Mapping of switch recombination junctions, a tool for studying DNA repair pathways during immunoglobulin class switching
Class switch recombination (CSR) is induced upon B cell activation and occurs within special DNA regions, termed switch (S) regions, which consist of tandem repeats of G-rich sequences. CSR occurs by introduction of double-strand breaks (DSBs) into each S region, and recombination by nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ). The recombination event occurs during the G1 phase of the cell cycle in cells that are rapidly dividing. By examination of patients and mouse knock-out strains lacking various DNA-damage response factors and enzymes involved in DNA repair, much has been learned about which factors are important for CSR, how DSBs are introduced into S regions, and how the donor and acceptor S regions are then recombined. One of the approaches for analyzing the steps involved in CSR is to determine the nucleotide sequence of S-S junctions. Many of the DNA repair deficiencies alter the sequence of the recombination junctions, generally increasing the use of microhomologies, interpreted as a shift from classical (C)-NHEJ to alternative end-joining (A-EJ). However, it is clear that A-EJ, is not simply one pathway; rather, recombination is likely to occur using various subsets of end-joining factors, which will vary depending on the structure of the DSBs provided by the initial phases of CSR. Herein we review the results of analyses of S-S junctions, suggest minimal information required for these analyses, and attempt to integrate these results in order to increase our understanding of the complex process of CSR.
Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) instigates mutations and DNA breaks in Ig genes that undergo somatic hypermutation and class switch recombination during B cell activation in response to immunization and infection. This review discusses how AID expression and activity are regulated, including recent discoveries of AID-interacting proteins that might recruit AID to Ig genes, and allow it to target both DNA strands. Also discussed is the accumulating evidence that AID binds to, mutates, and creates breaks at numerous non-Ig sites in the genome, which initiates cell transformation and malignancies.
AID binds cooperatively with UNG and Msh2-Msh6 to Ig switch regions dependent upon the AID C terminus
Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) is induced in B cells during an immune response and is essential for both class-switch recombination (CSR) and somatic hypermutation of Ab genes. The C-terminal 10 aa of AID are required for CSR but not for somatic hypermutation, although their role in CSR is unknown. Using retroviral transduction into mouse splenic B cells, we show that the C terminus is not required for switch (S) region double-strand breaks (DSBs) and therefore functions downstream of DSBs. Using chromatin immunoprecipitation, we show that AID binds cooperatively with UNG and the mismatch repair proteins Msh2-Msh6 to Ig Smu and Sgamma3 regions, and this depends on the C terminus and the deaminase activity of AID. We also show that mismatch repair does not contribute to the efficiency of CSR in the absence of the AID C terminus. Although it has been demonstrated that both UNG and Msh2-Msh6 are important for introduction of S region DSBs, our data suggest that the ability of AID to recruit these proteins is important for DSB resolution, perhaps by directing the S region DSBs toward accurate and efficient CSR via nonhomologous end joining.
The DNA glycosylases Ogg1 and Nth1 do not contribute to Ig class switching in activated mouse splenic B cells
During activation of B cells to undergo class switching, B cell metabolism is increased, and levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) are increased. ROS can oxidize DNA bases resulting in substrates for the DNA glycosylases Ogg1 and Nth1. Ogg1 and Nth1 excise oxidized bases, and nick the resulting abasic sites, forming single-strand DNA breaks (SSBs) as intermediates during the repair process. In this study, we asked whether splenic B cells from mice deficient in these two enzymes would show altered class switching and decreased DNA breaks in comparison with wild-type mice. As the c-myc gene frequently recombines with the IgH S region in B cells induced to undergo class switching, we also analyzed the effect of deletion of these two glycosylases on DSBs in the c-myc gene. We did not detect a reduction in S region or c-myc DSBs or in class switching in splenic B cells from Ogg1- or Nth1-deficient mice or from mice deficient in both enzymes.
