PLoS Genetics

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ISSN / EISSN : 1553-7390 / 1553-7404
Published by: Public Library of Science (PLoS) (10.1371)
Total articles ≅ 9,806
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Alexander T. Lin-Moore, Motunrayo J. Oyeyemi,
Published: 24 November 2021
Injured axons must regenerate to restore nervous system function, and regeneration is regulated in part by external factors from non-neuronal tissues. Many of these extrinsic factors act in the immediate cellular environment of the axon to promote or restrict regeneration, but the existence of long-distance signals regulating axon regeneration has not been clear. Here we show that the Rab GTPase rab-27 inhibits regeneration of GABAergic motor neurons in C. elegans through activity in the intestine. Re-expression of RAB-27, but not the closely related RAB-3, in the intestine of rab-27 mutant animals is sufficient to rescue normal regeneration. Several additional components of an intestinal neuropeptide secretion pathway also inhibit axon regeneration, including NPDC1/cab-1, SNAP25/aex-4, KPC3/aex-5, and the neuropeptide NLP-40, and re-expression of these genes in the intestine of mutant animals is sufficient to restore normal regeneration success. Additionally, NPDC1/cab-1 and SNAP25/aex-4 genetically interact with rab-27 in the context of axon regeneration inhibition. Together these data indicate that RAB-27-dependent neuropeptide secretion from the intestine inhibits axon regeneration, and point to distal tissues as potent extrinsic regulators of regeneration.
Min Cui, Yaofu Bai, Kaili Li,
Published: 23 November 2021
Drosophila chromosomes are elongated by retrotransposon attachment, a process poorly understood. Here we characterized a mutation affecting the HipHop telomere-capping protein. In mutant ovaries and the embryos that they produce, telomere retrotransposons are activated and transposon RNP accumulates. Genetic results are consistent with that this hiphop mutation weakens the efficacy of HP1-mediated silencing while leaving piRNA-based mechanisms largely intact. Remarkably, mutant females display normal fecundity suggesting that telomere de-silencing is compatible with germline development. Moreover, unlike prior mutants with overactive telomeres, the hiphop stock does not over-accumulate transposons for hundreds of generations. This is likely due to the loss of HipHop’s abilities both to silence transcription and to recruit transposons to telomeres in the mutant. Furthermore, embryos produced by mutant mothers experience a checkpoint activation, and a further loss of maternal HipHop leads to end-to-end fusion and embryonic arrest. Telomeric retroelements fulfill an essential function yet maintain a potentially conflicting relationship with their Drosophila host. Our study thus showcases a possible intermediate in this arm race in which the host is adapting to over-activated transposons while maintaining genome stability. Our results suggest that the collapse of such a relationship might only occur when the selfish element acquires the ability to target non-telomeric regions of the genome. HipHop is likely part of this machinery restricting the elements to the gene-poor region of telomeres. Lastly, our hiphop mutation behaves as a recessive suppressor of PEV that is mediated by centric heterochromatin, suggesting its broader effect on chromatin not limited to telomeres.
