Unlike the better-studied aberrant epigenome in the tumor, the clinicopathologic impact of DNA methylation in the tumor microenvironment (TME), especially the contribution from cancer-associated fibroblast (CAF), remains elusive. CAFs exhibit profound patient-to-patient tumorigenic heterogeneity. We ask whether such heterogeneity may be exploited to quantify the level of TME malignancy or not. We developed a robust and efficient methylome/transcriptome co-analysis system for CAFs and paired normal fibroblasts (NFs) from non-small-cell lung cancer patients. We found 14,781 CpG sites of CAF/NF differential methylation, of which 3,707 sites showed higher methylation changes in ever-smokers than in non-smokers. Concomitant CAF/NF differential gene expression analysis pinpointed to a subset of 54 smoking-associated CpG sites with strong methylation-regulated gene expression. A methylation index that summarizes the beta-values of these CpGs was built for NF/CAF discrimination (MIND) with high sensitivity and specificity. The potential of MIND in detecting pre-malignancy across individual patients was shown. MIND succeeded in predicting tumor recurrence in multiple lung cancer cohorts without reliance on patient survival data, suggesting that the malignancy level of TME may be effectively graded by this index. Precision TME grading may provide additional pathological information to guide cancer prognosis and open up more options in personalized medicine.
Sheng-Fang Su, Hao Ho, Jia-Hua Li, Ming-Fang Wu, Hsu-Chieh Wang, Hsiang-Yuan Yeh, Shuenn-Wen Kuo, Huei-Wen Chen, Chao-Chi Ho, Ker-Chau Li
Genetic alterations in the RUNX1 gene are associated with benign and malignant blood disorders, particularly of megakaryocyte and myeloid lineages. The role of RUNX1 in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is less clear, particularly how germline genetic variation influences the predisposition to this type of leukemia. Sequencing 4,836 children with B-ALL and 1,354 cases of T-ALL, we identified 31 and 18 germline RUNX1 variants, respectively. RUNX1 variants in B-ALL consistently showed minimal damaging effects. By contrast, 6 T-ALL-related variants result in drastic loss of RUNX1 activity as a transcription activator in vitro. Ectopic expression of dominant-negative RUNX1 variants in human CD34+ cells repressed differentiation into erythroid, megakaryocytes, and T cells, while promoting myeloid cell development. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing of T-ALL models showed distinctive patterns of RUNX1 binding by variant proteins. Further whole genome sequencing identified JAK3 mutation as the most frequent somatic genomic abnormality in T-ALL with germline RUNX1 variants. Co-introduction of RUNX1 variant and JAK3 mutation in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells in mice gave rise to T-ALL with early T-cell precursor phenotype. Taken together, these results indicated that RUNX1 is an important predisposition gene for T-ALL and pointed to novel biology of RUNX1-mediated leukemogenesis in the lymphoid lineages.
Yizhen Li, Wentao Yang, Meenakshi Devidas, Stuart S. Winter, Chimene Kesserwan, Wenjian Yang, Kimberly P. Dunsmore, Colton Smith, Maoxiang Qian, Xujie Zhao, Ranran Zhang, Julie M. Gastier-Foster, Elizabeth A. Raetz, William L. Carroll, Chunliang Li, Paul P. Liu, Karen R. Rabin, Takaomi Sanda, Charles G. Mullighan, Kim E. Nichols, William E. Evans, Ching-Hon Pui, Stephen P. Hunger, David T. Teachey, Mary V. Relling, Mignon L. Loh, Jun J. Yang
Clear Cell Sarcoma (CCS) is a deadly malignancy affecting adolescents and young adults. It is characterized by reciprocal translocations resulting in the expression of the chimeric EWSR1-ATF1 or EWSR1-CREB1 fusion proteins, driving sarcomagenesis. Besides these characteristics, CCS has remained genomically uncharacterized. Copy number analysis of human CCSs showed frequent amplifications of the MITF locus and chromosomes 7 and 8. Few alterations were shared with Ewing sarcoma or desmoplastic small round cell tumors, other EWSR1-rearranged tumors. Exome sequencing in mouse tumors generated by expressing EWSR1-ATF1 from the Rosa26 locus demonstrated no other repeated pathogenic variants. Additionally, we generated a new CCS mouse by Cre-loxP-induced chromosomal translocation between Ewsr1 and Atf1, resulting in copy number loss of chromosome 6 and chromosome 15 instability, including amplification of a portion syntenic with human chromosome 8, surrounding Myc. Additional experiments in the Rosa26 conditional model demonstrated that Mitf or Myc can contribute to sarcomagenesis. Copy number observations in human tumors and genetic experiments in mice render, for the first time, a functional landscape of the CCS genome. These data advance efforts to understand the biology of CCS with innovative models, in which we can eventually validate preclinical therapies, necessary to move toward longer and better survival of the young victims of this disease.
