Bio

Professional Education


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Rochester (2009)

Stanford Advisors


Publications

Journal Articles


  • Control of somatic tissue differentiation by the long non-coding RNA TINCR NATURE Kretz, M., Siprashvili, Z., Chu, C., Webster, D. E., Zehnder, A., Qu, K., Lee, C. S., Flockhart, R. J., Groff, A. F., Chow, J., Johnston, D., Kim, G. E., Spitale, R. C., Flynn, R. A., Zheng, G. X., Aiyer, S., Raj, A., Rinn, J. L., Chang, H. Y., Khavari, P. A. 2013; 493 (7431): 231-U245

    Abstract

    Several of the thousands of human long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been functionally characterized; however, potential roles for lncRNAs in somatic tissue differentiation remain poorly understood. Here we show that a 3.7-kilobase lncRNA, terminal differentiation-induced ncRNA (TINCR), controls human epidermal differentiation by a post-transcriptional mechanism. TINCR is required for high messenger RNA abundance of key differentiation genes, many of which are mutated in human skin diseases, including FLG, LOR, ALOXE3, ALOX12B, ABCA12, CASP14 and ELOVL3. TINCR-deficient epidermis lacked terminal differentiation ultrastructure, including keratohyalin granules and intact lamellar bodies. Genome-scale RNA interactome analysis revealed that TINCR interacts with a range of differentiation mRNAs. TINCR-mRNA interaction occurs through a 25-nucleotide 'TINCR box' motif that is strongly enriched in interacting mRNAs and required for TINCR binding. A high-throughput screen to analyse TINCR binding capacity to approximately 9,400 human recombinant proteins revealed direct binding of TINCR RNA to the staufen1 (STAU1) protein. STAU1-deficient tissue recapitulated the impaired differentiation seen with TINCR depletion. Loss of UPF1 and UPF2, both of which are required for STAU1-mediated RNA decay, however, did not have differentiation effects. Instead, the TINCR-STAU1 complex seems to mediate stabilization of differentiation mRNAs, such as KRT80. These data identify TINCR as a key lncRNA required for somatic tissue differentiation, which occurs through lncRNA binding to differentiation mRNAs to ensure their expression.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nature11661

    View details for Web of Science ID 000313259600041

    View details for PubMedID 23201690

  • RNA SHAPE analysis in living cells NATURE CHEMICAL BIOLOGY Spitale, R. C., Crisalli, P., Flynn, R. A., Torre, E. A., Kool, E. T., Chang, H. Y. 2013; 9 (1): 18-?

    Abstract

    RNA structure has important roles in practically every facet of gene regulation, but the paucity of in vivo structural probes limits current understanding. Here we design, synthesize and demonstrate two new chemical probes that enable selective 2'-hydroxyl acylation analyzed by primer extension (SHAPE) in living cells. RNA structures in human, mouse, fly, yeast and bacterial cells are read out at single-nucleotide resolution, revealing tertiary contacts and RNA-protein interactions.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/NCHEMBIO.1131

    View details for Web of Science ID 000312484200007

    View details for PubMedID 23178934

  • Differential effects of dietary supplements on metabolomic profile of smokers versus non-smokers GENOME MEDICINE Spitale, R. C., Cheng, M. Y., Chun, K. A., Gorell, E. S., Munoz, C. A., Kern, D. G., Wood, S. M., Knaggs, H. E., Wulff, J., Beebe, K. D., Chang, A. L. 2012; 4

