School of Mathematics and Statistics - Research Publications

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    Loss of TIP60 (KAT5) abolishes H2AZ lysine 7 acetylation and causes p53, INK4A, and ARF-independent cell cycle arrest
    Wichmann, J ; Pitt, C ; Eccles, S ; Garnham, AL ; Li-Wai-Suen, CSN ; May, R ; Allan, E ; Wilcox, S ; Herold, MJ ; Smyth, GK ; Monahan, BJ ; Thomas, T ; Voss, AK (SPRINGERNATURE, 2022-07-20)
    Histone acetylation is essential for initiating and maintaining a permissive chromatin conformation and gene transcription. Dysregulation of histone acetylation can contribute to tumorigenesis and metastasis. Using inducible cre-recombinase and CRISPR/Cas9-mediated deletion, we investigated the roles of the histone lysine acetyltransferase TIP60 (KAT5/HTATIP) in human cells, mouse cells, and mouse embryos. We found that loss of TIP60 caused complete cell growth arrest. In the absence of TIP60, chromosomes failed to align in a metaphase plate during mitosis. In some TIP60 deleted cells, endoreplication occurred instead. In contrast, cell survival was not affected. Remarkably, the cell growth arrest caused by loss of TIP60 was independent of the tumor suppressors p53, INK4A and ARF. TIP60 was found to be essential for the acetylation of H2AZ, specifically at lysine 7. The mRNA levels of 6236 human and 8238 mouse genes, including many metabolism genes, were dependent on TIP60. Among the top 50 differentially expressed genes, over 90% were downregulated in cells lacking TIP60, supporting a role for TIP60 as a key co-activator of transcription. We propose a primary role of TIP60 in H2AZ lysine 7 acetylation and transcriptional activation, and that this fundamental role is essential for cell proliferation. Growth arrest independent of major tumor suppressors suggests TIP60 as a potential anti-cancer drug target.
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    Molecular profiling reveals features of clinical immunity and immunosuppression in asymptomatic P. falciparum malaria
    Studniberg, S ; Ioannidis, LJ ; Utami, RAS ; Trianty, L ; Liao, Y ; Abeysekera, W ; Li-Wai-Suen, CSN ; Pietrzak, HM ; Healer, J ; Puspitasari, AM ; Apriyanti, D ; Coutrier, F ; Poespoprodjo, JR ; Kenangalem, E ; Andries, B ; Prayoga, P ; Sariyanti, N ; Smyth, GK ; Cowman, AF ; Price, RN ; Noviyanti, R ; Shi, W ; Garnham, AL ; Hansen, DS (WILEY, 2022-04-01)
    Clinical immunity to P. falciparum malaria is non-sterilizing, with adults often experiencing asymptomatic infection. Historically, asymptomatic malaria has been viewed as beneficial and required to help maintain clinical immunity. Emerging views suggest that these infections are detrimental and constitute a parasite reservoir that perpetuates transmission. To define the impact of asymptomatic malaria, we pursued a systems approach integrating antibody responses, mass cytometry, and transcriptional profiling of individuals experiencing symptomatic and asymptomatic P. falciparum infection. Defined populations of classical and atypical memory B cells and a TH2 cell bias were associated with reduced risk of clinical malaria. Despite these protective responses, asymptomatic malaria featured an immunosuppressive transcriptional signature with upregulation of pathways involved in the inhibition of T-cell function, and CTLA-4 as a predicted regulator in these processes. As proof of concept, we demonstrated a role for CTLA-4 in the development of asymptomatic parasitemia in infection models. The results suggest that asymptomatic malaria is not innocuous and might not support the induction of immune processes to fully control parasitemia or efficiently respond to malaria vaccines.