Emanuele Panza, Benjamin B. Ozenberger, Krystal M. Straessler, Jared J. Barrott, Li Li, Yanliang Wang, Mingchao Xie, Anne Boulet, Simon W. A. Titen, Clinton C. Mason, Alexander J. Lazar, Li Ding, Mario R. Capecchi, Kevin B. Jones
The discovery of embryonic cell–free DNA (cfDNA) in spent embryo culture media (SECM) has brought hope for noninvasive preimplantation genetic testing. However, the cellular origins of SECM cfDNA are not sufficiently understood, and methods for determining maternal DNA contamination are limited. Here, we performed whole-genome DNA methylation sequencing for SECM cfDNA. Our results demonstrated that SECM cfDNA was derived from blastocysts, cumulus cells, and polar bodies. We identified the cumulus-specific differentially methylated regions (DMRs) and oocyte/polar body–specific DMRs, and established an algorithm for deducing the cumulus, polar body, and net maternal DNA contamination ratios in SECM. We showed that DNA methylation sequencing accurately detected chromosome aneuploidy in SECM and distinguished SECM samples with low and high false negative rates and gender discordance rates, after integrating the origin analysis. Our work provides insights into the characterization of embryonic DNA in SECM and provides a perspective for noninvasive preimplantation genetic testing in reproductive medicine.
Yidong Chen, Yuan Gao, Jialin Jia, Liang Chang, Ping Liu, Jie Qiao, Fuchou Tang, Lu Wen, Jin Huang
A recent report found that rare predicted loss-of-function (pLOF) variants across 13 candidate genes in TLR3- and IRF7-dependent type I IFN pathways explain up to 3.5% of severe COVID-19 cases. We performed whole-exome or whole-genome sequencing of 1,934 COVID-19 cases (713 with severe and 1,221 with mild disease) and 15,251 ancestry-matched population controls across four independent COVID-19 biobanks. We then tested if rare pLOF variants in these 13 genes were associated with severe COVID-19. We identified only one rare pLOF mutation across these genes amongst 713 cases with severe COVID-19 and observed no enrichment of pLOFs in severe cases compared to population controls or mild COVID-19 cases. We find no evidence of association of rare loss-of-function variants in the proposed 13 candidate genes with severe COVID-19 outcomes.
Gundula Povysil, Guillaume Butler-Laporte, Ning Shang, Chen Wang, Atlas Khan, Manal Alaamery, Tomoko Nakanishi, Sirui Zhou, Vincenzo Forgetta, Robert J. M. Eveleigh, Mathieu Bourgey, Naveed Aziz, Steven J.M. Jones, Bartha Knoppers, Stephen W. Scherer, Lisa J. Strug, Pierre Lepage, Jiannis Ragoussis, Guillaume Bourque, Jahad Alghamdi, Nora Aljawini, Nour Albesher, Hani M. Al-Afghani, Bader Alghamdi, Mansour S. Almutair, Ebrahim Sabri Mahmoud, Leen Abu-Safieh, Hadeel El Bardisy, Fawz S. Al Harthi, Abdulraheem Alshareef, Bandar Ali Suliman, Saleh A. Alqahtani, Abdulaziz Almalik, May M. Alrashed, Salam Massadeh, Vincent Mooser, Mark Lathrop, Mohamed Fawzy, Yaseen M. Arabi, Hamdi Mbarek, Chadi Saad, Wadha Al-Muftah, Junghyun Jung, Serghei Mangul, Radja Badji, Asma Al Thani, Said I. Ismail, Ali G. Gharavi, Malak S. Abedalthagafi, J Brent Richards, David B. Goldstein, Krzysztof Kiryluk
The evolutionary pressure of endemic malaria and other erythrocytic pathogens has shaped variation in genes encoding erythrocyte structural and functional proteins, influencing responses to hemolytic stress during transfusion and disease. We sought to identify such genetic variants in blood donors by conducting a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 12,353 volunteer donors, including 1,483 African Americans, 1,477 Asians, and 960 Hispanics, whose stored erythrocytes were characterized by quantitative assays of in vitro osmotic, oxidative, and cold-storage hemolysis. GWAS revealed 27 significant loci (p<5×10-8), many in candidate genes known to modulate erythrocyte structure, metabolism, and ion channels, including SPTA1, ALDH2, ANK1, HK1, MAPKAPK5, AQP1, PIEZO1, and SLC4A1/Band 3. GWAS of oxidative hemolysis identified variants in antioxidant enzymes including GLRX, GPX4, G6PD, and a novel golgi-transport protein SEC14L4. Genome wide significant loci were also tested for association with the severity of steady state (baseline) in vivo hemolytic anemia in patients with sickle cell disease, with confirmation of identified SNPs in HBA2, G6PD, PIEZO1, AQP1 and SEC14L4. Many of the identified variants, such as those in G6PD, have previously been shown to impair erythrocyte recovery after transfusion, associate with anemia, or cause rare Mendelian human hemolytic diseases. Candidate SNPs in these genes, especially in polygenic combinations, may affect RBC recovery after transfusion and modulate disease severity in hemolytic diseases, such as sickle cell disease and malaria.
