Bio

Honors & Awards


  • Visiting Postdoctoral Fellowship, Bloodwise (2016-2018)
  • Long-Term Postdoctoral Fellowship, European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) (2016-2018)
  • Short-Term Postdoctoral Fellowship, Japan Society of the Promotion of Science (JSPS) (2016)

Boards, Advisory Committees, Professional Organizations


  • New Investigator Committee Member, International Society for Experimental Hematology (ISEH) (2016 - Present)

Professional Education


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge (2016)
  • MBiochem, University of Oxford (2011)

Stanford Advisors


Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests


Stem Cell Biology and Experimental Hematology

Publications

All Publications


  • An All-Recombinant Protein-Based Culture System Specifically Identifies Hematopoietic Stem Cell Maintenance Factors. Stem cell reports Ieyasu, A., Ishida, R., Kimura, T., Morita, M., Wilkinson, A. C., Sudo, K., Nishimura, T., Ohehara, J., Tajima, Y., Lai, C., Otsu, M., Nakamura, Y., Ema, H., Nakauchi, H., Yamazaki, S. 2017

    Abstract

    Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are considered one of the most promising therapeutic targets for the treatment of various blood disorders. However, due to difficulties in establishing stable maintenance and expansion of HSCs in vitro, their insufficient supply is a major constraint to transplantation studies. To solve these problems we have developed a fully defined, all-recombinant protein-based culture system. Through this system, we have identified hemopexin (HPX) and interleukin-1α as responsible for HSC maintenance in vitro. Subsequent molecular analysis revealed that HPX reduces intracellular reactive oxygen species levels within cultured HSCs. Furthermore, bone marrow immunostaining and 3D immunohistochemistry revealed that HPX is expressed in non-myelinating Schwann cells, known HSC niche constituents. These results highlight the utility of this fully defined all-recombinant protein-based culture system for reproducible in vitro HSC culture and its potential to contribute to the identification of factors responsible for in vitro maintenance, expansion, and differentiation of stem cell populations.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stemcr.2017.01.015

    View details for PubMedID 28238792

  • Continuous cell supply from Krt7-expressing hematopoietic stem cells during native hematopoiesis revealed by targeted in vivo gene transfer method SCIENTIFIC REPORTS Tajima, Y., Ito, K., Umino, A., Wilkinson, A. C., Nakauchi, H., Yamazaki, S. 2017; 7

    Abstract

    The nature of hematopoietic stem cells under normal hematopoiesis remained largely unknown due to the limited assays available to monitor their behavior in situ. Here, we develop a new mouse model to transfer genes specifically into the primitive hematopoietic stem cell compartment through the utilization of a modified Rcas/TVA system. We succeeded in transferring a GFP reporter gene into adult hematopoietic stem cells in vivo, which are predominantly quiescent, by generating pseudotyped-lentivirus. Furthermore, we demonstrate the utility of this system to study neonatal hematopoiesis, a developmental stage that has been difficult to analyze to date. Using the system developed in this study, we observed continuous multi-lineage hematopoietic cell supply in peripheral blood from Krt7-positive hematopoietic stem cells during unperturbed homeostatic condition. This powerful experimental system could provide a new standard tool to analyze hematopoiesis under physiological condition without transplantation.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/srep40684

    View details for Web of Science ID 000392272500001

    View details for PubMedID 28098173

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5241640

  • Establishment of mouse expanded potential stem cells. Nature Yang, J., Ryan, D. J., Wang, W., Tsang, J. C., Lan, G., Masaki, H., Gao, X., Antunes, L., Yu, Y., Zhu, Z., Wang, J., Kolodziejczyk, A. A., Campos, L. S., Wang, C., Yang, F., Zhong, Z., Fu, B., Eckersley-Maslin, M. A., Woods, M., Tanaka, Y., Chen, X., Wilkinson, A. C., Bussell, J., White, J., Ramirez-Solis, R., Reik, W., Göttgens, B., Teichmann, S. A., Tam, P. P., Nakauchi, H., Zou, X., Lu, L., Liu, P. 2017; 550 (7676): 393–97

