Recent CIG publications Archive


J Phys Chem B.: auth.: A.Stasiak

 2018 Sep 10. doi: 10.1021/acs.jpcb.8b07634. [Epub ahead of print]

Protein Knotting by Active Threading of Nascent Polypeptide Chain Exiting From the Ribosome Exit Channel.


The mechanism of folding of deeply knotted proteins into their native structure is still not understood. Current thinking about protein folding is dominated by the Anfinsen dogma stating that the structure of the folded proteins is uniquely dictated by the amino acid sequence of a given protein and that the folding is driven uniquely by the energy gained from interactions between amino acids that contact each other in the native structure of the protein. The role of ribosomes in protein folding was only seen as permitting the folding to progress from the N-terminal part of nascent protein chains. We propose here that ribosomes can participate actively in the folding of knotted proteins by actively threading nascent chains emerging from the ribosome exit channels through loops formed by a synthesized earlier portion of the same protein. Our simulations of folding of deeply knotted protein Tp0624 positively verify the proposed ribosome-driven active threading mechanism leading to the formation of deeply knotted proteins.

PMID: 30198720

Genet Med.: co-auth.: group Reymond

 2018 Sep 7. doi: 10.1038/s41436-018-0266-3. [Epub ahead of print]

Rare variants in the genetic background modulate cognitive and developmental phenotypes in individuals carrying disease-associated variants.



To assess the contribution of rare variants in the genetic background toward variability of neurodevelopmental phenotypes in individuals with rare copy-number variants (CNVs) and gene-disruptive variants.


We analyzed quantitative clinical information, exome sequencing, and microarray data from 757 probands and 233 parents and siblings who carry disease-associated variants.


The number of rare likely deleterious variants in functionally intolerant genes (“other hits”) correlated with expression of neurodevelopmental phenotypes in probands with 16p12.1 deletion (n=23, p=0.004) and in autism probands carrying gene-disruptive variants (n=184, p=0.03) compared with their carrier family members. Probands with 16p12.1 deletion and a strong family history presented more severe clinical features (p=0.04) and higher burden of other hits compared with those with mild/no family history (p=0.001). The number of other hits also correlated with severity of cognitive impairment in probands carrying pathogenic CNVs (n=53) or de novo pathogenic variants in disease genes (n=290), and negatively correlated with head size among 80 probands with 16p11.2 deletion. These co-occurring hits involved known disease-associated genes such as SETD5, AUTS2, and NRXN1, and were enriched for cellular and developmental processes.


Accurate genetic diagnosis of complex disorders will require complete evaluation of the genetic background even after a candidate disease-associated variant is identified.


16p11.2 deletion; CNV; autism; modifier; phenotypic variability

PMID: 30190612



J Biol Chem.: auth.: group Herr and co-auth.: PAF

 2018 Sep 17. pii: jbc.RA118.004185. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA118.004185. [Epub ahead of print]

The conserved threonine-rich region of the HCF-1PRO repeat activates promiscuous OGT:UDP-GlcNAc glycosylation and proteolysis activities.


O-linked N-acetylglucosamine transferase (OGT) possesses dual glycosyltransferase-protease activities. OGT thereby stably glycosylates serines and threonines of numerous proteins and, via a transient glutamate glycosylation, cleaves a single known substrate-the so-called HCF-1PRO repeat of the transcriptional co-regulator host-cell factor 1 (HCF-1). Here, we probed the relationship between these distinct glycosylation and proteolytic activities. For proteolysis, the HCF-1PRO repeat possesses an important extended threonine-rich region that is tightly bound by the OGT tetratricopeptide-repeat (TPR) region. We report that linkage of this HCF-1PRO-repeat, threonine-rich region to heterologous substrate sequences also potentiates robust serine glycosylation with the otherwise poor Rp-αS-UDP-GlcNAc diastereomer phosphorothioate and UDP-5S-GlcNAc OGT co-substrates. Furthermore, it potentiated proteolysis of a non-HCF-1PRO-repeat cleavage sequence, provided it contained an appropriately positioned glutamate residue. Using serine- or glutamate-containing HCF-1PRO-repeat sequences, we show that proposed OGT-based or UDP-GlcNAc-based serine-acceptor residue activation mechanisms can be circumvented independently, but not when disrupted together. In contrast, disruption of both proposed activation mechanisms even in combination did not inhibit OGT-mediated proteolysis. These results reveal a multiplicity of OGT glycosylation strategies, some leading to proteolysis, which could be targets of alternative molecular regulatory strategies.