, Robin Weinmann, Natalia Stec, Simona Abbatemarco, Francoise Schwager, Jing Wang, Huiwu Ouyang, , ,
Published: 22 November 2021
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are potent regulators of gene expression that function in a variety of developmental and physiological processes by dampening the expression of their target genes at a post-transcriptional level. In many gene regulatory networks (GRNs), miRNAs function in a switch-like manner whereby their expression and activity elicit a transition from one stable pattern of gene expression to a distinct, equally stable pattern required to define a nascent cell fate. While the importance of miRNAs that function in this capacity are clear, we have less of an understanding of the cellular factors and mechanisms that ensure the robustness of this form of regulatory bistability. In a screen to identify suppressors of temporal patterning phenotypes that result from ineffective miRNA-mediated target repression, we identified pqn-59, an ortholog of human UBAP2L, as a novel factor that antagonizes the activities of multiple heterochronic miRNAs. Specifically, we find that depletion of pqn-59 can restore normal development in animals with reduced lin-4 and let-7-family miRNA activity. Importantly, inactivation of pqn-59 is not sufficient to bypass the requirement of these regulatory RNAs within the heterochronic GRN. The pqn-59 gene encodes an abundant, cytoplasmically-localized, unstructured protein that harbors three essential “prion-like” domains. These domains exhibit LLPS properties in vitro and normally function to limit PQN-59 diffusion in the cytoplasm in vivo. Like human UBAP2L, PQN-59’s localization becomes highly dynamic during stress conditions where it re-distributes to cytoplasmic stress granules and is important for their formation. Proteomic analysis of PQN-59 complexes from embryonic extracts indicates that PQN-59 and human UBAP2L interact with orthologous cellular components involved in RNA metabolism and promoting protein translation and that PQN-59 additionally interacts with proteins involved in transcription and intracellular transport. Finally, we demonstrate that pqn-59 depletion reduces protein translation and also results in the stabilization of several mature miRNAs (including those involved in temporal patterning). These data suggest that PQN-59 may ensure the bistability of some GRNs that require miRNA functions by promoting miRNA turnover and, like UBAP2L, enhancing protein translation.
Jelly H. M. Soffers, Sergio G-M Alcantara, Xuanying Li, Wanqing Shao, Christopher W. Seidel, Hua Li, Julia Zeitlinger, Susan M. Abmayr, Jerry L. Workman
Published: 22 November 2021
The Spt/Ada-Gcn5 Acetyltransferase (SAGA) coactivator complex has multiple modules with different enzymatic and non-enzymatic functions. How each module contributes to gene expression is not well understood. During Drosophila oogenesis, the enzymatic functions are not equally required, which may indicate that different genes require different enzymatic functions. An analogy for this phenomenon is the handyman principle: while a handyman has many tools, which tool he uses depends on what requires maintenance. Here we analyzed the role of the non-enzymatic core module during Drosophila oogenesis, which interacts with TBP. We show that depletion of SAGA-specific core subunits blocked egg chamber development at earlier stages than depletion of enzymatic subunits. These results, as well as additional genetic analyses, point to an interaction with TBP and suggest a differential role of SAGA modules at different promoter types. However, SAGA subunits co-occupied all promoter types of active genes in ChIP-seq and ChIP-nexus experiments, and the complex was not specifically associated with distinct promoter types in the ovary. The high-resolution genomic binding profiles were congruent with SAGA recruitment by activators upstream of the start site, and retention on chromatin by interactions with modified histones downstream of the start site. Our data illustrate that a distinct genetic requirement for specific components may conceal the fact that the entire complex is physically present and suggests that the biological context defines which module functions are critical.
Bernard Ng, , Nam Hee Kim, Chendi Wang, Farnush Farhadi, , , , Christopher Gaiteri,
Published: 22 November 2021
The majority of genetic variants detected in genome wide association studies (GWAS) exert their effects on phenotypes through gene regulation. Motivated by this observation, we propose a multi-omic integration method that models the cascading effects of genetic variants from epigenome to transcriptome and eventually to the phenome in identifying target genes influenced by risk alleles. This cascading epigenomic analysis for GWAS, which we refer to as CEWAS, comprises two types of models: one for linking cis genetic effects to epigenomic variation and another for linking cis epigenomic variation to gene expression. Applying these models in cascade to GWAS summary statistics generates gene level statistics that reflect genetically-driven epigenomic effects. We show on sixteen brain-related GWAS that CEWAS provides higher gene detection rate than related methods, and finds disease relevant genes and gene sets that point toward less explored biological processes. CEWAS thus presents a novel means for exploring the regulatory landscape of GWAS variants in uncovering disease mechanisms.
Yang Shen, Mehari Endale, Wei Wang, Andrew R. Morris, Lauren J. Francey, Rachel L. Harold, , Zhiguang Huo, Carrie L. Partch, John B. Hogenesch, et al.
