Publications by authors named "Jacqueline A Sharpe"

16 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Reactivation of a developmentally silenced embryonic globin gene.

Nat Commun 2021 07 21;12(1):4439. Epub 2021 Jul 21.

MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

The α- and β-globin loci harbor developmentally expressed genes, which are silenced throughout post-natal life. Reactivation of these genes may offer therapeutic approaches for the hemoglobinopathies, the most common single gene disorders. Here, we address mechanisms regulating the embryonically expressed α-like globin, termed ζ-globin. We show that in embryonic erythroid cells, the ζ-gene lies within a ~65 kb sub-TAD (topologically associating domain) of open, acetylated chromatin and interacts with the α-globin super-enhancer. By contrast, in adult erythroid cells, the ζ-gene is packaged within a small (~10 kb) sub-domain of hypoacetylated, facultative heterochromatin within the acetylated sub-TAD and that it no longer interacts with its enhancers. The ζ-gene can be partially re-activated by acetylation and inhibition of histone de-acetylases. In addition to suggesting therapies for severe α-thalassemia, these findings illustrate the general principles by which reactivation of developmental genes may rescue abnormalities arising from mutations in their adult paralogues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-24402-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8295333PMC
July 2021

Editing an α-globin enhancer in primary human hematopoietic stem cells as a treatment for β-thalassemia.

Nat Commun 2017 09 4;8(1):424. Epub 2017 Sep 4.

Medical Research Council (MRC) Molecular Hematology Unit, MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, OX3 9DS, UK.

β-Thalassemia is one of the most common inherited anemias, with no effective cure for most patients. The pathophysiology reflects an imbalance between α- and β-globin chains with an excess of free α-globin chains causing ineffective erythropoiesis and hemolysis. When α-thalassemia is co-inherited with β-thalassemia, excess free α-globin chains are reduced significantly ameliorating the clinical severity. Here we demonstrate the use of CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing of primary human hematopoietic stem/progenitor (CD34+) cells to emulate a natural mutation, which deletes the MCS-R2 α-globin enhancer and causes α-thalassemia. When edited CD34+ cells are differentiated into erythroid cells, we observe the expected reduction in α-globin expression and a correction of the pathologic globin chain imbalance in cells from patients with β-thalassemia. Xenograft assays show that a proportion of the edited CD34+ cells are long-term repopulating hematopoietic stem cells, demonstrating the potential of this approach for translation into a therapy for β-thalassemia.β-thalassemia is characterised by the presence of an excess of α-globin chains, which contribute to erythrocyte pathology. Here the authors use CRISP/Cas9 to reduce α-globin expression in hematopoietic precursors, and show effectiveness in xenograft assays in mice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-00479-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5583283PMC
September 2017

Tissue-specific CTCF-cohesin-mediated chromatin architecture delimits enhancer interactions and function in vivo.

Nat Cell Biol 2017 Aug 24;19(8):952-961. Epub 2017 Jul 24.

MRC Molecular Haematology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford OX3 9DS, UK.

The genome is organized via CTCF-cohesin-binding sites, which partition chromosomes into 1-5 megabase (Mb) topologically associated domains (TADs), and further into smaller sub-domains (sub-TADs). Here we examined in vivo an ∼80 kb sub-TAD, containing the mouse α-globin gene cluster, lying within a ∼1 Mb TAD. We find that the sub-TAD is flanked by predominantly convergent CTCF-cohesin sites that are ubiquitously bound by CTCF but only interact during erythropoiesis, defining a self-interacting erythroid compartment. Whereas the α-globin regulatory elements normally act solely on promoters downstream of the enhancers, removal of a conserved upstream CTCF-cohesin boundary extends the sub-TAD to adjacent upstream CTCF-cohesin-binding sites. The α-globin enhancers now interact with the flanking chromatin, upregulating expression of genes within this extended sub-TAD. Rather than acting solely as a barrier to chromatin modification, CTCF-cohesin boundaries in this sub-TAD delimit the region of chromatin to which enhancers have access and within which they interact with receptive promoters.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncb3573DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5540176PMC
August 2017

The chromatin remodelling factor ATRX suppresses R-loops in transcribed telomeric repeats.

EMBO Rep 2017 06 9;18(6):914-928. Epub 2017 May 9.

