The two most commonly used methods to analyze data from real-time, quantitative PCR experiments are absolute quantification and relative quantification. Absolute quantification determines the input copy number, usually by relating the PCR signal to a standard curve. Relative quantification relates the PCR signal of the target transcript in a treatment group to that of another sample such as an untreated control. The 2(-Delta Delta C(T)) method is a convenient way to analyze the relative changes in gene expression from real-time quantitative PCR experiments. The purpose of this report is to present the derivation, assumptions, and applications of the 2(-Delta Delta C(T)) method. In addition, we present the derivation and applications of two variations of the 2(-Delta Delta C(T)) method that may be useful in the analysis of real-time, quantitative PCR data.
A new method of total RNA isolation by a single extraction with an acid guanidinium thiocyanate-phenol-chloroform mixture is described. The method provides a pure preparation of undegraded RNA in high yield and can be completed within 4 h. It is particularly useful for processing large numbers of samples and for isolation of RNA from minute quantities of cells or tissue samples.
A tetrazolium salt has been used to develop a quantitative colorimetric assay for mammalian cell survival and proliferation. The assay detects living, but not dead cells and the signal generated is dependent on the degree of activation of the cells. This method can therefore be used to measure cytotoxicity, proliferation or activation. The results can be read on a multiwell scanning spectrophotometer (ELISA reader) and show a high degree of precision. No washing steps are used in the assay. The main advantages of the colorimetric assay are its rapidity and precision, and the lack of any radioisotope. We have used the assay to measure proliferative lymphokines, mitogen stimulations and complement-mediated lysis.
High-throughput mRNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) promises simultaneous transcript discovery and abundance estimation. However, this would require algorithms that are not restricted by prior gene annotations and that account for alternative transcription and splicing. Here we introduce such algorithms in an open-source software program called Cufflinks. To test Cufflinks, we sequenced and analyzed >430 million paired 75-bp RNA-Seq reads from a mouse myoblast cell line over a differentiation time series. We detected 13,692 known transcripts and 3,724 previously unannotated ones, 62% of which are supported by independent expression data or by homologous genes in other species. Over the time series, 330 genes showed complete switches in the dominant transcription start site (TSS) or splice isoform, and we observed more subtle shifts in 1,304 other genes. These results suggest that Cufflinks can illuminate the substantial regulatory flexibility and complexity in even this well-studied model of muscle development and that it can improve transcriptome-based genome annotation.
Human blastocyst-derived, pluripotent cell lines are described that have normal karyotypes, express high levels of telomerase activity, and express cell surface markers that characterize primate embryonic stem cells but do not characterize other early lineages. After undifferentiated proliferation in vitro for 4 to 5 months, these cells still maintained the developmental potential to form trophoblast and derivatives of all three embryonic germ layers, including gut epithelium (endoderm); cartilage, bone, smooth muscle, and striated muscle (mesoderm); and neural epithelium, embryonic ganglia, and stratified squamous epithelium (ectoderm). These cell lines should be useful in human developmental biology, drug discovery, and transplantation medicine.
Somatic cell nuclear transfer allows trans-acting factors present in the mammalian oocyte to reprogram somatic cell nuclei to an undifferentiated state. We show that four factors (OCT4, SOX2, NANOG, and LIN28) are sufficient to reprogram human somatic cells to pluripotent stem cells that exhibit the essential characteristics of embryonic stem (ES) cells. These induced pluripotent human stem cells have normal karyotypes, express telomerase activity, express cell surface markers and genes that characterize human ES cells, and maintain the developmental potential to differentiate into advanced derivatives of all three primary germ layers. Such induced pluripotent human cell lines should be useful in the production of new disease models and in drug development, as well as for applications in transplantation medicine, once technical limitations (for example, mutation through viral integration) are eliminated.
Exosomes are vesicles of endocytic origin released by many cells. These vesicles can mediate communication between cells, facilitating processes such as antigen presentation. Here, we show that exosomes from a mouse and a human mast cell line (MC/9 and HMC-1, respectively), as well as primary bone marrow-derived mouse mast cells, contain RNA. Microarray assessments revealed the presence of mRNA from approximately 1300 genes, many of which are not present in the cytoplasm of the donor cell. In vitro translation proved that the exosome mRNAs were functional. Quality control RNA analysis of total RNA derived from exosomes also revealed presence of small RNAs, including microRNAs. The RNA from mast cell exosomes is transferable to other mouse and human mast cells. After transfer of mouse exosomal RNA to human mast cells, new mouse proteins were found in the recipient cells, indicating that transferred exosomal mRNA can be translated after entering another cell. In summary, we show that exosomes contain both mRNA and microRNA, which can be delivered to another cell, and can be functional in this new location. We propose that this RNA is called "exosomal shuttle RNA" (esRNA).