    Abstract

    Mouse embryonic stem cells derived from the epiblast contribute to the somatic lineages and the germline but are excluded from the extra-embryonic tissues that are derived from the trophectoderm and the primitive endoderm upon reintroduction to the blastocyst. Here we report that cultures of expanded potential stem cells can be established from individual eight-cell blastomeres, and by direct conversion of mouse embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells. Remarkably, a single expanded potential stem cell can contribute both to the embryo proper and to the trophectoderm lineages in a chimaera assay. Bona fide trophoblast stem cell lines and extra-embryonic endoderm stem cells can be directly derived from expanded potential stem cells in vitro. Molecular analyses of the epigenome and single-cell transcriptome reveal enrichment for blastomere-specific signature and a dynamic DNA methylome in expanded potential stem cells. The generation of mouse expanded potential stem cells highlights the feasibility of establishing expanded potential stem cells for other mammalian species.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nature24052

    View details for PubMedID 29019987

  • Technical Considerations for the Use of CRISPR/Cas9 in Hematology Research. Experimental hematology Gundry, M. C., Dever, D. P., Yudovich, D., Bauer, D. E., Haas, S., Wilkinson, A. C., Singbrant, S. 2017

    Abstract

    The hematopoietic system is responsible for transporting oxygen and nutrients, fighting infections, and repairing tissue damage. Hematopoietic system dysfunction therefore causes a range of serious health consequences. Lifelong hematopoiesis is maintained by repopulating multipotent hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) that replenish shorter-lived, mature blood cell types. A prokaryotic mechanism of immunity, the Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR)/Cas9 nuclease system, has recently been "repurposed" to efficiently mutate mammalian genomes in a sequence-specific manner. The application of this genome-editing technology to hematology has afforded new approaches for functional genomics and even the prospect of "correcting" dysfunctional HSCs in the treatment of serious genetic hematological diseases. In this Perspective, we provide an overview of three recent CRISPR/Cas9 methods in hematology: gene disruption, gene targeting, and saturating mutagenesis. We also summarize the technical considerations and advice provided during the May 2017 International Society of Experimental Hematology New Investigator Committee webinar on the same topic.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.exphem.2017.07.006

    View details for PubMedID 28757433

  • Mammalian Transcription Factor Networks: Recent Advances in Interrogating Biological Complexity. Cell systems Wilkinson, A. C., Nakauchi, H., Göttgens, B. 2017; 5 (4): 319–31

    Abstract

    Transcription factor (TF) networks are a key determinant of cell fate decisions in mammalian development and adult tissue homeostasis and are frequently corrupted in disease. However, our inability to experimentally resolve and interrogate the complexity of mammalian TF networks has hampered the progress in this field. Recent technological advances, in particular large-scale genome-wide approaches, single-cell methodologies, live-cell imaging, and genome editing, are emerging as important technologies in TF network biology. Several recent studies even suggest a need to re-evaluate established models of mammalian TF networks. Here, we provide a brief overview of current and emerging methods to define mammalian TF networks. We also discuss how these emerging technologies facilitate new ways to interrogate complex TF networks, consider the current open questions in the field, and comment on potential future directions and biomedical applications.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cels.2017.07.004

    View details for PubMedID 29073372

  • In Vivo Generation of Engraftable Murine Hematopoietic Stem Cells by Gfi1b, c-Fos, and Gata2 Overexpression within Teratoma. Stem cell reports Tsukada, M., Ota, Y., Wilkinson, A. C., Becker, H. J., Osato, M., Nakauchi, H., Yamazaki, S. 2017; 9 (4): 1024–33

