardi, Alessia Capotondo, Jose Manuel Garcia-Manteiga, Giancarlo Comi, Roberto Furlan, Gianvito Martino & Luca Muzio

Genes & Development, doi:10.1101/gad.309062.117

Mutant forms of p53 protein often possess protumorigenic functions, conferring increased survival and migration to tumor cells via their “gain-of-function” activity. Whether and how a common polymorphism in TP53 at amino acid 72 (Pro72Arg; referred to here as P72 and R72) impacts this gain of function has not been determined. We show that mutant p53 enhances migration and metastasis of tumors through the ability to bind and regulate PGC-1α and that this regulation is markedly impacted by the codon 72 polymorphism. Tumor cells with the R72 variant of mutant p53 show increased PGC-1α function along with greatly increased mitochondrial function and metastatic capability. Breast cancers containing mutant p53 and the R72 variant show poorer prognosis compared with P72. The combined results reveal PGC-1α as a novel “gain-of-function” partner of mutant p53 and indicate that the codon 72 polymorphism influences the impact of mutant p53 on metabolism and metastasis.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Interleukin 4 modulates microglia homeostasis and attenuates the early slowly progressive phase of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis

Chiara Rossi, Melania Cusimano, Martina Zambito, Annamaria Finardi, Alessia Capotondo, Jose Manuel Garcia-Manteiga, Giancarlo Comi, Roberto Furlan, Gianvito Martino & Luca Muzio

Cell Death & Disease, doi:10.1038/s41419-018-0288-4

Microglia activation is a commonly pathological hallmark of neurodegenerative diseases, such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a devastating disorder characterized by a selective motor neurons degeneration. Whether such activation might represent a causal event rather than a secondary epiphenomenon remains elusive. Here, we show that CNS-delivery of IL-4—via a lentiviral-mediated gene therapy strategy—skews microglia to proliferate, inducing these cells to adopt the phenotype of slowly proliferating cells. Transcriptome analysis revealed that IL-4-treated microglia express a broad number of genes normally encoded by embryonic microglia. Since embryonic microglia sustain CNS development, we then hypothesized that turning adult microglia to acquire such phenotype via IL-4 might be an efficient in vivo strategy to sustain motor neuron survival in ALS. IL-4 gene therapy in SOD1G93A mice resulted in a general amelioration of clinical outcomes during the early slowly progressive phase of the disease. However, such approach did not revert neurodegenerative processes occurring in the late and fast progressing phase of the disease.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Acute Drug Effects on the Human Placental Tissue: The Development of a Placental Murine Xenograft Model

Magali Verheecke, Els Hermans, Sandra Tuyaerts, Erika Souche, Rita Van Bree, Godelieve Verbist, Tina Everaert, Jeroen Van Houdt, Kristel Van Calsteren, Frederic Amant

Reproductive Sciences, doi:10.1177/1933719118756771

Abstract Objective:

A pilot study was conducted to establish a human placental xenograft, which could serve as a model to evaluate the effect of toxic exposures during pregnancy.

Study Design:

The protocol consisted of engraftment of third-trimester human placental tissue in immunocompromised mice, after induction of a pseudo-pregnancy state by ovariectomy and progesterone supplementation. To validate the model, the placental tissue before and after engraftment was examined by immunohistochemistry, fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) genotyping, and whole transcriptome sequencing (WTSS). The human chorion gonadotropin (hCG) production in serum and urine was examined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.


Microscopic evaluation of the placental tissue before and after engraftment revealed a stable morphology and preserved histological structure of the human tissue. Viable trophoblast was present after engraftment and remained stable over time. Vascularization and hormonal secretion (hCG) were present till 3 weeks after engraftment. Thirty-one SNPs were equally present, and there was a stable expression level for 56 451 genes evaluated by whole transcriptome sequencing.


Although this human placental xenograft model cannot copy the unique uterine environment in which the placenta develops and interacts between the mother and the fetus, it could be a suitable tool to evaluate the acute impact and adaptive processes of the placental tissue to environmental changes.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Exome sequencing in syndromic brain malformations identifies novel mutations in ACTB, and SLC9A6, and suggests BAZ1A as a new candidate gene

Valerie Weitensteiner, Rong Zhang, Julia Bungenberg, Matthias Marks, Jan Gehlen, Damian J. Ralser, Alina C. Hilger, Amit Sharma, Johannes Schumacher, Ulrich Gembruch, Waltraut M. Merz, Albert Becker, Janine Altmüller, Holger Thiele, Bernhard G. Herrmann, Benjamin Odermatt, Michael Ludwig, Heiko Reutter

Birth Defects Research, doi:10.1002/bdr2.1200


Syndromic brain malformations comprise a large group of anomalies with a birth prevalence of about 1 in 1,000 live births. Their etiological factors remain largely unknown. To identify causative mutations, we used whole-exome sequencing (WES) in aborted fetuses and children with syndromic brain malformations in which chromosomal microarray analysis was previously unremarkable.


WES analysis was applied in eight case-parent trios, six aborted fetuses, and two children.


WES identified a novel de novo mutation (p.Gly268Arg) in ACTB (Baraitser-Winter syndrome-1), a homozygous stop mutation (p.R2442*) in ASPM (primary microcephaly type 5), and a novel hemizygous X-chromosomal mutation (p.I250V) in SLC9A6 (X-linked syndromic mentaly retardation, Christianson type). Furthermore, WES identified a de novo mutation(p.Arg1093Gln) in BAZ1A. This mutation was previously reported in only one allele in 121.362 alleles tested (dbSNP build 147). BAZ1A has been associated with neurodevelopmental impairment and dysregulation of several pathways including vitamin D metabolism. Here, serum vitamin-D (25-(OH)D) levels were insufficient and gene expression comparison between the child and her parents identified 27 differentially expressed genes. Of note, 10 out of these 27 genes are associated to cytoskeleton, integrin and synaptic related pathways, pinpointing to the relevance of BAZ1A in neural development. In situ hybridization in mouse embryos between E10.5 and E13.5 detected Baz1a expression in the central and peripheral nervous system.


In syndromic brain malformations, WES is likely to identify causative mutations when chromosomal microarray analysis is unremarkable. Our findings suggest BAZ1A as a possible new candidate gene.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a dominantly inherited disease caused by hyperactivation of the mTORC1 pathway and characterized by the development of hamartomas and benign tumors, including in the brain. Among the neurological manifestations associated with TSC, the tumor progression of static subependymal nodules (SENs) into subependymal giant cell astrocytomas (SEGAs) is one of the major causes of morbidity and shortened life expectancy. To date, mouse modeling has failed in reproducing these 2 lesions. Here we report that simultaneous hyperactivation of mTORC1 and Akt pathways by codeletion of Tsc1 and Pten, selectively in postnatal neural stem cells (pNSCs), is required for the formation of bona fide SENs and SEGAs. Notably, both lesions closely recapitulate the pathognomonic morphological and molecular features of the corresponding human abnormalities. The establishment of long-term expanding pNSC lines from mouse SENs and SEGAs made possible the identification of mTORC2 as one of the mediators conferring tumorigenic potential to SEGA pNSCs. Notably, in spite of concurrent Akt hyperactivation in mouse brain lesions, single mTOR inhibition by rapamycin was sufficient to strongly impair mouse SEGA growth. This study provides evidence that, concomitant with mTORC1 hyperactivation, sustained activation of Akt and mTORC2 in pNSCs is a mandatory step for the induction of SENs and SEGAs, and, at the same time, makes available an unprecedented NSC-based in vivo/in vitro model to be exploited for identifying actionable targets in TSC.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Targeting immune checkpoints potentiates immunoediting and changes the dynamics of tumor evolution