Deregulation of Akt/protein kinase B (PKB) is implicated in the pathogenesis of cancer and diabetes. Akt/PKB activation requires the phosphorylation of Thr308 in the activation loop by the phosphoinositide-dependent kinase 1 (PDK1) and Ser473 within the carboxyl-terminal hydrophobic motif by an unknown kinase. We show that in Drosophila and human cells the target of rapamycin (TOR) kinase and its associated protein rictor are necessary for Ser473 phosphorylation and that a reduction in rictor or mammalian TOR (mTOR) expression inhibited an Akt/PKB effector. The rictor-mTOR complex directly phosphorylated Akt/PKB on Ser473 in vitro and facilitated Thr308 phosphorylation by PDK1. Rictor-mTOR may serve as a drug target in tumors that have lost the expression of PTEN, a tumor suppressor that opposes Akt/PKB activation.
Capsaicin, the main pungent ingredient in 'hot' chilli peppers, elicits a sensation of burning pain by selectively activating sensory neurons that convey information about noxious stimuli to the central nervous system. We have used an expression cloning strategy based on calcium influx to isolate a functional cDNA encoding a capsaicin receptor from sensory neurons. This receptor is a non-selective cation channel that is structurally related to members of the TRP family of ion channels. The cloned capsaicin receptor is also activated by increases in temperature in the noxious range, suggesting that it functions as a transducer of painful thermal stimuli in vivo.
Normal somatic cells invariably enter a state of irreversibly arrested growth and altered function after a finite number of divisions. This process, termed replicative senescence, is thought to be a tumor-suppressive mechanism and an underlying cause of aging. There is ample evidence that escape from senescence, or immortality, is important for malignant transformation. By contrast, the role of replicative senescence in organismic aging is controversial. Studies on cells cultured from donors of different ages, genetic backgrounds, or species suggest that senescence occurs in vivo and that organismic lifespan and cell replicative lifespan are under common genetic control. However, senescent cells cannot be distinguished from quiescent or terminally differentiated cells in tissues. Thus, evidence that senescent cells exist and accumulate with age in vivo is lacking. We show that several human cells express a beta-galactosidase, histochemically detectable at pH 6, upon senescence in culture. This marker was expressed by senescent, but not presenescent, fibroblasts and keratinocytes but was absent from quiescent fibroblasts and terminally differentiated keratinocytes. It was also absent from immortal cells but was induced by genetic manipulations that reversed immortality. In skin samples from human donors of different age, there was an age-dependent increase in this marker in dermal fibroblasts and epidermal keratinocytes. This marker provides in situ evidence that senescent cells may exist and accumulate with age in vivo.
Through alternative processing of pre-messenger RNAs, individual mammalian genes often produce multiple mRNA and protein isoforms that may have related, distinct or even opposing functions. Here we report an in-depth analysis of 15 diverse human tissue and cell line transcriptomes on the basis of deep sequencing of complementary DNA fragments, yielding a digital inventory of gene and mRNA isoform expression. Analyses in which sequence reads are mapped to exon-exon junctions indicated that 92-94% of human genes undergo alternative splicing, 86% with a minor isoform frequency of 15% or more. Differences in isoform-specific read densities indicated that most alternative splicing and alternative cleavage and polyadenylation events vary between tissues, whereas variation between individuals was approximately twofold to threefold less common. Extreme or 'switch-like' regulation of splicing between tissues was associated with increased sequence conservation in regulatory regions and with generation of full-length open reading frames. Patterns of alternative splicing and alternative cleavage and polyadenylation were strongly correlated across tissues, suggesting coordinated regulation of these processes, and sequence conservation of a subset of known regulatory motifs in both alternative introns and 3' untranslated regions suggested common involvement of specific factors in tissue-level regulation of both splicing and polyadenylation.
