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Kim K.-Y.,Yale University | Jung Y.W.,Yale University | Jung Y.W.,CHA Medical University | Sullivan G.J.,University of Oslo | And 3 more authors.
Trends in Molecular Medicine | Year: 2012

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by impairment in reciprocal social interaction and communication, as well as the manifestation of stereotyped behaviors. Despite much effort, ASDs are not yet fully understood. Advanced genetics and genomics technologies have recently identified novel ASD genes, and approaches using genetically engineered murine models or postmortem human brain have facilitated understanding ASD. Reprogramming somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) provides unprecedented opportunities in generating human disease models. Here, we present an overview of applying iPSCs in developing cellular models for understanding ASD. We also discuss future perspectives in the use of iPSCs as a source of cell therapy and as a screening platform for identifying small molecules with efficacy for alleviating ASD. © 2012.


Lindeman L.C.,University of Oslo | Lindeman L.C.,Norwegian Center for Stem Cell Research | Winata C.L.,Genome Institute of Singapore | Havard A.,BasAM | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Developmental Biology | Year: 2010

Embryo development proceeds from a cascade of gene activation and repression events controlled by epigenetic modifications of DNA and histones. Little is known about epigenetic states in the developing zebrafish, despite its importance as a model organism. We report here DNA methylation and histone modification profiles of promoters of developmentallyregulated genes (pou5f1, sox2, sox3, klf4, nnr, otx1b, nes, vasa), as well as tert and bactin2, in zebrafish embryos at the mid-late blastula transition, shortly after embryonic genome activation. We identify four classes of promoters based on the following profiles: (i) those enriched in marks of active genes (H3K9ac, H4ac, H3K4me3) without transcriptionally repressing H3K9me3 or H3K27me3; (ii) those enriched in H3K9ac, H4ac and H3K27me3, without H3K9me3; one such gene was klf4, shown by in situ hybridization to be mosaically expressed, likely accounting for the detection of both activating and repressive marks on its promoter; (iii) those enriched in H3K4me3 and H3K27me3 without acetylation; and (iv) those enriched in all histone modifications examined. Culture of embryo-derived cells under differentiation conditions leads to H3K9 and H4 deacetylation and H3K9 and H3K27 trimethylation on genes that are inactivated, yielding an epigenetic profile similar to those of fibroblasts or muscle. All promoters however retain H3K4me3, indicating an uncoupling of H3K4me3 occupancy and gene expression. All non-CpG island developmentally-regulated promoters are DNA unmethylated in embryos, but hypermethylated in fibroblasts. Our results suggest that differentially expressed embryonic genes are regulated by various patterns of histone modifications on unmethylated DNA, which create a developmentally permissive chromatin state. © 2010 UBC Press.


Aanes H.,BasAM | Winata C.L.,Genome Institute of Singapore | Lin C.H.,Genome Institute of Singapore | Chen J.P.,Genome Institute of Singapore | And 11 more authors.
Genome Research | Year: 2011

Maternally deposited mRNAs direct early development before the initiation of zygotic transcription during mid-blastula transition (MBT). To study mechanisms regulating this developmental event in zebrafish, we applied mRNA deep sequencing technology and generated comprehensive information and valuable resources on transcriptome dynamics during early embryonic (egg to early gastrulation) stages. Genome-wide transcriptome analysis documented at least 8000 maternal genes and identified the earliest cohort of zygotic transcripts. We determined expression levels of maternal and zygotic transcripts with the highest resolution possible using mRNA-seq and clustered them based on their expression pattern. We unravel delayed polyadenylation in a large cohort of maternal transcripts prior to the MBT for the first time in zebrafish. Blocking polyadenylation of these transcripts confirms their role in regulating development from the MBT onward. Our study also identified a large number of novel transcribed regions in annotated and unannotated regions of the genome, which will facilitate reannotation of the zebrafish genome. We also identified splice variants with an estimated frequency of 50%-60%. Taken together, our data constitute a useful genomic information and valuable transcriptome resource for gene discovery and for understanding the mechanisms of early embryogenesis in zebrafish. © 2011 by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.