Published: 22 November 2021
In mammals, the circadian clock coordinates cell physiological processes including inflammation. Recent studies suggested a crosstalk between these two pathways. However, the mechanism of how inflammation affects the clock is not well understood. Here, we investigated the role of the proinflammatory transcription factor NF-κB in regulating clock function. Using a combination of genetic and pharmacological approaches, we show that perturbation of the canonical NF-κB subunit RELA in the human U2OS cellular model altered core clock gene expression. While RELA activation shortened period length and dampened amplitude, its inhibition lengthened period length and caused amplitude phenotypes. NF-κB perturbation also altered circadian rhythms in the master suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) clock and locomotor activity behavior under different light/dark conditions. We show that RELA, like the clock repressor CRY1, repressed the transcriptional activity of BMAL1/CLOCK at the circadian E-box cis-element. Biochemical and biophysical analysis showed that RELA binds to the transactivation domain of BMAL1. These data support a model in which NF-kB competes with CRY1 and coactivator CBP/p300 for BMAL1 binding to affect circadian transcription. This is further supported by chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis showing that binding of RELA, BMAL1 and CLOCK converges on the E-boxes of clock genes. Taken together, these data support a significant role for NF-κB in directly regulating the circadian clock and highlight mutual regulation between the circadian and inflammatory pathways.
, Aaztli Coria, Auyon J. Ghosh, Phil Grayeski, Luke Hatfield, , , Zhonghui Xu, , , et al.
Published: 16 November 2021
α1-anti-trypsin (A1AT), encoded by SERPINA1, is a neutrophil elastase inhibitor that controls the inflammatory response in the lung. Severe A1AT deficiency increases risk for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), however, the role of A1AT in COPD in non-deficient individuals is not well known. We identify a 2.1-fold increase (p = 2.5x10-6) in the use of a distal poly-adenylation site in primary lung tissue RNA-seq in 82 COPD cases when compared to 64 controls and replicate this in an independent study of 376 COPD and 267 controls. This alternative polyadenylation event involves two sites, a proximal and distal site, 61 and 1683 nucleotides downstream of the A1AT stop codon. To characterize this event, we measured the distal ratio in human primary tissue short read RNA-seq data and corroborated our results with long read RNA-seq data. Integrating these results with 3’ end RNA-seq and nanoluciferase reporter assay experiments we show that use of the distal site yields mRNA transcripts with over 50-fold decreased translation efficiency and A1AT expression. We identified seven RNA binding proteins using enhanced CrossLinking and ImmunoPrecipitation precipitation (eCLIP) with one or more binding sites in the SERPINA1 3’ UTR. We combined these data with measurements of the distal ratio in shRNA knockdown experiments, nuclear and cytoplasmic fractionation, and chemical RNA structure probing. We identify Quaking Homolog (QKI) as a modulator of SERPINA1 mRNA translation and confirm the role of QKI in SERPINA1 translation with luciferase reporter assays. Analysis of single-cell RNA-seq showed differences in the distribution of the SERPINA1 distal ratio among hepatocytes, macrophages, αβ-Tcells and plasma cells in the liver. Alveolar Type 1,2, dendritic cells and macrophages also vary in their distal ratio in the lung. Our work reveals a complex post-transcriptional mechanism that regulates alternative polyadenylation and A1AT expression in COPD.
Yuan Zhou, Xiao-Hu Li, Qian-Huan Guo, Peng Liu, Ying Li, Chang-Ai Wu, Guo-Dong Yang, Jin-Guang Huang, Shi-Zhong Zhang, , et al.