We describe a simple calcium phosphate transfection protocol and neo marker vectors that achieve highly efficient transformation of mammalian cells. In this protocol, the calcium phosphate-DNA complex is formed gradually in the medium during incubation with cells and precipitates on the cells. The crucial factors for obtaining efficient transformation are the pH (6.95) of the buffer used for the calcium phosphate precipitation, the CO2 level (3%) during the incubation of the DNA with the cells, and the amount (20 to 30 micrograms) and the form (circular) of DNA. In sharp contrast to the results with circular DNA, linear DNA is almost inactive. Under these conditions, 50% of mouse L(A9) cells can be stably transformed with pcDneo, a simian virus 40-based neo (neomycin resistance) marker vector. The NIH3T3, C127, CV1, BHK, CHO, and HeLa cell lines were transformed at efficiencies of 10 to 50% with this vector and the neo marker-incorporated pcD vectors that were used for the construction and transduction of cDNA expression libraries as well as for the expression of cloned cDNA in mammalian cells.
DNA cytosine methylation is crucial for retrotransposon silencing and mammalian development. In a computational search for enzymes that could modify 5-methylcytosine (5mC), we identified TET proteins as mammalian homologs of the trypanosome proteins JBP1 and JBP2, which have been proposed to oxidize the 5-methyl group of thymine. We show here that TET1, a fusion partner of the MLL gene in acute myeloid leukemia, is a 2-oxoglutarate (2OG)- and Fe(II)-dependent enzyme that catalyzes conversion of 5mC to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (hmC) in cultured cells and in vitro. hmC is present in the genome of mouse embryonic stem cells, and hmC levels decrease upon RNA interference-mediated depletion of TET1. Thus, TET proteins have potential roles in epigenetic regulation through modification of 5mC to hmC.
A panel of antigen-specific mouse helper T cell clones was characterized according to patterns of lymphokine activity production, and two types of T cell were distinguished. Type 1 T helper cells (TH1) produced IL 2, interferon-gamma, GM-CSF, and IL 3 in response to antigen + presenting cells or to Con A, whereas type 2 helper T cells (TH2) produced IL 3, BSF1, and two other activities unique to the TH2 subset, a mast cell growth factor distinct from IL 3 and a T cell growth factor distinct from IL 2. Clones representing each type of T cell were characterized, and the pattern of lymphokine activities was consistent within each set. The secreted proteins induced by Con A were analyzed by biosynthetic labeling and SDS gel electrophoresis, and significant differences were seen between the two groups of T cell line. Both types of T cell grew in response to alternating cycles of antigen stimulation, followed by growth in IL 2-containing medium. Examples of both types of T cell were also specific for or restricted by the I region of the MHC, and the surface marker phenotype of the majority of both types was Ly-1+, Lyt-2-, L3T4+, Both types of helper T cell could provide help for B cells, but the nature of the help differed. TH1 cells were found among examples of T cell clones specific for chicken RBC and mouse alloantigens. TH2 cells were found among clones specific for mouse alloantigens, fowl gamma-globulin, and KLH. The relationship between these two types of T cells and previously described subsets of T helper cells is discussed.
Hundreds of small RNAs of approximately 22 nucleotides, collectively named microRNAs (miRNAs), have been discovered recently in animals and plants. Although their functions are being unravelled, their mechanism of biogenesis remains poorly understood. miRNAs are transcribed as long primary transcripts (pri-miRNAs) whose maturation occurs through sequential processing events: the nuclear processing of the pri-miRNAs into stem-loop precursors of approximately 70 nucleotides (pre-miRNAs), and the cytoplasmic processing of pre-miRNAs into mature miRNAs. Dicer, a member of the RNase III superfamily of bidentate nucleases, mediates the latter step, whereas the processing enzyme for the former step is unknown. Here we identify another RNase III, human Drosha, as the core nuclease that executes the initiation step of miRNA processing in the nucleus. Immunopurified Drosha cleaved pri-miRNA to release pre-miRNA in vitro. Furthermore, RNA interference of Drosha resulted in the strong accumulation of pri-miRNA and the reduction of pre-miRNA and mature miRNA in vivo. Thus, the two RNase III proteins, Drosha and Dicer, may collaborate in the stepwise processing of miRNAs, and have key roles in miRNA-mediated gene regulation in processes such as development and differentiation.
Quantitative proteomics has traditionally been performed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, but recently, mass spectrometric methods based on stable isotope quantitation have shown great promise for the simultaneous and automated identification and quantitation of complex protein mixtures. Here we describe a method, termed SILAC, for stable isotope labeling by amino acids in cell culture, for the in vivo incorporation of specific amino acids into all mammalian proteins. Mammalian cell lines are grown in media lacking a standard essential amino acid but supplemented with a non-radioactive, isotopically labeled form of that amino acid, in this case deuterated leucine (Leu-d3). We find that growth of cells maintained in these media is no different from growth in normal media as evidenced by cell morphology, doubling time, and ability to differentiate. Complete incorporation of Leu-d3 occurred after five doublings in the cell lines and proteins studied. Protein populations from experimental and control samples are mixed directly after harvesting, and mass spectrometric identification is straightforward as every leucine-containing peptide incorporates either all normal leucine or all Leu-d3. We have applied this technique to the relative quantitation of changes in protein expression during the process of muscle cell differentiation. Proteins that were found to be up-regulated during this process include glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, fibronectin, and pyruvate kinase M2. SILAC is a simple, inexpensive, and accurate procedure that can be used as a quantitative proteomic approach in any cell culture system.
