Use of focused ultrasonication in activity-based profiling of deubiquitinating enzymes in tissue

Nanduri B, Shack LA, Rai AN, et al. Use of focused ultrasonication in activity-based profiling of deubiquitinating enzymes in tissue. Anal Biochem. 2016;515:9-13.


To develop a reproducible tissue lysis method that retains enzyme function for activity-based protein profiling, we compared four different methods to obtain protein extracts from bovine lung tissue: focused ultrasonication, standard sonication, mortar & pestle method, and homogenization combined with standard sonication. Focused ultrasonication and mortar & pestle methods were sufficiently effective for activity-based profiling of deubiquitinases in tissue, and focused ultrasonication also had the fastest processing time. We used focused-ultrasonicator for subsequent activity-based proteomic analysis of deubiquitinases to test the compatibility of this method in sample preparation for activity-based chemical proteomics.

Macrophage-Derived Extracellular Vesicles Induce Long-Lasting Immunity Against Hepatitis C Virus Which Is Blunted by Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

Cai C, Koch B, Morikawa K, et al. Macrophage-Derived Extracellular Vesicles Induce Long-Lasting Immunity Against Hepatitis C Virus Which Is Blunted by Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids. Front Immunol. 2018;9:723.


Extracellular vesicles (EVs) are increasingly recognized as important mediators of intercellular communication. In this study, we aimed to further characterize the role of macrophage-derived EVs in immune responses against hepatitis C virus (HCV) and the potential of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) to modulate this modality of innate immunity. To this end, EVs were isolated from interferon-stimulated macrophage cultures or from serum of patients with acute or chronic hepatitis C. EVs were characterized by electron microscopy, flow cytometry, RNA-sequencing, and Western blot analysis. The effect of EVs on replication of HCV was assessed in coculture models. Functional analyses were performed to assess the impact of PUFAs on EV-mediated antiviral immunity. We found that macrophages secreted various cytokines shortly after stimulation with type I and II IFN, which orchestrated a fast but short-lasting antiviral state. This rapid innate immune answer was followed by the production of macrophage-derived EVs, which induced a late, but long-lasting inhibitory effect on HCV replication. Of note, exposure of macrophages to PUFAs, which are important regulators of immune responses, dampened EV-mediated antiviral immune responses. Finally, EVs from patients with hepatitis C exhibited long-lasting antiviral activities during IFN therapy as well. The antiviral effect of EVs from Caucasian and Japanese patients differed, which may be explained by different nutritional uptake of PUFAs. In conclusion, our data indicate that macrophage-derived EVs mediate long-lasting inhibitory effects on HCV replication, which may bridge the time until efficient adaptive immune responses are established, and which can be blunted by PUFAs.

Far Upstream Element-Binding Protein 1 Regulates LSD1 Alternative Splicing to Promote Terminal Differentiation of Neural Progenitors

Hwang I, Cao D, Na Y, et al. Far Upstream Element-Binding Protein 1 Regulates LSD1 Alternative Splicing to Promote Terminal Differentiation of Neural Progenitors. Stem Cell Reports. 2018;10(4):1208-1221.


Loss of a cell’s ability to terminally differentiate because of mutations is a selected genetic event in tumorigenesis. Genomic analyses of low-grade glioma have reported recurrent mutations of far upstream element-binding protein 1 (FUBP1). Here, we show that FUBP1 expression is dynamically regulated during neurogenesis and that its downregulation in neural progenitors impairs terminal differentiation and promotes tumorigenesis collaboratively with expression of IDH1R132H. Mechanistically, collaborative action between SRRM4 and FUBP1 is necessary for mini-exon splicing of the neurospecific LSD1+8a isoform. LSD1+8a was downregulated upon loss of FUBP1 in neural progenitors, thereby impairing terminal neuronal differentiation and maturation. Reinforcing LSD1+8a expression in FUBP1-downregulated neural progenitors restored terminal differentiation and suppressed tumorigenesis; hence, LSD1+8a is an obligatory effector of FUBP1-dependent neuronal differentiation. These findings establish a direct role for FUBP1 in neuronal differentiation and also explain its tumor-suppressor function in the nervous system.

