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Now showing items 1 - 16 of 34

  • Assessment of kinship detection using RNA-seq data.

    Blay, Natalia   Casas, Eduard   Galvan-Femenia, Ivan   Graffelman, Jan   de Cid, Rafael   Vavouri, Tanya  

    Analysis of RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) data from related individuals is widely used in clinical and molecular genetics studies. Prediction of kinship from RNA-seq data would be useful for confirming the expected relationships in family based studies and for highlighting samples from related individuals in case-control or population based studies. Currently, reconstruction of pedigrees is largely based on SNPs or microsatellites, obtained from genotyping arrays, whole genome sequencing and whole exome sequencing. Potential problems with using RNA-seq data for kinship detection are the low proportion of the genome that it covers, the highly skewed coverage of exons of different genes depending on expression level and allele-specific expression. In this study we assess the use of RNA-seq data to detect kinship between individuals, through pairwise identity by descent (IBD) estimates. First, we obtained high quality SNPs after successive filters to minimize the effects due to allelic imbalance as well as errors in sequencing, mapping and genotyping. Then, we used these SNPs to calculate pairwise IBD estimates. By analysing both real and simulated RNA-seq data we show that it is possible to identify up to second degree relationships using RNA-seq data of even low to moderate sequencing depth. =C2=A9 The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.
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  • Human sperm displays rapid responses to diet

    Kugelberg, Unn   Casas, Eduard   Nedstrand, Elizabeth   Zalavary, Stefan   Henriksson, Pontus   Nijm, Carola   Jaderquist, Julia   Sandborg, Johanna   Flinke, Eva   Ramesh, Rashmi   Orkenby, Lovisa   Appelkvist, Filip   Lingg, Thomas   Guzzi, Nicola   Bellodi, Cristian   Lof, Marie   Vavouri, Tanya  

    The global rise in obesity and steady decline in sperm quality are two alarming trends that have emerged during recent decades. In parallel, evidence from model organisms shows that paternal diet can affect offspring metabolic health in a process involving sperm tRNA-derived small RNA (tsRNA). Here, we report that human sperm are acutely sensitive to nutrient flux, both in terms of sperm motility and changes in sperm tsRNA. Over the course of a 2-week diet intervention, in which we first introduced a healthy diet followed by a diet rich in sugar, sperm motility increased and stabilized at high levels. Small RNA-seq on repeatedly sampled sperm from the same individuals revealed that tsRNAs were up-regulated by eating a high-sugar diet for just 1 week. Unsupervised clustering identified two independent pathways for the biogenesis of these tsRNAs: one involving a novel class of fragments with specific cleavage in the T-loop of mature nuclear tRNAs and the other exclusively involving mitochondrial tsRNAs. Mitochondrial involvement was further supported by a similar up-regulation of mitochondrial rRNA-derived small RNA (rsRNA). Notably, the changes in sugar-sensitive tsRNA were positively associated with simultaneous changes in sperm motility and negatively associated with obesity in an independent clinical cohort. This rapid response to a dietary intervention on tsRNA in human sperm is attuned with the paternal intergenerational metabolic responses found in model organisms. More importantly, our findings suggest shared diet-sensitive mechanisms between sperm motility and the biogenesis of tsRNA, which provide novel insights about the interplay between nutrition and male reproductive health.
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  • Transgenerational transmission of environmental information in C-elegans

    Klosin, Adam   Casas, Eduard   Hidalgo-Carcedo, Cristina   Vavouri, Tanya   Lehner, Ben  

    The environment experienced by an animal can sometimes influence gene expression for one or a few subsequent generations. Here, we report the observation that a temperature-induced change in expression from a Caenorhabditis elegans heterochromatic gene array can endure for at least 14 generations. Inheritance is primarily in cis with the locus, occurs through both oocytes and sperm, and is associated with altered trimethylation of histone H3 lysine 9 (H3K9me3) before the onset of zygotic transcription. Expression profiling reveals that temperature-induced expression from endogenous repressed repeats can also be inherited for multiple generations. Long-lasting epigenetic memory of environmental change is therefore possible in this animal.
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  • Trim28 Haploinsufficiency Triggers Bi-stable Epigenetic Obesity

