Bachelor of Science, Shanghai Jiaotong University (2008)
Doctor of Philosophy, Chinese Academy Of Sciences (2015)
Here we introduce Protein-indexed Assay of Transposase Accessible Chromatin with sequencing (Pi-ATAC) that combines single-cell chromatin and proteomic profiling. In conjunction with DNA transposition, the levels of multiple cell surface or intracellular protein epitopes are recorded by index flow cytometry and positions in arrayed microwells, and then subject to molecular barcoding for subsequent pooled analysis. Pi-ATAC simultaneously identifies the epigenomic and proteomic heterogeneity in individual cells. Pi-ATAC reveals a casual link between transcription factor abundance and DNA motif access, and deconvolute cell types and states in the tumor microenvironment in vivo. We identify a dominant role for hypoxia, marked by HIF1alpha protein, in the tumor microvenvironment for shaping the regulome in a subset of epithelial tumor cells.
View details for PubMedID 30389926
During both embryonic development and adult tissue regeneration, changes in chromatin structure driven by master transcription factors lead to stimulus-responsive transcriptional programs. A thorough understanding of how stem cells in the skeleton interpret mechanical stimuli and enact regeneration would shed light on how forces are transduced to the nucleus in regenerative processes. Here we develop a genetically dissectible mouse model of mandibular distraction osteogenesis-which isa process that is used in humans to correct an undersized lower jawthat involves surgically separating the jaw bone, whichelicits new bone growth in the gap. We use this model to show that regions of newly formed bone are clonally derived from stem cells that reside in the skeleton. Using chromatin and transcriptional profiling, we show that these stem-cell populations gain activity within the focal adhesion kinase (FAK) signalling pathway, and that inhibiting FAK abolishes new bone formation. Mechanotransduction via FAK in skeletal stem cells during distraction activates a gene-regulatory program and retrotransposons that are normally active in primitive neural crest cells, from which skeletal stem cells arise during development. This reversion to a developmental state underlies the robust tissue growth that facilitates stem-cell-based regeneration of adult skeletal tissue.
View details for PubMedID 30356216
T cells create vast amounts of diversity in the genes that encode their T cell receptors (TCRs), which enables individual clones to recognize specific peptide-major histocompatibility complex (MHC) ligands. Here we combined sequencing of the TCR-encoding genes with assay for transposase-accessible chromatin with sequencing (ATAC-seq) analysis at the single-cell level to provide information on the TCR specificity and epigenomic state of individual T cells. By using this approach, termed transcript-indexed ATAC-seq (T-ATAC-seq), we identified epigenomic signatures in immortalized leukemic T cells, primary human T cells from healthy volunteers and primary leukemic T cells from patient samples. In peripheral blood CD4+ T cells from healthy individuals, we identified cis and trans regulators of naive and memory T cell states and found substantial heterogeneity in surface-marker-defined T cell populations. In patients with a leukemic form of cutaneous T cell lymphoma, T-ATAC-seq enabled identification of leukemic and nonleukemic regulatory pathways in T cells from the same individual by allowing separation of the signals that arose from the malignant clone from the background T cell noise. Thus, T-ATAC-seq is a new tool that enables analysis of epigenomic landscapes in clonal T cells and should be valuable for studies of T cell malignancy, immunity and immunotherapy.
View details for PubMedID 29686426
Long intergenic non-coding RNA (lincRNA) genes have diverse features that distinguish them from mRNA-encoding genes and exercise functions such as remodelling chromatin and genome architecture, RNA stabilization and transcription regulation, including enhancer-associated activity. Some genes currently annotated as encoding lincRNAs include small open reading frames (smORFs) and encode functional peptides and thus may be more properly classified as coding RNAs. lincRNAs may broadly serve to fine-tune the expression of neighbouring genes with remarkable tissue specificity through a diversity of mechanisms, highlighting our rapidly evolving understanding of the non-coding genome.
View details for PubMedID 29138516
The challenge of linking intergenic mutations to target genes has limited molecular understanding of human diseases. Here we show that H3K27ac HiChIP generates high-resolution contact maps of active enhancers and target genes in rare primary human T cell subtypes and coronary artery smooth muscle cells. Differentiation of naive T cells into T helper 17 cells or regulatory T cells creates subtype-specific enhancer-promoter interactions, specifically at regions of shared DNA accessibility. These data provide a principled means of assigning molecular functions to autoimmune and cardiovascular disease risk variants, linking hundreds of noncoding variants to putative gene targets. Target genes identified with HiChIP are further supported by CRISPR interference and activation at linked enhancers, by the presence of expression quantitative trait loci, and by allele-specific enhancer loops in patient-derived primary cells. The majority of disease-associated enhancers contact genes beyond the nearest gene in the linear genome, leading to a fourfold increase in the number of potential target genes for autoimmune and cardiovascular diseases.