Mirjana Efremova, Dietmar Rieder, Victoria Klepsch, Pornpimol Charoentong, Francesca Finotello, Hubert Hackl, Natascha Hermann-Kleiter, Martin Löwer, Gottfried Baier, Anne Krogsdam & Zlatko Trajanoski

Nature Communication, doi:10.1038/s41467-017-02424-0

The cancer immunoediting hypothesis postulates a dual role of the immune system: protecting the host by eliminating tumor cells, and shaping the tumor by editing its genome. Here, we elucidate the impact of evolutionary and immune-related forces on editing the tumor in a mouse model for hypermutated and microsatellite-instable colorectal cancer. Analyses of wild-type and immunodeficient RAG1 knockout mice transplanted with MC38 cells reveal that upregulation of checkpoint molecules and infiltration by Tregs are the major tumor escape mechanisms. Our results show that the effects of immunoediting are weak and that neutral accumulation of mutations dominates. Targeting the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway using immune checkpoint blocker effectively potentiates immunoediting. The immunoediting effects are less pronounced in the CT26 cell line, a non-hypermutated/microsatellite-instable model. Our study demonstrates that neutral evolution is another force that contributes to sculpting the tumor and that checkpoint blockade effectively enforces T-cell-dependent immunoselective pressure.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

PMP22 antisense oligonucleotides reverse Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A features in rodent models

Hien Tran Zhao, Sagar Damle, Karli Ikeda-Lee, Steven Kuntz, Jian Li, Apoorva Mohan, Aneeza Kim, Gene Hung, Mark A. Scheideler, Steven S. Scherer, John Svaren, Eric E. Swayze, and Holly B. Kordasiewicz

The Journal of Clinical Investigation, doi:10.1172/JCI96499

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 1A (CMT1A) is caused by duplication of peripheral myelin protein 22 (PMP22) and is the most common hereditary peripheral neuropathy. CMT1A is characterized by demyelination and axonal loss, which underlie slowed motor nerve conduction velocity (MNCV) and reduced compound muscle action potentials (CMAP) in patients. There is currently no known treatment for this disease. Here, we show that antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) effectively suppress PMP22 mRNA in affected nerves in 2 murine CMT1A models. Notably, initiation of ASO treatment after disease onset restored myelination, MNCV, and CMAP almost to levels seen in WT animals. In addition to disease-associated gene expression networks that were restored with ASO treatment, we also identified potential disease biomarkers through transcriptomic profiling. Furthermore, we demonstrated that reduction of PMP22 mRNA in skin biopsies from ASO-treated rats is a suitable biomarker for evaluating target engagement in response to ASO therapy. These results support the use of ASOs as a potential treatment for CMT1A and elucidate potential disease and target engagement biomarkers for use in future clinical trials.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Reactive Neutrophil Responses Dependent on the Receptor Tyrosine Kinase c-MET Limit Cancer Immunotherapy

Nicole Glodde, Tobias Bald, Debby van den Boorn-Konijnenberg, Kyohei Nakamura, Jake S. O’Donnell, Sabrina Szczepanski, Maria Brandes, Sarah Eickhoff, Indrajit Das, Naveen Shridhar, Daniel Hinze, Meri Rogava, Tetje C. van der Sluis, Janne J. Ruotsalainen, Evelyn Gaffal, Jennifer Landsberg, Kerstin U. Ludwig, Christoph Wilhelm, Monika Riek-Burchardt, Andreas J. Müller, Christoffer Gebhardt, Richard A. Scolyer, Georgina V. Long, Viktor Janzen, Michele W.L. Teng, Wolfgang Kastenmüller, Massimiliano Mazzone, Mark J. Smyth, Thomas Tüting, Michael Hölzel

Immunity, doi:10.1016/j.immuni.2017.09.012

Inhibitors of the receptor tyrosine kinase c-MET are currently used in the clinic to target oncogenic signaling in tumor cells. We found that concomitant c-MET inhibition promoted adoptive T cell transfer and checkpoint immunotherapies in murine cancer models by increasing effector T cell infiltration in tumors. This therapeutic effect was independent of tumor cell-intrinsic c-MET dependence. Mechanistically, c-MET inhibition impaired the reactive mobilization and recruitment of neutrophils into tumors and draining lymph nodes in response to cytotoxic immunotherapies. In the absence of c-MET inhibition, neutrophils recruited to T cell-inflamed microenvironments rapidly acquired immunosuppressive properties, restraining T cell expansion and effector functions. In cancer patients, high serum levels of the c-MET ligand HGF correlated with increasing neutrophil counts and poor responses to checkpoint blockade therapies. Our findings reveal a role for the HGF/c-MET pathway in neutrophil recruitment and function and suggest that c-MET inhibitor co-treatment may improve responses to cancer immunotherapy in settings beyond c-MET-dependent tumors.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Male apoE*3‐Leiden.CETP mice on high‐fat high‐cholesterol diet exhibit a biphasic dyslipidemic response, mimicking the changes in plasma lipids observed through life in men

Yared Paalvast, Albert Gerding, Yanan Wang, Vincent W. Bloks, Theo H. van Dijk, Rick Havinga, Ko Willems van Dijk, Patrick C. N. Rensen, Barbara M. Bakker, Jan Albert Kuivenhoven, Albert K. Groen

Physiological Reports, doi:10.14814/phy2.13376

Physiological adaptations resulting in the development of the metabolic syndrome in man occur over a time span of several decades. This combined with the prohibitive financial cost and ethical concerns to measure key metabolic parameters repeatedly in subjects for the major part of their life span makes that comprehensive longitudinal human data sets are virtually nonexistent. While experimental mice are often used, little is known whether this species is in fact an adequate model to better understand the mechanisms that drive the metabolic syndrome in man. We took up the challenge to study the response of male apoE*3‐Leiden.CETP mice (with a humanized lipid profile) to a high‐fat high‐cholesterol diet for 6 months. Study parameters include body weight, food intake, plasma and liver lipids, hepatic transcriptome, VLDL – triglyceride production and importantly the use of stable isotopes to measure hepatic de novo lipogenesis, gluconeogenesis, and biliary/fecal sterol secretion to assess metabolic fluxes. The key observations include (1) high inter‐individual variation; (2) a largely unaffected hepatic transcriptome at 2, 3, and 6 months; (3) a biphasic response curve of the main metabolic features over time; and (4) maximum insulin resistance preceding dyslipidemia. The biphasic response in plasma triglyceride and total cholesterol appears to mimic that of men in cross‐sectional studies. Combined, these observations suggest that studies such as these can help to delineate the causes of metabolic derangements in patients suffering from metabolic syndrome.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Systematic Kinase Inhibitor Profiling Identifies CDK9 as a Synthetic Lethal Target in NUT Midline Carcinoma

Brägelmann J, Dammert MA, Dietlein F, Heuckmann JM, Choidas A, Böhm S1, Richters A, Basu D, Tischler V, Lorenz C, Habenberger P, Fang Z, Ortiz-Cuaran S, Leenders F, Eickhoff J, Koch U, Getlik M, Termathe M, Sallouh M, Greff Z, Varga Z, Balke-Want H, French CA, Peifer M, Reinhardt HC, Örfi L, Kéri G, Ansén S, Heukamp LC, Büttner R, Rauh D, Klebl BM, Thomas RK, Sos ML.

