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Bastianello G.,IFOM FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation | Bastianello G.,University of Milan | Arakawa H.,IFOM FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation
Nucleic Acids Research | Year: 2017

All three B cell-specific activities of the immunoglobulin (Ig) gene re-modeling system-gene conversion, somatic hypermutation and class switch recombination-require activation-induced deaminase (AID). AID-induced DNA lesions must be further processed and dissected into different DNA recombination pathways. In order to characterize potential intermediates for Ig gene conversion, we inserted an I-SceI recognition site into the complementarity determining region 1 (CDR1) of the Ig light chain locus of the AID knockout DT40 cell line, and conditionally expressed I-SceI endonuclease. Here, we show that a double-strand break (DSB) in CDR1 is sufficient to trigger Ig gene conversion in the absence of AID. The pattern and pseudogene usage of DSBinduced gene conversion were comparable to those of AID-induced gene conversion; surprisingly, sometimes a single DSB induced multiple gene conversion events. These constitute direct evidence that a DSB in the V region can be an intermediate for gene conversion. The fate of the DNA lesion downstream of a DSB had more flexibility than that of AID, suggesting two alternative models: (i) DSBs during the physiological gene conversion are in the minority compared to single-strand breaks (SSBs), which are frequently generated following DNA deamination, or (ii) the physiological gene conversion is mediated by a tightly regulated DSB that is locally protected from non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) or other non-homologous DNA recombination machineries. © The Author(s) 2016.


Flury V.,University of Bern | Flury V.,Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research | Restuccia U.,IFOM FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation | Bachi A.,IFOM FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation | Muhlemann O.,University of Bern
Journal of Proteome Research | Year: 2014

Human up-frameshift 1 (UPF1) is an ATP-dependent RNA helicase and phosphoprotein implicated in several biological processes but is best known for its key function in nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD). Here we employed a combination of stable isotope labeling of amino acids in cell culture experiments to determine by quantitative proteomics UPF1 interactors. We used this approach to distinguish between RNA-mediated and protein-mediated UPF1 interactors and to determine proteins that preferentially bind the hypo- or the hyper-phosphorylated form of UPF1. Confirming and expanding previous studies, we identified the eukaryotic initiation factor 3 (eIF3) as a prominent protein-mediated interactor of UPF1. However, unlike previously reported, eIF3 binds to UPF1 independently of UPF1's phosphorylation state. Furthermore, our data revealed many nucleus-associated RNA-binding proteins that preferentially associate with hyper-phosphorylated UPF1 in an RNase-sensitive manner, suggesting that UPF1 gets recruited to mRNA and becomes phosphorylated before being exported to the cytoplasm as part of the mRNP. © 2014 American Chemical Society.


Paul-Konietzko K.,University of Duisburg - Essen | Thomale J.,University of Duisburg - Essen | Arakawa H.,Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research | Iliakis G.,IFOM FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation
Photochemistry and Photobiology | Year: 2015

In eukaryotic cells helix-distorting DNA lesions like cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPDs) and 6-4 pyrimidine-pyrimidone photoproducts (6-4 PPs) are efficiently removed by nucleotide excision repair (NER). NER is a multistep process where in the end, subsequent to replication over the gap, the remaining nick is sealed by a DNA ligase. Lig1 has been implicated as the major DNA ligase in NER. Recently, Lig3 has been implicated as a component of a NER subpathway that operates in dividing cells, but which becomes particularly important in nondividing cells. Here, we use DT40 cells and powerful gene targeting approaches for generating DNA ligase mutants to examine the involvement and contribution of Lig1 and Lig3 in NER using cell survival measured by colony formation, and repair kinetics of CPD by immunofluorescence microscopy and immuno-slot-blotting. Our results demonstrate an impressive and previously undocumented potential of Lig3 to substitute for Lig1 in removing helix-distorting DNA lesions by NER in proliferating cells. We show for the first time in a clean genetic background a functional redundancy in NER between Lig1 and Lig3, which appears to be cell cycle independent and which is likely to contribute to the stability of vertebrate genomes. © 2015 The American Society of Photobiology.


Arakawa H.,IFOM FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation | Iliakis G.,University of Duisburg - Essen
Genes | Year: 2015