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    Targeting histone acetylation dynamics and oncogenic transcription by catalytic P300/CBP inhibition
    Hogg, SJ ; Motorna, O ; Cluse, LA ; Johanson, TM ; Coughlan, HD ; Raviram, R ; Myers, RM ; Costacurta, M ; Todorovski, I ; Pijpers, L ; Bjelosevic, S ; Williams, T ; Huskins, SN ; Kearney, CJ ; Devlin, JR ; Fan, Z ; Jabbari, JS ; Martin, BP ; Fareh, M ; Kelly, MJ ; Dupere-Richer, D ; Sandow, JJ ; Feran, B ; Knight, D ; Khong, T ; Spencer, A ; Harrison, SJ ; Gregory, G ; Wickramasinghe, VO ; Webb, A ; Taberlay, PC ; Bromberg, KD ; Lai, A ; Papenfuss, AT ; Smyth, GK ; Allan, RS ; Licht, JD ; Landau, DA ; Abdel-Wahab, O ; Shortt, J ; Vervoort, SJ ; Johnstone, RW (CELL PRESS, 2021-05-20)
    To separate causal effects of histone acetylation on chromatin accessibility and transcriptional output, we used integrated epigenomic and transcriptomic analyses following acute inhibition of major cellular lysine acetyltransferases P300 and CBP in hematological malignancies. We found that catalytic P300/CBP inhibition dynamically perturbs steady-state acetylation kinetics and suppresses oncogenic transcriptional networks in the absence of changes to chromatin accessibility. CRISPR-Cas9 screening identified NCOR1 and HDAC3 transcriptional co-repressors as the principal antagonists of P300/CBP by counteracting acetylation turnover kinetics. Finally, deacetylation of H3K27 provides nucleation sites for reciprocal methylation switching, a feature that can be exploited therapeutically by concomitant KDM6A and P300/CBP inhibition. Overall, this study indicates that the steady-state histone acetylation-methylation equilibrium functions as a molecular rheostat governing cellular transcription that is amenable to therapeutic exploitation as an anti-cancer regimen.
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    The concerted change in the distribution of cell cycle phases and zone composition in germinal centers is regulated by IL-21
    Zotos, D ; Quast, I ; Li-Wai-Suen, CSN ; McKenzie, CI ; Robinson, MJ ; Kan, A ; Smyth, GK ; Hodgkin, PD ; Tarlinton, DM (NATURE PORTFOLIO, 2021-12-09)
    Humoral immune responses require germinal centres (GC) for antibody affinity maturation. Within GC, B cell proliferation and mutation are segregated from affinity-based positive selection in the dark zone (DZ) and light zone (LZ) substructures, respectively. While IL-21 is known to be important in affinity maturation and GC maintenance, here we show it is required for both establishing normal zone representation and preventing the accumulation of cells in the G1 cell cycle stage in the GC LZ. Cell cycle progression of DZ B cells is unaffected by IL-21 availability, as is the zone phenotype of the most highly proliferative GC B cells. Collectively, this study characterises the development of GC zones as a function of time and B cell proliferation and identifies IL-21 as an important regulator of these processes. These data help explain the requirement for IL-21 in normal antibody affinity maturation.
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    R code and downstream analysis objects for the scRNA-seq atlas of normal and tumorigenic human breast tissue
    Chen, Y ; Pal, B ; Lindeman, GJ ; Visvader, JE ; Smyth, GK (NATURE PORTFOLIO, 2022-03-23)
    Breast cancer is a common and highly heterogeneous disease. Understanding cellular diversity in the mammary gland and its surrounding micro-environment across different states can provide insight into cancer development in the human breast. Recently, we published a large-scale single-cell RNA expression atlas of the human breast spanning normal, preneoplastic and tumorigenic states. Single-cell expression profiles of nearly 430,000 cells were obtained from 69 distinct surgical tissue specimens from 55 patients. This article extends the study by providing quality filtering thresholds, downstream processed R data objects, complete cell annotation and R code to reproduce all the analyses. Data quality assessment measures are presented and details are provided for all the bioinformatic analyses that produced results described in the study.