Siller R.,University of Oslo | Greenhough S.,University of Oslo | Park I.-H.,Yale University | Sullivan G.J.,University of Oslo | Sullivan G.J.,Norwegian Center for Stem Cell Research
Current Gene Therapy | Year: 2013

Recent progress in the field of cellular reprogramming has opened up the doors to a new era of disease modeling, as pluripotent stem cells representing a myriad of genetic diseases can now be produced from patient tissue. These cells can be expanded and differentiated to produce a potentially limitless supply of the affected cell type, which can then be used as a tool to improve understanding of disease mechanisms and test therapeutic interventions. This process requires high levels of scrutiny and validation at every stage, but international standards for the characterisation of pluripotent cells and their progeny have yet to be established. Here we discuss the current state of the art with regard to modelling diseases affecting the ectodermal, mesodermal and endodermal lineages, focusing on studies which have demonstrated a disease phenotype in the tissue of interest. We also discuss the utility of pluripotent cell technology for the modelling of cancer and infectious disease. Finally, we spell out the technical and scientific challenges which must be addressed if the field is to deliver on its potential and produce improved patient outcomes in the clinic. © 2013 Bentham Science Publishers.


Barrand S.,University of Oslo | Barrand S.,Norwegian Center for Stem Cell Research | Collas P.,University of Oslo | Collas P.,Norwegian Center for Stem Cell Research
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications | Year: 2010

Oct4, Nanog and Sox2 constitute a core of transcription factors controlling pluripotency. Differentiation and reprogramming studies have unraveled a few epigenetic modifications associated in relation to the expression state of OCT4, NANOG and SOX2. There is, however, no comprehensive map of chromatin states on these genes in human primary cells at different stages of differentiation. We report here a profile of DNA methylation and of 10 histone modifications on regulatory regions of OCT4, NANOG and SOX2 in embryonal carcinoma cells, mesenchymal stem cells and fibroblasts. Bisulfite sequencing reveals correlation between promoter CpG methylation and repression of OCT4, but not NANOG or SOX2, suggesting distinct repression mechanisms. Whereas none of these genes, even when inactive, harbor repressive trimethylated H3K9, CpG hypomethylated NANOG and SOX2, but not CpG methylated OCT4, are enriched in repressive H3K27me3. H3K79me1 and H3K79me3 tend to parallel each other and are linked to repression. Moreover, we highlight an inverse relationship between H3K27me3 occupancy on promoters and H3K36me3 occupancy on coding regions of OCT4, NANOG and SOX2, suggesting a cross-talk between K27 and K36 methylation. Establishment of distinct repression mechanisms for pluripotency-associated genes may constitute a safeguard system to prevent promiscuous reactivation during development or differentiation. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Aanes H.,BasAM | Ostrup O.,University of Oslo | Ostrup O.,Norwegian Center for Stem Cell Research | Andersen I.S.,University of Oslo | And 6 more authors.
BMC Genomics | Year: 2013

Background: Zebrafish embryos are transcriptionally silent until activation of the zygotic genome during the 10th cell cycle. Onset of transcription is followed by cellular and morphological changes involving cell speciation and gastrulation. Previous genome-wide surveys of transcriptional changes only assessed gene expression levels; however, recent studies have shown the necessity to map isoform-specific transcriptional changes. Here, we perform isoform discovery and quantification on transcriptome sequences from before and after zebrafish zygotic genome activation (ZGA).Results: We identify novel isoforms and isoform switches during ZGA for genes related to cell adhesion, pluripotency and DNA methylation. Isoform switching events include alternative splicing and changes in transcriptional start sites and in 3' untranslated regions. New isoforms are identified even for well-characterized genes such as pou5f1, sall4 and dnmt1. Genes involved in cell-cell interactions such as f11r and magi1 display isoform switches with alterations of coding sequences. We also detect over 1000 transcripts that acquire a longer 3' terminal exon when transcribed by the zygote compared to their maternal transcript counterparts. ChIP-sequencing data mapped onto skipped exon events reveal a correlation between histone H3K36 trimethylation peaks and skipped exons, suggesting epigenetic marks being part of alternative splicing regulation.Conclusions: The novel isoforms and isoform switches reported here include regulators of transcriptional, cellular and morphological changes taking place around ZGA. Our data display an array of isoform-related functional changes and represent a valuable resource complementary to existing early embryo transcriptomes. © 2013 Aanes et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.