    Dalgaard, Kevin   Landgraf, Kathrin   Heyne, Steffen   Lempradl, Adelheid   Longinotto, John   Gossens, Klaus   Ruf, Marius   Orthofer, Michael   Strogantsev, Ruslan   Selvaraj, Madhan   Lu, Tess Tsai-Hsiu   Casas, Eduard   Teperino, Raffaele   Surani, M. Azim   Zvetkova, Ilona   Rimmington, Debra   Tung, Y. C. Loraine   Lam, Brian   Larder, Rachel   Yeo, Giles S. H.   O'Rahilly, Stephen   Vavouri, Tanya   Whitelaw, Emma   Penninger, Josef M.   Jenuwein, Thomas   Cheung, Ching-Lung   Ferguson-Smith, Anne C.   Coll, Anthony P.   Koerner, Antje   Pospisilik, J. Andrew  

    More than one-half billion people are obese, and despite progress in genetic research, much of the heritability of obesity remains enigmatic. Here, we identify a Trim28-dependent network capable of triggering obesity in a non-Mendelian, "on/off" manner. Trim28(+/D9) mutant mice exhibit a bi-modal body-weight distribution, with isogenic animals randomly emerging as either normal or obese and few intermediates. We find that the obese-"on" state is characterized by reduced expression of an imprinted gene network including Nnat, Peg3, Cdkn1c, and Plagl1 and that independent targeting of these alleles recapitulates the stochastic bi-stable disease phenotype. Adipose tissue transcriptome analyses in children indicate that humans too cluster into distinct sub-populations, stratifying according to Trim28 expression, transcriptome organization, and obesity-associated imprinted gene dysregulation. These data provide evidence of discrete polyphenism in mouse and man and thus carry important implications for complex trait genetics, evolution, and medicine.
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  • [Methods in Molecular Biology] CpG Islands Volume 1766 ||

    Vavouri, Tanya   Peinado, Miguel A.  

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  • Genomic and proteomic dissection and characterization of the human sperm chromatin.

    Castillo, Judit   Amaral, Alexandra   Azpiazu, Ruben   Vavouri, Tanya   Estanyol, Josep Maria   Ballesca, Josep Lluis   Oliva, Rafael  

    The mammalian spermatozoon has a unique chromatin structure where the majority of DNA is packaged by protamines, while a small fraction (8%) remains associated with nucleosomes. However, the chromatin affinity and repertoire of the additional proteins constituting the different sperm chromatin fractions have not yet been explored. To address this we have carried out a genomic and proteomic characterization of human sperm samples subjected to chromatin fractionation using either 0.65 M NaCl extraction followed by EcoRI/BamHI DNA restriction enzyme digestion, or micrococcal nuclease digestion. DNA fractions corresponding to the nucleosome-packaged DNA were sequenced, confirming an appropriate dissection of the sperm chromatin. In addition we detected and sequenced a subnucleosomal particle. Although both fractions were highly enriched at gene promoters, some sequences were found to be exclusively associated with one of those. The results of the proteomic analyses demonstrate that there are two distinct sets of sperm proteins which differ in chromatin affinity. Histone variants, transcription factors, chromatin-associated and modifying proteins involved in regulatory roles were identified as weakly attached to the sperm DNA, whereas proteins with structural roles were identified in the condensed fraction. Many factors, such as the histone lysine demethylase PHF8 identified for the first time in the human sperm cell in this study, were identified exclusively in soluble fraction. Our results provide additional support to the possibility that all of these factors may constitute additional layers of sperm epigenetic information or have structural or regulatory roles transmitted by the sperm cell to the oocyte at fertilization. =C2=A9 The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email:
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  • Predicting genetic modifier loci using functional gene networks RID F-7722-2010

    Lee, Insuk   Lehner, Ben   Vavouri, Tanya   Shin, Junha   Fraser, Andrew G.   Marcotte, Edward M.  

    Most phenotypes are genetically complex, with contributions from mutations in many different genes. Mutations in more than one gene can combine synergistically to cause phenotypic change, and systematic studies in model organisms show that these genetic interactions are pervasive. However, in human association studies such nonadditive genetic interactions are very difficult to identify because of a lack of statistical power simply put, the number of potential interactions is too vast. One approach to resolve this is to predict candidate modifier interactions between loci, and then to specifically test these for associations with the phenotype. Here, we describe a general method for predicting genetic interactions based on the use of integrated functional gene networks. We show that in both Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Caenorhabditis elegans a single high-coverage, high-quality functional network can successfully predict genetic modifiers for the majority of genes. For C. elegans we also describe the construction of a new, improved, and expanded functional network, WormNet 2. Using this network we demonstrate how it is possible to rapidly expand the number of modifier loci known for a gene, predicting and validating new genetic interactions for each of three signal transduction genes. We propose that this approach, termed network-guided modifier screening, provides a general strategy for predicting genetic interactions. This work thus suggests that a high-quality integrated human gene network will provide a powerful resource for modifier locus discovery in many different diseases.
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  • Tuning in to the signals: noncoding sequence conservation in vertebrate genornes