Cell Reports, doi:10.1016/j.celrep.2017.08.082

Kinase inhibitors represent the backbone of targeted cancer therapy, yet only a limited number of oncogenic drivers are directly druggable. By interrogating the activity of 1,505 kinase inhibitors, we found that BRD4-NUT-rearranged NUT midline carcinoma (NMC) cells are specifically killed by CDK9 inhibition (CDK9i) and depend on CDK9 and Cyclin-T1 expression. We show that CDK9i leads to robust induction of apoptosis and of markers of DNA damage response in NMC cells. While both CDK9i and bromodomain inhibition over time result in reduced Myc protein expression, only bromodomain inhibition induces cell differentiation and a p21-induced cell-cycle arrest in these cells. Finally, RNA-seq and ChIP-based analyses reveal a BRD4-NUT-specific CDK9i-induced perturbation of transcriptional elongation. Thus, our data provide a mechanistic basis for the genotype-dependent vulnerability of NMC cells to CDK9i that may be of relevance for the development of targeted therapies for NMC patients.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Thiol-linked alkylation of RNA to assess expression dynamics

Veronika A Herzog, Brian Reichholf, Tobias Neumann, Philipp Rescheneder, Pooja Bhat, Thomas R Burkard, Wiebke Wlotzka, Arndt von Haeseler, Johannes Zuber & Stefan L Ameres

Nature Methods, doi:10.1038/nmeth.4435

Gene expression profiling by high-throughput sequencing reveals qualitative and quantitative changes in RNA species at steady state but obscures the intracellular dynamics of RNA transcription, processing and decay. We developed thiol(SH)-linked alkylation for the metabolic sequencing of RNA (SLAM seq), an orthogonal-chemistry-based RNA sequencing technology that detects 4-thiouridine (s4U) incorporation in RNA species at single-nucleotide resolution. In combination with well-established metabolic RNA labeling protocols and coupled to standard, low-input, high-throughput RNA sequencing methods, SLAM seq enabled rapid access to RNA-polymerase-II-dependent gene expression dynamics in the context of total RNA. We validated the method in mouse embryonic stem cells by showing that the RNA-polymerase-II-dependent transcriptional output scaled with Oct4/Sox2/Nanog-defined enhancer activity, and we provide quantitative and mechanistic evidence for transcript-specific RNA turnover mediated by post-transcriptional gene regulatory pathways initiated by microRNAs and N6-methyladenosine. SLAM seq facilitates the dissection of fundamental mechanisms that control gene expression in an accessible, cost-effective and scalable manner.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina and SLAMseq Metabolic RNA Labeling Kit for RNA-Seq

MicroRNAs orchestrate brain functioning via interaction with microRNA recognition elements (MRE) on target transcripts. However, the global impact of potential competition on the microRNA pool between coding and non-coding brain transcripts that share MREs with them remains unexplored. Here we report that non-coding pseudogene transcripts carrying MREs (PSG+MRE) often show duplicated origin, evolutionary conservation and higher expression in human temporal lobe neurons than comparable duplicated MRE-deficient pseudogenes (PSG-MRE). PSG+MRE participate in neuronal RNA-induced silencing complexes (RISC), indicating functional involvement. Furthermore, downregulation cell culture experiments validated bidirectional co-regulation of PSG+MRE with MRE-sharing coding transcripts, frequently not their mother genes, and with targeted microRNAs; also, PSG+MRE single-nucleotide polymorphisms associated with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and autism, suggesting interaction with mental diseases. Our findings indicate functional roles of duplicated PSG+MRE in brain development and cognition, supporting physiological impact of the reciprocal co-regulation of PSG+MRE with MRE-sharing coding transcripts in human brain neurons.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina and SPLIT RNA Extraction Kit

DOCK8 Drives Src-Dependent NK Cell Effector Function

Conor J. Kearney, Stephin J. Vervoort, Kelly M. Ramsbottom, Andrew J. Freeman, Jessica Michie, Jane Peake, Jean-Laurent Casanova, Capucine Picard, Stuart G. Tangye, Cindy S. Ma, Ricky W. Johnstone, Katrina L. Randall and Jane Oliaro

The Journal of Immunology, doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.1700751

Mutations in the dedicator of cytokinesis 8 (DOCK8) gene cause an autosomal recessive form of hyper-IgE syndrome, characterized by chronic immunodeficiency with persistent microbial infection and increased incidence of malignancy. These manifestations suggest a defect in cytotoxic lymphocyte function and immune surveillance. However, how DOCK8 regulates NK cell–driven immune responses remains unclear. In this article, we demonstrate that DOCK8 regulates NK cell cytotoxicity and cytokine production in response to target cell engagement or receptor ligation. Genetic ablation of DOCK8 in human NK cells attenuated cytokine transcription and secretion through inhibition of Src family kinase activation, particularly Lck, downstream of target cell engagement or NKp30 ligation. PMA/Ionomycin treatment of DOCK8-deficient NK cells rescued cytokine production, indicating a defect proximal to receptor ligation. Importantly, NK cells from DOCK8-deficient patients had attenuated production of IFN-γ and TNF-α upon NKp30 stimulation. Taken together, we reveal a novel molecular mechanism by which DOCK8 regulates NK cell–driven immunity.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Retroelements, the prevalent class of plant transposons, have major impacts on host genome integrity and evolution. They produce multiple proteins from highly compact genomes and, similar to viruses, must have evolved original strategies to optimize gene expression, although this aspect has been seldom investigated thus far. Here, we have established a high-resolution transcriptome/translatome map for the near-entirety of Arabidopsis thaliana transposons, using two distinct DNA methylation mutants in which transposon expression is broadly de-repressed. The value of this map to study potentially intact and transcriptionally active transposons in A. thaliana is illustrated by our comprehensive analysis of the cotranscriptional and translational features of Ty1/Copia elements, a family of young and active retroelements in plant genomes, and how such features impact their biology. Genome-wide transcript profiling revealed a unique and widely conserved alternative splicing event coupled to premature termination that allows for the synthesis of a short subgenomic RNA solely dedicated to production of the GAG structural protein and that preferentially associates with polysomes for efficient translation. Mutations engineered in a transgenic version of the Arabidopsis EVD Ty1/Copia element further show how alternative splicing is crucial for the appropriate coordination of full-length and subgenomic RNA transcription. We propose that this hitherto undescribed genome expression strategy, conserved among plant Ty1/Copia elements, enables an excess of structural versus catalytic components, mandatory for mobilization.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