Genetic drivers of pancreatic islet function

Keller MP, Gatti DM, Schueler KL, et al. Genetic Drivers of Pancreatic Islet Function. Genetics. 2018;209(1):335-356.


The majority of gene loci that have been associated with type 2 diabetes play a role in pancreatic islet function. To evaluate the role of islet gene expression in the etiology of diabetes, we sensitized a genetically diverse mouse population with a Western diet high in fat (45%-kcal) and sucrose (34%) and carried out genome-wide association mapping of diabetes-related phenotypes. We quantified mRNA abundance in the islets and identified 18,820 expression quantitative trait loci. We applied mediation analysis to identify candidate causal driver genes at loci that affect the abundance of numerous transcripts. These include two genes previously associated with monogenic diabetes (PDX1 and HNF4A), as well as three genes with nominal association with diabetes-related traits in humans (FAM83EIL6ST, and SAT2). We grouped transcripts into gene modules and mapped regulatory loci for modules enriched with transcripts specific for α-cells, and another specific for δ-cells. However, no single module enriched for β-cell-specific transcripts, suggesting heterogeneity of gene expression patterns within the β-cell population. A module enriched in transcripts associated with branched chain amino acid metabolism was the most strongly correlated with physiological traits that reflect insulin resistance. Although the mice in this study were not overtly diabetic, the analysis of pancreatic islet gene expression under dietary-induced stress enabled us to identify correlated variation in groups of genes that are functionally linked to diabetes-associated physiological traits. Our analysis suggests an expected degree of concordance between diabetes-associated loci in the mouse with those found in human populations and demonstrates how the mouse can provide evidence to support nominal associations found in human genome-wide association mapping.

Cell-Type Transcriptomes of the Multicellular Green Alga Volvox carteri Yield Insights into the Evolutionary Origins of Germ and Somatic Differentiation Programs

Matt GY, Umen JG. Cell-Type Transcriptomes of the Multicellular Green Alga Yield Insights into the Evolutionary Origins of Germ and Somatic Differentiation Programs. G3 (Bethesda). 2018;8(2):531-550.


Germ–soma differentiation is a hallmark of complex multicellular organisms, yet its origins are not well understood. Volvox carteri is a simple multicellular green alga that has recently evolved a simple germ–soma dichotomy with only two cell-types: large germ cells called gonidia and small terminally differentiated somatic cells. Here, we provide a comprehensive characterization of the gonidial and somatic transcriptomes of V. carteri to uncover fundamental differences between the molecular and metabolic programming of these cell-types. We found extensive transcriptome differentiation between cell-types, with somatic cells expressing a more specialized program overrepresented in younger, lineage-specific genes, and gonidial cells expressing a more generalist program overrepresented in more ancient genes that shared striking overlap with stem cell-specific genes from animals and land plants. Directed analyses of different pathways revealed a strong dichotomy between cell-types with gonidial cells expressing growth-related genes and somatic cells expressing an altruistic metabolic program geared toward the assembly of flagella, which support organismal motility, and the conversion of storage carbon to sugars, which act as donors for production of extracellular matrix (ECM) glycoproteins whose secretion enables massive organismal expansion. V. carteri orthologs of diurnally controlled genes from C. reinhardtii, a single-celled relative, were analyzed for cell-type distribution and found to be strongly partitioned, with expression of dark-phase genes overrepresented in somatic cells and light-phase genes overrepresented in gonidial cells- a result that is consistent with cell-type programs in V. carteri arising by cooption of temporal regulons in a unicellular ancestor. Together, our findings reveal fundamental molecular, metabolic, and evolutionary mechanisms that underlie the origins of germ–soma differentiation in V. carteri and provide a template for understanding the acquisition of germ–soma differentiation in other multicellular lineages.