Host-cell factor-1; O-GlcNAcylation; O-linked N-acetylglucosamine (O-GlcNAc) transferase (OGT); enzyme mechanism; glycobiology; post-translational modification (PTM)

PMID: 30224358



Epigenetics Chromatin.: auth.: group Hernandez & Herr

 2018 Sep 12;11(1):52. doi: 10.1186/s13072-018-0222-0.

Cycles of gene expression and genome response during mammalian tissue regeneration.



Compensatory liver hyperplasia-or regeneration-induced by two-thirds partial hepatectomy (PH) permits the study of synchronized activation of mammalian gene expression, particularly in relation to cell proliferation. Here, we measured genomic transcriptional responses and mRNA accumulation changes after PH and sham surgeries.


During the first 10-20 h, the PH- and sham-surgery responses were very similar, including parallel early activation of cell-division-cycle genes. After 20 h, however, whereas post-PH livers continued with a robust and coordinate cell-division-cycle gene-expression response before returning to the resting state by 1 week, sham-surgery livers returned directly to a resting gene-expression state. Localization of RNA polymerase II (Pol II), and trimethylated histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4me3) and 36 (H3K36me3) on genes dormant in the resting liver and activated during the PH response revealed a general de novo promoter Pol II recruitment and H3K4me3 increase during the early 10-20 h phase followed by Pol II elongation and H3K36me3 accumulation in gene bodies during the later proliferation phase. H3K36me3, generally appearing at the first internal exon, was preceded 5′ by H3K36me2; 3′ of the first internal exon, in about half of genes H3K36me3 predominated and in the other half H3K36me2 and H3K36me3 co-existed. Further, we observed some unusual gene profiles with abundant Pol II but little evident H3K4me3 or H3K36me3 modification, indicating that these modifications are neither universal nor essential partners to Pol II transcription.


PH and sham surgical procedures on mice reveal striking early post-operatory gene expression similarities followed by synchronized mRNA accumulation and epigenetic histone mark changes specific to PH.


Gene expression; Histone modification; Liver regeneration; Partial hepatectomy; Transcription

PMID: 30208973



Bioinformatics.: auth.: group Dessimoz

 2018 Sep 1. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/bty772. [Epub ahead of print]

Phylogenetic approaches to identifying fragments of the same gene, with application to the wheat genome.



As the time and cost of sequencing decrease, the number of available genomes and transcriptomes rapidly increases. Yet the quality of the assemblies and the gene annotations varies considerably and often remains poor, affecting downstream analyses. This is particularly true when fragments of the same gene are annotated as distinct genes, which may cause them to be mistaken as paralogs.


In this study, we introduce two novel phylogenetic tests to infer non-overlapping or partially overlapping genes that are in fact parts of the same gene. One approach collapses branches with low bootstrap support and the other computes a likelihood ratio test. We extensively validated these methods by 1) introducing and recovering fragmentation on the bread wheat, Triticum aestivum cv. Chinese Spring, chromosome 3B; 2) by applying the methods to the low-quality 3B assembly and validating predictions against the high-quality 3B assembly; and 3) by comparing the performance of the proposed methods to the performance of existing methods, namely Ensembl Compara and ESPRIT. Application of this combination to a draft shotgun assembly of the entire bread wheat genome revealed 1221 pairs of genes that are highly likely to be fragments of the same gene. Our approach demonstrates the power of fine-grained evolutionary inferences across multiple species to improving genome assemblies and annotations.


An open source software tool is available at


Supplementary data are available at Bioinformatics online.

PMID: 30184069



Cancer Res.: auth.: group Michalik

 2018 Sep 5. pii: canres.0912.2018. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-0912. [Epub ahead of print]

Induction of paracrine signaling in metastatic melanoma cells by PPARγ agonist rosiglitazone activates stromal cells and enhances tumor growth.


In addition to improving insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes, the thiazolidinedione family of compounds and the pharmacologic activation of their best characterized target PPARγ has been proposed as a therapeutic option for cancer treatment. In this study, we reveal a new mode of action for the thiazolidinedione rosiglitazone that can contribute to tumorigenesis. Rosiglitazone activated a tumorigenic paracrine communication program in a subset of human melanoma cells that involves the secretion of cytokines, chemokines, and angiogenic factors. This complex blend of paracrine signals activated non-malignant fibroblasts, endothelial cells, and macrophages in a tumor-friendly way. In agreement with these data, rosiglitazone promoted human melanoma development in xenografts, and tumors exposed to rosiglitazone exhibited enhanced angiogenesis and inflammation. Together, these findings establish an important tumorigenic action of rosiglitazone in a subset of melanoma cells. While studies conducted on cohorts of diabetic patients report overall benefits of thiazolidinediones in cancer prevention, our data suggest that exposure of established tumors to rosiglitazone may be deleterious.

PMID: 30185551