Human embryonic kidney cells have been transformed by exposing cells to sheared fragments of adenovirus type 5 DNA. The transformed cells (designated 293 cells) exhibited many of the characteristics of transformation including the elaboration of a virus-specific tumour antigen. Analysis of the polypeptides synthesized in the 293 cells by labelling with 35S-methionine and SDS PAGE showed a variable pattern of synthesis, different in a number of respects from that seen in otheruman cells. On labelling the surface of cells by lactoperoxidase catalysed radio-iodination, the absence of a labelled polypeptide analogous to the 250 K (LETS) glycoprotein was noted. Hybridization of labelled cellular RNA with restriction fragments of adenovirus type 5 DNA indicated transcription of a portion of the adenovirus genome at the conventional left hand end.
DNA cytosine methylation is a central epigenetic modification that has essential roles in cellular processes including genome regulation, development and disease. Here we present the first genome-wide, single-base-resolution maps of methylated cytosines in a mammalian genome, from both human embryonic stem cells and fetal fibroblasts, along with comparative analysis of messenger RNA and small RNA components of the transcriptome, several histone modifications, and sites of DNA-protein interaction for several key regulatory factors. Widespread differences were identified in the composition and patterning of cytosine methylation between the two genomes. Nearly one-quarter of all methylation identified in embryonic stem cells was in a non-CG context, suggesting that embryonic stem cells may use different methylation mechanisms to affect gene regulation. Methylation in non-CG contexts showed enrichment in gene bodies and depletion in protein binding sites and enhancers. Non-CG methylation disappeared upon induced differentiation of the embryonic stem cells, and was restored in induced pluripotent stem cells. We identified hundreds of differentially methylated regions proximal to genes involved in pluripotency and differentiation, and widespread reduced methylation levels in fibroblasts associated with lower transcriptional activity. These reference epigenomes provide a foundation for future studies exploring this key epigenetic modification in human disease and development.
We introduce a method for optically imaging intracellular proteins at nanometer spatial resolution. Numerous sparse subsets of photoactivatable fluorescent protein molecules were activated, localized (to approximately 2 to 25 nanometers), and then bleached. The aggregate position information from all subsets was then assembled into a superresolution image. We used this method--termed photoactivated localization microscopy--to image specific target proteins in thin sections of lysosomes and mitochondria; in fixed whole cells, we imaged vinculin at focal adhesions, actin within a lamellipodium, and the distribution of the retroviral protein Gag at the plasma membrane.
Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are a family of innate immune-recognition receptors that recognize molecular patterns associated with microbial pathogens, and induce antimicrobial immune responses. Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is a molecular pattern associated with viral infection, because it is produced by most viruses at some point during their replication. Here we show that mammalian TLR3 recognizes dsRNA, and that activation of the receptor induces the activation of NF-kappaB and the production of type I interferons (IFNs). TLR3-deficient (TLR3-/-) mice showed reduced responses to polyinosine-polycytidylic acid (poly(I:C)), resistance to the lethal effect of poly(I:C) when sensitized with d-galactosamine (d-GalN), and reduced production of inflammatory cytokines. MyD88 is an adaptor protein that is shared by all the known TLRs. When activated by poly(I:C), TLR3 induces cytokine production through a signalling pathway dependent on MyD88. Moreover, poly(I:C) can induce activation of NF-kappaB and mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases independently of MyD88, and cause dendritic cells to mature.
In Caenorhabditis elegans, lin-4 and let-7 encode 22- and 21-nucleotide (nt) RNAs, respectively, which function as key regulators of developmental timing. Because the appearance of these short RNAs is regulated during development, they are also referred to as small temporal RNAs (stRNAs). We show that many 21- and 22-nt expressed RNAs, termed microRNAs, exist in invertebrates and vertebrates and that some of these novel RNAs, similar to let-7 stRNA, are highly conserved. This suggests that sequence-specific, posttranscriptional regulatory mechanisms mediated by small RNAs are more general than previously appreciated.