MRC Molecular Haematology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

ATRX is a chromatin remodelling factor found at a wide range of tandemly repeated sequences including telomeres (TTAGGG) ATRX mutations are found in nearly all tumours that maintain their telomeres via the alternative lengthening of telomere (ALT) pathway, and ATRX is known to suppress this pathway. Here, we show that recruitment of ATRX to telomeric repeats depends on repeat number, orientation and, critically, on repeat transcription. Importantly, the transcribed telomeric repeats form RNA-DNA hybrids (R-loops) whose abundance correlates with the recruitment of ATRX Here, we show loss of ATRX is also associated with increased R-loop formation. Our data suggest that the presence of ATRX at telomeres may have a central role in suppressing deleterious DNA secondary structures that form at transcribed telomeric repeats, and this may account for the increased DNA damage, stalling of replication and homology-directed repair previously observed upon loss of ATRX function.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15252/embr.201643078DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5452009PMC
June 2017

Enhancer deletion generates cellular phenotypic diversity due to bimodal gene expression.

Blood Cells Mol Dis 2017 05 1;64:10-12. Epub 2017 Mar 1.

The Roslin Institute, Developmental Biology Division, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush, Midlothian EH25 9RG, UK. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bcmd.2017.02.006DOI Listing
May 2017

Genetic dissection of the α-globin super-enhancer in vivo.

Nat Genet 2016 08 4;48(8):895-903. Epub 2016 Jul 4.

MRC Molecular Haematology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford, UK.

Many genes determining cell identity are regulated by clusters of Mediator-bound enhancer elements collectively referred to as super-enhancers. These super-enhancers have been proposed to manifest higher-order properties important in development and disease. Here we report a comprehensive functional dissection of one of the strongest putative super-enhancers in erythroid cells. By generating a series of mouse models, deleting each of the five regulatory elements of the α-globin super-enhancer individually and in informative combinations, we demonstrate that each constituent enhancer seems to act independently and in an additive fashion with respect to hematological phenotype, gene expression, chromatin structure and chromosome conformation, without clear evidence of synergistic or higher-order effects. Our study highlights the importance of functional genetic analyses for the identification of new concepts in transcriptional regulation.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5058437PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ng.3605DOI Listing
August 2016

Nprl3 is required for normal development of the cardiovascular system.

Mamm Genome 2012 Aug 27;23(7-8):404-15. Epub 2012 Apr 27.

MRC Molecular Haematology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, UK.

C16orf35 is a conserved and widely expressed gene lying adjacent to the human α-globin cluster in all vertebrate species. In-depth sequence analysis shows that C16orf35 (now called NPRL3) is an orthologue of the yeast gene Npr3 (nitrogen permease regulator 3) and, furthermore, is a paralogue of its protein partner Npr2. The yeast Npr2/3 dimeric protein complex senses amino acid starvation and appropriately adjusts cell metabolism via the TOR pathway. Here we have analysed a mouse model in which expression of Nprl3 has been abolished using homologous recombination. The predominant effect on RNA expression appears to involve genes that regulate protein synthesis and cell cycle, consistent with perturbation of the mTOR pathway. Embryos homozygous for this mutation die towards the end of gestation with a range of cardiovascular defects, including outflow tract abnormalities and ventriculoseptal defects consistent with previous observations, showing that perturbation of the mTOR pathway may affect development of the myocardium. NPRL3 is a candidate gene for harbouring mutations in individuals with developmental abnormalities of the cardiovascular system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00335-012-9398-yDOI Listing
August 2012

Intragenic enhancers act as alternative promoters.

Mol Cell 2012 Feb 19;45(4):447-58. Epub 2012 Jan 19.

MRC Molecular Haematology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, UK.

A substantial amount of organismal complexity is thought to be encoded by enhancers which specify the location, timing, and levels of gene expression. In mammals there are more enhancers than promoters which are distributed both between and within genes. Here we show that activated, intragenic enhancers frequently act as alternative tissue-specific promoters producing a class of abundant, spliced, multiexonic poly(A)(+) RNAs (meRNAs) which reflect the host gene's structure. meRNAs make a substantial and unanticipated contribution to the complexity of the transcriptome, appearing as alternative isoforms of the host gene. The low protein-coding potential of meRNAs suggests that many meRNAs may be byproducts of enhancer activation or underlie as-yet-unidentified RNA-encoded functions. Distinguishing between meRNAs and mRNAs will transform our interpretation of dynamic changes in transcription both at the level of individual genes and of the genome as a whole.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2011.12.021DOI Listing
February 2012

An interspecies analysis reveals a key role for unmethylated CpG dinucleotides in vertebrate Polycomb complex recruitment.

EMBO J 2012 Jan 4;31(2):317-29. Epub 2011 Nov 4.

MRC Haematology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.

