Publications by authors named "Charles P Fulco"

14 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Genome-wide enhancer maps link risk variants to disease genes.

Nature 2021 05 7;593(7858):238-243. Epub 2021 Apr 7.

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified thousands of noncoding loci that are associated with human diseases and complex traits, each of which could reveal insights into the mechanisms of disease. Many of the underlying causal variants may affect enhancers, but we lack accurate maps of enhancers and their target genes to interpret such variants. We recently developed the activity-by-contact (ABC) model to predict which enhancers regulate which genes and validated the model using CRISPR perturbations in several cell types. Here we apply this ABC model to create enhancer-gene maps in 131 human cell types and tissues, and use these maps to interpret the functions of GWAS variants. Across 72 diseases and complex traits, ABC links 5,036 GWAS signals to 2,249 unique genes, including a class of 577 genes that appear to influence multiple phenotypes through variants in enhancers that act in different cell types. In inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), causal variants are enriched in predicted enhancers by more than 20-fold in particular cell types such as dendritic cells, and ABC achieves higher precision than other regulatory methods at connecting noncoding variants to target genes. These variant-to-function maps reveal an enhancer that contains an IBD risk variant and that regulates the expression of PPIF to alter the membrane potential of mitochondria in macrophages. Our study reveals principles of genome regulation, identifies genes that affect IBD and provides a resource and generalizable strategy to connect risk variants of common diseases to their molecular and cellular functions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-021-03446-xDOI Listing
May 2021

HyPR-seq: Single-cell quantification of chosen RNAs via hybridization and sequencing of DNA probes.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2020 12 21;117(52):33404-33413. Epub 2020 Dec 21.

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA 02142;

Single-cell quantification of RNAs is important for understanding cellular heterogeneity and gene regulation, yet current approaches suffer from low sensitivity for individual transcripts, limiting their utility for many applications. Here we present Hybridization of Probes to RNA for sequencing (HyPR-seq), a method to sensitively quantify the expression of hundreds of chosen genes in single cells. HyPR-seq involves hybridizing DNA probes to RNA, distributing cells into nanoliter droplets, amplifying the probes with PCR, and sequencing the amplicons to quantify the expression of chosen genes. HyPR-seq achieves high sensitivity for individual transcripts, detects nonpolyadenylated and low-abundance transcripts, and can profile more than 100,000 single cells. We demonstrate how HyPR-seq can profile the effects of CRISPR perturbations in pooled screens, detect time-resolved changes in gene expression via measurements of gene introns, and detect rare transcripts and quantify cell-type frequencies in tissue using low-abundance marker genes. By directing sequencing power to genes of interest and sensitively quantifying individual transcripts, HyPR-seq reduces costs by up to 100-fold compared to whole-transcriptome single-cell RNA-sequencing, making HyPR-seq a powerful method for targeted RNA profiling in single cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2010738117DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7776864PMC
December 2020

Inherited causes of clonal haematopoiesis in 97,691 whole genomes.

Nature 2020 10 14;586(7831):763-768. Epub 2020 Oct 14.

Department of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, USA.

Age is the dominant risk factor for most chronic human diseases, but the mechanisms through which ageing confers this risk are largely unknown. The age-related acquisition of somatic mutations that lead to clonal expansion in regenerating haematopoietic stem cell populations has recently been associated with both haematological cancer and coronary heart disease-this phenomenon is termed clonal haematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP). Simultaneous analyses of germline and somatic whole-genome sequences provide the opportunity to identify root causes of CHIP. Here we analyse high-coverage whole-genome sequences from 97,691 participants of diverse ancestries in the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Trans-omics for Precision Medicine (TOPMed) programme, and identify 4,229 individuals with CHIP. We identify associations with blood cell, lipid and inflammatory traits that are specific to different CHIP driver genes. Association of a genome-wide set of germline genetic variants enabled the identification of three genetic loci associated with CHIP status, including one locus at TET2 that was specific to individuals of African ancestry. In silico-informed in vitro evaluation of the TET2 germline locus enabled the identification of a causal variant that disrupts a TET2 distal enhancer, resulting in increased self-renewal of haematopoietic stem cells. Overall, we observe that germline genetic variation shapes haematopoietic stem cell function, leading to CHIP through mechanisms that are specific to clonal haematopoiesis as well as shared mechanisms that lead to somatic mutations across tissues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-2819-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7944936PMC
October 2020

Prioritizing disease and trait causal variants at the TNFAIP3 locus using functional and genomic features.