Grier P. Page, Tamir Kanias, Yuelong John Guo, Marion C. Lanteri, Xu Zhang, Alan E. Mast, Ritchard G. Cable, Bryan R. Spencer, Joseph E. Kiss, Fang Fang, Stacy M. Endres-Dighe, Donald Brambilla, Mehdi Nouraie, Victor R. Gordeuk, Steve Kleinman, Michael P. Busch, Mark T. Gladwin
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for kidney function identified hundreds of risk regions; however, the causal variants, target genes, cell types, and disease mechanisms remain poorly understood. Here, we performed transcriptome-wide association studies (TWAS), summary Mendelian randomization, and MetaXcan to identify genes whose expression mediates the genotype effect on the phenotype. Our analyses identified Dachshund homolog 1 (DACH1), a cell-fate determination factor. GWAS risk variant was associated with lower DACH1 expression in human kidney tubules. Human and mouse kidney single-cell open chromatin data (snATAC-Seq) prioritized estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) GWAS variants located on an intronic regulatory region in distal convoluted tubule cells. CRISPR-Cas9–mediated gene editing confirmed the role of risk variants in regulating DACH1 expression. Mice with tubule-specific Dach1 deletion developed more severe renal fibrosis both in folic acid and diabetic kidney injury models. Mice with tubule-specific Dach1 overexpression were protected from folic acid nephropathy. Single-cell RNA sequencing, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and functional analysis indicated that DACH1 controls the expression of cell cycle and myeloid chemotactic factors, contributing to macrophage infiltration and fibrosis development. In summary, integration of GWAS, TWAS, single-cell epigenome, expression analyses, gene editing, and functional validation in different mouse kidney disease models identified DACH1 as a kidney disease risk gene.
Tomohito Doke, Shizheng Huang, Chengxiang Qiu, Hongbo Liu, Yuting Guan, Hailong Hu, Ziyuan Ma, Junnan Wu, Zhen Miao, Xin Sheng, Jianfu Zhou, Aili Cao, Jianhua Li, Lewis Kaufman, Adriana Hung, Christopher D. Brown, Richard Pestell, Katalin Susztak
BACKGROUND Molecular characterization of prostate cancer (PCa) has revealed distinct subclasses based on underlying genomic alterations occurring early in the natural history of the disease. However, how these early alterations influence subsequent molecular events and the course of the disease over its long natural history remains unclear.METHODS We explored the molecular and clinical progression of different genomic subtypes of PCa using distinct tumor lineage models based on human genomic and transcriptomic data. We developed transcriptional classifiers, and defined “early” and “late” categories of molecular subclasses from 8,158 PCa patients. Molecular subclasses were correlated with clinical outcomes and pathologic characteristics using Kaplan-Meier and logistic regression analyses.RESULTS We identified PTEN and CHD1 alterations as subtype-specific late progression events specifically in ERG-overexpressing (ERG+) and SPOP-mutant tumors, respectively, and 2 distinct progression models consisting of ERG/PTEN (normal to ERG+ to PTEN-deleted) and SPOP/CHD1 (normal to SPOP-mutated to CHD1-deleted) with shared early tumorigenesis but distinct pathways toward progression. We found that within ERG+ and SPOP-mutant subtypes, late events were associated with worse prognosis. Importantly, the clinical and pathologic features associated with distinct late events at radical prostatectomy were strikingly different; PTEN deletions were associated with increased locoregional stage, while CHD1 deletions were only associated with increased grade, despite equivalent metastatic potential.CONCLUSION These findings suggest a paradigm in which specific subtypes of PCa follow distinct pathways of progression, at both the molecular and clinical levels. Therefore, the interpretation of common clinical parameters such as locoregional tumor stage may be influenced by the underlying tumor lineage, and potentially influence management decisions.FUNDING Prostate Cancer Foundation, National Cancer Institute, Urology Care Foundation, Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation, US Department of Defense, and the AIRC Foundation.