    Abstract

    Generation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) from pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) could potentially provide unlimited HSCs for clinical transplantation, a curative treatment for numerous blood diseases. However, to date, bona fide HSC generation has been largely unsuccessful in vitro. We have previously described proof of concept for in vivo HSC generation from PSCs via teratoma formation. However, our first-generation system was complex and the output low. Here, we further optimize this technology and demonstrate the following: (1) simplified HSC generation using transcription factor overexpression; (2) improved HSC output using c-Kit-deficient host mice, and (3) that teratomas can be transplanted and cryopreserved. We demonstrate that overexpression of Gfi1b, c-Fos, and Gata2, previously reported to transdifferentiate fibroblasts into hematopoietic progenitors in vitro, can induce long-term HSC formation in vivo. Our in vivo system provides a useful platform to investigate new strategies and re-evaluate existing strategies to generate HSCs and study HSC development.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.stemcr.2017.08.010

    View details for PubMedID 28943250

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5639260

  • Depleting dietary valine permits nonmyeloablative mouse hematopoietic stem cell transplantation SCIENCE Taya, Y., Ota, Y., Wilkinson, A. C., Kanazawa, A., Watarai, H., Kasai, M., Nakauchi, H., Yamazaki, S. 2016; 354 (6316): 1152-1155

    Abstract

    A specialized bone marrow microenvironment (niche) regulates hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) self-renewal and commitment. For successful donor-HSC engraftment, the niche must be emptied via myeloablative irradiation or chemotherapy. However, myeloablation can cause severe complications and even mortality. Here we report that the essential amino acid valine is indispensable for the proliferation and maintenance of HSCs. Both mouse and human HSCs failed to proliferate when cultured in valine-depleted conditions. In mice fed a valine-restricted diet, HSC frequency fell dramatically within 1 week. Furthermore, dietary valine restriction emptied the mouse bone marrow niche and afforded donor-HSC engraftment without chemoirradiative myeloablation. These findings indicate a critical role for valine in HSC maintenance and suggest that dietary valine restriction may reduce iatrogenic complications in HSC transplantation.

    View details for DOI 10.1126/science.aag3145

    View details for Web of Science ID 000388916400043

    View details for PubMedID 27934766

  • Integrated genome-scale analysis of the transcriptional regulatory landscape in a blood stem/progenitor cell model. Blood Wilson, N. K., Schoenfelder, S., Hannah, R., Sánchez Castillo, M., Schütte, J., Ladopoulos, V., Mitchelmore, J., Goode, D. K., Calero-Nieto, F. J., Moignard, V., Wilkinson, A. C., Jimenez-Madrid, I., Kinston, S., Spivakov, M., Fraser, P., Göttgens, B. 2016; 127 (13): e12-23

    Abstract

    Comprehensive study of transcriptional control processes will be required to enhance our understanding of both normal and malignant hematopoiesis. Modern sequencing technologies have revolutionized our ability to generate genome-scale expression and histone modification profiles, transcription factor (TF)-binding maps, and also comprehensive chromatin-looping information. Many of these technologies, however, require large numbers of cells, and therefore cannot be applied to rare hematopoietic stem/progenitor cell (HSPC) populations. The stem cell factor-dependent multipotent progenitor cell line HPC-7 represents a well-recognized cell line model for HSPCs. Here we report genome-wide maps for 17 TFs, 3 histone modifications, DNase I hypersensitive sites, and high-resolution promoter-enhancer interactomes in HPC-7 cells. Integrated analysis of these complementary data sets revealed TF occupancy patterns of genomic regions involved in promoter-anchored loops. Moreover, preferential associations between pairs of TFs bound at either ends of chromatin loops led to the identification of 4 previously unrecognized protein-protein interactions between key blood stem cell regulators. All HPC-7 data sets are freely available both through standard repositories and a user-friendly Web interface. Together with previously generated genome-wide data sets, this study integrates HPC-7 data into a genomic resource on par with ENCODE tier 1 cell lines and, importantly, is the only current model with comprehensive genome-scale data that is relevant to HSPC biology.

