Wei Chen
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Wei Chen
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Global quantification of mammalian gene expression control.
Journal: Nature
June/30/2011
Description

Gene expression is a multistep process that involves the transcription, translation and turnover of messenger RNAs and proteins. Although it is one of the most fundamental processes of life, the entire cascade has never been quantified on a genome-wide scale. Here we simultaneously measured absolute mRNA and protein abundance and turnover by parallel metabolic pulse labelling for more than 5,000 genes in mammalian cells. Whereas mRNA and protein levels correlated better than previously thought, corresponding half-lives showed no correlation. Using a quantitative model we have obtained the first genome-scale prediction of synthesis rates of mRNAs and proteins. We find that the cellular abundance of proteins is predominantly controlled at the level of translation. Genes with similar combinations of mRNA and protein stability shared functional properties, indicating that half-lives evolved under energetic and dynamic constraints. Quantitative information about all stages of gene expression provides a rich resource and helps to provide a greater understanding of the underlying design principles.

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A draft sequence of the rice genome (Oryza sativa L. ssp. indica).
Journal: Science (New York, N.Y.)
April/22/2002
Description

We have produced a draft sequence of the rice genome for the most widely cultivated subspecies in China, Oryza sativa L. ssp. indica, by whole-genome shotgun sequencing. The genome was 466 megabases in size, with an estimated 46,022 to 55,615 genes. Functional coverage in the assembled sequences was 92.0%. About 42.2% of the genome was in exact 20-nucleotide oligomer repeats, and most of the transposons were in the intergenic regions between genes. Although 80.6% of predicted Arabidopsis thaliana genes had a homolog in rice, only 49.4% of predicted rice genes had a homolog in A. thaliana. The large proportion of rice genes with no recognizable homologs is due to a gradient in the GC content of rice coding sequences.

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Guidelines for the use and interpretation of assays for monitoring autophagy (3rd edition).
Journal: Autophagy
October/18/2016
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Pubmed
A genome-wide association study of global gene expression.
Journal: Nature genetics
January/21/2008
Description

We have created a global map of the effects of polymorphism on gene expression in 400 children from families recruited through a proband with asthma. We genotyped 408,273 SNPs and identified expression quantitative trait loci from measurements of 54,675 transcripts representing 20,599 genes in Epstein-Barr virus-transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines. We found that 15,084 transcripts (28%) representing 6,660 genes had narrow-sense heritabilities (H2) > 0.3. We executed genome-wide association scans for these traits and found peak lod scores between 3.68 and 59.1. The most highly heritable traits were markedly enriched in Gene Ontology descriptors for response to unfolded protein (chaperonins and heat shock proteins), regulation of progression through the cell cycle, RNA processing, DNA repair, immune responses and apoptosis. SNPs that regulate expression of these genes are candidates in the study of degenerative diseases, malignancy, infection and inflammation. We have created a downloadable database to facilitate use of our findings in the mapping of complex disease loci.

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Discovering microRNAs from deep sequencing data using miRDeep.
Journal: Nature biotechnology
May/5/2008
Description

The capacity of highly parallel sequencing technologies to detect small RNAs at unprecedented depth suggests their value in systematically identifying microRNAs (miRNAs). However, the identification of miRNAs from the large pool of sequenced transcripts from a single deep sequencing run remains a major challenge. Here, we present an algorithm, miRDeep, which uses a probabilistic model of miRNA biogenesis to score compatibility of the position and frequency of sequenced RNA with the secondary structure of the miRNA precursor. We demonstrate its accuracy and robustness using published Caenorhabditis elegans data and data we generated by deep sequencing human and dog RNAs. miRDeep reports altogether approximately 230 previously unannotated miRNAs, of which four novel C. elegans miRNAs are validated by northern blot analysis.

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A stem cell-like chromatin pattern may predispose tumor suppressor genes to DNA hypermethylation and heritable silencing.
Journal: Nature genetics
April/22/2007
Description

Adult cancers may derive from stem or early progenitor cells. Epigenetic modulation of gene expression is essential for normal function of these early cells but is highly abnormal in cancers, which often show aberrant promoter CpG island hypermethylation and transcriptional silencing of tumor suppressor genes and pro-differentiation factors. We find that for such genes, both normal and malignant embryonic cells generally lack the hypermethylation of DNA found in adult cancers. In embryonic stem cells, these genes are held in a 'transcription-ready' state mediated by a 'bivalent' promoter chromatin pattern consisting of the repressive mark, histone H3 methylated at Lys27 (H3K27) by Polycomb group proteins, plus the active mark, methylated H3K4. However, embryonic carcinoma cells add two key repressive marks, dimethylated H3K9 and trimethylated H3K9, both associated with DNA hypermethylation in adult cancers. We hypothesize that cell chromatin patterns and transient silencing of these important regulatory genes in stem or progenitor cells may leave these genes vulnerable to aberrant DNA hypermethylation and heritable gene silencing during tumor initiation and progression.