    Elgar, Greg   Vavouri, Tanya  

    Aligning and comparing genomic sequences enables the identification of conserved sequence signatures and can enrich for coding and noncoding functional regions. In vertebrates, the comparison of human and rodent genomes and the comparison of evolutionarily distant genornes, such as human and pufferfish, have identified specific sets of 'ultraconserved' sequence elements associated with the control of early development. However, is this just the tip of a 'conservation iceberg' or do these sequences represent a specific class of regulatory element? Studies on the zebrafish phox2b gene region and the ENCODE project suggest that many regulatory elements are not highly conserved, posing intriguing questions about the relationship between noncoding sequence conservation and function and the evolution of regulatory sequences.
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  • [Methods in Molecular Biology] CpG Islands Volume 1766 || CpG Islands: A Historical Perspective

    Vavouri, Tanya   Peinado, Miguel A.  

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  • Highly conserved non-coding sequences are associated with vertebrate development.

    Woolfe, Adam   Goodson, Martin   Goode, Debbie K   Snell, Phil   McEwen, Gayle K   Vavouri, Tanya   Smith, Sarah F   North, Phil   Callaway, Heather   Kelly, Krys   Walter, Klaudia   Abnizova, Irina   Gilks, Walter   Edwards, Yvonne J K   Cooke, Julie E   Elgar, Greg  

    In addition to protein coding sequence, the human genome contains a significant amount of regulatory DNA, the identification of which is proving somewhat recalcitrant to both in silico and functional methods. An approach that has been used with some success is comparative sequence analysis, whereby equivalent genomic regions from different organisms are compared in order to identify both similarities and differences. In general, similarities in sequence between highly divergent organisms imply functional constraint. We have used a whole-genome comparison between humans and the pufferfish, Fugu rubripes, to identify nearly 1,400 highly conserved non-coding sequences. Given the evolutionary divergence between these species, it is likely that these sequences are found in, and furthermore are essential to, all vertebrates. Most, and possibly all, of these sequences are located in and around genes that act as developmental regulators. Some of these sequences are over 90% identical across more than 500 bases, being more highly conserved than coding sequence between these two species. Despite this, we cannot find any similar sequences in invertebrate genomes. In order to begin to functionally test this set of sequences, we have used a rapid in vivo assay system using zebrafish embryos that allows tissue-specific enhancer activity to be identified. Functional data is presented for highly conserved non-coding sequences associated with four unrelated developmental regulators (SOX21, PAX6, HLXB9, and SHH), in order to demonstrate the suitability of this screen to a wide range of genes and expression patterns. Of 25 sequence elements tested around these four genes, 23 show significant enhancer activity in one or more tissues. We have identified a set of non-coding sequences that are highly conserved throughout vertebrates. They are found in clusters across the human genome, principally around genes that are implicated in the regulation of development, including many transcription factors. These highly conserved non-coding sequences are likely to form part of the genomic circuitry that uniquely defines vertebrate development.
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  • Widespread conservation of genetic redundancy during a billion years of eukaryotic evolution

    Vavouri, Tanya   Semple, Jennifer I.   Lehner, Ben  

    Genetic redundancy means that two genes can perform the same function. Using a comprehensive phylogenetic analysis, we show here in both Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Caenorhabditis elegans that genetic redundancy is not just a transient consequence of gene duplication, but is often an evolutionary stable state. In multiple examples, genes have retained redundant functions since the divergence of the animal, plant and fungi kingdoms over a billion years ago. The stable conservation of genetic redundancy contrasts with the more rapid evolution of genetic interactions between unrelated genes and can be explained by theoretical models including a 'piggyback' mechanism in which overlapping redundant functions are co-selected with nonredundant ones.
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  • Human genes with CpG island promoters have a distinct transcription-associated chromatin organization

