Publications by authors named "Harry Hou"

10 Publications

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H1 histones control the epigenetic landscape by local chromatin compaction.

Nature 2021 01 9;589(7841):293-298. Epub 2020 Dec 9.

Department of Cell Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, NY, USA.

H1 linker histones are the most abundant chromatin-binding proteins. In vitro studies indicate that their association with chromatin determines nucleosome spacing and enables arrays of nucleosomes to fold into more compact chromatin structures. However, the in vivo roles of H1 are poorly understood. Here we show that the local density of H1 controls the balance of repressive and active chromatin domains by promoting genomic compaction. We generated a conditional triple-H1-knockout mouse strain and depleted H1 in haematopoietic cells. H1 depletion in T cells leads to de-repression of T cell activation genes, a process that mimics normal T cell activation. Comparison of chromatin structure in normal and H1-depleted CD8 T cells reveals that H1-mediated chromatin compaction occurs primarily in regions of the genome containing higher than average levels of H1: the chromosome conformation capture (Hi-C) B compartment and regions of the Hi-C A compartment marked by PRC2. Reduction of H1 stoichiometry leads to decreased H3K27 methylation, increased H3K36 methylation, B-to-A-compartment shifting and an increase in interaction frequency between compartments. In vitro, H1 promotes PRC2-mediated H3K27 methylation and inhibits NSD2-mediated H3K36 methylation. Mechanistically, H1 mediates these opposite effects by promoting physical compaction of the chromatin substrate. Our results establish H1 as a critical regulator of gene silencing through localized control of chromatin compaction, 3D genome organization and the epigenetic landscape.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41586-020-3032-zDOI Listing
January 2021

Chromatin remodeling enzyme Snf2h regulates embryonic lens differentiation and denucleation.

Development 2016 06;143(11):1937-47

Department of Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences and Genetics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA

Ocular lens morphogenesis is a model for investigating mechanisms of cellular differentiation, spatial and temporal gene expression control, and chromatin regulation. Brg1 (Smarca4) and Snf2h (Smarca5) are catalytic subunits of distinct ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling complexes implicated in transcriptional regulation. Previous studies have shown that Brg1 regulates both lens fiber cell differentiation and organized degradation of their nuclei (denucleation). Here, we employed a conditional Snf2h(flox) mouse model to probe the cellular and molecular mechanisms of lens formation. Depletion of Snf2h induces premature and expanded differentiation of lens precursor cells forming the lens vesicle, implicating Snf2h as a key regulator of lens vesicle polarity through spatial control of Prox1, Jag1, p27(Kip1) (Cdkn1b) and p57(Kip2) (Cdkn1c) gene expression. The abnormal Snf2h(-/-) fiber cells also retain their nuclei. RNA profiling of Snf2h(-/) (-) and Brg1(-/-) eyes revealed differences in multiple transcripts, including prominent downregulation of those encoding Hsf4 and DNase IIβ, which are implicated in the denucleation process. In summary, our data suggest that Snf2h is essential for the establishment of lens vesicle polarity, partitioning of prospective lens epithelial and fiber cell compartments, lens fiber cell differentiation, and lens fiber cell nuclear degradation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1242/dev.135285DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4920164PMC
June 2016

Comprehensive models of human primary and metastatic colorectal tumors in immunodeficient and immunocompetent mice by chemokine targeting.

Nat Biotechnol 2015 Jun 25;33(6):656-60. Epub 2015 May 25.

Department of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College, New York, New York, USA.

