The lack of mechanistic explanations for many genotype-phenotype associations identified by GWAS precludes thorough assessment of their impact on human health. Here, we conducted an expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) mapping analysis in erythroblasts and found erythroid-specific eQTLs for ATP2B4, the main calcium ATPase of red blood cells (rbc). The same SNPs were previously associated with mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) and susceptibility to severe malaria infection. We showed that Atp2b4–/– mice demonstrate increased MCHC, confirming ATP2B4 as the causal gene at this GWAS locus. Using CRISPR-Cas9, we fine mapped the genetic signal to an erythroid-specific enhancer of ATP2B4. Erythroid cells with a deletion of the ATP2B4 enhancer had abnormally high intracellular calcium levels. These results illustrate the power of combined transcriptomic, epigenomic, and genome-editing approaches in characterizing noncoding regulatory elements in phenotype-relevant cells. Our study supports ATP2B4 as a potential target for modulating rbc hydration in erythroid disorders and malaria infection.
Samuel Lessard, Emily Stern Gatof, Mélissa Beaudoin, Patrick G. Schupp, Falak Sher, Adnan Ali, Sukhpal Prehar, Ryo Kurita, Yukio Nakamura, Esther Baena, Jonathan Ledoux, Delvac Oceandy, Daniel E. Bauer, Guillaume Lettre
The WD40-containing E3 ubiquitin ligase RFWD3 has been recently linked to the repair of DNA damage by homologous recombination (HR). Here we have shown that an RFWD3 mutation within the WD40 domain is connected to the genetic disease Fanconi anemia (FA). An individual presented with congenital abnormalities characteristic of FA. Cells from the patient carrying the compound heterozygous mutations c.205_206dupCC and c.1916T>A in RFWD3 showed increased sensitivity to DNA interstrand cross-linking agents in terms of increased chromosomal breakage, reduced survival, and cell cycle arrest in G2 phase. The cellular phenotype was mirrored in genetically engineered human and avian cells by inactivation of RFWD3 or introduction of the patient-derived missense mutation, and the phenotype was rescued by expression of wild-type RFWD3 protein. HR was disrupted in RFWD3-mutant cells as a result of impaired relocation of mutant RFWD3 to chromatin and defective physical interaction with replication protein A. Rfwd3 knockout mice appear to have increased embryonic lethality, are subfertile, show ovarian and testicular atrophy, and have a reduced lifespan resembling that of other FA mouse models. Although RFWD3 mutations have thus far been detected in a single child with FA, we propose RFWD3 as an FA gene, FANCW, supported by cellular paradigm systems and an animal model.
Kerstin Knies, Shojiro Inano, María J. Ramírez, Masamichi Ishiai, Jordi Surrallés, Minoru Takata, Detlev Schindler
Mutations in WNT1 cause osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) and early-onset osteoporosis, identifying it as a key Wnt ligand in human bone homeostasis. However, how and where WNT1 acts in bone are unclear. To address this mechanism, we generated late-osteoblast-specific and osteocyte-specific WNT1 loss- and gain-of-function mouse models. Deletion of Wnt1 in osteocytes resulted in low bone mass with spontaneous fractures similar to that observed in OI patients. Conversely, Wnt1 overexpression from osteocytes stimulated bone formation by increasing osteoblast number and activity, which was due in part to activation of mTORC1 signaling. While antiresorptive therapy is the mainstay of OI treatment, it has limited efficacy in WNT1-related OI. In this study, anti-sclerostin antibody (Scl-Ab) treatment effectively improved bone mass and dramatically decreased fracture rate in swaying mice, a model of global Wnt1 loss. Collectively, our data suggest that WNT1-related OI and osteoporosis are caused in part by decreased mTORC1-dependent osteoblast function resulting from loss of WNT1 signaling in osteocytes. As such, this work identifies an anabolic function of osteocytes as a source of Wnt in bone development and homoeostasis, complementing their known function as targets of Wnt signaling in regulating osteoclastogenesis. Finally, this study suggests that Scl-Ab is an effective genotype-specific treatment option for WNT1-related OI and osteoporosis.