Higher eukaryotes have three types of DNA ligases: DNA ligase 1 (Lig1), DNA ligase 3 (Lig3) and DNA ligase 4 (Lig4). While Lig1 and Lig4 are present in all eukaryotes from yeast to human, Lig3 appears sporadically in evolution and is uniformly present only in vertebrates. In the classical, textbook view, Lig1 catalyzes Okazaki-fragment ligation at the DNA replication fork and the ligation steps of long-patch base-excision repair (BER), homologous recombination repair (HRR) and nucleotide excision repair (NER). Lig4 is responsible for DNA ligation at DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) by the classical, DNA-PKcs-dependent pathway of non-homologous end joining (C-NHEJ). Lig3 is implicated in a short-patch base excision repair (BER) pathway, in single strand break repair in the nucleus, and in all ligation requirements of the DNA metabolism in mitochondria. In this scenario, Lig1 and Lig4 feature as the major DNA ligases serving the most essential ligation needs of the cell, while Lig3 serves in the cell nucleus only minor repair roles. Notably, recent systematic studies in the chicken B cell line, DT40, involving constitutive and conditional knockouts of all three DNA ligases individually, as well as of combinations thereof, demonstrate that the current view must be revised. Results demonstrate that Lig1 deficient cells proliferate efficiently. Even Lig1/Lig4 double knockout cells show long-term viability and proliferate actively, demonstrating that, at least in DT40, Lig3 can perform all ligation reactions of the cellular DNA metabolism as sole DNA ligase. Indeed, in the absence of Lig1, Lig3 can efficiently support semi-conservative DNA replication via an alternative Okazaki-fragment ligation pathway. In addition, Lig3 can back up NHEJ in the absence of Lig4, and can support NER and HRR in the absence of Lig1. Supporting observations are available in less elaborate genetic models in mouse cells. Collectively, these observations raise Lig3 from a niche-ligase to a universal DNA ligase, which can potentially substitute or backup the repair and replication functions of all other DNA ligases in the cell nucleus. Thus, the old model of functionally dedicated DNA ligases is now replaced by one in which only Lig4 remains dedicated to C-NHEJ, with Lig1 and Lig3 showing an astounding functional flexibility and interchangeability for practically all nuclear ligation functions. The underlying mechanisms of Lig3 versus Lig1 utilization in DNA repair and replication are expected to be partly different and remain to be elucidated. © 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


PubMed | IFOM FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation and University of Duisburg - Essen
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Genes | Year: 2015

Higher eukaryotes have three types of DNA ligases: DNA ligase 1 (Lig1), DNA ligase 3 (Lig3) and DNA ligase 4 (Lig4). While Lig1 and Lig4 are present in all eukaryotes from yeast to human, Lig3 appears sporadically in evolution and is uniformly present only in vertebrates. In the classical, textbook view, Lig1 catalyzes Okazaki-fragment ligation at the DNA replication fork and the ligation steps of long-patch base-excision repair (BER), homologous recombination repair (HRR) and nucleotide excision repair (NER). Lig4 is responsible for DNA ligation at DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) by the classical, DNA-PKcs-dependent pathway of non-homologous end joining (C-NHEJ). Lig3 is implicated in a short-patch base excision repair (BER) pathway, in single strand break repair in the nucleus, and in all ligation requirements of the DNA metabolism in mitochondria. In this scenario, Lig1 and Lig4 feature as the major DNA ligases serving the most essential ligation needs of the cell, while Lig3 serves in the cell nucleus only minor repair roles. Notably, recent systematic studies in the chicken B cell line, DT40, involving constitutive and conditional knockouts of all three DNA ligases individually, as well as of combinations thereof, demonstrate that the current view must be revised. Results demonstrate that Lig1 deficient cells proliferate efficiently. Even Lig1/Lig4 double knockout cells show long-term viability and proliferate actively, demonstrating that, at least in DT40, Lig3 can perform all ligation reactions of the cellular DNA metabolism as sole DNA ligase. Indeed, in the absence of Lig1, Lig3 can efficiently support semi-conservative DNA replication via an alternative Okazaki-fragment ligation pathway. In addition, Lig3 can back up NHEJ in the absence of Lig4, and can support NER and HRR in the absence of Lig1. Supporting observations are available in less elaborate genetic models in mouse cells. Collectively, these observations raise Lig3 from a niche-ligase to a universal DNA ligase, which can potentially substitute or backup the repair and replication functions of all other DNA ligases in the cell nucleus. Thus, the old model of functionally dedicated DNA ligases is now replaced by one in which only Lig4 remains dedicated to C-NHEJ, with Lig1 and Lig3 showing an astounding functional flexibility and interchangeability for practically all nuclear ligation functions. The underlying mechanisms of Lig3 versus Lig1 utilization in DNA repair and replication are expected to be partly different and remain to be elucidated.


Paolinelli R.,IFOM FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation | Corada M.,IFOM FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation | Ferrarini L.,IFOM FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation | Devraj K.,Goethe University Frankfurt | And 14 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

Reproducing the characteristics and the functional responses of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in vitro represents an important task for the research community, and would be a critical biotechnological breakthrough. Pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries provide strong demand for inexpensive and easy-to-handle in vitro BBB models to screen novel drug candidates. Recently, it was shown that canonical Wnt signaling is responsible for the induction of the BBB properties in the neonatal brain microvasculature in vivo. In the present study, following on from earlier observations, we have developed a novel model of the BBB in vitro that may be suitable for large scale screening assays. This model is based on immortalized endothelial cell lines derived from murine and human brain, with no need for co-culture with astrocytes. To maintain the BBB endothelial cell properties, the cell lines are cultured in the presence of Wnt3a or drugs that stabilize β-catenin, or they are infected with a transcriptionally active form of β-catenin. Upon these treatments, the cell lines maintain expression of BBB-specific markers, which results in elevated transendothelial electrical resistance and reduced cell permeability. Importantly, these properties are retained for several passages in culture, and they can be reproduced and maintained in different laboratories over time. We conclude that the brain-derived endothelial cell lines that we have investigated gain their specialized characteristics upon activation of the canonical Wnt pathway. This model may be thus suitable to test the BBB permeability to chemicals or large molecular weight proteins, transmigration of inflammatory cells, treatments with cytokines, and genetic manipulation. © 2013 Paolinelli et al.


