Published by: eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd
Total articles ≅ 14,531
Latest articles in this journal
Published: 31 March 2023
Elife, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.86139
Cardiometabolic diseases encompass a range of interrelated conditions that arise from underlying metabolic perturbations precipitated by genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. While obesity, dyslipidaemia, smoking, and insulin resistance are major risk factors for cardiometabolic diseases, individuals still present in the absence of such traditional risk factors, making it difficult to determine those at greatest risk of disease. Thus, it is crucial to elucidate the genetic, environmental, and molecular underpinnings to better understand, diagnose, and treat cardiometabolic diseases. Much of this information can be garnered using systems genetics, which takes population-based approaches to investigate how genetic variance contributes to complex traits. Despite the important advances made by human genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in this space, corroboration of these findings has been hampered by limitations including the inability to control environmental influence, limited access to pertinent metabolic tissues, and often, poor classification of diseases or phenotypes. A complementary approach to human GWAS is the utilisation of model systems such as genetically diverse mouse panels to study natural genetic and phenotypic variation in a controlled environment. Here, we review mouse genetic reference panels and the opportunities they provide for the study of cardiometabolic diseases and related traits. We discuss how the post-GWAS era has prompted a shift in focus from discovery of novel genetic variants to understanding gene function. Finally, we highlight key advantages and challenges of integrating complementary genetic and multi-omics data from human and mouse populations to advance biological discovery.
Published: 31 March 2023
Elife, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.84085
Stem cells typically reside in a specialized physical and biochemical environment that facilitates regulation of their behavior. For this reason, stem cells are ideally studied in contexts that maintain this precisely constructed microenvironment while still allowing for live imaging. Here, we describe a long-term organ culture and imaging strategy for hematopoiesis in flies that takes advantage of powerful genetic and transgenic tools available in this system. We find that fly blood progenitors undergo symmetric cell divisions and that their division is both linked to cell size and is spatially oriented. Using quantitative imaging to simultaneously track markers for stemness and differentiation in progenitors, we identify two types of differentiation that exhibit distinct kinetics. Moreover, we find that infection-induced activation of hematopoiesis occurs through modulation of the kinetics of cell differentiation. Overall, our results show that even subtle shifts in proliferation and differentiation kinetics can have large and aggregate effects to transform blood progenitors from a quiescent to an activated state.
Elife, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.84375
The specific functional properties of a tissue are distributed amongst its component cell types. The various cells act coherently, as an ensemble, in order to execute a physiologic response. Modern approaches for identifying and dissecting novel physiologic mechanisms would benefit from an ability to identify specific cell types in live tissues that could then be imaged in real-time. Current techniques require the use of fluorescent genetic reporters that are not only cumbersome, but which only allow the simultaneous study of 3 or 4 cell types at a time. We report a non-invasive imaging modality that capitalizes on the endogenous autofluorescence signatures of the metabolic cofactors NAD(P)H and FAD. By marrying morphological characteristics with autofluorescence signatures, all seven of the airway epithelial cell types can be distinguished simultaneously in mouse tracheal explant in real-time. Furthermore, we find that this methodology for direct cell type specific identification avoids pitfalls associated with the use of ostensibly cell type-specific markers that are, in fact, altered by clinically relevant physiologic stimuli. Finally, we utilize this methodology to interrogate real-time physiology and identify dynamic secretory cell associated antigen passages (SAPs) that form in response to cholinergic stimulus. The identical process has been well documented in the intestine where the dynamic formation of secretory and goblet cell associated antigen passages (SAPs and GAPs) enable luminal antigen sampling. Given that airway secretory cells can be stimulated to make mucous within hours, we suspect that both SAPs and GAPs are also used for luminal antigen sampling in the airway. This hypothesis is supported by our observation that secretory cells with airway SAPs are frequently juxtaposed to antigen presenting cells.