    View details for DOI 10.1182/blood-2015-10-677393

    View details for PubMedID 26809507

  • Clonal Dynamics Reveal Two Distinct Populations of Basal Cells in Slow-Turnover Airway Epithelium CELL REPORTS Watson, J. K., Rulands, S., Wilkinson, A. C., Wuidart, A., Ousset, M., Van Keymeulen, A., Goettgens, B., Blanpain, C., Simons, B. D., Rawlins, E. L. 2015; 12 (1): 90-101

    Abstract

    Epithelial lineages have been studied at cellular resolution in multiple organs that turn over rapidly. However, many epithelia, including those of the lung, liver, pancreas, and prostate, turn over slowly and may be regulated differently. We investigated the mouse tracheal epithelial lineage at homeostasis by using long-term clonal analysis and mathematical modeling. This pseudostratified epithelium contains basal cells and secretory and multiciliated luminal cells. Our analysis revealed that basal cells are heterogeneous, comprising approximately equal numbers of multipotent stem cells and committed precursors, which persist in the basal layer for 11 days before differentiating to luminal fate. We confirmed the molecular and functional differences within the basal population by using single-cell qRT-PCR and further lineage labeling. Additionally, we show that self-renewal of short-lived secretory cells is a feature of homeostasis. We have thus revealed early luminal commitment of cells that are morphologically indistinguishable from stem cells.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.celrep.2015.06.011

    View details for Web of Science ID 000357673300011

    View details for PubMedID 26119728

  • Decoding the regulatory network of early blood development from single-cell gene expression measurements. Nature biotechnology Moignard, V., Woodhouse, S., Haghverdi, L., Lilly, A. J., Tanaka, Y., Wilkinson, A. C., Buettner, F., Macaulay, I. C., Jawaid, W., Diamanti, E., Nishikawa, S., Piterman, N., Kouskoff, V., Theis, F. J., Fisher, J., Göttgens, B. 2015; 33 (3): 269-276

    Abstract

    Reconstruction of the molecular pathways controlling organ development has been hampered by a lack of methods to resolve embryonic progenitor cells. Here we describe a strategy to address this problem that combines gene expression profiling of large numbers of single cells with data analysis based on diffusion maps for dimensionality reduction and network synthesis from state transition graphs. Applying the approach to hematopoietic development in the mouse embryo, we map the progression of mesoderm toward blood using single-cell gene expression analysis of 3,934 cells with blood-forming potential captured at four time points between E7.0 and E8.5. Transitions between individual cellular states are then used as input to develop a single-cell network synthesis toolkit to generate a computationally executable transcriptional regulatory network model of blood development. Several model predictions concerning the roles of Sox and Hox factors are validated experimentally. Our results demonstrate that single-cell analysis of a developing organ coupled with computational approaches can reveal the transcriptional programs that underpin organogenesis.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nbt.3154

    View details for PubMedID 25664528

  • CODEX: a next-generation sequencing experiment database for the haematopoietic and embryonic stem cell communities. Nucleic acids research Sánchez-Castillo, M., Ruau, D., Wilkinson, A. C., Ng, F. S., Hannah, R., Diamanti, E., Lombard, P., Wilson, N. K., Gottgens, B. 2015; 43 (Database issue): D1117-23

    Abstract

    CODEX (http://codex.stemcells.cam.ac.uk/) is a user-friendly database for the direct access and interrogation of publicly available next-generation sequencing (NGS) data, specifically aimed at experimental biologists. In an era of multi-centre genomic dataset generation, CODEX provides a single database where these samples are collected, uniformly processed and vetted. The main drive of CODEX is to provide the wider scientific community with instant access to high-quality NGS data, which, irrespective of the publishing laboratory, is directly comparable. CODEX allows users to immediately visualize or download processed datasets, or compare user-generated data against the database's cumulative knowledge-base. CODEX contains four types of NGS experiments: transcription factor chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled to high-throughput sequencing (ChIP-Seq), histone modification ChIP-Seq, DNase-Seq and RNA-Seq. These are largely encompassed within two specialized repositories, HAEMCODE and ESCODE, which are focused on haematopoiesis and embryonic stem cell samples, respectively. To date, CODEX contains over 1000 samples, including 221 unique TFs and 93 unique cell types. CODEX therefore provides one of the most complete resources of publicly available NGS data for the direct interrogation of transcriptional programmes that regulate cellular identity and fate in the context of mammalian development, homeostasis and disease.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/nar/gku895