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Pubmed
miRDeep2 accurately identifies known and hundreds of novel microRNA genes in seven animal clades.
Journal: Nucleic acids research
February/26/2012
Description

microRNAs (miRNAs) are a large class of small non-coding RNAs which post-transcriptionally regulate the expression of a large fraction of all animal genes and are important in a wide range of biological processes. Recent advances in high-throughput sequencing allow miRNA detection at unprecedented sensitivity, but the computational task of accurately identifying the miRNAs in the background of sequenced RNAs remains challenging. For this purpose, we have designed miRDeep2, a substantially improved algorithm which identifies canonical and non-canonical miRNAs such as those derived from transposable elements and informs on high-confidence candidates that are detected in multiple independent samples. Analyzing data from seven animal species representing the major animal clades, miRDeep2 identified miRNAs with an accuracy of 98.6-99.9% and reported hundreds of novel miRNAs. To test the accuracy of miRDeep2, we knocked down the miRNA biogenesis pathway in a human cell line and sequenced small RNAs before and after. The vast majority of the >100 novel miRNAs expressed in this cell line were indeed specifically downregulated, validating most miRDeep2 predictions. Last, a new miRNA expression profiling routine, low time and memory usage and user-friendly interactive graphic output can make miRDeep2 useful to a wide range of researchers.

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Pharmacologic disruption of Polycomb-repressive complex 2-mediated gene repression selectively induces apoptosis in cancer cells.
Journal: Genes & development
June/10/2007
Description

Polycomb-repressive complex 2 (PRC2)-mediated histone methylation plays an important role in aberrant cancer gene silencing and is a potential target for cancer therapy. Here we show that S-adenosylhomocysteine hydrolase inhibitor 3-Deazaneplanocin A (DZNep) induces efficient apoptotic cell death in cancer cells but not in normal cells. We found that DZNep effectively depleted cellular levels of PRC2 components EZH2, SUZ12, and EED and inhibited associated histone H3 Lys 27 methylation (but not H3 Lys 9 methylation). By integrating RNA interference (RNAi), genome-wide expression analysis, and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) studies, we have identified a prominent set of genes selectively repressed by PRC2 in breast cancer that can be reactivated by DZNep. We further demonstrate that the preferential reactivation of a set of these genes by DZNep, including a novel apoptosis affector, FBXO32, contributes to DZNep-induced apoptosis in breast cancer cells. Our results demonstrate the unique feature of DZNep as a novel chromatin remodeling compound and suggest that pharmacologic reversal of PRC2-mediated gene repression by DZNep may constitute a novel approach for cancer therapy.

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A human snoRNA with microRNA-like functions.
Journal: Molecular cell
January/14/2009
Description

Small noncoding RNAs function in concert with Argonaute (Ago) proteins to regulate gene expression at the level of transcription, mRNA stability, or translation. Ago proteins bind small RNAs and form the core of silencing complexes. Here, we report the analysis of small RNAs associated with human Ago1 and Ago2 revealed by immunoprecipitation and deep sequencing. Among the reads, we find small RNAs originating from the small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA) ACA45. Moreover, processing of ACA45 requires Dicer activity but is independent of Drosha/DGCR8. Using bioinformatic prediction algorithms and luciferase reporter assays, we uncover the mediator subunit CDC2L6 as one potential mRNA target of ACA45 small RNAs, suggesting a role for ACA45-processing products in posttranscriptional gene silencing. We further identify a number of human snoRNAs with microRNA (miRNA)-like processing signatures. We have, therefore, identified a class of small RNAs in human cells that originate from snoRNAs and can function like miRNAs.

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Pubmed
Altered histone acetylation is associated with age-dependent memory impairment in mice.
Journal: Science (New York, N.Y.)
May/17/2010
Description

As the human life span increases, the number of people suffering from cognitive decline is rising dramatically. The mechanisms underlying age-associated memory impairment are, however, not understood. Here we show that memory disturbances in the aging brain of the mouse are associated with altered hippocampal chromatin plasticity. During learning, aged mice display a specific deregulation of histone H4 lysine 12 (H4K12) acetylation and fail to initiate a hippocampal gene expression program associated with memory consolidation. Restoration of physiological H4K12 acetylation reinstates the expression of learning-induced genes and leads to the recovery of cognitive abilities. Our data suggest that deregulated H4K12 acetylation may represent an early biomarker of an impaired genome-environment interaction in the aging mouse brain.

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