Dnmt1 is critical for immediate postnatal intestinal development, but is not required for the survival of the adult intestinal epithelium, the only rapidly dividing somatic tissue for which this has been shown. Acute Dnmt1 deletion elicits dramatic hypomethylation and genomic instability. Recovery of DNA methylation state and intestinal health is dependent on the de novo methyltransferase Dnmt3b. Ablation of both Dnmt1 and Dnmt3b in the intestinal epithelium is lethal, while deletion of either Dnmt1 or Dnmt3b has no effect on survival. These results demonstrate that Dnmt1 and Dnmt3b cooperate to maintain DNA methylation and genomic integrity in the intestinal epithelium.
Animal experimentation: This study was performed in strict accordance with the recommendations in the Guide for the Care and Use of Laboratory Animals of the National Institutes of Health. All of the animals were handled according to approved institutional animal care and use committee (IACUC) protocol (804436) of the University of Pennsylvania. All surgery was performed under isofluranel anesthesia, and every effort was made to minimize suffering.
- Anne C Ferguson-Smith, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
© 2016, Elliott et al.
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Posterior urethral valves (PUV) are the commonest cause of end-stage renal disease in children, but the genetic architecture of this rare disorder remains unknown. We performed a sequencing-based genome-wide association study (seqGWAS) in 132 unrelated male PUV cases and 23,727 controls of diverse ancestry, identifying statistically significant associations with common variants at 12q24.21 (p=7.8 × 10−12; OR 0.4) and rare variants at 6p21.1 (p=2.0 × 10-8; OR 7.2), that were replicated in an independent European cohort of 395 cases and 4151 controls. Fine mapping and functional genomic data mapped these loci to the transcription factor TBX5 and planar cell polarity gene PTK7, respectively, the encoded proteins of which were detected in the developing urinary tract of human embryos. We also observed enrichment of rare structural variation intersecting with candidate cis-regulatory elements, particularly inversions predicted to affect chromatin looping (p=3.1 × 10-5). These findings represent the first robust genetic associations of PUV, providing novel insights into the underlying biology of this poorly understood disorder and demonstrate how a diverse ancestry seqGWAS can be used for disease locus discovery in a rare disease.
The neural crest (NC) is an important multipotent embryonic cell population and its impaired specification leads to various developmental defects, often in an anteroposterior (A-P) axial level-specific manner. The mechanisms underlying the correct A-P regionalisation of human NC cells remain elusive. Recent studies have indicated that trunk NC cells, the presumed precursors of the childhood tumour neuroblastoma, are derived from neuromesodermal-potent progenitors of the postcranial body (NMPs). Here we employ human embryonic stem cell differentiation to define how NMP-derived NC cells acquire a posterior axial identity. We show that TBXT, a pro-mesodermal transcription factor, mediates early posterior NC/spinal cord regionalisation together with WNT signalling effectors. This occurs by TBXT-driven chromatin remodelling via its binding in key enhancers within HOX gene clusters and other posterior regulator-associated loci. This initial posteriorisation event is succeeded by a second phase of trunk HOX gene control that marks the differentiation of NMPs toward their TBXT-negative NC/spinal cord derivatives and relies predominantly on FGF signalling. Our work reveals a previously unknown role of TBXT in influencing posterior NC fate and points to the existence of temporally discrete, cell type-dependent modes of posterior axial identity control.