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41 Janelia Publications

Showing 1-10 of 41 results
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    04/11/22 | BRD2 compartmentalizes the accessible genome.
    Xie L, Dong P, Qi Y, Hsieh TS, English BP, Jung S, Chen X, De Marzio M, Casellas R, Chang HY, Zhang B, Tjian R, Liu Z
    Nature Genetics. 2022 Apr 11;54(4):481-491. doi: 10.1038/s41588-022-01044-9

    Mammalian chromosomes are organized into megabase-sized compartments that are further subdivided into topologically associating domains (TADs). While the formation of TADs is dependent on cohesin, the mechanism behind compartmentalization remains enigmatic. Here, we show that the bromodomain and extraterminal (BET) family scaffold protein BRD2 promotes spatial mixing and compartmentalization of active chromatin after cohesin loss. This activity is independent of transcription but requires BRD2 to recognize acetylated targets through its double bromodomain and interact with binding partners with its low-complexity domain. Notably, genome compartmentalization mediated by BRD2 is antagonized on the one hand by cohesin and on the other hand by the BET homolog protein BRD4, both of which inhibit BRD2 binding to chromatin. Polymer simulation of our data supports a BRD2-cohesin interplay model of nuclear topology, in which genome compartmentalization results from a competition between loop extrusion and chromatin-state-specific affinity interactions.

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    12/01/21 | ecDNA hubs drive cooperative intermolecular oncogene expression.
    Hung KL, Yost KE, Xie L, Shi Q, Helmsauer K, Luebeck J, Schöpflin R, Lange JT, Chamorro González R, Weiser NE, Chen C, Valieva ME, Wong IT, Wu S, Dehkordi SR, Duffy CV, Kraft K, Tang J, Belk JA, Rose JC, Corces MR, Granja JM, Li R, Rajkumar U, Friedlein J, Bagchi A, Satpathy AT, Tjian R, Mundlos S, Bafna V, Henssen AG, Mischel PS, Liu Z, Chang HY
    Nature. 2021 Dec 01;600(7890):731-6. doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-04116-8

    Extrachromosomal DNA (ecDNA) is prevalent in human cancers and mediates high expression of oncogenes through gene amplification and altered gene regulation. Gene induction typically involves cis-regulatory elements that contact and activate genes on the same chromosome. Here we show that ecDNA hubs-clusters of around 10-100 ecDNAs within the nucleus-enable intermolecular enhancer-gene interactions to promote oncogene overexpression. ecDNAs that encode multiple distinct oncogenes form hubs in diverse cancer cell types and primary tumours. Each ecDNA is more likely to transcribe the oncogene when spatially clustered with additional ecDNAs. ecDNA hubs are tethered by the bromodomain and extraterminal domain (BET) protein BRD4 in a MYC-amplified colorectal cancer cell line. The BET inhibitor JQ1 disperses ecDNA hubs and preferentially inhibits ecDNA-derived-oncogene transcription. The BRD4-bound PVT1 promoter is ectopically fused to MYC and duplicated in ecDNA, receiving promiscuous enhancer input to drive potent expression of MYC. Furthermore, the PVT1 promoter on an exogenous episome suffices to mediate gene activation in trans by ecDNA hubs in a JQ1-sensitive manner. Systematic silencing of ecDNA enhancers by CRISPR interference reveals intermolecular enhancer-gene activation among multiple oncogene loci that are amplified on distinct ecDNAs. Thus, protein-tethered ecDNA hubs enable intermolecular transcriptional regulation and may serve as units of oncogene function and cooperative evolution and as potential targets for cancer therapy.

