Weekly Top Scientific Research Review (17/4/2017 – 21/4/2017)

A new week again! What is the progress of your research this week? Anyway, be relax, and read the latest research report with us.

1. Assembly of embryonic and extraembryonic stem cells to mimic embryogenesis in vitro.

Mammalian embryogenesis requires intricate interactions between embryonic and extraembryonic tissues to orchestrate and coordinate morphogenesis with changes in developmental potential. Here, Sarah Ellys Harrison at University of Cambridge, Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience in Cambridge, UK and her colleagues combined mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) and extraembryonic trophoblast stem cells (TSCs) in a three-dimensional scaffold to generate structures whose morphogenesis is markedly similar to that of natural embryos. By using genetically modified stem cells and specific inhibitors, the team show that embryogenesis of ESC- and TSC-derived embryos—ETS-embryos—depends on cross-talk involving Nodal signaling. When ETS-embryos develop, they spontaneously initiate expression of mesoderm and primordial germ cell markers asymmetrically on the embryonic and extraembryonic border, in response to Wnt and BMP signaling. Their study demonstrates the ability of distinct stem cell types to self-assemble in vitro to generate embryos whose morphogenesis, architecture, and constituent cell types resemble those of natural embryos.

Read more, please click http://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6334/eaal1810

2. A murine preclinical syngeneic transplantation model for breast cancer precision medicine.

Weekly Top Scientific Research Review (17/4/2017 – 21/4/2017)Lorenzo Federico at Department of Systems Biology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, USA and his colleagues previously demonstrated that altered activity of lysophosphatidic acid in murine mammary glands promotes tumorigenesis. They have now established and characterized a heterogeneous collection of mouse-derived syngeneic transplants (MDSTs) as preclinical platforms for the assessment of personalized pharmacological therapies. Detailed molecular and phenotypic analyses revealed that MDSTs are the most heterogeneous group of genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) of breast cancer yet observed. Response of MDSTs to trametinib, a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) kinase inhibitor, correlated with RAS/MAPK signaling activity, as expected from studies in xenografts and clinical trials providing validation of the utility of the model. Sensitivity of MDSTs to talazoparib, a poly(adenosine 5′-diphosphate-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor, was predicted by PARP1 protein levels and by a new PARP sensitivity predictor (PSP) score developed from integrated analysis of drug sensitivity data of human cell lines. PSP score–based classification of The Cancer Genome Atlas breast cancer suggested that a subset of patients with limited therapeutic options would be expected to benefit from PARP-targeted drugs. These results indicate that MDSTs are useful models for studies of targeted therapies, and propose novel potential biomarkers for identification of breast cancer patients likely to benefit from personalized pharmacological treatments.

Read more, please click http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/4/e1600957

3. CRISPR-Cpf1 correction of muscular dystrophy mutations in human cardiomyocytes and mice.

Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), caused by mutations in the X-linked dystrophin gene (DMD), is characterized by fatal degeneration of striated muscles. Dilated cardiomyopathy is one of the most common lethal features of the disease. Yu Zhang at Department of Molecular Biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, USA and his colleagues deployed Cpf1, a unique class 2 CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) effector, to correct DMD mutations in patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and mdx mice, an animal model of DMD. Cpf1-mediated genomic editing of human iPSCs, either by skipping of an out-of-frame DMD exon or by correcting a nonsense mutation, restored dystrophin expression after differentiation to cardiomyocytes and enhanced contractile function. Similarly, pathophysiological hallmarks of muscular dystrophy were corrected in mdx mice following Cpf1-mediated germline editing. These findings are the first to show the efficiency of Cpf1-mediated correction of genetic mutations in human cells and an animal disease model and represent a significant step toward therapeutic translation of gene editing for correction of DMD.

Read more, please click http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/4/e1602814

4. The kinase TPL2 activates ERK and p38 signaling to promote neutrophilic inflammation.

Tumor progression locus 2 (TPL2; also known as MAP3K8) is a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) kinase kinase (MAP3K) that phosphorylates the MAPK kinases MEK1 and MEK2 (MEK1/2), which, in turn, activate the MAPKs extracellular signal–regulated kinase 1 (ERK1) and ERK2 (ERK1/2) in macrophages stimulated through the interleukin-1 receptor (IL-1R), Toll-like receptors (TLRs), or the tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR). Kate Senger at Genentech Research, Genentech Inc. in South San Francisco, USA and his colleagues describe a conserved and critical role for TPL2 in mediating the effector functions of neutrophils through the activation of the p38 MAPK signaling pathway. Gene expression profiling and functional studies of neutrophils and monocytes revealed a MEK1/2-independent branch point downstream of TPL2 in neutrophils. Biochemical analyses identified the MAPK kinases MEK3 and MEK6 and the MAPKs p38α and p38δ as downstream effectors of TPL2 in these cells. Genetic ablation of the catalytic activity of TPL2 or therapeutic intervention with a TPL2-specific inhibitor reduced the production of inflammatory mediators by neutrophils in response to stimulation with the TLR4 agonist lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in vitro, as well as in rodent models of inflammatory disease. Together, these data suggest that TPL2 is a drug target that activates not only MEK1/2-dependent but also MEK3/6-dependent signaling to promote inflammatory responses.

Read more, please click http://stke.sciencemag.org/content/10/475/eaah4273

5. Improving genetic diagnosis in Mendelian disease with transcriptome sequencing.

Exome and whole-genome sequencing are becoming increasingly routine approaches in Mendelian disease diagnosis. Despite their success, the current diagnostic rate for genomic analyses across a variety of rare diseases is approximately 25 to 50%. Beryl B. Cummings at Analytic and Translational Genetics Unit, Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, USA and his colleagues explore the utility of transcriptome sequencing [RNA sequencing (RNA-seq)] as a complementary diagnostic tool in a cohort of 50 patients with genetically undiagnosed rare muscle disorders. The team describe an integrated approach to analyze patient muscle RNA-seq, leveraging an analysis framework focused on the detection of transcript-level changes that are unique to the patient compared to more than 180 control skeletal muscle samples. They demonstrate the power of RNA-seq to validate candidate splice-disrupting mutations and to identify splice-altering variants in both exonic and deep intronic regions, yielding an overall diagnosis rate of 35%. They also report the discovery of a highly recurrent de novo intronic mutation in COL6A1 that results in a dominantly acting splice-gain event, disrupting the critical glycine repeat motif of the triple helical domain. They identify this pathogenic variant in a total of 27 genetically unsolved patients in an external collagen VI–like dystrophy cohort, thus explaining approximately 25% of patients clinically suggestive of having collagen VI dystrophy in whom prior genetic analysis is negative. Overall, this study represents a large systematic application of transcriptome sequencing to rare disease diagnosis and highlights its utility for the detection and interpretation of variants missed by current standard diagnostic approaches.

Read more, please click http://stm.sciencemag.org/content/9/386/eaal5209

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