The application of genomic approaches to ‘obscure model organisms’ (OMOs), meaning species with no prior genomic resources, enables increasingly sophisticated studies of the genomic basis of evolution, acclimatization, and adaptation in real ecological contexts. I consider here ecological questions that can be addressed using OMOs, and indicate optimal sequencing and data-handling solutions for each case. With this I hope to promote the diversity of OMO-based projects that would capitalize on the peculiarities of the natural history of OMOs and could feasibly be completed within the scope of a single PhD thesis.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Direct comparison of distinct naive pluripotent states in human embryonic stem cells

S. Warrier, M. Van der Jeught, G. Duggal, L. Tilleman, E. Sutherland, J. Taelman, M. Popovic, S. Lierman, S. Chuva De Sousa Lopes, A. Van Soom, L. Peelman, F. Van Nieuwerburgh, D. I. M. De Coninck, B. Menten, P. Mestdagh, J. Van de Sompele, D. Deforce, P. De Sutter & B. Heindryckx

Nature Communications, doi: 10.1038/ncomms15055

Until recently, human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) were shown to exist in a state of primed pluripotency, while mouse embryonic stem cells (mESCs) display a naive or primed pluripotent state. Here we show the rapid conversion of in-house-derived primed hESCs on mouse embryonic feeder layer (MEF) to a naive state within 5–6 days in naive conversion media (NCM-MEF), 6–10 days in naive human stem cell media (NHSM-MEF) and 14–20 days using the reverse-toggle protocol (RT-MEF). We further observe enhanced unbiased lineage-specific differentiation potential of naive hESCs converted in NCM-MEF, however, all naive hESCs fail to differentiate towards functional cell types. RNA-seq analysis reveals a divergent role of PI3K/AKT/mTORC signalling, specifically of the mTORC2 subunit, in the different naive hESCs. Overall, we demonstrate a direct evaluation of several naive culture conditions performed in the same laboratory, thereby contributing to an unbiased, more in-depth understanding of different naive hESCs.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Amplification of N-Myc is associated with a T cell-poor microenvironment in metastatic neuroblastoma restraining interferon pathway activity and chemokine expression

Julian Layer, Marie T. Kronmüller, Thomas Quast, Debby van den Boorn-Konijnenberg, Maike Effern, Daniel Hinze, Kristina Althoff, Alexander Schramm, Frank Westermann, Martin Peifer, Gunther Hartmann, Thomas Tüting, Waldemar Kolanus, Matthias Fischer, Johannes Schulte, and Michael Hölzel

OncoImmunology, doi: 10.1080/2162402X.2017.1320626

Immune checkpoint inhibitors have significantly improved the treatment of several cancers. T cell infiltration and the number of neoantigens caused by tumor-specific mutations correlate with favorable responses in cancers with a high mutation load. Accordingly, checkpoint immunotherapy is thought to be less effective in tumors with low mutation frequencies such as neuroblastoma, a neuroendocrine tumor of early childhood with poor outcome of the high-risk disease group. However, spontaneous regressions and paraneoplastic syndromes seen in neuroblastoma patients suggest substantial immunogenicity. Using an integrative transcriptomic approach we investigated the molecular characteristics of T cell infiltration in primary neuroblastomas as an indicator of pre-existing immune responses and potential responsiveness to checkpoint inhibition. Here we report that a T cell-poor microenvironment in primary metastatic neuroblastomas is associated with genomic amplification of the MYCN (N-Myc) proto-oncogene. These tumors exhibited lower interferon pathway activity and chemokine expression in line with reduced immune cell infiltration. Importantly, we identified a global role for N-Myc in the suppression of interferon and pro-inflammatory pathways in human and murine neuroblastoma cell lines. N-Myc depletion potently enhanced targeted interferon pathway activation by a small molecule agonist of the cGAS-STING innate immune pathway. This promoted chemokine expression including Cxcl10 and T cell recruitment in microfluidics migration assays. Hence, our data suggest N-Myc inhibition plus targeted IFN activation as adjuvant strategy to enforce cytotoxic T cell recruitment in MYCN-amplified neuroblastomas.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

A global genetic interaction network maps a wiring diagram of cellular function

Michael Costanzo, Benjamin VanderSluis, Elizabeth N. Koch, Anastasia Baryshnikova, Carles Pons, Guihong Tan, Wen Wang, Matej Usaj, Julia Hanchard, Susan D. Lee, Vicent Pelechano, Erin B. Styles, Maximilian Billmann, Jolanda van Leeuwen, Nydia van Dyk, Zhen-Yuan Lin, Elena Kuzmin, Justin Nelson, Jeff S. Piotrowski, Tharan Srikumar, Sondra Bahr, Yiqun Chen, Raamesh Deshpande, Christoph F. Kurat1, Sheena C. Li, Zhijian Li, Mojca Mattiazzi Usaj, Hiroki Okada, Natasha Pascoe, Bryan-Joseph San Luis, Sara Sharifpoor, Emira Shuteriqi, Scott W. Simpkins, Jamie Snider, Harsha Garadi Suresh, Yizhao Tan, Hongwei Zhu, Noel Malod-Dognin, Vuk Janjic, Natasa Przulj, Olga G. Troyanskaya, Igor Stagljar, Tian Xia, Yoshikazu Ohya, Anne-Claude Gingras, Brian Raught, Michael Boutros, Lars M. Steinmetz, Claire L. Moore, Adam P. Rosebrock, Amy A. Caudy, Chad L. Myers, Brenda Andrews, Charles Boone

Science. 2016 Sep 23, doi: 10.1126/science.aaf1420

We generated a global genetic interaction network for Saccharomyces cerevisiae, constructing more than 23 million double mutants, identifying about 550,000 negative and about 350,000 positive genetic interactions. This comprehensive network maps genetic interactions for essential gene pairs, highlighting essential genes as densely connected hubs. Genetic interaction profiles enabled assembly of a hierarchical model of cell function, including modules corresponding to protein complexes and pathways, biological processes, and cellular compartments. Negative interactions connected functionally related genes, mapped core bioprocesses, and identified pleiotropic genes, whereas positive interactions often mapped general regulatory connections among gene pairs, rather than shared functionality. The global network illustrates how coherent sets of genetic interactions connect protein complex and pathway modules to map a functional wiring diagram of the cell.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Ventilator-induced lung injury (VILI) is a severe complication of mechanical ventilation that can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). VILI is characterized by damage to the epithelial barrier with subsequent pulmonary edema and profound hypoxia. Available lung protective ventilator strategies offer only modest benefit in preventing VILI because they cannot impede alveolar overdistension and concomitant epithelial barrier dysfunction in the inflamed lung regions. There are currently no effective biochemical therapies to mitigate injury to the alveolar epithelium. We hypothesize that alveolar stretch activates the integrated stress response (ISR) pathway, and that the chemical inhibition of this pathway mitigates alveolar barrier disruption during stretch and mechanical ventilation.

Using our established rat primary type I-like alveolar epithelial cell monolayer stretch model and in vivo rat mechanical ventilation that mimics alveolar overdistension seen in ARDS we studied epithelial responses to mechanical stress.