The role of DNA sequence in determining chromatin state is incompletely understood. We have previously demonstrated that large chromosomal segments from human cells recapitulate their native chromatin state in mouse cells, but the relative contribution of local sequences versus their genomic context remains unknown. In this study, we compare orthologous chromosomal regions for which the human locus establishes prominent sites of Polycomb complex recruitment in pluripotent stem cells, whereas the corresponding mouse locus does not. Using recombination-mediated cassette exchange at the mouse locus, we establish the primacy of local sequences in the encoding of chromatin state. We show that the signal for chromatin bivalency is redundantly encoded across a bivalent domain and that this reflects competition between Polycomb complex recruitment and transcriptional activation. Furthermore, our results suggest that a high density of unmethylated CpG dinucleotides is sufficient for vertebrate Polycomb recruitment. This model is supported by analysis of DNA methyltransferase-deficient embryonic stem cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/emboj.2011.399DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3261560PMC
January 2012

Polycomb eviction as a new distant enhancer function.

Genes Dev 2011 Aug;25(15):1583-8

MRC Molecular Haematology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford OX3 9DS, UK.

Remote distal enhancers may be located tens or thousands of kilobases away from their promoters. How they control gene expression is still poorly understood. Here, we analyze the influence of a remote enhancer on the balance between repression (Polycomb-PcG) and activation (Trithorax-TrxG) of a developmentally regulated gene associated with a CpG island. We reveal its essential, nonredundant role in clearing the PcG complex and H3K27me3 from the CpG island. In the absence of the enhancer, the H3K27me3 demethylase (JMJD3) is not recruited to the CpG island. We propose a new role of long-range regulatory elements in removing repressive PcG complexes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/gad.16985411DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3182025PMC
August 2011

Codanin-1 mutations in congenital dyserythropoietic anemia type 1 affect HP1{alpha} localization in erythroblasts.

Blood 2011 Jun 1;117(25):6928-38. Epub 2011 Mar 1.

Medical Research Council Molecular Haematology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK.

Congenital dyserythropoietic anemia type 1 (CDA-1), a rare inborn anemia characterized by abnormal chromatin ultrastructure in erythroblasts, is caused by abnormalities in codanin-1, a highly conserved protein of unknown function. We have produced 3 monoclonal antibodies to codanin-1 that demonstrate its distribution in both nucleus and cytoplasm by immunofluorescence and allow quantitative measurements of patient and normal material by Western blot. A detailed analysis of chromatin structure in CDA-1 erythroblasts shows no abnormalities in overall histone composition, and the genome-wide epigenetic landscape of several histone modifications is maintained. However, immunofluorescence analysis of intermediate erythroblasts from patients with CDA-1 reveals abnormal accumulation of HP1α in the Golgi apparatus. A link between mutant codanin-1 and the aberrant localization of HP1α is supported by the finding that codanin-1 can be coimmunoprecipitated by anti-HP1α antibodies. Furthermore, we show colocalization of codanin-1 with Sec23B, the protein defective in CDA-2 suggesting that the CDAs might be linked at the molecular level. Mice containing a gene-trapped Cdan1 locus demonstrate its widespread expression during development. Cdan1(gt/gt) homozygotes die in utero before the onset of primitive erythropoiesis, suggesting that Cdan1 has other critical roles during embryogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2010-09-308478DOI Listing
June 2011

Chromosome looping at the human alpha-globin locus is mediated via the major upstream regulatory element (HS -40).

Blood 2009 Nov 20;114(19):4253-60. Epub 2009 Aug 20.

Medical Research Council (MRC) Molecular Haematology Unit, Weatherall Institute for Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, OX3 9DS United Kingdom.

Previous studies in the mouse have shown that high levels of alpha-globin gene expression in late erythropoiesis depend on long-range, physical interactions between remote upstream regulatory elements and the globin promoters. Using quantitative chromosome conformation capture (q3C), we have now analyzed all interactions between 4 such elements lying 10 to 50 kb upstream of the human alpha cluster and their interactions with the alpha-globin promoter. All of these elements interact with the alpha-globin gene in an erythroid-specific manner. These results were confirmed in a mouse model of human alpha globin expression in which the human cluster replaces the mouse cluster in situ (humanized mouse). We have also shown that expression and all of the long-range interactions depend largely on just one of these elements; removal of the previously characterized major regulatory element (called HS -40) results in loss of all the interactions and alpha-globin expression. Reinsertion of this element at an ectopic location restores both expression and the intralocus interactions. In contrast to other more complex systems involving multiple upstream elements and promoters, analysis of the human alpha-globin cluster during erythropoiesis provides a simple and tractable model to understand the mechanisms underlying long-range gene regulation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2009-03-213439DOI Listing
November 2009

Skeletal analysis of the Fgfr3(P244R) mouse, a genetic model for the Muenke craniosynostosis syndrome.

Dev Dyn 2009 Feb;238(2):331-42

Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, United Kingdom.