Kyu Sang Joeng, Yi-Chien Lee, Joohyun Lim, Yuqing Chen, Ming-Ming Jiang, Elda Munivez, Catherine Ambrose, Brendan H. Lee
Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is driven by mutations in PKD1 and PKD2 genes. Recent work suggests that epigenetic modulation of gene expression and protein function may play a role in ADPKD pathogenesis. In this study, we identified SMYD2, a SET and MYND domain protein with lysine methyltransferase activity, as a regulator of renal cyst growth. SMYD2 was upregulated in renal epithelial cells and tissues from Pkd1-knockout mice as well as in ADPKD patients. SMYD2 deficiency delayed renal cyst growth in postnatal kidneys from Pkd1 mutant mice. Pkd1 and Smyd2 double-knockout mice lived longer than Pkd1-knockout mice. Targeting SMYD2 with its specific inhibitor, AZ505, delayed cyst growth in both early- and later-stage Pkd1 conditional knockout mouse models. SMYD2 carried out its function via methylation and activation of STAT3 and the p65 subunit of NF-κB, leading to increased cystic renal epithelial cell proliferation and survival. We further identified two positive feedback loops that integrate epigenetic regulation and renal inflammation in cyst development: SMYD2/IL-6/STAT3/SMYD2 and SMYD2/TNF-α/NF-κB/SMYD2. These pathways provide mechanisms by which SMYD2 might be induced by cyst fluid IL-6 and TNF-α in ADPKD kidneys. The SMYD2 transcriptional target gene Ptpn13 also linked SMYD2 to other PKD-associated signaling pathways, including ERK, mTOR, and Akt signaling, via PTPN13-mediated phosphorylation.
Linda Xiaoyan Li, Lucy X. Fan, Julie Xia Zhou, Jared J. Grantham, James P. Calvet, Julien Sage, Xiaogang Li
Targeted cancer therapies, which act on specific cancer-associated molecular targets, are predominantly inhibitors of oncogenic kinases. While these drugs have achieved some clinical success, the inactivation of kinase signaling via stimulation of endogenous phosphatases has received minimal attention as an alternative targeted approach. Here, we have demonstrated that activation of the tumor suppressor protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A), a negative regulator of multiple oncogenic signaling proteins, is a promising therapeutic approach for the treatment of cancers. Our group previously developed a series of orally bioavailable small molecule activators of PP2A, termed SMAPs. We now report that SMAP treatment inhibited the growth of KRAS-mutant lung cancers in mouse xenografts and transgenic models. Mechanistically, we found that SMAPs act by binding to the PP2A Aα scaffold subunit to drive conformational changes in PP2A. These results show that PP2A can be activated in cancer cells to inhibit proliferation. Our strategy of reactivating endogenous PP2A may be applicable to the treatment of other diseases and represents an advancement toward the development of small molecule activators of tumor suppressor proteins.
Jaya Sangodkar, Abbey Perl, Rita Tohme, Janna Kiselar, David B. Kastrinsky, Nilesh Zaware, Sudeh Izadmehr, Sahar Mazhar, Danica D. Wiredja, Caitlin M. O’Connor, Divya Hoon, Neil S. Dhawan, Daniela Schlatzer, Shen Yao, Daniel Leonard, Alain C. Borczuk, Giridharan Gokulrangan, Lifu Wang, Elena Svenson, Caroline C. Farrington, Eric Yuan, Rita A. Avelar, Agnes Stachnik, Blake Smith, Vickram Gidwani, Heather M. Giannini, Daniel McQuaid, Kimberly McClinch, Zhizhi Wang, Alice C. Levine, Rosalie C. Sears, Edward Y. Chen, Qiaonan Duan, Manish Datt, Shozeb Haider, Avi Ma’ayan, Analisa DiFeo, Neelesh Sharma, Matthew D. Galsky, David L. Brautigan, Yiannis A. Ioannou, Wenqing Xu, Mark R. Chance, Michael Ohlmeyer, Goutham Narla
Genetic variants at the solute carrier family 39 member 8 (
Wen Lin, David R. Vann, Paschalis-Thomas Doulias, Tao Wang, Gavin Landesberg, Xueli Li, Emanuela Ricciotti, Rosario Scalia, Miao He, Nicholas J. Hand, Daniel J. Rader
Identification and functional validation of oncogenic drivers are essential steps toward advancing cancer precision medicine. Here, we have presented a comprehensive analysis of the somatic genomic landscape of the widely used BRAFV600E- and NRASQ61K-driven mouse models of melanoma. By integrating the data with publically available genomic, epigenomic, and transcriptomic information from human clinical samples, we confirmed the importance of several genes and pathways previously implicated in human melanoma, including the tumor-suppressor genes phosphatase and tensin homolog (