Activation-induced cytidine deaminase-initiated off-target DNA breaks are detected and resolved during S phase
Activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) initiates DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in the IgH gene (Igh) to stimulate isotype class switch recombination (CSR), and widespread breaks in non-Igh (off-target) loci throughout the genome. Because the DSBs that initiate class switching occur during the G(1) phase of the cell cycle, and are repaired via end joining, CSR is considered a predominantly G(1) reaction. By contrast, AID-induced non-Igh DSBs are repaired by homologous recombination. Although little is known about the connection between the cell cycle and either induction or resolution of AID-mediated non-Igh DSBs, their repair by homologous recombination implicates post-G(1) phases. Coordination of DNA breakage and repair during the cell cycle is critical to promote normal class switching and prevent genomic instability. To understand how AID-mediated events are regulated through the cell cycle, we have investigated G(1)-to-S control in AID-dependent genome-wide DSBs. We find that AID-mediated off-target DSBs, like those induced in the Igh locus, are generated during G(1). These data suggest that AID-mediated DSBs can evade G(1)/S checkpoint activation and persist beyond G(1), becoming resolved during S phase. Interestingly, DSB resolution during S phase can promote not only non-Igh break repair, but also Ig CSR. Our results reveal novel cell cycle dynamics in response to AID-initiated DSBs, and suggest that the regulation of the repair of these DSBs through the cell cycle may ensure proper class switching while preventing AID-induced genomic instability.
Serotonin-Expressing Cells in the Corpus of the Stomach Originate from Bone Marrow: A Master’s Thesis
Neurogenin 3 and its downstream target NeuroD are basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors which promote endocrine differentiation in the gastrointestinal tract. However, mice lacking Ngn3 still produce several hormones in the stomach. Lineage tracing mouse models demonstrated that a majority of hormone cells in the corpus region of the stomach did not express Ngn3 or NeuroD during differentiation. Serotonin and histamine cells were entirely NeuroD-independently derived, and serotonin cells were additionally entirely Ngn3-independently derived. In this study, we isolated serotonin and histamine cells from the gastric corpus of transgenic mice expressing the fluorescent marker CFP. Serotonin cells expressed multiple mast cell markers by RT-PCR, and were found to be nearly absent in a mast cell-deficient mouse model. Labeled bone marrow transplant mice showed all serotonin cells derived from bone marrow. Histamine-expressing ECL cells, while lacking NeuroD, did not appear to express granulocyte or mast cell markers by analytical flow cytometry and RT-PCR, and resemble other enteroendocrine cell populations. Mouse gastric corpus serotonin cells, but not antral serotonin cells, are bone marrow-derived mast cells.
Psychosocial and Behavioral Determinants of Medication Nonadherence Among African Americans with Hypertension: A Dissertation
The overarching goal of this dissertation was to elucidate the psychosocial and behavioral determinants of medication nonadherence among African Americans with hypertension. One in three Americans in the United States has hypertension, and the prevalence of hypertension among African Americans is among the highest in the world. In addition to healthy behaviors such as following a low-salt and low-fat diet, getting regular exercise, and reducing stress, patients with hypertension must also adhere to antihypertensive medications. Poor medication adherence may be driven by psychosocial and behavioral factors; however, the impact of these factors on medication adherence is unclear especially within the African American community. To date, a paucity of research has examined the relationship between psychosocial and behavioral factors such as reported racial discrimination, John Henryism (a measure of active coping and an unhealthy response to stress) and home remedies with medication nonadherence. However, each of these factors has individually been linked with poorer health outcomes among African Americans.
Using data from the TRUST study (2006-2008) the association between these constructs and medication adherence was assessed within our sample of 788 African Americans and a comparison group of 137 White participants with hypertension. Ordinal logistic regression was used to assess the association between racial discrimination, John Henryism, home remedies, and medication adherence.