Lee C.,University of Southern California | Longo V.,University of Southern California | Longo V.,IFOM FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation
F1000Research | Year: 2016

Caloric restriction is the most effective and reproducible dietary intervention known to regulate aging and increase the healthy lifespan in various model organisms, ranging from the unicellular yeast to worms, flies, rodents, and primates. However, caloric restriction, which in most cases entails a 20-40% reduction of food consumption relative to normal intake, is a severe intervention that results in both beneficial and detrimental effects. Specific types of chronic, intermittent, or periodic dietary restrictions without chronic caloric restriction have instead the potential to provide a significant healthspan increase while minimizing adverse effects. Improved periodic or targeted dietary restriction regimens that uncouple the challenge of food deprivation from the beneficial effects will allow a safe intervention feasible for a major portion of the population. Here we focus on healthspan interventions that are not chronic or do not require calorie restriction. © 2016 Lee C and Longo V.


Buerstedde J.-M.,Yale University | Alinikula J.,Yale University | Alinikula J.,Howard Hughes Medical Institute | Arakawa H.,IFOM FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation | And 3 more authors.
PLoS Biology | Year: 2014

Somatic hypermutation (SH) generates point mutations within rearranged immunoglobulin (Ig) genes of activated B cells, providing genetic diversity for the affinity maturation of antibodies. SH requires the activation-induced cytidine deaminase (AID) protein and transcription of the mutation target sequence, but how the Ig gene specificity of mutations is achieved has remained elusive. We show here using a sensitive and carefully controlled assay that the Ig enhancers strongly activate SH in neighboring genes even though their stimulation of transcription is negligible. Mutations in certain E-box, NFκB, MEF2, or Ets family binding sites-known to be important for the transcriptional role of Ig enhancers-impair or abolish the activity. Full activation of SH typically requires a combination of multiple Ig enhancer and enhancer-like elements. The mechanism is evolutionarily conserved, as mammalian Ig lambda and Ig heavy chain intron enhancers efficiently stimulate hypermutation in chicken cells. Our results demonstrate a novel regulatory function for Ig enhancers, indicating that they either recruit AID or alter the accessibility of the nearby transcription units. © 2014 Buerstedde et al.


PubMed | IFOM FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Nucleic acids research | Year: 2016

All three B cell-specific activities of the immunoglobulin (Ig) gene re-modeling system-gene conversion, somatic hypermutation and class switch recombination-require activation-induced deaminase (AID). AID-induced DNA lesions must be further processed and dissected into different DNA recombination pathways. In order to characterize potential intermediates for Ig gene conversion, we inserted an I-SceI recognition site into the complementarity determining region 1 (CDR1) of the Ig light chain locus of the AID knockout DT40 cell line, and conditionally expressed I-SceI endonuclease. Here, we show that a double-strand break (DSB) in CDR1 is sufficient to trigger Ig gene conversion in the absence of AID. The pattern and pseudogene usage of DSB-induced gene conversion were comparable to those of AID-induced gene conversion; surprisingly, sometimes a single DSB induced multiple gene conversion events. These constitute direct evidence that a DSB in the V region can be an intermediate for gene conversion. The fate of the DNA lesion downstream of a DSB had more flexibility than that of AID, suggesting two alternative models: (i) DSBs during the physiological gene conversion are in the minority compared to single-strand breaks (SSBs), which are frequently generated following DNA deamination, or (ii) the physiological gene conversion is mediated by a tightly regulated DSB that is locally protected from non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) or other non-homologous DNA recombination machineries.


PubMed | IFOM FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Science advances | Year: 2016

The clustered regularly interspersed palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 (CRISPR-associated protein 9) system is a powerful tool for genome editing that can be used to construct a guide RNA (gRNA) library for genetic screening. For gRNA design, one must know the sequence of the 20-mer flanking the protospacer adjacent motif (PAM), which seriously impedes experimentally making gRNA. I describe a method to construct a gRNA library via molecular biology techniques without relying on bioinformatics. Briefly, one synthesizes complementary DNA from the mRNA sequence using a semi-random primer containing a PAM complementary sequence and then cuts out the 20-mer adjacent to the PAM using type IIS and type III restriction enzymes to create a gRNA library. The described approach does not require prior knowledge about the target DNA sequences, making it applicable to any species.

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