Education & Certifications
Bachelor of Science, Oregon State University, Biochemistry and Biophysics (2012)
Phagocytosis is required for a broad range of physiological functions, from pathogen defense to tissue homeostasis, but the mechanisms required for phagocytosis of diverse substrates remain incompletely understood. Here, we developed a rapid magnet-based phenotypic screening strategy, and performed eight genome-wide CRISPR screens in human cells to identify genes regulating phagocytosis of distinct substrates. After validating select hits in focused miniscreens, orthogonal assays and primary human macrophages, we show that (1) the previously uncharacterized gene NHLRC2 is a central player in phagocytosis, regulating RhoA-Rac1 signaling cascades that control actin polymerization and filopodia formation, (2) very-long-chain fatty acids are essential for efficient phagocytosis of certain substrates and (3) the previously uncharacterized Alzheimer's disease-associated gene TM2D3 can preferentially influence uptake of amyloid-beta aggregates. These findings illuminate new regulators and core principles of phagocytosis, and more generally establish an efficient method for unbiased identification of cellular uptake mechanisms across diverse physiological and pathological contexts.
View details for PubMedID 30397336
Exciting progress in the field of cancer immunotherapy has renewed the urgency of the need for basic studies of immunoregulation in both adaptive cell lineages and innate cell lineages. Here we found a central role for major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I in controlling the phagocytic function of macrophages. Our results demonstrated that expression of the common MHC class I component β2-microglobulin (β2M) by cancer cells directly protected them from phagocytosis. We further showed that this protection was mediated by the inhibitory receptor LILRB1, whose expression was upregulated on the surface of macrophages, including tumor-associated macrophages. Disruption of either MHC class I or LILRB1 potentiated phagocytosis of tumor cells both in vitro and in vivo, which defines the MHC class I-LILRB1 signaling axis as an important regulator of the effector function of innate immune cells, a potential biomarker for therapeutic response to agents directed against the signal-regulatory protein CD47 and a potential target of anti-cancer immunotherapy.
View details for PubMedID 29180808
Mesoderm is the developmental precursor to myriad human tissues including bone, heart, and skeletal muscle. Unravelling the molecular events through which these lineages become diversified from one another is integral to developmental biology and understanding changes in cellular fate. To this end, we developed an in vitro system to differentiate human pluripotent stem cells through primitive streak intermediates into paraxial mesoderm and its derivatives (somites, sclerotome, dermomyotome) and separately, into lateral mesoderm and its derivatives (cardiac mesoderm). Whole-population and single-cell analyses of these purified populations of human mesoderm lineages through RNA-seq, ATAC-seq, and high-throughput surface marker screens illustrated how transcriptional changes co-occur with changes in open chromatin and surface marker landscapes throughout human mesoderm development. This molecular atlas will facilitate study of human mesoderm development (which cannot be interrogated in vivo due to restrictions on human embryo studies) and provides a broad resource for the study of gene regulation in development at the single-cell level, knowledge that might one day be exploited for regenerative medicine.
View details for DOI 10.1038/sdata.2016.109
View details for PubMedID 27996962
Cancer immunotherapies hold much promise, but their potential in veterinary settings has not yet been fully appreciated. Canine lymphomas are among the most common tumors of dogs and bear remarkable similarity to human disease. In this study, we examined the combination of CD47 blockade with anti-CD20 passive immunotherapy for canine lymphoma. The CD47/SIRPα axis is an immune checkpoint that regulates macrophage activation. In humans, CD47 is expressed on cancer cells and enables evasion from phagocytosis. CD47-blocking therapies are now under investigation in clinical trials for a variety of human cancers. We found the canine CD47/SIRPα axis to be conserved biochemically and functionally. We identified high-affinity SIRPα variants that antagonize canine CD47 and stimulate phagocytosis of canine cancer cells in vitro When tested as Fc fusion proteins, these therapeutic agents exhibited single-agent efficacy in a mouse xenograft model of canine lymphoma. As robust synergy between CD47 blockade and tumor-specific antibodies has been demonstrated for human cancer, we evaluated the combination of CD47 blockade with 1E4-cIgGB, a canine-specific antibody to CD20. 1E4-cIgGB could elicit a therapeutic response against canine lymphoma in vivo as a single agent. However, augmented responses were observed when combined with CD47-blocking therapies, resulting in synergy in vitro and in vivo and eliciting cures in 100% of mice bearing canine lymphoma. Our findings support further testing of CD47-blocking therapies alone and in combination with CD20 antibodies in the veterinary setting. Cancer Immunol Res; 4(12); 1072-87. ©2016 AACR.
