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2021

4D nucleome modeling.

Author(s) : Di Stefano M, Paulsen J, Jost D, Marti-Renom M,
Journal : Curr Opin Genet Dev
2021
The intrinsic dynamic nature of chromosomes is emerging as a fundamental componentin regulating DNA transcription, replication, and damage-repair among other nuclearfunctions. With this increased awareness, reinforced over the last ten years, manynew experimental techniques, mainly based on microscopy and chromosome conformationcapture, have been introduced to study the genome in space and time. Owing to theincreasing complexity of these cutting-edge techniques, computational approacheshave become of paramount importance to interpret, contextualize, and complement suchexperiments with new insights. Hence, it is becoming crucial for experimentalbiologists to have a clear understanding of the diverse theoretical modelingapproaches available and the biological information each of them can provide.

A single-chain and fast-responding light-inducible Cre recombinase as a novel optogenetic switch.

Author(s) : Duplus-Bottin H, Spichty M, Triqueneaux G, Place C, Mangeot P, Ohlmann T, Vittoz F, Yvert G,
Journal : Elife
2021
Optogenetics enables genome manipulations with high spatiotemporal resolution,opening exciting possibilities for fundamental and applied biological research.Here, we report the development of LiCre, a novel light-inducible Cre recombinase.LiCre is made of a single flavin-containing protein comprising the AsLOV2photoreceptor domain of Avena sativa fused to a Cre variant carrying destabilizingmutations in its N-terminal and C-terminal domains. LiCre can be activated withinminutes of illumination with blue light, without the need of additional chemicals.When compared to existing photoactivatable Cre recombinases based on two splitunits, LiCre displayed faster and stronger activation by light as well as a lowerresidual activity in the dark. LiCre was efficient both in yeast, where it allowedus to control the production of β-carotene with light, and in human cells. Given itssimplicity and performances, LiCre is particularly suited for fundamental andbiomedical research, as well as for controlling industrial bioprocesses.

Best practices for the visualization, mapping, and manipulation of R-loops.

Author(s) : Chédin F, Hartono S, Sanz L, Vanoosthuyse V,
Journal : EMBO J
2021
R-loops represent an abundant class of large non-B DNA structures in genomes. Eventhough they form transiently and at modest frequencies, interfering with R-loopformation or dissolution has significant impacts on genome stability. Addressing themechanism(s) of R-loop-mediated genome destabilization requires a precisecharacterization of their distribution in genomes. A number of independent methodshave been developed to visualize and map R-loops, but their results are at timesdiscordant, leading to confusion. Here, we review the main existing methodologiesfor R-loop mapping and assess their limitations as well as the robustness ofexisting datasets. We offer a set of best practices to improve the reproducibilityof maps, hoping that such guidelines could be useful for authors and referees alike.Finally, we propose a possible resolution for the apparent contradictions in R-loopmapping outcomes between antibody-based and RNase H1-based mapping approaches.

Physical and Genetic Assays for the Study of DNA Joint Molecules Metabolism and Multi-invasion-Induced Rearrangements in S. cerevisiae

Author(s) : Piazza A, Rajput P, Heyer W,
Journal : Methods in Molecular Biology
2021
DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are genotoxic lesions that can be repaired in a templated fashion by homologous recombination (HR). HR is a complex pathway that involves the formation of DNA joint molecules (JMs) containing heteroduplex DNA. Various types of JMs are formed throughout the pathway, including displacement loops (D-loops), multi-invasions (MI), and double Holliday junction intermediates. Dysregulation of JM metabolism in various mutant contexts revealed the propensity of HR to generate repeat-mediated chromosomal rearrangements. Specifically, we recently identified MI-induced rearrangements (MIR), a tripartite recombination mechanism initiated by one end of a DSB that exploits repeated regions to generate rearrangements between intact chromosomal regions. MIR occurs upon MI-JM processing by endonucleases and is suppressed by JM disruption activities. Here, we detail two assays: a physical assay for JM detection in Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells and genetic assays to determine the frequency of MIR in various chromosomal contexts. These assays enable studying the regulation of the HR pathway and the consequences of their defects for genomic instability by MIR.

RNA polymerase backtracking results in the accumulation of fission yeast condensin at active genes.

Author(s) : Rivosecchi J, Jost D, Vachez L, Gautier F, Bernard P, Vanoosthuyse V,
Journal : Life Sci Alliance
2021
The mechanisms leading to the accumulation of the SMC complexes condensins aroundspecific transcription units remain unclear. Observations made in bacteria suggestedthat RNA polymerases (RNAPs) constitute an obstacle to SMC translocation,particularly when RNAP and SMC travel in opposite directions. Here we show infission yeast that gene termini harbour intrinsic condensin-accumulating featureswhatever the orientation of transcription, which we attribute to the frequentbacktracking of RNAP at gene ends. Consistent with this, to relocate backtrackedRNAP2 from gene termini to gene bodies was sufficient to cancel the accumulation ofcondensin at gene ends and to redistribute it evenly within transcription units,indicating that RNAP backtracking may play a key role in positioning condensin.Formalization of this hypothesis in a mathematical model suggests that the inclusionof a sub-population of RNAP with longer dwell-times is essential to fullyrecapitulate the distribution profiles of condensin around active genes. Takentogether, our data strengthen the idea that dense arrays of proteins tightly boundto DNA alter the distribution of condensin on chromosomes.