Our studies revealed that the ISR signaling pathway is a key modulator of epithelial permeability. We show that prolonged epithelial stretch and injurious mechanical ventilation activates ISR, leading to increased alveolar permeability, cell death and proinflammatory signaling. Chemical inhibition of protein kinase RNA-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase, an upstream regulator of the pathway, resulted in decreased injury signaling and improved barrier function following prolonged cyclic stretch and injurious mechanical ventilation.

Our results provide new evidence that therapeutic targeting of the integrated stress response can mitigate VILI.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

MicroRNAs Establish Uniform Traits during the Architecture of Vertebrate Embryos

Dionna M. Kasper, Albertomaria Moro, Emma Ristori, Anand Narayanan, Guillermina Hill-Teran, Elizabeth Fleming, Miguel Moreno-Mateos, Charles E. Vejnar, Jing Zhang, Donghoon Lee, Mengting Gu, Mark Gerstein, Antonio Giraldez, Stefania Nicoli

Developmental Cell 2017, doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2017.02.021.

Proper functioning of an organism requires cells and tissues to behave in uniform, well-organized ways. How this optimum of phenotypes is achieved during the development of vertebrates is unclear. Here, we carried out a multi-faceted and single-cell resolution screen of zebrafish embryonic blood vessels upon mutagenesis of single and multi-gene microRNA (miRNA) families. We found that embryos lacking particular miRNA-dependent signaling pathways develop a vascular trait similar to wild-type, but with a profound increase in phenotypic heterogeneity. Aberrant trait variance in miRNA mutant embryos uniquely sensitizes their vascular system to environmental perturbations. We discovered a previously unrecognized role for specific vertebrate miRNAs to protect tissue development against phenotypic variability. This discovery marks an important advance in our comprehension of how miRNAs function in the development of higher organisms.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

BET-Bromodomain Inhibitors Engage the Host Immune System and Regulate Expression of the Immune Checkpoint Ligand PD-L1

Simon J. Hogg, Stephin J. Vervoort, Sumit Deswal, Christopher J. Ott, Jason Li, Leonie A. Cluse, Paul A. Beavis, Phillip K. Darcy, Benjamin P. Martin, Andrew Spencer, Anna K. Traunbauer, Irina Sadovnik, Karin Bauer, Peter Valent, James E. Bradner, Johannes Zuber, Jake Shortt, Ricky W. Johnstone

Cell Reports 18, 2162–2174, February 28, 2017

BET inhibitors (BETi) target bromodomain-containing proteins and are currently being evaluated as anti-cancer agents. We find that maximal therapeutic effects of BETi in a Myc-driven B cell lymphoma model required an intact host immune system. Genome-wide analysis of the BETi-induced transcriptional response identified the immune checkpoint ligand Cd274 (Pd-l1) as a Myc-independent, BETi target-gene. BETi directly repressed constitutively expressed and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) induced CD274 expression across different human and mouse tumor cell lines and primary patient samples. Mechanistically, BETi decreased Brd4 occupancy at the Cd274 locus without any change in Myc occupancy, resulting in transcriptional pausing and rapid loss of Cd274 mRNA production. Finally, targeted inhibition of the PD-1/PD-L1 axis by combining anti-PD-1 antibodies and the BETi JQ1 caused synergistic responses in mice bearing Myc-driven lymphomas. Our data uncover an interaction between BETi and the PD-1/PD-L1 immune-checkpoint and provide mechanistic insight into the transcriptional regulation of CD274.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Alternative polyadenylation (APA), which is regulated by both cis‐elements and trans‐factors, plays an important role in post‐transcriptional regulation of eukaryotic gene expression. However, comparing to the extensively studied transcription and alternative splicing, the extent of APA divergence during evolution and the relative cis‐ and trans‐contribution remain largely unexplored. To directly address these questions for the first time in mammals, by using deep sequencing‐based methods, we measured APA divergence between C57BL/6J and SPRET/EiJ mouse strains as well as allele‐specific APA pattern in their F1 hybrids. Among the 24,721 polyadenylation sites (pAs) from 7,271 genes expressing multiple pAs, we identified 3,747 pAs showing significant divergence between the two strains. After integrating the allele‐specific data from F1 hybrids, we demonstrated that these events could be predominately attributed to cis‐regulatory effects. Further systematic sequence analysis of the regions in proximity to cis‐divergent pAs revealed that the local RNA secondary structure and a poly(U) tract in the upstream region could negatively modulate the pAs usage.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Transgenic Expression of Mitochondrial Chaperone TRAP1 Accelerates Prostate Cancer Development

Sofia Lisanti, David S. Garlick, Kelly G. Bryant, Michele Tavecchio, Gordon B. Mills, Yiling Lu, Andrew V. Kossenkov, Louise C. Showe, Lucia R. Languino and Dario C. Altieri

JBC, doi: 10.1074/jbc.M116.745950

Protein homeostasis, or proteostasis is required for mitochondrial function, but its role in cancer is controversial. Here, we show that transgenic mice expressing the mitochondrial chaperone, TRAP1 in the prostate develop epithelial hyperplasia and cellular atypia. When examined on a Pten+/- background, a common alteration in human prostate cancer, TRAP1 transgenic mice showed accelerated incidence of invasive prostatic adenocarcinoma, characterized by increased cell proliferation and reduced apoptosis, in situ. Conversely, homozygous deletion of TRAP1 delays prostatic tumorigenesis in Pten+/- mice, without affecting hyperplasia or prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia. Global profiling of Pten+/–TRAP1 transgenic mice by RNA sequencing and reverse phase protein array reveals modulation of oncogenic networks of cell proliferation, apoptosis, cell motility, and DNA damage. Mechanistically, reconstitution of Pten+/- prostatic epithelial cells with TRAP1 increases cell proliferation, reduces apoptosis, and promotes cell invasion, without changes in mitochondrial bioenergetics. Therefore, TRAP1 is a driver of prostate cancer, in vivo, and “actionable” therapeutic target.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Purpose: Amplified mesenchymal-epithelial transition factor, MET, is a receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) that has been considered a druggable target in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Although multiple MET tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) are being actively developed for MET-driven NSCLC, the mechanisms of acquired resistance to MET-TKIs have not been elucidated. Capmatinib (INC280, Novartis) is a highly potent and selective small molecule MET-TKI. To understand the mechanisms of resistance to MET-TKIs and establish therapeutic strategies, we developed an in vitro model using capmatinib-resistant cell lines (EBC-CR1, CR2, and CR3) derived from the MET-amplified NSCLC cell line EBC-1. Methods: We established capmatinib-resistant NSCLC cell lines from the MET-amplified NSCLC cell line EBC-1 and identified alternative signaling pathways using 3’mRNA sequencing and human phospho-RTK arrays. Copy number alterations were evaluated by quantitative PCR and cell proliferation assay activation of RTKs and downstream effectors were compared between the parental cell line EBC-1 and the EBC-CR1, -CR2, and -CR3 resistant cell lines. Results: We found that epidermal growth factor (EGFR) mRNA expression and protein activation were increased in EBC-CR1–3 cells compared to EBC-1 cells. EBC-CR1 cells showed EGFR-dependent growth and sensitivity to afatinib, an irreversible EGFR TKI. EBC-CR2 cells, which overexpressed the EGFR-MET heterodimer, responded dramatically to the combination of capmatinib and the phosphoinositide-3 kinase catalytic subunit α (PIK3CA) inhibitor afatinib. In addition, EBC-CR3 cells, which had activated EGFR along with amplified PIK3CA, were sensitive to the combination of afatinib and the PI3Kα inhibitor BYL719. Conclusions: Our in vitro studies suggested that activation of EGFR signaling and/or genetic alteration of downstream effectors like PIK3CA were alternative resistance mechanisms used by capmatinib-resistant NSCLC cell lines. In addition, combined treatments with MET, EGFR, and PI3Kα inhibitors may be an effective therapeutic strategy in MET-TKI-resistant NSCLC patients.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina


T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma (T-ALL/T-LBL) is an aggressive hematopoietic malignancy that results from genetic mutations in the thymocytes. Aggressive chemotherapeutic treatment results in toxicities and side effects. Recently a T-LBL patient with elevated levels of the PIM1 kinase was identified. This thesis aimes to uncover how PIM1 contributes to malignant transformation of thymocytes, and whether targeted PIM1 inhibition could be a feasible treatment for T-ALL/T-LBL.


Validation of the T-LBL patient mutations was done using Sanger sequencing. IC50’s and combination indexes were determined by performing compound assays with PIM1 inhibitors and chemotherapeutics. Phosphorylation effects of PIM1 inhibition were studied by western blot. The mechanism of action of the PIM1 inhibitors was studied by apoptosis and cell cycle analysis. In vivo potential of PIM1 inhibition was studied on patient derived xenografts in mice.


There is a possible cooperation between PIM1, NOTCH1 and loss of EP300 in the T-LBL patient. In vitro PIM1 inhibition leads to an increase in BAD (Ser136) phosphorylation and a decline in phosphorylation on cMyc and GSK3β (that coincides with lowered MCL1 protein levels). In vitro PIM1 inhibitors reduce viability by inducing G1 cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. PIM1 inhibitor TP3654 works synergistically with glucocorticoids to reduce cell viability. In vivo treatment with TP3654 in mice reduces %hCD45.


Stabilization of cMyc, inhibition of apoptosis (through the phosphorylation of BAD and GSK3β) partly explains how PIM1 helps induce malignant transformation in T-ALL/TLBL. In vitro and in vivo PIM1 targeted therapy in T-ALL/T-LBL holds a promising future.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Human filarial nematode infections cause lymphatic filariasis and onchocerciasis in more than 150 million people worldwide. An infection can result in debilitating clinical manifestations like visual impairment or lymphedema that lead to socioeconomic problems and is therefore listed by the World Health Organization for elimination. Principally, filariae modulate cellular immune responses for long-term survival in their host and this modulation of the host’s immune response also dictates the occurrence of host pathology. Helminth infections and helminth-derived products can furthermore modify host immune responses to protect against inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. For instance, we previously provided evidence that infection with the rodent filarial nematode Litomosoides sigmodontis, a well-accepted model to study immune responses during filariasis, improves sepsis outcome without worsen immune paralysis and protects against autoimmune and type 2 diabetes.
Since eosinophil granulocytes are a hallmark of helminth infections we examined the impact of murine eosinophils against Escherichia coli-induced sepsis and the effect of the specific chemoattractants eotaxin-1 and 2 (CCL11 and CCL24) on the release of sepsis-relevant cytokines and chemokines of bone-marrow-derived eosinophils (bmEos). We identified eotaxin-2 (CCL24) to modify the interleukin (IL)-4 response after LPS, P3C and L. sigmodontis crude extract stimulation and to alter the expression of the eotaxin receptor C-C chemokine receptor type 3 (CCR3). The intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) was not affected by CCL24 treatment. In vivo relevance of eosinophils during the course of a bacterial sepsis was demonstrated using eosinophil-deficient ΔdblGATA mice. Those mice had an exacerbated sepsis outcome with increased pro-inflammatory IL-6 and CXCL2 levels, worsened hypothermia and reduced numbers of adaptive and innate immune cells six hours after E. coli challenge compared to wildtype controls. Co-cultivation of bmEos and E. coli highlighted the potential to reduce of the bacterial burden in vitro via the formation of NET-like extracellular structures and phagocytosis. Initial results of a transcriptome-wide analysis of sorted SiglecF+ eosinophils revealed a L. sigmodontis-dependent but E. coli-independent effect on eosinophil modulation.
We furthermore investigated the immunomodulatory effect of the crude extract of the human pathogenic filaria Brugia malayi (BmA) on the transcriptome of purified human CD14+ monocytes derived from twenty healthy male European non-endemic volunteers. Based on a genome-wide transcriptional profiling more than 47.000 transcripts of monocytes stimulated with BmA, E. coli lipopolysaccharide ultrapure (LPS) or a successive stimulation of both were analyzed. Several genes were identified that were differentially expressed upon BmA priming before LPS re-stimulation including genes like PTX3↓, MMP9↑, CXCL5/ENA-78↑, CXCL6/GCP-2↑, CXCL7/PPBP↑, and CCL20/MIP3α↓. Quantification of CXCL5 and CXCL6 protein levels confirmed our results. Lower expression levels of HLA-DR and CD86 on BmA primed monocytes were further detected by flow cytometry. BmA-only stimulation reduced the frequency of apoptotic cells whereas pre-stimulation did not alter apoptosis after LPS stimulation. Accordingly, Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) © of the transcriptome of monocyte LPS responses in dependence on BmA-priming depicted associations in immune functions and inflammatory disorders like granulocyte and agranulocyte adhesion, diapedesis and atherosclerosis. Notably, BmA treatment affected several IL-17-dependent pathways like signaling in psoriasis, arthritis and allergic inflammatory airway diseases.
Thus, exposure of human monocytes and murine eosinophils to filarial extracts modifies inflammatory immune responses and affects the response to subsequent stimuli. This immunomodulation may not only impact the development of filaria-caused pathology in humans, but may also affect bystander immune responses that contribute to dysregulated immune responses as they occur during autoimmunity or inflammation during sepsis. Since earlier results indicate that specific gene variants are associated with the severity of pathology, genome-wide analysis of expression quantitative trait loci (e2QTL) will further point out regulatory gene variants that are correlated with differential expressed transcripts and may reveal new targets for treatment strategies against lymphatic filariasis and dysregulated immune responses.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