The findings from this research indicated more reported racial discrimination, higher John Henryism scores, and greater use of home remedies were associated with lower medication adherence. These findings yield new knowledge about medication adherence and provide practical insights about the psychosocial and behavioral determinants of medication adherence.
Getting a Tight Grip on DNA: Optimizing Zinc Fingers for Efficient ZFN-Mediated Gene Editing: A Dissertation
The utility of a model organism for studying biological processes is closely tied to its amenability to genome manipulation. Although tools for targeted genome engineering in mice have been available since 1987, most organisms including zebrafish have lacked efficient reverse genetic tools, which has stymied their broad implementation as a model system to study biological processes. The development of zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs) that can create double-strand breaks at desired sites in a genome has provided a universal platform for targeted genome modification. ZFNs are artificial restriction endonucleases that comprise of an array of 3- to 6-C2H2-zinc finger DNA-binding domains fused with the dimeric cleavage domain of the type IIs endonuclease FokI. C2H2-zinc fingers are the most common, naturally occurring DNA-binding domain, and their specificity can be engineered to recognize a variety of DNA sequences providing a strategy for targeting the appended nuclease domain to desired sites in a genome. The utility of ZFNs for gene editing relies on their activity and precision in vivo both of which depend on the generation of ZFPs that bind desired target sites high specificity and affinity.
Although various methods are available that allow construction of ZFPs with novel specificities, ZFNs assembled using existing approaches often display negligible in vivo activity, presumably resulting from ZFPs with either low affinity or suboptimal specificity. A root cause of this deficiency is the presence of interfering interactions at the finger-finger interface upon assembly of multiple fingers. In this study we have employed bacterial-one-hybrid (B1H)-based selections to identify two-finger zinc finger units (2F-modules) containing optimized interface residues that can be combined with published finger archives to rapidly yield ZFNs that can target more than 95% of the zebrafish and human protein-coding genes while maintaining a success rate higher than that of ZFNs constructed using available methods. In addition to genome engineering in model organisms, this advancement in ZFN design will aid in the development of ZFN-based therapeutics.
In the process of creating this archive, we have undertaken a broader study of zinc finger specificity to better understand fundamental aspects of DNA recognition. In the process we have created the largest protein-DNA interaction dataset for zinc fingers to be described that will facilitate the development of better predictive models of recognition. Ultimately, these predictive models would enable the rational design of synthetic zinc finger proteins for targeted gene regulation or genomic modification, and the prediction of genomic binding sites for naturally occurring zinc finger proteins for the construction of more accurate gene regulatory networks.
The immune system is a complex network of interacting cells and tissues that is designed to protect the body from pathogens and other foreign substances. T cells are a major component of the immune system and consist of two distinct lineages distinguished by the expression of αβ or γδ T cell receptors (TCR). The Tec family kinase, Itk is an important mediator of signaling downstream of the TCR. Past studies on Itk has focused on how Itk regulates development, activation and differentiation of conventional αβ T cells and more recently how Itk regulates the development of innate-like αβ T cells. However, very little is known about the influence of Itk on γδ T cells. My studies show a previously unknown role for Itk in the development and function of γδ T cells. We report in the absence of Itk, γδ T cells were responsible for the spontaneously elevated levels of serum IgE and Itk-/- mice γδ T cells produced high levels of TH2 cytokines. Furthermore, there was an increase in γδ T cells specifically in the Vγ1.1+Vδ6.3+ (V6) subset that represents the dominant population of γδ NKT cells in Itk-/- mice. In addition, the V6 subset had increased expression of PLZF, a transcription factor normally required for αβ iNKT cell development. We further show that V6 cells develop and mature similar to αβ iNKT cells. Similar to defects previously seen in the terminal differentiation of Itk-/- αβ iNKT cell, V6 cells also had impaired maturation in the thymus in the absence of Itk. This data demonstrates a previously unknown role of Itk for the terminal maturation of V6 cells that has been shown to be the cell population that led to spontaneous dermatitis in mice. Given that drug companies have targeted Itk as a potential allergy drug due to Itk’s role in TH2 development and function, our data suggests that further studies on Itk are warranted.