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    09/27/21 | A dominant-negative SOX18 mutant disrupts multiple regulatory layers essential to transcription factor activity.
    McCann AJ, Lou J, Moustaqil M, Graus MS, Blum A, Fontaine F, Liu H, Luu W, Rudolffi-Soto P, Koopman P, Sierecki E, Gambin Y, Meunier FA, Liu Z, Hinde E, Francois M
    Nucleic Acids Research. 2021 Sep 27:. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkab820

    Few genetically dominant mutations involved in human disease have been fully explained at the molecular level. In cases where the mutant gene encodes a transcription factor, the dominant-negative mode of action of the mutant protein is particularly poorly understood. Here, we studied the genome-wide mechanism underlying a dominant-negative form of the SOX18 transcription factor (SOX18RaOp) responsible for both the classical mouse mutant Ragged Opossum and the human genetic disorder Hypotrichosis-lymphedema-telangiectasia-renal defect syndrome. Combining three single-molecule imaging assays in living cells together with genomics and proteomics analysis, we found that SOX18RaOp disrupts the system through an accumulation of molecular interferences which impair several functional properties of the wild-type SOX18 protein, including its target gene selection process. The dominant-negative effect is further amplified by poisoning the interactome of its wild-type counterpart, which perturbs regulatory nodes such as SOX7 and MEF2C. Our findings explain in unprecedented detail the multi-layered process that underpins the molecular aetiology of dominant-negative transcription factor function.

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    07/01/21 | Biomolecular Condensates and Their Links to Cancer Progression.
    Cai D, Liu Z, Lippincott-Schwartz J
    Trends in Biochemical Sciences. 2021 Jul 01;46(7):535-549. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2021.01.002

    Liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) has emerged in recent years as an important physicochemical process for organizing diverse processes within cells via the formation of membraneless organelles termed biomolecular condensates. Emerging evidence now suggests that the formation and regulation of biomolecular condensates are also intricately linked to cancer formation and progression. We review the most recent literature linking the existence and/or dissolution of biomolecular condensates to different hallmarks of cancer formation and progression. We then discuss the opportunities that this condensate perspective provides for cancer research and the development of novel therapeutic approaches, including the perturbation of condensates by small-molecule inhibitors.

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    07/01/21 | Single-cell imaging of genome organization and dynamics.
    Xie L, Liu Z
    Molecular Systems Biology. 2021 Jul 01;17(7):e9653. doi: 10.15252/msb.20209653

    Probing the architecture, mechanism, and dynamics of genome folding is fundamental to our understanding of genome function in homeostasis and disease. Most chromosome conformation capture studies dissect the genome architecture with population- and time-averaged snapshots and thus have limited capabilities to reveal 3D nuclear organization and dynamics at the single-cell level. Here, we discuss emerging imaging techniques ranging from light microscopy to electron microscopy that enable investigation of genome folding and dynamics at high spatial and temporal resolution. Results from these studies complement genomic data, unveiling principles underlying the spatial arrangement of the genome and its potential functional links to diverse biological activities in the nucleus.

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    05/24/21 | A general method to improve fluorophores using deuterated auxochromes.
    Grimm JB, Xie L, Casler JC, Patel R, Tkachuk AN, Falco N, Choi H, Lippincott-Schwartz J, Brown TA, Glick BS, Liu Z, Lavis LD
    JACS Au. 2021 May 24;1(5):690-6. doi: 10.1021/jacsau.1c00006

    Fluorescence microscopy relies on dyes that absorb and then emit photons. In addition to fluorescence, fluorophores can undergo photochemical processes that decrease quantum yield or result in spectral shifts and irreversible photobleaching. Chemical strategies that suppress these undesirable pathways—thereby increasing the brightness and photostability of fluorophores—are crucial for advancing the frontier of bioimaging. Here, we describe a general method to improve small-molecule fluorophores by incorporating deuterium into the alkylamino auxochromes of rhodamines and other dyes. This strategy increases fluorescence quantum yield, inhibits photochemically induced spectral shifts, and slows irreparable photobleaching, yielding next-generation labels with improved performance in cellular imaging experiments.