View details for PubMedID 28945252
In studies of development and aging, the expression of many genes has been shown to undergo drastic changes at mRNA and protein levels. The connection between mRNA and protein expression level changes, as well as the role of posttranscriptional regulation in controlling expression level changes in postnatal development and aging, remains largely unexplored.Here, we survey mRNA and protein expression changes in the prefrontal cortex of humans and rhesus macaques over developmental and aging intervals of both species' lifespans. We find substantial decoupling of mRNA and protein expression levels in aging, but not in development. Genes showing increased mRNA/protein disparity in primate brain aging form expression patterns conserved between humans and macaques and are enriched in specific functions involving mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling, mitochondrial function and neurodegeneration. Mechanistically, aging-dependent mRNA/protein expression decoupling could be linked to a specific set of RNA binding proteins and, to a lesser extent, to specific microRNAs.Increased decoupling of mRNA and protein expression profiles observed in human and macaque brain aging results in specific co-expression profiles composed of genes with shared functions and shared regulatory signals linked to specific posttranscriptional regulators. Genes targeted and predicted to be targeted by the aging-dependent posttranscriptional regulation are associated with biological processes known to play important roles in aging and lifespan extension. These results indicate the potential importance of posttranscriptional regulation in modulating aging-dependent changes in humans and other species.
View details for DOI 10.1186/s13059-015-0608-2
View details for Web of Science ID 000351822800001
View details for PubMedID 25853883
Lipids are prominent components of the nervous system. Here we performed a large-scale mass spectrometry-based analysis of the lipid composition of three brain regions as well as kidney and skeletal muscle of humans, chimpanzees, rhesus macaques, and mice. The human brain shows the most distinct lipid composition: 76% of 5,713 lipid compounds examined in our study are either enriched or depleted in the human brain. Concentration levels of lipids enriched in the brain evolve approximately four times faster among primates compared with lipids characteristic of non-neural tissues and show further acceleration of change in human neocortical regions but not in the cerebellum. Human-specific concentration changes are supported by human-specific expression changes for corresponding enzymes. These results provide the first insights into the role of lipids in human brain evolution.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.neuron.2015.01.003
View details for Web of Science ID 000349959900007
View details for PubMedID 25661180
Metabolite concentrations reflect the physiological states of tissues and cells. However, the role of metabolic changes in species evolution is currently unknown. Here, we present a study of metabolome evolution conducted in three brain regions and two non-neural tissues from humans, chimpanzees, macaque monkeys, and mice based on over 10,000 hydrophilic compounds. While chimpanzee, macaque, and mouse metabolomes diverge following the genetic distances among species, we detect remarkable acceleration of metabolome evolution in human prefrontal cortex and skeletal muscle affecting neural and energy metabolism pathways. These metabolic changes could not be attributed to environmental conditions and were confirmed against the expression of their corresponding enzymes. We further conducted muscle strength tests in humans, chimpanzees, and macaques. The results suggest that, while humans are characterized by superior cognition, their muscular performance might be markedly inferior to that of chimpanzees and macaque monkeys.
View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.pbio.1001871
View details for Web of Science ID 000336969200021
View details for PubMedID 24866127
Although Neanderthals are extinct, fragments of their genomes persist in contemporary humans. Here we show that while the genome-wide frequency of Neanderthal-like sites is approximately constant across all contemporary out-of-Africa populations, genes involved in lipid catabolism contain more than threefold excess of such sites in contemporary humans of European descent. Evolutionally, these genes show significant association with signatures of recent positive selection in the contemporary European, but not Asian or African populations. Functionally, the excess of Neanderthal-like sites in lipid catabolism genes can be linked with a greater divergence of lipid concentrations and enzyme expression levels within this pathway, seen in contemporary Europeans, but not in the other populations. We conclude that sequence variants that evolved in Neanderthals may have given a selective advantage to anatomically modern humans that settled in the same geographical areas.
View details for DOI 10.1038/ncomms4584
View details for Web of Science ID 000335220400002
View details for PubMedID 24690587