    Abstract

    Cigarette smoking is well-known to associate with accelerated skin aging as well as cardiovascular disease and lung cancer, in large part due to oxidative stress. Because metabolites are downstream of genetic variation, as well as transcriptional changes and post-translational modifications of proteins, they are the most proximal reporters of disease states or reversal of disease states.In this study, we explore the potential effects of commonly available oral supplements (containing antioxidants, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids) on the metabolomes of smokers (n = 11) compared to non-smokers (n = 17). At baseline and after 12 weeks of supplementation, metabolomic analysis was performed on serum by liquid and gas chromatography with mass spectroscopy (LC-MS and GC-MS). Furthermore, clinical parameters of skin aging, including cutometry as assessed by three dermatologist raters blinded to subjects' age and smoking status, were measured.Long-chain fatty acids, including palmitate and oleate, decreased in smokers by 0.76-fold (P = 0.0045) and 0.72-fold (P = 0.0112), respectively. These changes were not observed in non-smokers. Furthermore, age and smoking status showed increased glow (P = 0.004) and a decrease in fine wrinkling (P = 0.038). Cutometry showed an increase in skin elasticity in smokers (P = 0.049) but not in non-smokers. Complexion analysis software (VISIA) revealed decreases in the number of ultraviolet spots (P = 0.031), and cutometry showed increased elasticity (P = 0.05) in smokers but not non-smokers.Additional future work may shed light on the specific mechanisms by which long-chain fatty acids can lead to increased glow, improved elasticity measures and decreased fine wrinkling in smokers' skin. Our study provides a novel, medicine-focused application of available metabolomic technology to identify changes in sera of human subjects with oxidative stress, and suggests that oral supplementation (in particular, commonly available antioxidants, vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids) affects these individuals in a way that is unique (compared to non-smokers) on a broad level.

    View details for DOI 10.1186/gm313

    View details for Web of Science ID 000314566400001

    View details for PubMedID 22360970

  • Understanding the transcriptome through RNA structure NATURE REVIEWS GENETICS Wan, Y., Kertesz, M., Spitale, R. C., Segal, E., Chang, H. Y. 2011; 12 (9): 641-655

    Abstract

    RNA structure is crucial for gene regulation and function. In the past, transcriptomes have largely been parsed by primary sequences and expression levels, but it is now becoming feasible to annotate and compare transcriptomes based on RNA structure. In addition to computational prediction methods, the recent advent of experimental techniques to probe RNA structure by high-throughput sequencing has enabled genome-wide measurements of RNA structure and has provided the first picture of the structural organization of a eukaryotic transcriptome - the 'RNA structurome'. With additional advances in method refinement and interpretation, structural views of the transcriptome should help to identify and validate regulatory RNA motifs that are involved in diverse cellular processes and thereby increase understanding of RNA function.

    View details for DOI 10.1038/nrg3049

    View details for Web of Science ID 000294004100010

    View details for PubMedID 21850044

  • RNA templating the epigenome Long noncoding RNAs as molecular scaffolds EPIGENETICS Spitale, R. C., Tsai, M., Chang, H. Y. 2011; 6 (5): 539-543

    Abstract

    Cellular pathways must be synergized, controlled and organized to manage homeostasis. To achieve high selectivity within the crowded cellular milieu the cell utilizes scaffolding complexes whose role is to bring molecules in proximity thereby controlling and enhancing intermolecular interactions and signaling events. To date, scaffolds have been shown to be composed of proteinaceous units; however, recent evidence has supported the idea that non-coding RNAs may also play a similar role. In this point of view article we discuss recent data on ncRNA scaffolds, with particular focus on ncRNA HOTAIR. Using our current knowledge of signaling networks we discuss the role that RNA may play in writing and regulating histone modifications and the information needed for correct gene expression. Further, we speculate on additional, yet undiscovered roles that ncRNAs may be playing as molecular scaffolds.

    View details for DOI 10.4161/epi.6.5.15221

    View details for Web of Science ID 000290203600001

    View details for PubMedID 21393997

  • Long Intergenic Noncoding RNAs: New Links in Cancer Progression CANCER RESEARCH Tsai, M., Spitale, R. C., Chang, H. Y. 2011; 71 (1): 3-7

    Abstract

    The process of cancer metastasis involves a series of sequential and complex steps. Here we give a perspective on recent results regarding noncoding transcription in cancer progression, focusing on the emerging role of long intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs). LincRNAs target chromatin modification complexes or RNA-binding proteins to alter gene expression programs. Similarly to miRNAs, lincRNAs exhibit distinct gene expression patterns in primary tumors and metastases. We discuss how lincRNAs can be used for cancer diagnosis and prognosis and serve as potential therapeutic targets.

    View details for DOI 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-2483

    View details for Web of Science ID 000285826800001

    View details for PubMedID 21199792

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