Current orthotopic xenograft models of human colorectal cancer (CRC) require surgery and do not robustly form metastases in the liver, the most common site clinically. CCR9 traffics lymphocytes to intestine and colorectum. We engineered use of the chemokine receptor CCR9 in CRC cell lines and patient-derived cells to create primary gastrointestinal (GI) tumors in immunodeficient mice by tail-vein injection rather than surgery. The tumors metastasize inducibly and robustly to the liver. Metastases have higher DKK4 and NOTCH signaling levels and are more chemoresistant than paired subcutaneous xenografts. Using this approach, we generated 17 chemokine-targeted mouse models (CTMMs) that recapitulate the majority of common human somatic CRC mutations. We also show that primary tumors can be modeled in immunocompetent mice by microinjecting CCR9-expressing cancer cell lines into early-stage mouse blastocysts, which induces central immune tolerance. We expect that CTMMs will facilitate investigation of the biology of CRC metastasis and drug screening.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nbt.3239DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4532544PMC
June 2015

Germline deletion of Igh 3' regulatory region elements hs 5, 6, 7 (hs5-7) affects B cell-specific regulation, rearrangement, and insulation of the Igh locus.

J Immunol 2012 Mar 17;188(6):2556-66. Epub 2012 Feb 17.

Department of Cell Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.

Regulatory elements located within an ∼28-kb region 3' of the Igh gene cluster (3' regulatory region) are required for class switch recombination and for high levels of IgH expression in plasma cells. We previously defined novel DNase I hypersensitive sites (hs) 5, 6, 7 immediately downstream of this region. The hs 5-7 region (hs5-7) contains a high density of binding sites for CCCTC-binding factor (CTCF), a zinc finger protein associated with mammalian insulator activity, and is an anchor for interactions with CTCF sites flanking the D(H) region. To test the function of hs5-7, we generated mice with an 8-kb deletion encompassing all three hs elements. B cells from hs5-7 knockout (KO) (hs5-7KO) mice showed a modest increase in expression of the nearest downstream gene. In addition, Igh alleles in hs5-7KO mice were in a less contracted configuration compared with wild-type Igh alleles and showed a 2-fold increase in the usage of proximal V(H)7183 gene families. Hs5-7KO mice were essentially indistinguishable from wild-type mice in B cell development, allelic regulation, class switch recombination, and chromosomal looping. We conclude that hs5-7, a high-density CTCF-binding region at the 3' end of the Igh locus, impacts usage of V(H) regions as far as 500 kb away.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.4049/jimmunol.1102763DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3430471PMC
March 2012

PMS2 endonuclease activity has distinct biological functions and is essential for genome maintenance.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2010 Jul 12;107(30):13384-9. Epub 2010 Jul 12.

Department of Cell Biology, and Cancer Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.

The DNA mismatch repair protein PMS2 was recently found to encode a novel endonuclease activity. To determine the biological functions of this activity in mammals, we generated endonuclease-deficient Pms2E702K knock-in mice. Pms2EK/EK mice displayed increased genomic mutation rates and a strong cancer predisposition. In addition, class switch recombination, but not somatic hypermutation, was impaired in Pms2EK/EK B cells, indicating a specific role in Ig diversity. In contrast to Pms2-/- mice, Pms2EK/EK male mice were fertile, indicating that this activity is dispensable in spermatogenesis. Therefore, the PMS2 endonuclease activity has distinct biological functions and is essential for genome maintenance and tumor suppression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1008589107DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2922181PMC
July 2010

An Msh2 conditional knockout mouse for studying intestinal cancer and testing anticancer agents.

Gastroenterology 2010 Mar 18;138(3):993-1002.e1. Epub 2009 Nov 18.

Department of Medicine/Division of Genetics, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.

Background & Aims: Mutations in the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) gene MSH2 cause Lynch syndromes I and II and sporadic colorectal cancers. Msh2(null) mice predominantly develop lymphoma and do not accurately recapitulate the colorectal cancer phenotype.

Methods: We generated and examined mice with a conditional Msh2 disruption (Msh2(LoxP)), permitting tissue-specific gene inactivation. ECMsh2(LoxP/LoxP) mice carried an EIIa-Cre transgene, and VCMsh2(LoxP/LoxP) mice carried a Villin-Cre transgene. We combined the VCMsh2(LoxP) allele with either Msh2(Delta7null) (VCMsh2(LoxP/null)) or Msh2(G674D) mutations (VCMsh2(LoxP/G674D)) to create allelic phase mutants. These mice were given cisplatin or 5-fluorouracil/leucovorin and oxaliplatin (FOLFOX), and their tumors were measured by magnetic resonance imaging.