The 3’ ends of most eukaryotic mRNAs are cleaved and polyadenylated at the last step of transcription. Recent studies revealed that more than 70% mammalian genes have multiple polyadenylation sites (pAs) leading to the generation of multiple mRNA isoforms with different coding region or 3’ untranslated region (3’ UTR) from the same gene locus and contributes to the complexity of transcriptome and proteome by regulating their stability, localization, translation, and function. Boosted by the large-scale analysis technologies, extensive and dynamic regulation of 3’ UTR by alternative polyadenylation (APA) has been observed in different tissues; different cellular conditions (proliferation, differentiation, and development); and response to stimuli. Although the exact underlying mechanisms of APA remains under investigation, it should be in general regulated via the interaction between cisregulatory elements residing at the DNA/RNA and trans-factors including polyadenylation cleavage core protein complex as well as other accessory RNA binding proteins (RBP). Change of APA pattern during evolution remains underexplored. Such changes could arise from the divergence in cis-regulatory elements and/or transacting RBPs. The divergences of the two factors with different extent of pleiotropic consequences undergo distinct evolutionary trajectories. Therefore, to better understand evolution in APA, it is important to distinguish the relative contribution of cis– and trans-effects. In this project, to comprehensively investigate the contribution of cis-elements and trans-factors in the process of APA in a mammalian system, we identified and quantified pAs usage difference between two parental strains (C57BL/6J and SPRET/EiJ) and between the two alleles in the F1 hybrids with 3’ read capturing and sequencing (3’ READS) and 3’ mRNA-Seq methods, respectively. In total, we identified 3747 parental divergent pAs across five types of APA, between the two parental mouse strains. By comparing the parental divergent pAs with those in F1 hybrids, we observed a predominant contribution of cis-regulatory effect on pAs usage, which is mediated by genetic variants between two species around the pAs. Further sequence feature analysis demonstrated that the unstable secondary structure and a novel hexamer UUUUUU in the upstream region of pAs could enhance and inhibit the pAs usage, respectively.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

There is a growing body of evidence that normal nervous system activity requires signals from resident microbes. We have yet to discover the mechanisms by which the microbiota influence brain function. However, we know that the enteric nervous system (ENS) serves as an important interface between the developing host and its microbiota. In this dissertation I will introduce a novel computer-assisted method for ENS characterization and a novel, incredibly specific mechanism of host-microbe interactions. With new ENS characterization method I developed, it will be possible to better understand the role of the ENS during development, by more rapidly and algorithmically assessing ENS phenotypes. Furthermore, my discovery of a single microbially-sourced protein that influences vertebrate host prey capture behavior and visual system development, will provide a new appreciation for the role resident microbes, both in model organisms and in ourselves. By both establishing a new, less biased, approach to image analysis and describing a surprising new regulatory host-microbe interaction, the work I describe in this dissertation should provide the foundation for an explosion of exciting discoveries in the near future.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Pan-cancer analysis of the Mediator complex transcriptome identifies CDK19 and CDK8 as therapeutic targets in advanced prostate cancer.

Brägelmann J, Klümper N, Offermann A, von Mässenhausen A, Böhm D, Deng M, Queisser A, Sanders C, Syring I, Merseburger AS, Vogel W, Sievers E, Vlasic I, Carlsson J, Andrén O, Brossart P, Duensing S, Svensson MA, Shaikhibrahim Z, Kirfel J, Perner S.

Clinical Cancer Research, doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-16-0094

The Mediator complex is a multi-protein assembly, which serves as a hub for diverse signaling pathways to regulate gene expression. Since gene expression is frequently altered in cancer a systematic understanding of the Mediator complex in malignancies could foster the development of novel targeted therapeutic approaches.

We performed a systematic deconvolution of the Mediator subunit expression profiles across 23 cancer entities (n=8568) using data from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). Prostate cancer (PCa) specific findings were validated in two publicly available gene expression cohorts and a large cohort of primary and advanced PCa (n=622) stained by immunohistochemistry. The role of CDK19 and CDK8 was evaluated by siRNA mediated gene knock-down and inhibitor treatment in PCa cell lines with functional assays and gene expression analysis by RNAseq.

Cluster analysis of TCGA expression data segregated tumor entities, indicating tumor-type specific Mediator complex compositions. Only PCa was marked by high expression of CDK19. In primary PCa CDK19 was associated with increased aggressiveness and shorter disease free survival. During cancer progression highest levels of CDK19 and of its paralog CDK8 were present in metastases. In vitro, inhibition of CDK19 and CDK8 by knock-down or treatment with a selective CDK8/CDK19 inhibitor significantly decreased migration and invasion.

Our analysis revealed distinct transcriptional expression profiles of the Mediator complex across cancer entities indicating differential modes of transcriptional regulation. Moreover it identified CDK19 and CDK8 to be specifically overexpressed during PCa progression, highlighting their potential as novel therapeutic targets in advanced PCa.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

BET Bromodomain Inhibition Promotes Anti-tumor Immunity by Suppressing PD-L1 Expression

Hengrui Zhu, Fee Bengsch, Nikolaos Svoronos, Melanie R. Rutkowski, Benjamin G. Bitler, Michael J. Allegrezza, Yuhki Yokoyama, Andrew V. Kossenkov, James E. Bradner, Jose R. Conejo-Garcia, Rugang Zhang

Cell Reports 16, 2829–2837, September 13, 2016; doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.08.032

Restoration of anti-tumor immunity by blocking PD-L1 signaling through the use of antibodies has proven to be beneficial in cancer therapy. Here, we show that BET bromodomain inhibition suppresses PD-L1 expression and limits tumor progression in ovarian cancer. CD274 (encoding PD-L1) is a direct target of BRD4-mediated gene transcription. In mouse models, treatment with the BET inhibitor JQ1 significantly reduced PD-L1 expression on tumor cells and tumor-associated dendritic cells and macrophages, which correlated with an increase in the activity of anti-tumor cytotoxic T cells. The BET inhibitor limited tumor progression in a cytotoxic T-cell-dependent manner. Together, these data demonstrate a small-molecule approach to block PD-L1 signaling. Given the fact that BET inhibitors have been proven to be safe with manageable reversible toxicity in clinical trials, our findings indicate that pharmacological BET inhibitors represent a treatment strategy for targeting PD-L1 expression.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

An siRNA screen for ATG protein depletion reveals the extent of the unconventional functions of the autophagy proteome in virus replication

Mario Mauthe, Martijn Langereis, Jennifer Jung, Xingdong Zhou, Alex Jones, Wienand Omta, Sharon A. Tooze, Björn Stork, Søren Riis Paludan, Tero Ahola, Dave Egan, Christian Behrends, Michal Mokry, Cornelis de Haan, Frank van Kuppevel, Fulvio Reggiori

The Rockefeller University Press / JCB vol. 214 no. 5 619-635 / doi: 10.1083/jcb.201602046

Autophagy is a catabolic process regulated by the orchestrated action of the autophagy-related (ATG) proteins. Recent work indicates that some of the ATG proteins also have autophagy-independent roles. Using an unbiased siRNA screen approach, we explored the extent of these unconventional functions of ATG proteins. We determined the effects of the depletion of each ATG proteome component on the replication of six different viruses. Our screen reveals that up to 36% of the ATG proteins significantly alter the replication of at least one virus in an unconventional fashion. Detailed analysis of two candidates revealed an undocumented role for ATG13 and FIP200 in picornavirus replication that is independent of their function in autophagy as part of the ULK complex. The high numbers of unveiled ATG gene-specific and pathogen-specific functions of the ATG proteins calls for caution in the interpretation of data, which rely solely on the depletion of a single ATG protein to specifically ablate autophagy.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