Published: 16 November 2021
Increasing evidence points to the tight relationship between alternative splicing (AS) and the salt stress response in plants. However, the mechanisms linking these two phenomena remain unclear. In this study, we have found that Salt-Responsive Alternatively Spliced gene 1 (SRAS1), encoding a RING-Type E3 ligase, generates two splicing variants: SRAS1.1 and SRAS1.2, which exhibit opposing responses to salt stress. The salt stress-responsive AS event resulted in greater accumulation of SRAS1.1 and a lower level of SRAS1.2. Comprehensive phenotype analysis showed that overexpression of SRAS1.1 made the plants more tolerant to salt stress, whereas overexpression of SRAS1.2 made them more sensitive. In addition, we successfully identified the COP9 signalosome 5A (CSN5A) as the target of SRAS1. CSN5A is an essential player in the regulation of plant development and stress. The full-length SRAS1.1 promoted degradation of CSN5A by the 26S proteasome. By contrast, SRAS1.2 protected CSN5A by competing with SRAS1.1 on the same binding site. Thus, the salt stress-triggered AS controls the ratio of SRAS1.1/SRAS1.2 and switches on and off the degradation of CSN5A to balance the plant development and salt tolerance. Together, these results provide insights that salt-responsive AS acts as post-transcriptional regulation in mediating the function of E3 ligase.
William A. Scott, Erum Z. Dhanji, Boris J. A. Dyakov, Ema S. Dreseris, Jonathon S. Asa, Laura J. Grange, Mila Mirceta, Christopher E. Pearson, , Anne-Claude Gingras, et al.
Published: 15 November 2021
The ATRX ATP-dependent chromatin remodelling/helicase protein associates with the DAXX histone chaperone to deposit histone H3.3 over repetitive DNA regions. Because ATRX-protein interactions impart functions, such as histone deposition, we used proximity-dependent biotinylation (BioID) to identify proximal associations for ATRX. The proteomic screen captured known interactors, such as DAXX, NBS1, and PML, but also identified a range of new associating proteins. To gauge the scope of their roles, we examined three novel ATRX-associating proteins that likely differed in function, and for which little data were available. We found CCDC71 to associate with ATRX, but also HP1 and NAP1, suggesting a role in chromatin maintenance. Contrastingly, FAM207A associated with proteins involved in ribosome biosynthesis and localized to the nucleolus. ATRX proximal associations with the SLF2 DNA damage response factor help inhibit telomere exchanges. We further screened for the proteomic changes at telomeres when ATRX, SLF2, or both proteins were deleted. The loss caused important changes in the abundance of chromatin remodelling, DNA replication, and DNA repair factors at telomeres. Interestingly, several of these have previously been implicated in alternative lengthening of telomeres. Altogether, this study expands the repertoire of ATRX-associating proteins and functions.
Bojie Cong, Mai Nakamura, Yukari Sando, , ,
Published: 15 November 2021
Identifying a common oncogenesis pathway among tumors with different oncogenic mutations is critical for developing anti-cancer strategies. Here, we performed transcriptome analyses on two different models of Drosophila malignant tumors caused by Ras activation with cell polarity defects (RasV12/scrib-/-) or by microRNA bantam overexpression with endocytic defects (bantam/rab5-/-), followed by an RNAi screen for genes commonly essential for tumor growth and malignancy. We identified that Juvenile hormone Inducible-21 (JhI-21), a Drosophila homolog of the L-amino acid transporter 1 (LAT1), is upregulated in these malignant tumors with different oncogenic mutations and knocking down of JhI-21 strongly blocked their growth and invasion. JhI-21 expression was induced by simultaneous activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and Yorkie (Yki) in these tumors and thereby contributed to tumor growth and progression by activating the mTOR-S6 pathway. Pharmacological inhibition of LAT1 activity in Drosophila larvae significantly suppressed growth of RasV12/scrib-/- tumors. Intriguingly, LAT1 inhibitory drugs did not suppress growth of bantam/rab5-/- tumors and overexpression of bantam rendered RasV12/scrib-/- tumors unresponsive to LAT1 inhibitors. Further analyses with RNA sequencing of bantam-expressing clones followed by an RNAi screen suggested that bantam induces drug resistance against LAT1 inhibitors via downregulation of the TMEM135-like gene CG31157. Our observations unveil an evolutionarily conserved role of LAT1 induction in driving Drosophila tumor malignancy and provide a powerful genetic model for studying cancer progression and drug resistance.
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