Michael Olvedy, Julie C. Tisserand, Flavie Luciani, Bram Boeckx, Jasper Wouters, Sophie Lopez, Florian Rambow, Sara Aibar, Bernard Thienpont, Jasmine Barra, Corinna Köhler, Enrico Radaelli, Sophie Tartare-Deckert, Stein Aerts, Patrice Dubreuil, Joost J. van den Oord, Diether Lambrechts, Paulo De Sepulveda, Jean-Christophe Marine
Philipp S. Wild, Janine F. Felix, Arne Schillert, Alexander Teumer, Ming-Huei Chen, Maarten J.G. Leening, Uwe Völker, Vera Großmann, Jennifer A. Brody, Marguerite R. Irvin, Sanjiv J. Shah, Setia Pramana, Wolfgang Lieb, Reinhold Schmidt, Alice V. Stanton, Dörthe Malzahn, Albert Vernon Smith, Johan Sundström, Cosetta Minelli, Daniela Ruggiero, Leo-Pekka Lyytikäinen, Daniel Tiller, J. Gustav Smith, Claire Monnereau, Marco R. Di Tullio, Solomon K. Musani, Alanna C. Morrison, Tune H. Pers, Michael Morley, Marcus E. Kleber, AortaGen Consortium, Jayashri Aragam, Emelia J. Benjamin, Joshua C. Bis, Egbert Bisping, Ulrich Broeckel, CHARGE-Heart Failure Consortium, Susan Cheng, Jaap W. Deckers, Fabiola Del Greco M, Frank Edelmann, Myriam Fornage, Lude Franke, Nele Friedrich, Tamara B. Harris, Edith Hofer, Albert Hofman, Jie Huang, Alun D. Hughes, Mika Kähönen, KNHI investigators, Jochen Kruppa, Karl J. Lackner, Lars Lannfelt, Rafael Laskowski, Lenore J. Launer, Margrét Leosdottir, Honghuang Lin, Cecilia M. Lindgren, Christina Loley, Calum A. MacRae, Deborah Mascalzoni, Jamil Mayet, Daniel Medenwald, Andrew P. Morris, Christian Müller, Martina Müller-Nurasyid, Stefania Nappo, Peter M. Nilsson, Sebastian Nuding, Teresa Nutile, Annette Peters, Arne Pfeufer, Diana Pietzner, Peter P. Pramstaller, Olli T. Raitakari, Kenneth M. Rice, Fernando Rivadeneira, Jerome I. Rotter, Saku T. Ruohonen, Ralph L. Sacco, Tandaw E. Samdarshi, Helena Schmidt, Andrew S.P. Sharp, Denis C. Shields, Rossella Sorice, Nona Sotoodehnia, Bruno H. Stricker, Praveen Surendran, Simon Thom, Anna M. Töglhofer, André G. Uitterlinden, Rolf Wachter, Henry Völzke, Andreas Ziegler, Thomas Münzel, Winfried März, Thomas P. Cappola, Joel N. Hirschhorn, Gary F. Mitchell, Nicholas L. Smith, Ervin R. Fox, Nicole D. Dueker, Vincent W.V. Jaddoe, Olle Melander, Martin Russ, Terho Lehtimäki, Marina Ciullo, Andrew A. Hicks, Lars Lind, Vilmundur Gudnason, Burkert Pieske, Anthony J. Barron, Robert Zweiker, Heribert Schunkert, Erik Ingelsson, Kiang Liu, Donna K. Arnett, Bruce M. Psaty, Stefan Blankenberg, Martin G. Larson, Stephan B. Felix, Oscar H. Franco, Tanja Zeller, Ramachandran S. Vasan, Marcus Dörr
Mutations in the X-linked gene encoding methyl-CpG–binding protein 2 (MeCP2) cause Rett syndrome (RTT), a neurological disorder affecting cognitive development, respiration, and motor function. Genetic restoration of MeCP2 expression reverses RTT-like phenotypes in mice, highlighting the need to search for therapeutic approaches. Here, we have developed knockin mice recapitulating the most common RTT-associated missense mutation, MeCP2 T158M. We found that the T158M mutation impaired MECP2 binding to methylated DNA and destabilized MeCP2 protein in an age-dependent manner, leading to the development of RTT-like phenotypes in these mice. Genetic elevation of MeCP2 T158M expression ameliorated multiple RTT-like features, including motor dysfunction and breathing irregularities, in both male and female mice. These improvements were accompanied by increased binding of MeCP2 T158M to DNA. Further, we found that the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway was responsible for MeCP2 T158M degradation and that proteasome inhibition increased MeCP2 T158M levels. Together, these findings demonstrate that increasing MeCP2 T158M protein expression is sufficient to mitigate RTT-like phenotypes and support the targeting of MeCP2 T158M expression or stability as an alternative therapeutic approach.
Janine M. Lamonica, Deborah Y. Kwon, Darren Goffin, Polina Fenik, Brian S. Johnson, Yue Cui, Hengyi Guo, Sigrid Veasey, Zhaolan Zhou
Dominantly inherited isolated polycystic liver disease (PCLD) consists of liver cysts that are radiologically and pathologically identical to those seen in autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease, but without clinically relevant kidney cysts. The causative genes are known for fewer than 40% of PCLD index cases. Here, we have used whole exome sequencing in a discovery cohort of 102 unrelated patients who were excluded for mutations in the 2 most common PCLD genes,
Whitney Besse, Ke Dong, Jungmin Choi, Sohan Punia, Sorin V. Fedeles, Murim Choi, Anna-Rachel Gallagher, Emily B. Huang, Ashima Gulati, James Knight, Shrikant Mane, Esa Tahvanainen, Pia Tahvanainen, Simone Sanna-Cherchi, Richard P. Lifton, Terry Watnick, York P. Pei, Vicente E. Torres, Stefan Somlo