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    Calling differentially methylated regions from whole genome bisulphite sequencing with DMRcate
    Peters, TJ ; Buckley, MJ ; Chen, Y ; Smyth, GK ; Goodnow, CC ; Clark, SJ (OXFORD UNIV PRESS, 2021-07-28)
    Whole genome bisulphite sequencing (WGBS) permits the genome-wide study of single molecule methylation patterns. One of the key goals of mammalian cell-type identity studies, in both normal differentiation and disease, is to locate differential methylation patterns across the genome. We discuss the most desirable characteristics for DML (differentially methylated locus) and DMR (differentially methylated region) detection tools in a genome-wide context and choose a set of statistical methods that fully or partially satisfy these considerations to compare for benchmarking. Our data simulation strategy is both biologically informed-employing distribution parameters derived from large-scale consortium datasets-and thorough. We report DML detection ability with respect to coverage, group methylation difference, sample size, variability and covariate size, both marginally and jointly, and exhaustively with respect to parameter combination. We also benchmark these methods on FDR control and computational time. We use this result to backend and introduce an expanded version of DMRcate: an existing DMR detection tool for microarray data that we have extended to now call DMRs from WGBS data. We compare DMRcate to a set of alternative DMR callers using a similarly realistic simulation strategy. We find DMRcate and RADmeth are the best predictors of DMRs, and conclusively find DMRcate the fastest.
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    In vivo genome-editing screen identifies tumor suppressor genes that cooperate with Trp53 loss during mammary tumorigenesis
    Heitink, L ; Whittle, JR ; Vaillant, F ; Capaldo, BD ; Dekkers, JF ; Dawson, CA ; Milevskiy, MJG ; Surgenor, E ; Tsai, M ; Chen, H-R ; Christie, M ; Chen, Y ; Smyth, GK ; Herold, MJ ; Strasser, A ; Lindeman, GJ ; Visvader, JE (WILEY, 2022-01-26)
    Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease that comprises multiple histological and molecular subtypes. To gain insight into mutations that drive breast tumorigenesis, we describe a pipeline for the identification and validation of tumor suppressor genes. Based on an in vivo genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 screen in Trp53+/- heterozygous mice, we identified tumor suppressor genes that included the scaffold protein Axin1, the protein kinase A regulatory subunit gene Prkar1a, as well as the proof-of-concept genes Pten, Nf1, and Trp53 itself. Ex vivo editing of primary mammary epithelial organoids was performed to further interrogate the roles of Axin1 and Prkar1a. Increased proliferation and profound changes in mammary organoid morphology were observed for Axin1/Trp53 and Prkar1a/Trp53 double mutants compared to Pten/Trp53 double mutants. Furthermore, direct in vivo genome editing via intraductal injection of lentiviruses engineered to express dual short-guide RNAs revealed that mutagenesis of Trp53 and either Prkar1a, Axin1, or Pten markedly accelerated tumor development compared to Trp53-only mutants. This proof-of-principle study highlights the application of in vivo CRISPR/Cas9 editing for uncovering cooperativity between defects in tumor suppressor genes that elicit mammary tumorigenesis.
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    A non-canonical function of Ezh2 preserves immune homeostasis
    Vasanthakumar, A ; Xu, D ; Lun, ATL ; Kueh, AJ ; van Gisbergen, KPJM ; Iannarella, N ; Li, X ; Yu, L ; Wang, D ; Williams, BRG ; Lee, SCW ; Majewski, IJ ; Godfrey, DI ; Smyth, GK ; Alexander, WS ; Herold, MJ ; Kallies, A ; Nutt, SL ; Allan, RS (WILEY, 2017-04-01)
    Enhancer of zeste 2 (Ezh2) mainly methylates lysine 27 of histone-H3 (H3K27me3) as part of the polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) together with Suz12 and Eed. However, Ezh2 can also modify non-histone substrates, although it is unclear whether this mechanism has a role during development. Here, we present evidence for a chromatin-independent role of Ezh2 during T-cell development and immune homeostasis. T-cell-specific depletion of Ezh2 induces a pronounced expansion of natural killer T (NKT) cells, although Ezh2-deficient T cells maintain normal levels of H3K27me3. In contrast, removal of Suz12 or Eed destabilizes canonical PRC2 function and ablates NKT cell development completely. We further show that Ezh2 directly methylates the NKT cell lineage defining transcription factor PLZF, leading to its ubiquitination and subsequent degradation. Sustained PLZF expression in Ezh2-deficient mice is associated with the expansion of a subset of NKT cells that cause immune perturbation. Taken together, we have identified a chromatin-independent function of Ezh2 that impacts on the development of the immune system.