    View details for PubMedID 25270877

  • Single-cell analyses of regulatory network perturbations using enhancer-targeting TALEs suggest novel roles for PU.1 during haematopoietic specification. Development Wilkinson, A. C., Kawata, V. K., Schütte, J., Gao, X., Antoniou, S., Baumann, C., Woodhouse, S., Hannah, R., Tanaka, Y., Swiers, G., Moignard, V., Fisher, J., Hidetoshi, S., Tijssen, M. R., de Bruijn, M. F., Liu, P., Göttgens, B. 2014; 141 (20): 4018-4030

    Abstract

    Transcription factors (TFs) act within wider regulatory networks to control cell identity and fate. Numerous TFs, including Scl (Tal1) and PU.1 (Spi1), are known regulators of developmental and adult haematopoiesis, but how they act within wider TF networks is still poorly understood. Transcription activator-like effectors (TALEs) are a novel class of genetic tool based on the modular DNA-binding domains of Xanthomonas TAL proteins, which enable DNA sequence-specific targeting and the manipulation of endogenous gene expression. Here, we report TALEs engineered to target the PU.1-14kb and Scl+40kb transcriptional enhancers as efficient new tools to perturb the expression of these key haematopoietic TFs. We confirmed the efficiency of these TALEs at the single-cell level using high-throughput RT-qPCR, which also allowed us to assess the consequences of both PU.1 activation and repression on wider TF networks during developmental haematopoiesis. Combined with comprehensive cellular assays, these experiments uncovered novel roles for PU.1 during early haematopoietic specification. Finally, transgenic mouse studies confirmed that the PU.1-14kb element is active at sites of definitive haematopoiesis in vivo and PU.1 is detectable in haemogenic endothelium and early committing blood cells. We therefore establish TALEs as powerful new tools to study the functionality of transcriptional networks that control developmental processes such as early haematopoiesis.

    View details for DOI 10.1242/dev.115709

    View details for PubMedID 25252941

  • Transcriptional regulation of haematopoietic stem cells. Advances in experimental medicine and biology Wilkinson, A. C., Göttgens, B. 2013; 786: 187-212

    Abstract

    Haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) are a rare cell population found in the bone marrow of adult mammals and are responsible for maintaining the entire haematopoietic system. Definitive HSCs are produced from mesoderm during embryonic development, from embryonic day 10 in the mouse. HSCs seed the foetal liver before migrating to the bone marrow around the time of birth. In the adult, HSCs are largely quiescent but have the ability to divide to self-renew and expand, or to proliferate and differentiate into any mature haematopoietic cell type. Both the specification of HSCs during development and their cellular choices once formed are tightly controlled at the level of transcription. Numerous transcriptional regulators of HSC specification, expansion, homeostasis and differentiation have been identified, primarily from analysis of mouse gene knockout experiments and transplantation assays. These include transcription factors, epigenetic modifiers and signalling pathway effectors. This chapter reviews the current knowledge of these HSC transcriptional regulators, predominantly focusing on the transcriptional regulation of mouse HSCs, although transcriptional regulation of human HSCs is also mentioned where relevant. Due to the breadth and maturity of this field, we have prioritised recently identified examples of HSC transcriptional regulators. We go on to highlight additional layers of control that regulate expression and activity of HSC transcriptional regulators and discuss how chromosomal translocations that result in fusion proteins of these HSC transcriptional regulators commonly drive leukaemias through transcriptional dysregulation.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/978-94-007-6621-1_11