Two pure phospholipids, dimyristoyl phosphatidylcholine and dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine, have been studied using freeze-fracture electron microscopy and the partitioning of the spin label, TEMPO. It is found that the characteristic band pattern, corresponding to monoclinic symmetry in multilamellar liposomes, is observed only in freeze-fracture electron microphotographs when samples are quenched from temperatures intermediate between the chain melting transition temperature and the pretransition temperature of the membrane. Markings are also observed on fracture faces of samples quenched from below the pretransition, but these "bands" are few in number and are widely and irregularly spaced. The lipid membranes used for freeze-fracture were prepared using detergent dialysis and are thought to consist of one, two, or some small number of concentric bilayer shells. These observations are in excellent accord with the recent, prior studies of Janiak, M.J., Small, D.M. and Shirley, G.G., ((1976) Biochemistry 15, 4575--4580), who found monoclinic symmetry (Pbeta' structure) in multilamellar liposomes of these phospholipids only when the sample temperature was intermediate between the main, chain melting transition temperature, and the pretransition temperature. The significance of these results for relating freeze-fracture electron microphotographis to phase diagrams derived from spin label or calorimetric data is discussed briefly. 2,2,6,6-Tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl (TEMPO) partitioning data show distinct differences between liposomal preparations of these lipids, and other preparations having fewer bilayers per vesicular structure, with respect to the position, width, and hysteresis of the pretransition.
Lateral phase separations in binary mixtures of phospholipids having different charges and different crystalline structures
Synthetic dipalmitoyl phosphatidylserine exhibits a sharp chain-melting transition temperature at 51 degrees C as judged by partitioning of the spin label 2,2,6,6-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl. Phase diagrams representing lateral phase separations in binary mixtures of dipalmitoyl phosphatidylserine with dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine as well as with dimyristoyl phosphatidylcholine are derived from paramagnetic resonance determinations of 2,2,6,6,-tetramethylpiperidine-1-oxyl partitioning, freeze-fracture electron microscopic studies and theoretical arguments that limit the general form of acceptable phase diagrams. The reported phase diagrams are the first to describe binary mixtures in which one lipid is charged and the second lipid uncharged. These phase diagrams also are the first to include the problem of solid phases with different crystalline conformations as it relates to the occurrence of a pretransition in phosphatidylcholines and its absence in phosphatidylserines. In addition to the phase diagrams reported here for these two binary mixtures, a brief theoretical discussion is given of other possible phase diagrams that may be appropriate to other lipid mixtures with particular consideration given to the problem of crystalline phases of different structures and the possible occurrence of second-order phase transitions in these mixtures.
Approximate phse diagrams describing lateral phase separations are given for binary mixtures of dimyristoyl phosphatidylcholine with dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine, distearoyl phosphatidycholine, and dipalmitoyl phosphatidylethanolamine. These diagrams are based in part on freeze-fracture electron microscopic data. These phase diagrams represent an improvement over previous studies in that both solid phses (Pbeta' and Lbeta') of the phosphatidylcholines are included. Further consideration is given to the problem of binary mixtures in which there are two Pbeta' phases that do not form a continuous range of solid solutions.
This article describes UMass Amherst Libraries data management workshops and online resources developed for graduate students. Although students respond favorably to general “Data Management Basics” workshops, they offer suggestions for improvement and request discipline-specific examples, tools, and resources to augment the general information presented. In response, the Libraries’ Data Working Group aims to develop both broad-based, discipline agnostic workshops as well as on-demand, discipline-specific workshops.
From the early days of modern science through this century of Big Data, data sharing has enabled some of the greatest advances in science. In the digital age, technology can facilitate more effective and efficient data sharing and preservation practices, and provide incentives for making data easily accessible among researchers. At the Institute for Quantitative Social Science at Harvard University, we have developed an open-source software to share, cite, preserve, discover and analyze data, named the Dataverse Network. We share here the project’s motivation, its growth and successes, and likely evolution.