Muenke syndrome, defined by heterozygosity for a Pro250Arg substitution in fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3), is the most common genetic cause of craniosynostosis in humans. We have used gene targeting to introduce the Muenke syndrome mutation (equivalent to P244R) into the murine Fgfr3 gene. A rounded skull and shortened snout (often skewed) with dental malocclusion was observed in a minority of heterozygotes and many homozygotes. Development of this incompletely penetrant skull phenotype was dependent on genetic background and sex, with males more often affected. However, these cranial abnormalities were rarely attributable to craniosynostosis, which was only present in 2/364 mutants; more commonly, we found fusion of the premaxillary and/or zygomatic sutures. We also found decreased cortical thickness and bone mineral densities in long bones. We conclude that although both cranial and long bone development is variably affected by the murine Fgfr3(P244R) mutation, coronal craniosynostosis is not reliably reproduced.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/dvdy.21790DOI Listing
February 2009

Tissue-specific histone modification and transcription factor binding in alpha globin gene expression.

Blood 2007 Dec 22;110(13):4503-10. Epub 2007 Aug 22.

Medical Research Council, Molecular Haematology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Oxford University, Oxford, UK.

To address the mechanism by which the human globin genes are activated during erythropoiesis, we have used a tiled microarray to analyze the pattern of transcription factor binding and associated histone modifications across the telomeric region of human chromosome 16 in primary erythroid and nonerythroid cells. This 220-kb region includes the alpha globin genes and 9 widely expressed genes flanking the alpha globin locus. This un-biased, comprehensive analysis of transcription factor binding and histone modifications (acetylation and methylation) described here not only identified all known cis-acting regulatory elements in the human alpha globin cluster but also demonstrated that there are no additional erythroid-specific regulatory elements in the 220-kb region tested. In addition, the pattern of histone modification distinguished promoter elements from potential enhancer elements across this region. Finally, comparison of the human and mouse orthologous regions in a unique mouse model, with both regions coexpressed in the same animal, showed significant differences that may explain how these 2 clusters are regulated differently in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2007-06-097964DOI Listing
December 2007

Defining the cause of skewed X-chromosome inactivation in X-linked mental retardation by use of a mouse model.

Am J Hum Genet 2007 Jun 25;80(6):1138-49. Epub 2007 Apr 25.

MRC Molecular Haematology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK.

Extreme skewing of X-chromosome inactivation (XCI) is rare in the normal female population but is observed frequently in carriers of some X-linked mutations. Recently, it has been shown that various forms of X-linked mental retardation (XLMR) have a strong association with skewed XCI in female carriers, but the mechanisms underlying this skewing are unknown. ATR-X syndrome, caused by mutations in a ubiquitously expressed, chromatin-associated protein, provides a clear example of XLMR in which phenotypically normal female carriers virtually all have highly skewed XCI biased against the X chromosome that harbors the mutant allele. Here, we have used a mouse model to understand the processes causing skewed XCI. In female mice heterozygous for a null Atrx allele, we found that XCI is balanced early in embryogenesis but becomes skewed over the course of development, because of selection favoring cells expressing the wild-type Atrx allele. Unexpectedly, selection does not appear to be the result of general cellular-viability defects in Atrx-deficient cells, since it is restricted to specific stages of development and is not ongoing throughout the life of the animal. Instead, there is evidence that selection results from independent tissue-specific effects. This illustrates an important mechanism by which skewed XCI may occur in carriers of XLMR and provides insight into the normal role of ATRX in regulating cell fate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/518369DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1867101PMC
June 2007

Deletion of the mouse alpha-globin regulatory element (HS -26) has an unexpectedly mild phenotype.

Blood 2002 Nov 5;100(10):3450-6. Epub 2002 Jul 5.

Medical Research Council Molecular Haematology Unit, Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, United Kingdom.

Natural deletions of the region upstream of the human alpha-globin gene cluster, together with expression studies in cell lines and transgenic mice, identified a single element (HS -40) as necessary and perhaps sufficient for high-level expression of the alpha-globin genes. A similar element occupies the corresponding position upstream of the mouse (m) alpha-globin genes (mHS -26) and was thought to have similar functional properties. We knocked out mHS -26 by homologous recombination and observed the surprising result that instead of the expected severe alpha-thalassemia phenotype, the mice had a mild disease. Transcription levels of the mouse genes were reduced by about 50%, but homozygotes were healthy, with normal hemoglobin levels and only mild decreases in mean corpuscular volume and mean corpuscular hemoglobin. These results may indicate differences in the regulation of the alpha-globin clusters in mice and humans or that additional cis-acting elements remain to be characterized in one or both clusters.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2002-05-1409DOI Listing
November 2002
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