Results: Embryonic fibroblasts from ECMsh2(LoxP/LoxP) mice do not express MSH2 and are MMR deficient. Reverse transcription, polymerase chain reaction, and immunohistochemistry from VCMsh2(LoxP/LoxP) mice demonstrated specific loss of Msh2 messenger RNA and protein from epithelial cells of the intestinal tract. Microsatellite instability was observed in all VCMsh2 strains and limited to the intestinal mucosa. Resulting adenomas and adenocarcinomas had somatic truncation mutations to the adenomatous polyposis coli (Apc) gene. VCMsh2(LoxP/LoxP) mice did not develop lymphoma. Comparison of allelic phase tumors revealed significant differences in multiplicity and size. When treated with cisplatin or FOLFOX, tumor size was reduced in VCMsh2(LoxP/G674D) but not VCMsh2(LoxP/null) tumors. The apoptotic response to FOLFOX was partially sustained in the intestinal mucosa of VCMsh2(LoxP/G674D) animals.

Conclusions: Msh2(LoxP/LoxP) mice in combination with appropriate Cre recombinase transgenes have excellent potential for preclinical modeling of Lynch syndrome, MMR-deficient tumors of other tissue types, and use in drug development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1053/j.gastro.2009.11.009DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2862591PMC
March 2010

Distinct effects of the recurrent Mlh1G67R mutation on MMR functions, cancer, and meiosis.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2008 Mar 12;105(11):4247-52. Epub 2008 Mar 12.

Department of Cell Biology and Cancer Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.

Mutations in the human DNA mismatch repair (MMR) gene MLH1 are associated with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (Lynch syndrome, HNPCC) and a significant proportion of sporadic colorectal cancer. The inactivation of MLH1 results in the accumulation of somatic mutations in the genome of tumor cells and resistance to the genotoxic effects of a variety of DNA damaging agents. To study the effect of MLH1 missense mutations on cancer susceptibility, we generated a mouse line carrying the recurrent Mlh1(G67R) mutation that is located in one of the ATP-binding domains of Mlh1. Although the Mlh1(G67R) mutation resulted in DNA repair deficiency in homozygous mutant mice, it did not affect the MMR-mediated cellular response to DNA damage, including the apoptotic response of epithelial cells in the intestinal mucosa to cisplatin, which was defective in Mlh1(-/-) mice but remained normal in Mlh1(G67R/G67R) mice. Similar to Mlh1(-/-) mice, Mlh1(G67R/G67R) mutant mice displayed a strong cancer predisposition phenotype. However, in contrast to Mlh1(-/-) mice, Mlh1(G67R/G67R) mutant mice developed significantly fewer intestinal tumors, indicating that Mlh1 missense mutations can affect MMR tumor suppressor functions in a tissue-specific manner. In addition, Mlh1(G67R/G67R) mice were sterile because of the inability of the mutant Mlh1(G67R) protein to interact with meiotic chromosomes at pachynema, demonstrating that the ATPase activity of Mlh1 is essential for fertility in mammals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0800276105DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2393764PMC
March 2008

Inactivation of Exonuclease 1 in mice results in DNA mismatch repair defects, increased cancer susceptibility, and male and female sterility.

Genes Dev 2003 Mar;17(5):603-14

Department of Cell Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.