In a biomedical engineering lab at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, co-author Dr. Glenn R. Gaudette and his research team are investigating the effects of stem cell therapy on the regeneration of function in damaged cardiac tissue in laboratory rats. Each instance of stem cell experimentation on a rat yields hundreds of data sets that must be carefully captured, documented and securely stored so that the data will be easily accessed and retrieved for papers, reports, further research, and validation of findings, while meeting NIH guidelines for data sharing. After a brief introduction to the bioengineering field and stem cell research, this paper focuses on the experimental workflow and the data generated in one instance of stem cell experimentation; the lab’s data management practices; and how Dr. Gaudette teaches data management to the lab’s incoming graduate students each semester. The co-authors discuss the haphazard manner by which engineering and science students typically learn data management practices, and advocate for the integration of formal data management instruction in higher education STEM curricula. The paper concludes with a discussion of the Frameworks for a Data Management Curriculum developed collaboratively by the co-authors’ institutions -- the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Worcester Polytechnic Institute -- to teach data management best practices to students in the sciences, health sciences, and engineering.
OBJECTIVE: This project examined primary research data files found on instruments in a molecular biology teaching laboratory. Experimental data files were analyzed in order to learn more about the types of data generated by these instruments (e.g. file formats), and to evaluate current laboratory data management practices.
SETTING: This project examined experimental data files from instruments in a teaching laboratory at Brandeis University.
METHODOLOGY: Experimental data files and associated metadata on instrument hard drives were captured and analyzed using Xplorer2 software. Formats were categorized as proprietary or open, and characteristics such as file naming conventions were noted. Discussions with the faculty member and lab staff guided the project scope and informed the findings.
RESULTS: Files in both proprietary and open formats were found on the instrument hard drives. 62% of the experimental data files were in proprietary formats. Image files in various formats accounted for the most prevalent types of data found. Instrument users varied widely in their approaches to data management tasks such as file naming conventions.
CONCLUSIONS: This study found inconsistent approaches to managing data on laboratory instruments. Prevalence of proprietary file formats is a concern with this type of data. Students express frustration in working with these data, and files in these proprietary formats could pose curation and preservation challenges in the future. Teaching labs afford an opportunity for librarians interested in learning more about primary research data and data management practices.
A commentary on concerns raised in Jen Ferguson's article in this issue, "Lurking in the Lab: Analysis of Data from Molecular Biology Laboratory Instruments."
JESLIB Editor Elaine R. Martin introduces the articles in Volume 1, Issue 3 and discusses how these papers demonstrate many of the data services librarians can offer to the research community.
BACKGROUND: Women with intellectual disabilities have the same rate of breast cancer as other women but are less likely to undergo screening mammography. Characteristics associated with mammography for women with intellectual disabilities in the United States are unknown.
METHODS: This study was based on a secondary data analysis of the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services database, comparing women who had a mammogram within 2 years with women who had not on variables related to the ecological model. Bivariate analyses, logistic regression, and assessment of interactions were performed.
RESULTS: The study sample's (n = 2907) mean age was 54.7 years; 58% lived in 24-hour residential settings, 52% received nursing health coordination, and more than 25% had clinical examination needs (eg, sedation). Residential setting, health coordination, and recent influenza vaccination were all associated with mammography. Having a guardian, higher level of activities of daily living needs, and examination needs (requiring sedation or limited wait time for examinations) were associated with lower rates. Interactions between health coordination and examination needs confirmed the potential of the nurse to ameliorate barriers to mammography.
CONCLUSION: Several system-level variables were significantly associated with mammography and, in some cases, seemed to ameliorate intrapersonal/behavioral barriers to mammography. Community agencies caring for intellectually disabled women have potential to impact mammography rates by using health coordination.