    View details for PubMedID 23696358

  • RUNX1 Is a Key Target in t(4;11) Leukemias that Contributes to Gene Activation through an AF4-MLL Complex Interaction CELL REPORTS Wilkinson, A. C., Ballabio, E., Geng, H., North, P., Tapia, M., Kerry, J., Biswas, D., Roeder, R. G., Allis, C. D., Melnick, A., de Bruijn, M. F., Milne, T. A. 2013; 3 (1): 116-127

    Abstract

    The Mixed Lineage Leukemia (MLL) protein is an important epigenetic regulator required for the maintenance of gene activation during development. MLL chromosomal translocations produce novel fusion proteins that cause aggressive leukemias in humans. Individual MLL fusion proteins have distinct leukemic phenotypes even when expressed in the same cell type, but how this distinction is delineated on a molecular level is poorly understood. Here, we highlight a unique molecular mechanism whereby the RUNX1 gene is directly activated by MLL-AF4 and the RUNX1 protein interacts with the product of the reciprocal AF4-MLL translocation. These results support a mechanism of transformation whereby two oncogenic fusion proteins cooperate by activating a target gene and then modulating the function of its downstream product.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.celrep.2012.12.016

    View details for Web of Science ID 000321891400014

    View details for PubMedID 23352661

  • Single site-specific integration targeting coupled with embryonic stem cell differentiation provides a high-throughput alternative to in vivo enhancer analyses. Biology open Wilkinson, A. C., Goode, D. K., Cheng, Y., Dickel, D. E., Foster, S., Sendall, T., Tijssen, M. R., Sanchez, M., Pennacchio, L. A., Kirkpatrick, A. M., Göttgens, B. 2013; 2 (11): 1229-1238

    Abstract

    Comprehensive analysis of cis-regulatory elements is key to understanding the dynamic gene regulatory networks that control embryonic development. While transgenic animals represent the gold standard assay, their generation is costly, entails significant animal usage, and in utero development complicates time-course studies. As an alternative, embryonic stem (ES) cells can readily be differentiated in a process that correlates well with developing embryos. Here, we describe a highly effective platform for enhancer assays using an Hsp68/Venus reporter cassette that targets to the Hprt locus in mouse ES cells. This platform combines the flexibility of Gateway® cloning, live cell trackability of a fluorescent reporter, low background and the advantages of single copy insertion into a defined genomic locus. We demonstrate the successful recapitulation of tissue-specific enhancer activity for two cardiac and two haematopoietic enhancers. In addition, we used this assay to dissect the functionality of the highly conserved Ets/Ets/Gata motif in the Scl+19 enhancer, which revealed that the Gata motif is not required for initiation of enhancer activity. We further confirmed that Gata2 is not required for endothelial activity of the Scl+19 enhancer using Gata2(-/-) Scl+19 transgenic embryos. We have therefore established a valuable toolbox to study gene regulatory networks with broad applicability.

    View details for DOI 10.1242/bio.20136296

    View details for PubMedID 24244860

  • Rfam: updates to the RNA families database NUCLEIC ACIDS RESEARCH Gardner, P. P., Daub, J., Tate, J. G., Nawrocki, E. P., Kolbe, D. L., Lindgreen, S., Wilkinson, A. C., Finn, R. D., Griffiths-Jones, S., Eddy, S. R., Bateman, A. 2009; 37: D136-D140

    Abstract

    Rfam is a collection of RNA sequence families, represented by multiple sequence alignments and covariance models (CMs). The primary aim of Rfam is to annotate new members of known RNA families on nucleotide sequences, particularly complete genomes, using sensitive BLAST filters in combination with CMs. A minority of families with a very broad taxonomic range (e.g. tRNA and rRNA) provide the majority of the sequence annotations, whilst the majority of Rfam families (e.g. snoRNAs and miRNAs) have a limited taxonomic range and provide a limited number of annotations. Recent improvements to the website, methodologies and data used by Rfam are discussed. Rfam is freely available on the Web at http://rfam.sanger.ac.uk/and http://rfam.janelia.org/.

    View details for DOI 10.1093/nar/gkn766

    View details for Web of Science ID 000261906200024

    View details for PubMedID 18953034