gene regulatory networks
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2022 ◽  
Sascha Duttke ◽  
Patricia Montilla-Perez ◽  
Max W Chang ◽  
Hairi Li ◽  
Hao Chen ◽  

Substance abuse and addiction represent a major public health problem that impacts multiple dimensions of society, including healthcare, economy, and workforce. In 2021, over 100,000 drug overdose deaths have been reported in the US with an alarming increase in fatalities related to opioids and psychostimulants. Understanding of the fundamental gene regulatory mechanisms underlying addiction and related behaviors could facilitate more effective treatments. To explore how repeated drug exposure alters gene regulatory networks in the brain, we combined capped small (cs)RNA-seq, which accurately captures nascent-like initiating transcripts from total RNA, with Hi-C and single nuclei (sn)ATAC-seq. We profiled initiating transcripts in two addiction-related brain regions, the prefrontal cortex (PFC) and the nucleus accumbens (NAc), from rats that were never exposed to drugs or were subjected to prolonged abstinence after oxycodone or cocaine intravenous self-administration (IVSA). Interrogating over 100,000 active transcription start regions (TSRs) revealed that most TSRs had hallmarks of bona-fide enhancers and highlighted the KLF/SP1, RFX and AP1 transcription factors families as central to establish brain-specific gene regulatory programs. Analysis of rats with addiction-like behaviors versus controls identified addiction-associated repression of transcription at regulatory enhancers recognized by nuclear receptor subfamily 3 group C (NR3C) factors, which include glucocorticoid receptors. Cell-type deconvolution analysis using snATAC-seq uncovered a potential role of glial cells in driving the gene regulatory programs associated with addiction-related phenotypes. These findings highlight the power of advanced transcriptomics methods to provide insight into how addiction perturbs gene regulatory programs in the brain.

2022 ◽  
Jeffrey Thompson

Molecular paleobiology provides a promising avenue to merge data from deep time, molecular biology and genomics, gaining insights into the evolutionary process at multiple levels. The echinoderm skeleton is a model for molecular paleobioloogical studies. I begin with an overview of the skeletogenic process in echinoderms, as well as a discussion of what gene regulatory networks are, and why they are of interest to paleobiologists. I then highlight recent advances in the evolution of the echinoderm skeleton from both paleobiological and molecular/functional genomic perspectives, highlighting examples where diverse approaches provide complementary insight and discussing potential of this field of research.

2022 ◽  
Dahai Wang ◽  
Mayuri Tanaka-Yano ◽  
Eleanor Meader ◽  
Melissa Kinney ◽  
Vivian Morris ◽  

Hematopoiesis changes over life to meet the demands of maturation and aging. Here, we find that the definitive hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell (HSPC) compartment is remodeled from gestation into adulthood, a process regulated by the heterochronic Lin28b/let-7 axis. Native fetal and neonatal HSPCs distribute with a pro-lymphoid/erythroid bias with a shift toward myeloid output in adulthood. By mining transcriptomic data comparing juvenile and adult HSPCs and reconstructing coordinately activated gene regulatory networks, we uncover the Polycomb repressor complex 1 (PRC1) component Cbx2 as an effector of Lin28b/let-7 control of hematopoietic maturation. We find that juvenile Cbx2-/- hematopoietic tissues show impairment of B-lymphopoiesis and a precocious adult-like myeloid bias and that Cbx2/PRC1 regulates developmental timing of expression of key hematopoietic transcription factors. These findings define a novel mechanism of epigenetic regulation of HSPC output as a function of age with potential impact on age-biased pediatric and adult blood disorders.

Jiadai Xu ◽  
Yue Wang ◽  
Zheng Wei ◽  
Jingli Zhuang ◽  
Jing Li ◽  

This study attempted to investigate how clonal structure evolves, along with potential regulatory networks, as a result of multiline therapies in relapsed/refractory multiple myeloma (RRMM). Eight whole exome sequencing (WES) and one single cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) were performed in order to assess dynamic genomic changes in temporal consecutive samples of one RRMM patient from the time of diagnosis to death (about 37 months). The 63-year-old female patient who suffered from MM (P1) had disease progression (PD) nine times from July 2017 [newly diagnosed (ND)] to Aug 2020 (death), and the force to drive branching-pattern evolution of malignant PCs was found to be sustained. The mutant-allele tumor heterogeneity (MATH) and tumor mutation burden (TMB) initially exhibited a downward trend, which was then upward throughout the course of the disease. Various somatic single nucleotide variants (SNVs) that had disappeared after the previous treatment were observed to reappear in later stages. Chromosomal instability (CIN) and homologous recombination deficiency (HRD) scores were observed to be increased during periods of all progression, especially in the period of extramedullary plasmacytoma. Finally, in combination with WES and scRNA-seq of P1-PD9 (the nineth PD), the intro-heterogeneity and gene regulatory networks of MM cells were deciphered. As verified by the overall survival of MM patients in the MMRF CoMMpass and GSE24080 datasets, RUNX3 was identified as a potential driver for RRMM.

2022 ◽  
Vol 23 (1) ◽  
Johannes Hettich ◽  
J. Christof M. Gebhardt

Abstract Background The temporal progression of many fundamental processes in cells and organisms, including homeostasis, differentiation and development, are governed by gene regulatory networks (GRNs). GRNs balance fluctuations in the output of their genes, which trace back to the stochasticity of molecular interactions. Although highly desirable to understand life processes, predicting the temporal progression of gene products within a GRN is challenging when considering stochastic events such as transcription factor–DNA interactions or protein production and degradation. Results We report a method to simulate and infer GRNs including genes and biochemical reactions at molecular detail. In our approach, we consider each network element to be isolated from other elements during small time intervals, after which we synchronize molecule numbers across all network elements. Thereby, the temporal behaviour of network elements is decoupled and can be treated by local stochastic or deterministic solutions. We demonstrate the working principle of this modular approach with a repressive gene cascade comprising four genes. By considering a deterministic time evolution within each time interval for all elements, our method approaches the solution of the system of deterministic differential equations associated with the GRN. By allowing genes to stochastically switch between on and off states or by considering stochastic production of gene outputs, we are able to include increasing levels of stochastic detail and approximate the solution of a Gillespie simulation. Thereby, CaiNet is able to reproduce noise-induced bi-stability and oscillations in dynamically complex GRNs. Notably, our modular approach further allows for a simple consideration of deterministic delays. We further infer relevant regulatory connections and steady-state parameters of a GRN of up to ten genes from steady-state measurements by identifying each gene of the network with a single perceptron in an artificial neuronal network and using a gradient decent method originally designed to train recurrent neural networks. To facilitate setting up GRNs and using our simulation and inference method, we provide a fast computer-aided interactive network simulation environment, CaiNet. Conclusion We developed a method to simulate GRNs at molecular detail and to infer the topology and steady-state parameters of GRNs. Our method and associated user-friendly framework CaiNet should prove helpful to analyze or predict the temporal progression of reaction networks or GRNs in cellular and organismic biology. CaiNet is freely available at

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