View details for DOI 10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-16-0105
View details for Web of Science ID 000389702900009
View details for PubMedID 27856424
Stem-cell differentiation to desired lineages requires navigating alternating developmental paths that often lead to unwanted cell types. Hence, comprehensive developmental roadmaps are crucial to channel stem-cell differentiation toward desired fates. To this end, here, we map bifurcating lineage choices leading from pluripotency to 12 human mesodermal lineages, including bone, muscle, and heart. We defined the extrinsic signals controlling each binary lineage decision, enabling us to logically block differentiation toward unwanted fates and rapidly steer pluripotent stem cells toward 80%-99% pure human mesodermal lineages at most branchpoints. This strategy enabled the generation of human bone and heart progenitors that could engraft in respective in vivo models. Mapping stepwise chromatin and single-cell gene expression changes in mesoderm development uncovered somite segmentation, a previously unobservable human embryonic event transiently marked by HOPX expression. Collectively, this roadmap enables navigation of mesodermal development to produce transplantable human tissue progenitors and uncover developmental processes. VIDEO ABSTRACT.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.cell.2016.06.011
View details for PubMedID 27419872
Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a highly aggressive subtype of lung cancer with limited treatment options. CD47 is a cell-surface molecule that promotes immune evasion by engaging signal-regulatory protein alpha (SIRPα), which serves as an inhibitory receptor on macrophages. Here, we found that CD47 is highly expressed on the surface of human SCLC cells; therefore, we investigated CD47-blocking immunotherapies as a potential approach for SCLC treatment. Disruption of the interaction of CD47 with SIRPα using anti-CD47 antibodies induced macrophage-mediated phagocytosis of human SCLC patient cells in culture. In a murine model, administration of CD47-blocking antibodies or targeted inactivation of the Cd47 gene markedly inhibited SCLC tumor growth. Furthermore, using comprehensive antibody arrays, we identified several possible therapeutic targets on the surface of SCLC cells. Antibodies to these targets, including CD56/neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM), promoted phagocytosis in human SCLC cell lines that was enhanced when combined with CD47-blocking therapies. In light of recent clinical trials for CD47-blocking therapies in cancer treatment, these findings identify disruption of the CD47/SIRPα axis as a potential immunotherapeutic strategy for SCLC. This approach could enable personalized immunotherapeutic regimens in patients with SCLC and other cancers.
View details for DOI 10.1172/JCI81603
View details for Web of Science ID 000379094800024
View details for PubMedID 27294525
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4922696
Enhancers and promoters commonly occur in accessible chromatin characterized by depleted nucleosome contact; however, it is unclear how chromatin accessibility is governed. We show that log-additive cis-acting DNA sequence features can predict chromatin accessibility at high spatial resolution. We develop a new type of high-dimensional machine learning model, the Synergistic Chromatin Model (SCM), which when trained with DNase-seq data for a cell type is capable of predicting expected read counts of genome-wide chromatin accessibility at every base from DNA sequence alone, with the highest accuracy at hypersensitive sites shared across cell types. We confirm that a SCM accurately predicts chromatin accessibility for thousands of synthetic DNA sequences using a novel CRISPR-based method of highly efficient site-specific DNA library integration. SCMs are directly interpretable and reveal that a logic based on local, nonspecific synergistic effects, largely among pioneer TFs, is sufficient to predict a large fraction of cellular chromatin accessibility in a wide variety of cell types.
View details for PubMedID 27456004
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5052050
Using a nuclease-dead Cas9 mutant, we show that Cas9 reproducibly induces chromatin accessibility at previously inaccessible genomic loci. Cas9 chromatin opening is sufficient to enable adjacent binding and transcriptional activation by the settler transcription factor retinoic acid receptor at previously unbound motifs. Thus, we demonstrate a new use for Cas9 in increasing surrounding chromatin accessibility to alter local transcription factor binding.
View details for PubMedID 27031353
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4816323
We describe protein interaction quantitation (PIQ), a computational method for modeling the magnitude and shape of genome-wide DNase I hypersensitivity profiles to identify transcription factor (TF) binding sites. Through the use of machine-learning techniques, PIQ identified binding sites for >700 TFs from one DNase I hypersensitivity analysis followed by sequencing (DNase-seq) experiment with accuracy comparable to that of chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (ChIP-seq). We applied PIQ to analyze DNase-seq data from mouse embryonic stem cells differentiating into prepancreatic and intestinal endoderm. We identified 120 and experimentally validated eight 'pioneer' TF families that dynamically open chromatin. Four pioneer TF families only opened chromatin in one direction from their motifs. Furthermore, we identified 'settler' TFs whose genomic binding is principally governed by proximity to open chromatin. Our results support a model of hierarchical TF binding in which directional and nondirectional pioneer activity shapes the chromatin landscape for population by settler TFs.
View details for PubMedID 24441470
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC3951735
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