IFI16 (Interferon-γ-inducible protein 16) recognizes the nuclear episomal herpes virus (KSHV, EBV and HSV-1) genomes and induces the inflammasome and interferon-β responses. It also acts as a lytic replication restriction factor and inhibits viral DNA replication (HCMV and HPV) and transcription (HSV-1, HCMV and HPV) through epigenetic modifications of the viral genomes. To date, the role of IFI16 in the biology of latent viruses is not known. Here, we demonstrate that knockdown of IFI16 in KSHV latently infected B-lymphoma BCBL-1 and BC-3 cell lines results in lytic reactivation, increase in KSHV lytic transcripts, proteins, and viral genome replication. Similar results were also observed during KSHV lytic cycle induction in TREX-BCBL-1 cells with the doxycycline-inducible lytic cycle switch RTA gene. Overexpression of IFI16 reduced lytic gene induction by chemical agent TPA. IFI16 protein levels were significantly reduced or absent in TPA or doxycycline induced cells expressing lytic KSHV proteins. IFI16 is polyubiquitinated and degraded via the proteasomal pathway. IFI16’s degradation was absent in phosphonoacetic acid treated cells that blocks KSHV DNA replication and consequently late lytic gene expression. Chromatin immunoprecipitation assays of BCBL-1 and BC-3 cells demonstrated that IFI16 binds to KSHV gene promoters. Uninfected epithelial SLK and osteosarcoma U2OS cells transfected with KSHV luciferase promoter constructs confirmed that IFI16 functions as a transcriptional repressor. These results reveal that KSHV utilizes the innate immune nuclear DNA sensor IFI16 to maintain its latency and repression of lytic transcripts, and a late lytic KSHV gene product(s) targets IFI16 for degradation during lytic reactivation.

Importance Like all herpesviruses, latency is an integral part of Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) life cycle, an etiological agent for many human cancers. Herpesviruses utilize viral and host factors to successfully evade the host immune system to maintain latency. Reactivation is a complex event where the latent episomal viral genome springs back to an active transcription of lytic cycle genes. Our studies reveal that KSHV has evolved to utilize the innate immune sensor IFI16 to keep lytic cycle transcription in dormancy. We demonstrate that IFI16 binds to the lytic gene promoters and acts as a transcriptional repressor, and thereby helps to maintain latency. We also discovered that during the late stage of lytic replication, KSHV selectively degrades IFI16, thus relieving the transcriptional repression. This is the first report to demonstrate IFI16’s role in latency maintenance of a herpes virus and further understanding will lead to the development of strategies to eliminate latent infection.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Differences in DNA Repair Capacity, Cell Death and Transcriptional Response after Irradiation between a Radiosensitive and a Radioresistant Cell Line

Mireia Borràs-Fresneda, Joan-Francesc Barquinero, Maria Gomolka, Sabine Hornhardt, Ute Rössler, Gemma Armengol & Leonardo Barrios

Sci. Rep. 6, 27043; doi:10.1038/srep27043 (2016)

Normal tissue toxicity after radiotherapy shows variability between patients, indicating inter-individual differences in radiosensitivity. Genetic variation probably contributes to these differences. The aim of the present study was to determine if two cell lines, one radiosensitive (RS) and another radioresistant (RR), showed differences in DNA repair capacity, cell viability, cell cycle progression and, in turn, if this response could be characterised by a differential gene expression profile at different post-irradiation times. After irradiation, the RS cell line showed a slower rate of γ-H2AX foci disappearance, a higher frequency of incomplete chromosomal aberrations, a reduced cell viability and a longer disturbance of the cell cycle when compared to the RR cell line. Moreover, a greater and prolonged transcriptional response after irradiation was induced in the RS cell line. Functional analysis showed that 24 h after irradiation genes involved in “DNA damage response”, “direct p53 effectors” and apoptosis were still differentially up-regulated in the RS cell line but not in the RR cell line. The two cell lines showed different response to IR and can be distinguished with cell-based assays and differential gene expression analysis. The results emphasise the importance to identify biomarkers of radiosensitivity for tailoring individualized radiotherapy protocols.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina and SPLIT RNA Extraction Kit

The effector AWR5 from the plant pathogen Ralstonia solanacearum is an inhibitor of the TOR signalling pathway

Crina Popa, Liang Li, Sergio Gil, Laura Tatjer, Keisuke Hashii, Mitsuaki Tabuchi, Núria S. Coll, Joaquín Ariño & Marc Valls

Sci. Rep. 6, 27058; doi: 10.1038/srep27058 (2016)

Bacterial pathogens possess complex type III effector (T3E) repertoires that are translocated inside the host cells to cause disease. However, only a minor proportion of these effectors have been assigned a function. Here, we show that the T3E AWR5 from the phytopathogen Ralstonia solanacearum is an inhibitor of TOR, a central regulator in eukaryotes that controls the switch between cell growth and stress responses in response to nutrient availability. Heterologous expression of AWR5 in yeast caused growth inhibition and autophagy induction coupled to massive transcriptomic changes, unmistakably reminiscent of TOR inhibition by rapamycin or nitrogen starvation. Detailed genetic analysis of these phenotypes in yeast, including suppression of AWR5-induced toxicity by mutation of CDC55 and TPD3, encoding regulatory subunits of the PP2A phosphatase, indicated that AWR5 might exert its function by directly or indirectly inhibiting the TOR pathway upstream PP2A. We present evidence in planta that this T3E caused a decrease in TOR-regulated plant nitrate reductase activity and also that normal levels of TOR and the Cdc55 homologues in plants are required for R. solanacearum virulence. Our results suggest that the TOR pathway is a bona fide T3E target and further prove that yeast is a useful platform for T3E function characterisation.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina

Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is the most common and cost‐effective treatment for older adults with long‐standing osteoarthritis. Projections indicate that nearly 3.5 million older adults will undergo this procedure annually by the year 2030. Thus, understanding the factors that lead to optimal outcomes is of great clinical interest. In the majority of cases, tourniquet is applied during surgery to maintain a clear surgical field, however, there is debate as to whether this intervention is completely benign. In particular, muscle atrophy is a significant factor in preventing full functional recovery following surgery, and some evidence suggests that tourniquet application and the associated ischemia–reperfusion injury that results contributes to muscle atrophy. For this reason, we examined tissue level changes in muscle in TKA patients following surgery and found that there was a significant increase in cross‐sectional area of muscle fibers of all types. Furthermore, to detect changes not evident at the tissue level, we performed NextSeq analysis to assess the transcriptional landscape of quadriceps muscle cells following TKA with tourniquet and found 72 genes that were significantly upregulated. A large proportion of those genes regulate cell stress pathways, suggesting that muscle cells in our cohort of older adults were capable of mounting a significant response to cell stress. Furthermore, factors related to complement were upregulated, suggesting tourniquet may play a role in priming cells to ischemia reperfusion injury. Therefore, our analysis reveals potential harms of tourniquet during TKA, thus suggesting that surgeons should consider limiting its use.

Features QuantSeq 3’ mRNA-Seq Library Prep Kit FWD for Illumina