Nat Commun 2020 03 6;11(1):1237. Epub 2020 Mar 6.

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, 02142, USA.

Genome-wide association studies have associated thousands of genetic variants with complex traits and diseases, but pinpointing the causal variant(s) among those in tight linkage disequilibrium with each associated variant remains a major challenge. Here, we use seven experimental assays to characterize all common variants at the multiple disease-associated TNFAIP3 locus in five disease-relevant immune cell lines, based on a set of features related to regulatory potential. Trait/disease-associated variants are enriched among SNPs prioritized based on either: (1) residing within CRISPRi-sensitive regulatory regions, or (2) localizing in a chromatin accessible region while displaying allele-specific reporter activity. Of the 15 trait/disease-associated haplotypes at TNFAIP3, 9 have at least one variant meeting one or both of these criteria, 5 of which are further supported by genetic fine-mapping. Our work provides a comprehensive strategy to characterize genetic variation at important disease-associated loci, and aids in the effort to identify trait causal genetic variants.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-15022-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7060350PMC
March 2020

Activity-by-contact model of enhancer-promoter regulation from thousands of CRISPR perturbations.

Nat Genet 2019 12 29;51(12):1664-1669. Epub 2019 Nov 29.

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Enhancer elements in the human genome control how genes are expressed in specific cell types and harbor thousands of genetic variants that influence risk for common diseases. Yet, we still do not know how enhancers regulate specific genes, and we lack general rules to predict enhancer-gene connections across cell types. We developed an experimental approach, CRISPRi-FlowFISH, to perturb enhancers in the genome, and we applied it to test >3,500 potential enhancer-gene connections for 30 genes. We found that a simple activity-by-contact model substantially outperformed previous methods at predicting the complex connections in our CRISPR dataset. This activity-by-contact model allows us to construct genome-wide maps of enhancer-gene connections in a given cell type, on the basis of chromatin state measurements. Together, CRISPRi-FlowFISH and the activity-by-contact model provide a systematic approach to map and predict which enhancers regulate which genes, and will help to interpret the functions of the thousands of disease risk variants in the noncoding genome.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0538-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6886585PMC
December 2019

The NORAD lncRNA assembles a topoisomerase complex critical for genome stability.

Nature 2018 09 27;561(7721):132-136. Epub 2018 Aug 27.

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, USA.

The human genome contains thousands of long non-coding RNAs, but specific biological functions and biochemical mechanisms have been discovered for only about a dozen. A specific long non-coding RNA-non-coding RNA activated by DNA damage (NORAD)-has recently been shown to be required for maintaining genomic stability, but its molecular mechanism is unknown. Here we combine RNA antisense purification and quantitative mass spectrometry to identify proteins that directly interact with NORAD in living cells. We show that NORAD interacts with proteins involved in DNA replication and repair in steady-state cells and localizes to the nucleus upon stimulation with replication stress or DNA damage. In particular, NORAD interacts with RBMX, a component of the DNA-damage response, and contains the strongest RBMX-binding site in the transcriptome. We demonstrate that NORAD controls the ability of RBMX to assemble a ribonucleoprotein complex-which we term NORAD-activated ribonucleoprotein complex 1 (NARC1)-that contains the known suppressors of genomic instability topoisomerase I (TOP1), ALYREF and the PRPF19-CDC5L complex. Cells depleted for NORAD or RBMX display an increased frequency of chromosome segregation defects, reduced replication-fork velocity and altered cell-cycle progression-which represent phenotypes that are mechanistically linked to TOP1 and PRPF19-CDC5L function. Expression of NORAD in trans can rescue defects caused by NORAD depletion, but rescue is significantly impaired when the RBMX-binding site in NORAD is deleted. Our results demonstrate that the interaction between NORAD and RBMX is important for NORAD function, and that NORAD is required for the assembly of the previously unknown topoisomerase complex NARC1, which contributes to maintaining genomic stability. In addition, we uncover a previously unknown function for long non-coding RNAs in modulating the ability of an RNA-binding protein to assemble a higher-order ribonucleoprotein complex.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0453-zDOI Listing
September 2018

Ribosome Levels Selectively Regulate Translation and Lineage Commitment in Human Hematopoiesis.

Cell 2018 03 15;173(1):90-103.e19. Epub 2018 Mar 15.