Elife, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.81274
T-cell receptors (TCRs) are formed by stochastic gene rearrangements, theoretically generating >1019 sequences. They are selected during thymopoiesis, which releases a repertoire of about 108 unique TCRs per individual. How evolution shaped a process that produces TCRs that can effectively handle a countless and evolving set of infectious agents is a central question of immunology. The paradigm is that a diverse enough repertoire of TCRs should always provide a proper, though rare, specificity for any given need. Expansion of such rare T cells would provide enough fighters for an effective immune response and enough antigen-experienced cells for memory. We show here that human thymopoiesis releases a large population of clustered CD8+ T cells harboring α/β paired TCRs that (i) have high generation probabilities and (ii) a preferential usage of some V and J genes, (iii) which CDR3 are shared between individuals, and (iv) can each bind and be activated by multiple unrelated viral peptides, notably from EBV, CMV, and influenza. These polyspecific T cells may represent a first line of defense that is mobilized in response to infections before a more specific response subsequently ensures viral elimination. Our results support an evolutionary selection of polyspecific α/β TCRs for broad antiviral responses and heterologous immunity.
Elife, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.83810
Transcription by RNA Polymerase II (Pol II) is initiated by the hierarchical assembly of the Pre-Initiation Complex onto promoter DNA. Decades of research have shown that the TATA-box binding protein (TBP) is essential for Pol II loading and initiation. Here, we report instead that acute depletion of TBP in mouse embryonic stem cells has no global effect on ongoing Pol II transcription. In contrast, acute TBP depletion severely impairs RNA Polymerase III initiation. Furthermore, Pol II transcriptional induction occurs normally upon TBP depletion. This TBP-independent transcription mechanism is not due to a functional redundancy with the TBP paralog TRF2, though TRF2 also binds to promoters of transcribed genes. Rather, we show that the TFIID complex can form and, despite having reduced TAF4 and TFIIA binding when TBP is depleted, the Pol II machinery is sufficiently robust in sustaining TBP-independent transcription.
Elife, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.83970
The treatment of neurodegenerative diseases is hindered by lack of interventions capable of steering multimodal whole-brain dynamics towards patterns indicative of preserved brain health. To address this problem, we combined deep learning with a model capable of reproducing whole-brain functional connectivity in patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). These models included disease-specific atrophy maps as priors to modulate local parameters, revealing increased stability of hippocampal and insular dynamics as signatures of brain atrophy in AD and bvFTD, respectively. Using variational autoencoders, we visualized different pathologies and their severity as the evolution of trajectories in a low-dimensional latent space. Finally, we perturbed the model to reveal key AD- and bvFTD-specific regions to induce transitions from pathological to healthy brain states. Overall, we obtained novel insights on disease progression and control by means of external stimulation, while identifying dynamical mechanisms that underlie functional alterations in neurodegeneration.
Elife, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.85135
During development of the human cerebral cortex, multipotent neural progenitors generate excitatory neurons and glial cells. Investigations of the transcriptome and epigenome have revealed important gene regulatory networks underlying this crucial developmental event. However, the posttranscriptional control of gene expression and protein abundance during human corticogenesis remains poorly understood. We addressed this issue by using human telencephalic brain organoids grown using a dual reporter cell line to isolate neural progenitors and neurons and performed cell class and developmental stage-specific transcriptome and proteome analysis. Integrating the two datasets revealed modules of gene expression during human corticogenesis. Investigation of one such module uncovered mTOR-mediated regulation of translation of the 5’TOP element-enriched translation machinery in early progenitor cells. We show that in early progenitors partial inhibition of the translation of ribosomal genes prevents precocious translation of differentiation markers. Overall, our multiomics approach proposes novel posttranscriptional regulatory mechanisms crucial for the fidelity of cortical development.