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    02/10/21 | Biomolecular Condensates and Their Links to Cancer Progression.
    Cai D, Liu Z, Lippincott-Schwartz J
    Trends in Biochemical Sciences. 2021 Feb 10:. doi: 10.1016/j.tibs.2021.01.002

    Liquid-liquid phase separation (LLPS) has emerged in recent years as an important physicochemical process for organizing diverse processes within cells via the formation of membraneless organelles termed biomolecular condensates. Emerging evidence now suggests that the formation and regulation of biomolecular condensates are also intricately linked to cancer formation and progression. We review the most recent literature linking the existence and/or dissolution of biomolecular condensates to different hallmarks of cancer formation and progression. We then discuss the opportunities that this condensate perspective provides for cancer research and the development of novel therapeutic approaches, including the perturbation of condensates by small-molecule inhibitors.

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    12/13/20 | Two-parameter single-molecule analysis for measurement of chromatin mobility.
    Lerner J, Gomez-Garcia PA, McCarthy RL, Liu Z, Lakadamyali M, Zaret KS
    STAR Protocols. 2020 Dec 13;1(3):100223. doi: 10.1016/j.xpro.2020.100223

    This protocol provides a two-parameter analysis of single-molecule tracking (SMT) trajectories of Halo-tagged histones in living adherent cell lines and unveils a chromatin mobility landscape composed of five chromatin types, ranging from low to high mobility. When the analysis is applied to Halo-tagged, chromatin-binding proteins, it associates chromatin interaction properties with known functions in a way that previously used SMT parameters did not. For complete information on the use and execution of this protocol, please refer to Lerner et al. (2020).

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    08/20/20 | Rational design of bioavailable photosensitizers for manipulation and imaging of biological systems.
    Binns TC, Ayala AX, Grimm JB, Tkachuk AN, Castillon GA, Phan S, Zhang L, Brown TA, Liu Z, Adams SR, Ellisman MH, Koyama M, Lavis LD
    Cell Chemical Biology. 2020 Aug 20;27(8):1063-72. doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2020.07.001

    Light-mediated chemical reactions are powerful methods for manipulating and interrogating biological systems. Photosensitizers, compounds that generate reactive oxygen species upon excitation with light, can be utilized for numerous biological experiments, but the repertoire of bioavailable photosensitizers is limited. Here, we describe the synthesis, characterization, and utility of two photosensitizers based upon the widely used rhodamine scaffold and demonstrate their efficacy for chromophore-assisted light inactivation, cell ablation in culture and in vivo, and photopolymerization of diaminobenzidine for electron microscopy. These chemical tools will facilitate a broad range of applications spanning from targeted destruction of proteins to high-resolution imaging.

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    08/01/20 | Two-parameter mobility assessments discriminate diverse regulatory factor behaviors in chromatin.
    Lerner J, Gomez-Garcia PA, McCarthy RL, Liu Z, Lakadamyali M, Zaret KS
    Molecular Cell. 2020 Aug 1;79(4):677. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2020.05.036

    Enzymatic probes of chromatin structure reveal accessible versus inaccessible chromatin states, while super-resolution microscopy reveals a continuum of chromatin compaction states. Characterizing histone H2B movements by single-molecule tracking (SMT), we resolved chromatin domains ranging from low to high mobility and displaying different subnuclear localizations patterns. Heterochromatin constituents correlated with the lowest mobility chromatin, whereas transcription factors varied widely with regard to their respective mobility with low- or high-mobility chromatin. Pioneer transcription factors, which bind nucleosomes, can access the low-mobility chromatin domains, whereas weak or non-nucleosome binding factors are excluded from the domains and enriched in higher mobility domains. Nonspecific DNA and nucleosome binding accounted for most of the low mobility of strong nucleosome interactor FOXA1. Our analysis shows how the parameters of the mobility of chromatin-bound factors, but not their diffusion behaviors or SMT-residence times within chromatin, distinguish functional characteristics of different chromatin-interacting proteins.

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