Division of Hematology/Oncology, Boston Children's Hospital and Department of Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA; Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA. Electronic address:

Blood cell formation is classically thought to occur through a hierarchical differentiation process, although recent studies have shown that lineage commitment may occur earlier in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs). The relevance to human blood diseases and the underlying regulation of these refined models remain poorly understood. By studying a genetic blood disorder, Diamond-Blackfan anemia (DBA), where the majority of mutations affect ribosomal proteins and the erythroid lineage is selectively perturbed, we are able to gain mechanistic insight into how lineage commitment is programmed normally and disrupted in disease. We show that in DBA, the pool of available ribosomes is limited, while ribosome composition remains constant. Surprisingly, this global reduction in ribosome levels more profoundly alters translation of a select subset of transcripts. We show how the reduced translation of select transcripts in HSPCs can impair erythroid lineage commitment, illuminating a regulatory role for ribosome levels in cellular differentiation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2018.02.036DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5866246PMC
March 2018

Genome-scale activation screen identifies a lncRNA locus regulating a gene neighbourhood.

Nature 2017 08 11;548(7667):343-346. Epub 2017 Aug 11.

Department of Biological Engineering, MIT, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.

Mammalian genomes contain thousands of loci that transcribe long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs), some of which are known to carry out critical roles in diverse cellular processes through a variety of mechanisms. Although some lncRNA loci encode RNAs that act non-locally (in trans), there is emerging evidence that many lncRNA loci act locally (in cis) to regulate the expression of nearby genes-for example, through functions of the lncRNA promoter, transcription, or transcript itself. Despite their potentially important roles, it remains challenging to identify functional lncRNA loci and distinguish among these and other mechanisms. Here, to address these challenges, we developed a genome-scale CRISPR-Cas9 activation screen that targets more than 10,000 lncRNA transcriptional start sites to identify noncoding loci that influence a phenotype of interest. We found 11 lncRNA loci that, upon recruitment of an activator, mediate resistance to BRAF inhibitors in human melanoma cells. Most candidate loci appear to regulate nearby genes. Detailed analysis of one candidate, termed EMICERI, revealed that its transcriptional activation resulted in dosage-dependent activation of four neighbouring protein-coding genes, one of which confers the resistance phenotype. Our screening and characterization approach provides a CRISPR toolkit with which to systematically discover the functions of noncoding loci and elucidate their diverse roles in gene regulation and cellular function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature23451DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5706657PMC
August 2017

Perturb-Seq: Dissecting Molecular Circuits with Scalable Single-Cell RNA Profiling of Pooled Genetic Screens.

Cell 2016 Dec;167(7):1853-1866.e17

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA; Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02140, USA; Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, MD 20815, USA. Electronic address:

Genetic screens help infer gene function in mammalian cells, but it has remained difficult to assay complex phenotypes-such as transcriptional profiles-at scale. Here, we develop Perturb-seq, combining single-cell RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)-based perturbations to perform many such assays in a pool. We demonstrate Perturb-seq by analyzing 200,000 cells in immune cells and cell lines, focusing on transcription factors regulating the response of dendritic cells to lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Perturb-seq accurately identifies individual gene targets, gene signatures, and cell states affected by individual perturbations and their genetic interactions. We posit new functions for regulators of differentiation, the anti-viral response, and mitochondrial function during immune activation. By decomposing many high content measurements into the effects of perturbations, their interactions, and diverse cell metadata, Perturb-seq dramatically increases the scope of pooled genomic assays.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2016.11.038DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5181115PMC
December 2016

Systematic mapping of functional enhancer-promoter connections with CRISPR interference.

Science 2016 11 29;354(6313):769-773. Epub 2016 Sep 29.

Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.

Gene expression in mammals is regulated by noncoding elements that can affect physiology and disease, yet the functions and target genes of most noncoding elements remain unknown. We present a high-throughput approach that uses clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) interference (CRISPRi) to discover regulatory elements and identify their target genes. We assess >1 megabase of sequence in the vicinity of two essential transcription factors, MYC and GATA1, and identify nine distal enhancers that control gene expression and cellular proliferation. Quantitative features of chromatin state and chromosome conformation distinguish the seven enhancers that regulate MYC from other elements that do not, suggesting a strategy for predicting enhancer-promoter connectivity. This CRISPRi-based approach can be applied to dissect transcriptional networks and interpret the contributions of noncoding genetic variation to human disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.aag2445DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5438575PMC
November 2016
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