Exonuclease 1 (Exo1) is a 5'-3' exonuclease that interacts with MutS and MutL homologs and has been implicated in the excision step of DNA mismatch repair. To investigate the role of Exo1 in mammalian mismatch repair and assess its importance for tumorigenesis and meiosis, we generated an Exo1 mutant mouse line. Analysis of Exo1(-/-) cells for mismatch repair activity in vitro showed that Exo1 is required for the repair of base:base and single-base insertion/deletion mismatches in both 5' and 3' nick-directed repair. The repair defect in Exo1(-/-) cells also caused elevated microsatellite instability at a mononucleotide repeat marker and a significant increase in mutation rate at the Hprt locus. Exo1(-/-) animals displayed reduced survival and increased susceptibility to the development of lymphomas. In addition, Exo1(-/-) male and female mice were sterile because of a meiotic defect. Meiosis in Exo1(-/-) animals proceeded through prophase I; however, the chromosomes exhibited dynamic loss of chiasmata during metaphase I, resulting in meiotic failure and apoptosis. Our results show that mammalian Exo1 functions in mutation avoidance and is essential for male and female meiosis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gad.1060603DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC196005PMC
March 2003

Identification of mammalian Sds3 as an integral component of the Sin3/histone deacetylase corepressor complex.

Mol Cell Biol 2002 Apr;22(8):2743-50

Department of Pediatrics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.

Silencing of gene transcription involves local chromatin modification achieved through the local recruitment of large multiprotein complexes containing histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity. The mammalian corepressors mSin3A and mSin3B have been shown to play a key role in this process by tethering HDACs 1 and 2 to promoter-bound transcription factors. Similar mechanisms appear to be operative in yeast, in which epistasis experiments have established that the mSin3 and HDAC orthologs (SIN3 and RPD3), along with a novel protein, SDS3, function in the same repressor pathway. Here, we report the identification of a component of the mSin3-HDAC complex that bears homology to yeast SDS3, physically associates with mSin3 proteins in vivo, represses transcription in a manner that is partially dependent on HDAC activity, and enables HDAC1 catalytic activity in vivo. That key physical and functional properties are also shared by yeast SDS3 underscores the central role of the Sin3-HDAC-Sds3 complex in eukaryotic cell biology, and the discovery of mSds3 in mammalian cells provides a new avenue for modulating the activity of this complex in human disease.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC133736PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mcb.22.8.2743-2750.2002DOI Listing
April 2002

Caveolin-2-deficient mice show evidence of severe pulmonary dysfunction without disruption of caveolae.

Mol Cell Biol 2002 Apr;22(7):2329-44

Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Institute for Smooth Muscle Biology, The Albert Einstein Cancer Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.

Caveolin-2 is a member of the caveolin gene family with no known function. Although caveolin-2 is coexpressed and heterooligomerizes with caveolin-1 in many cell types (most notably adipocytes and endothelial cells), caveolin-2 has traditionally been considered the dispensable structural partner of the widely studied caveolin-1. We now directly address the functional significance of caveolin-2 by genetically targeting the caveolin-2 locus (Cav-2) in mice. In the absence of caveolin-2 protein expression, caveolae still form and caveolin-1 maintains its localization in plasma membrane caveolae, although in certain tissues caveolin-1 is partially destabilized and shows modestly diminished protein levels. Despite an intact caveolar membrane system, the Cav-2-null lung parenchyma shows hypercellularity, with thickened alveolar septa and an increase in the number of endothelial cells. As a result of these pathological changes, these Cav-2-null mice are markedly exercise intolerant. Interestingly, these Cav-2-null phenotypes are identical to the ones we and others have recently reported for Cav-1-null mice. As caveolin-2 expression is also severely reduced in Cav-1-null mice, we conclude that caveolin-2 deficiency is the clear culprit in this lung disorder. Our analysis of several different phenotypes observed in caveolin-1-deficient mice (i.e., abnormal vascular responses and altered lipid homeostasis) reveals that Cav-2-null mice do not show any of these other phenotypes, indicating a selective role for caveolin-2 in lung function. Taken together, our data show for the first time a specific role for caveolin-2 in mammalian physiology independent of caveolin-1.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC133690PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/mcb.22.7.2329-2344.2002DOI Listing
April 2002