Deli Liu, Michael A. Augello, Ivana Grbesa, Davide Prandi, Yang Liu, Jonathan E. Shoag, R. Jeffrey Karnes, Bruce J. Trock, Eric A. Klein, Robert B. Den, Francesca Demichelis, Elai Davicioni, Andrea Sboner, Christopher E. Barbieri
B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL) is the most common childhood cancer. As predicated by its prenatal origin, infant B-ALL (iB-ALL) shows an exceptionally silent DNA mutational landscape, suggesting that alternative epigenetic mechanisms may substantially contribute to its leukemogenesis. Here, we have integrated genome-wide DNA methylome and transcriptome data from 69 patients with de novo MLL-rearranged (MLLr) and non-MLLr iB-ALL leukemias uniformly treated according to Interfant-99/06 protocol. iB-ALL methylome signatures display a plethora of common and specific alterations associated with chromatin states related to enhancer and transcriptional control in normal hematopoietic cells. DNA methylation, gene expression and gene co-expression network analyses segregated MLLr away from non-MLLr iB-ALL and identified a coordinated and enriched expression of the AP-1 complex members FOS and JUN and RUNX factors in MLLr iB-ALL, consistent with the significant enrichment of hypomethylated CpGs in these genes. Integrative methylome-transcriptome analysis identified consistent cancer-cell vulnerabilities, revealed a robust iB-ALL-specific gene expression-correlating dmCpG signature and confirmed an epigenetic control of AP-1 and RUNX members in reshaping the molecular network of MLLr iB-ALL. Finally, pharmacological inhibition or functional ablation of AP-1 dramatically impaired MLLr-leukemic growth in vitro and in vivo using MLLr-iB-ALL patient-derived xenografts, providing rationale for new therapeutic avenues in MLLr-iB-ALL.
J. Ramon Tejedor, Clara Bueno, Meritxell Vinyoles, Paolo Petazzi, Antonio Agraz-Doblas, Isabel Cobo, Raúl Torres-Ruiz, Gustavo F. Bayón, Raúl F. Pérez, Sara López-Tamargo, Francisco Gutierrez-Agüera, Pablo Santamarina-Ojeda, Manuel Ramírez-Orellana, Michela Bardini, Giovanni Cazzaniga, Paola Ballerini, Pauline Schneider, Ronald W. Stam, Ignacio Varela, Mario F. Fraga, Agustín F. Fernández, Pablo Menéndez
BACKGROUND. Deciphering the function of the many genes previously classified as uncharacterized “open reading frame” (orf) completes our understanding of cell function and its pathophysiology. METHODS. Whole-exome sequencing, yeast 2-hybrid and transcriptome analyses together with molecular characterization are used here to uncover the function of the C2orf69 gene. RESULTS: We identified loss-of-function mutations in the uncharacterized C2orf69 gene in eight individuals with brain abnormalities involving hypomyelination and microcephaly, liver dysfunction and recurrent autoinflammation. C2orf69 contains an N-terminal signal peptide that is required and sufficient for mitochondrial localization. Consistent with mitochondrial dysfunction, patients showed signs of respiratory chain defect and a CRISPR-Cas9 knockout cell model of C2orf69 had similar respiratory chain defects. Patient-derived cells revealed alterations in immunological signaling pathways. Deposits of PAS-positive material in tissues from affected individuals together with decreased glycogen branching enzyme 1 (GBE1) activity indicated an additional impact of C2orf69 on glycogen metabolism. CONCLUSIONS. Our study identifies C2orf69 as an important regulator of human mitochondrial function and suggests an additional influence on other metabolic pathways.
Eva Lausberg, Sebastian Gießelmann, Joseph P. Dewulf, Elsa Wiame, Anja Holz, Ramona Salvarinova, Clara D. van Karnebeek, Patricia Klemm, Kim Ohl, Michael Mull, Till Braunschweig, Joachim Weis, Clemens J. Sommer, Stephanie Demuth, Claudia Haase, Claudia Stollbrink-Peschgens, François-Guillaume Debray, Cecile Libioulle, Daniela Choukair, Prasad T. Oommen, Arndt Borkhardt, Harald Surowy, Dagmar Wieczorek, Norbert Wagner, Robert Meyer, Thomas Eggermann, Matthias Begemann, Emile Van Schaftingen, Martin Häusler, Klaus Tenbrock, Lambert van den Heuvel, Miriam Elbracht, Ingo Kurth, Florian Kraft