Elife, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.83652
Endothelial cells line all blood vessels, where they coordinate blood vessel formation and the blood-tissue barrier via regulation of cell-cell junctions. The nucleus also regulates endothelial cell behaviors, but it is unclear how the nucleus contributes to endothelial cell activities at the cell periphery. Here, we show that the nuclear-localized linker of the nucleoskeleton and cytoskeleton (LINC) complex protein SUN1 regulates vascular sprouting and endothelial cell-cell junction morphology and function. Loss of murine endothelial Sun1 impaired blood vessel formation and destabilized junctions, angiogenic sprouts formed but retracted in SUN1-depleted sprouts, and zebrafish vessels lacking Sun1b had aberrant junctions and defective cell-cell connections. At the cellular level, SUN1 stabilized endothelial cell-cell junctions, promoted junction function, and regulated contractility. Mechanistically, SUN1 depletion altered cell behaviors via the cytoskeleton without changing transcriptional profiles. Reduced peripheral microtubule density, fewer junction contacts, and increased catastrophes accompanied SUN1 loss, and microtubule depolymerization phenocopied effects on junctions. Depletion of GEF-H1, a microtubule-regulated Rho activator, or the LINC complex protein nesprin-1 rescued defective junctions of SUN1-depleted endothelial cells. Thus, endothelial SUN1 regulates peripheral cell-cell junctions from the nucleus via LINC complex-based microtubule interactions that affect peripheral microtubule dynamics and Rho-regulated contractility, and this long-range regulation is important for proper blood vessel sprouting and junction integrity.
Elife, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.80560
Background: Causality between plasma triglyceride (TG) levels and atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) risk remains controversial despite more than four decades of study and two recent landmark trials, STRENGTH and REDUCE-IT. Further unclear is the association between TG levels and non-atherosclerotic diseases across organ systems. Methods: Here, we conducted a phenome-wide, two-sample Mendelian randomization (MR) analysis using inverse-variance weighted (IVW) regression to systematically infer the causal effects of plasma TG levels on 2,600 disease traits in the European ancestry population of UK Biobank. For replication, we externally tested 221 nominally significant associations (p < 0.05) in an independent cohort from FinnGen. To account for potential horizontal pleiotropy and the influence of invalid instrumental variables, we performed sensitivity analyses using MR-Egger regression, weighted median estimator, and MR-PRESSO. Finally, we used multivariable MR controlling for correlated lipid fractions to distinguish the independent effect of plasma TG levels. Results: Our results identified 7 disease traits reaching Bonferroni-corrected significance in both the discovery (p < 1.92 × 10-5) and replication analyses (p < 2.26 × 10-4), suggesting a causal relationship between plasma TG levels and ASCVDs, including coronary artery disease (OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.24-1.43, p = 2.47 × 10-13). We also identified 12 disease traits that were Bonferroni-significant in the discovery or replication analysis and at least nominally significant in the other analysis (p < 0.05), identifying plasma TG levels as a novel potential risk factor for 9 non-ASCVD diseases, including uterine leiomyoma (OR 1.19, 95% CI 1.10-1.29, p = 1.17 × 10-5). Conclusions: Taking a phenome-wide, two-sample MR approach, we identified causal associations between plasma TG levels and 19 disease traits across organ systems. Our findings suggest unrealized drug repurposing opportunities or adverse effects related to approved and emerging TG-lowering agents, as well as mechanistic insights for future studies. Funding: RD is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) (R35-GM124836) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the NIH (R01-HL139865 and R01-HL155915).
Published: 28 March 2023
Elife, Volume 12; https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.83739
Comparing connectomes can help explain how neural connectivity is related to genetics, disease, development, learning, and behavior. However, making statistical inferences about the significance and nature of differences between two networks is an open problem, and such analysis has not been extensively applied to nanoscale connectomes. Here, we investigate this problem via a case study on the bilateral symmetry of a larval Drosophila brain connectome. We translate notions of'bilateral symmetry' to generative models of the network structure of the left and right hemispheres, allowing us to test and refine our understanding of symmetry. We find significant differences in connection probabilities both across the entire left and right networks and between specific cell types. By rescaling connection probabilities or removing certain edges based on weight, we also present adjusted definitions of bilateral symmetry exhibited by this connectome. This work shows how statistical inferences from networks can inform the study of connectomes, facilitating future comparisons of neural structures.