Siller R.,University of Oslo | Greenhough S.,University of Oslo | Naumovska E.,University of Oslo | Sullivan G.J.,University of Oslo | Sullivan G.J.,Norwegian Center for Stem Cell Research
Stem Cell Reports | Year: 2015

The differentiation of pluripotent stem cells to hepatocytes is well established, yet current methods suffer from several drawbacks. These include a lack of definition and reproducibility, which in part stems from continued reliance on recombinant growth factors. This has remained a stumbling block for the translation of the technology into industry and the clinic for reasons associated with cost and quality. We have devised a growth-factor-free protocol that relies on small molecules to differentiate human pluripotent stem cells toward a hepatic phenotype. The procedure can efficiently direct both human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells to hepatocyte-like cells. The final population of cells demonstrates marker expression at the transcriptional and protein levels, as well as key hepatic functions such as serum protein production, glycogen storage, and cytochrome P450 activity. © 2015 The Authors.


Waaler J.,University of Oslo | Waaler J.,Norwegian Center for Stem Cell Research | Machon O.,University of Oslo | Machon O.,Norwegian Center for Stem Cell Research | And 15 more authors.
Cancer Research | Year: 2011

Canonical Wnt signaling is deregulated in several types of human cancer where it plays a central role in tumor cell growth and progression. Here we report the identification of 2 new small molecules that specifically inhibit canonical Wnt pathway at the level of the destruction complex. Specificity was verified in various cellular reporter systems, a Xenopus double-axis formation assay and a gene expression profile analysis. In human colorectal cancer (CRC) cells, the new compounds JW67 and JW74 rapidly reduced active β-catenin with a subsequent downregulation of Wnt target genes, including AXIN2, SP5, and NKD1. Notably, AXIN2 protein levels were strongly increased after compound exposure. Long-term treatment with JW74 inhibited the growth of tumor cells in both a mouse xenograft model of CRC and in ApcMin mice (multiple intestinal neoplasia, Min). Our findings rationalize further preclinical and clinical evaluation of these new compounds as novel modalities for cancer treatment. ©2011 AACR.


Ostrup O.,Copenhagen University | Ostrup O.,University of Oslo | Ostrup O.,Norwegian Center for Stem Cell Research | Hyttel P.,Copenhagen University | And 3 more authors.
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications | Year: 2011

Extracts from Xenopus eggs can reprogram gene expression in somatic nuclei, however little is known about the earliest processes associated with the switch in the transcriptional program. We show here that an early reprogramming event is the remodeling of ribosomal chromatin and gene expression. This occurs within hours of extract treatment and is distinct from a stress response. Egg extract elicits remodeling of the nuclear envelope, chromatin and nucleolus. Nucleolar remodeling involves a rapid and stable decrease in ribosomal gene transcription, and promoter targeting of the nucleolar remodeling complex component SNF2H without affecting occupancy of the transcription factor UBF and the stress silencers SUV39H1 and SIRT1. During this process, nucleolar localization of UBF and SIRT1 is not altered. On contrary, azacytidine pre-treatment has an adverse effect on rDNA remodeling induced by extract and elicits a stress-type nuclear response. Thus, an early event of Xenopus egg extract-mediated nuclear reprogramming is the remodeling of ribosomal genes involving nucleolar remodeling complex. Condition-specific and rapid silencing of ribosomal genes may serve as a sensitive marker for evaluation of various reprogramming methods. © 2011 Elsevier Inc.


Cornez I.,University of Oslo | Joel M.,University of Oslo | Joel M.,Norwegian Center for Stem Cell Research | Tasken K.,University of Oslo | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Neuro-Oncology | Year: 2013

Development of novel patient stratification tools for cancer is a challenge that require advanced molecular screening and a detailed understanding of tumour signalling networks. Here, we apply phospho-specific flow cytometry for signal profiling of primary glioblastoma tumours after preservation of single-cell phosphorylation status as a strategy for evaluation of tumour signalling potential and assessment of rapamycin-mediated mTOR inhibition. The method has already enhanced insight into cancers and disorders of the immune system, and our study demonstrate a great potential to improve the understanding of aberrant signalling in glioblastoma and other solid tumours. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

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