    Vavouri, Tanya   Lehner, Ben  

    Background: More than 50% of human genes initiate transcription from CpG dinucleotide-rich regions referred to as CpG islands. These genes show differences in their patterns of transcription initiation, and have been reported to have higher levels of some activation-associated chromatin modifications. Results: Here we report that genes with CpG island promoters have a characteristic transcription-associated chromatin organization. This signature includes high levels of the transcription elongation-associated histone modifications H4K20me1, H2BK5me1 and H3K79me1/2/3 in the 5' end of the gene, depletion of the activation marks H2AK5ac, H3K14ac and H3K23ac immediately downstream of the transcription start site (TSS), and characteristic epigenetic asymmetries around the TSS. The chromosome organization factor CTCF may be bound upstream of RNA polymerase in most active CpG island promoters, and an unstable nucleosome at the TSS may be specifically marked by H4K20me3, the first example of such a modification. H3K36 monomethylation is only detected as enriched in the bodies of active genes that have CpG island promoters. Finally, as expression levels increase, peak modification levels of the histone methylations H3K9me1, H3K4me1, H3K4me2 and H3K27me1 shift further away from the TSS into the gene body. Conclusions: These results suggest that active genes with CpG island promoters have a distinct step-like series of modified nucleosomes after the TSS. The identity, positioning, shape and relative ordering of transcription-associated histone modifications differ between genes with and without CpG island promoters. This supports a model where chromatin organization reflects not only transcription activity but also the type of promoter in which transcription initiates.
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  • Intrinsic Protein Disorder and Interaction Promiscuity Are Widely Associated with Dosage Sensitivity

    Vavouri, Tanya   Semple, Jennifer I.   Garcia-Verdugo, Rosa   Lehner, Ben  

    Why are genes harmful when they are overexpressed? By testing possible causes of overexpression phenotypes in yeast, we identify intrinsic protein disorder as an important determinant of dosage sensitivity. Disordered regions are prone to make promiscuous molecular interactions when their concentration is increased, and we demonstrate that this is the likely cause of pathology when genes are overexpressed. We validate our findings in two animals, Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. In mice and humans the same properties are strongly associated with dosage-sensitive oncogenes, such that mass-action-driven molecular interactions may be a frequent cause of cancer. Dosage-sensitive genes are tightly regulated at the transcriptional, RNA, and protein levels, which may serve to prevent harmful increases in protein concentration under physiological conditions. Mass-action-driven interaction promiscuity is a single theoretical framework that can be used to understand, predict, and possibly treat the effects of increased gene expression in evolution and disease.
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  • [Methods in Molecular Biology] CpG Islands Volume 1766 || CpG Islands in Cancer: Heads, Tails, and Sides

    Vavouri, Tanya   Peinado, Miguel A.  

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  • Impaired DNA replication derepresses chromatin and generates a transgenerationally inherited epigenetic memory

    Klosin, Adam   Reis, Kadri   Hidalgo-Carcedo, Cristina   Casas, Eduard   Vavouri, Tanya   Lehner, Ben  

    Impaired DNA replication is a hallmark of cancer and a cause of genomic instability. We report that, in addition to causing genetic change, impaired DNA replication during embryonic development can have major epigenetic consequences for a genome. In a genome-wide screen, we identified impaired DNA replication as a cause of increased expression from a repressed transgene in Caenorhabditis elegans. The acquired expression state behaved as an " epiallele," being inherited for multiple generations before fully resetting. Derepression was not restricted to the transgene but was caused by a global reduction in heterochromatin-associated histone modifications due to the impaired retention of modified histones on DNA during replication in the early embryo. Impaired DNA replication during development can therefore globally derepress chromatin, creating new intergenerationally inherited epigenetic expression states.
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  • Theatre: A software tool for detailed comparative analysis and visualization of genomic sequence.

    Carver, Tim J.   Vavouri, Tanya   Frith, Martin   Bishop, Martin J.   Elgar, Greg  

    Theatre is a web-based computing system designed for the comparative analysis of genomic sequences, especially with respect to motifs likely to be involved in the regulation of gene expression. Theatre is an interface to commonly used sequence analysis tools and biological sequence databases to determine or predict the positions of coding regions, repetitive sequences and transcription factor binding sites in families of DNA sequences. The information is displayed in a manner that can be easily understood and can reveal patterns that might not otherwise have been noticed. In addition to web-based output, Theatre can produce publication quality colour hardcopies showing predicted features in aligned genomic sequences. A case study using the p53 promoter region of four mammalian species and two fish species is described. Unlike the mammalian sequences the promoter regions in fish have not been previously predicted or characterized and we report the differences in the p53 promoter region of four mammals and that predicted for two fish species. Theatre can be accessed at
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