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    Single cell transcriptome atlas of mouse mammary epithelial cells across development
    Pal, B ; Chen, Y ; Milevskiy, MJG ; Vaillant, F ; Prokopuk, L ; Dawson, CA ; Capaldo, BD ; Song, X ; Jackling, F ; Timpson, P ; Lindeman, GJ ; Smyth, GK ; Visvader, JE (BMC, 2021-06-29)
    BACKGROUND: Heterogeneity within the mouse mammary epithelium and potential lineage relationships have been recently explored by single-cell RNA profiling. To further understand how cellular diversity changes during mammary ontogeny, we profiled single cells from nine different developmental stages spanning late embryogenesis, early postnatal, prepuberty, adult, mid-pregnancy, late-pregnancy, and post-involution, as well as the transcriptomes of micro-dissected terminal end buds (TEBs) and subtending ducts during puberty. METHODS: The single cell transcriptomes of 132,599 mammary epithelial cells from 9 different developmental stages were determined on the 10x Genomics Chromium platform, and integrative analyses were performed to compare specific time points. RESULTS: The mammary rudiment at E18.5 closely aligned with the basal lineage, while prepubertal epithelial cells exhibited lineage segregation but to a less differentiated state than their adult counterparts. Comparison of micro-dissected TEBs versus ducts showed that luminal cells within TEBs harbored intermediate expression profiles. Ductal basal cells exhibited increased chromatin accessibility of luminal genes compared to their TEB counterparts suggesting that lineage-specific chromatin is established within the subtending ducts during puberty. An integrative analysis of five stages spanning the pregnancy cycle revealed distinct stage-specific profiles and the presence of cycling basal, mixed-lineage, and 'late' alveolar intermediates in pregnancy. Moreover, a number of intermediates were uncovered along the basal-luminal progenitor cell axis, suggesting a continuum of alveolar-restricted progenitor states. CONCLUSIONS: This extended single cell transcriptome atlas of mouse mammary epithelial cells provides the most complete coverage for mammary epithelial cells during morphogenesis to date. Together with chromatin accessibility analysis of TEB structures, it represents a valuable framework for understanding developmental decisions within the mouse mammary gland.
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    A guide to creating design matrices for gene expression experiments.
    Law, CW ; Zeglinski, K ; Dong, X ; Alhamdoosh, M ; Smyth, GK ; Ritchie, ME (F1000 Research Ltd, 2020)
    Differential expression analysis of genomic data types, such as RNA-sequencing experiments, use linear models to determine the size and direction of the changes in gene expression. For RNA-sequencing, there are several established software packages for this purpose accompanied with analysis pipelines that are well described. However, there are two crucial steps in the analysis process that can be a stumbling block for many -- the set up an appropriate model via design matrices and the set up of comparisons of interest via contrast matrices. These steps are particularly troublesome because an extensive catalogue for design and contrast matrices does not currently exist. One would usually search for example case studies across different platforms and mix and match the advice from those sources to suit the dataset they have at hand. This article guides the reader through the basics of how to set up design and contrast matrices. We take a practical approach by providing code and graphical representation of each case study, starting with simpler examples (e.g. models with a single explanatory variable) and move onto more complex ones (e.g. interaction models, mixed effects models, higher order time series and cyclical models). Although our work has been written specifically with a limma-style pipeline in mind, most of it is also applicable to other software packages for differential expression analysis, and the ideas covered can be adapted to data analysis of other high-throughput technologies. Where appropriate, we explain the interpretation and differences between models to aid readers in their own model choices. Unnecessary jargon and theory is omitted where possible so that our work is accessible to a wide audience of readers, from beginners to those with experience in genomics data analysis.