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Publications in Nature Cell Biology by NOMIS researchers

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Published in

August 17, 2023

The nuclear envelope (NE) is a spherical double membrane with elastic properties. How NE shape and elasticity are regulated by lipid chemistry is unknown. Here we discover lipid acyl chain unsaturation as essential for NE and nuclear pore complex (NPC) architecture and function. Increased lipid saturation rigidifies the NE and the endoplasmic reticulum into planar, polygonal membranes, which are fracture prone. These membranes exhibit a micron-scale segregation of lipids into ordered and disordered phases, excluding NPCs from the ordered phase. Balanced lipid saturation is required for NPC integrity, pore membrane curvature and nucleocytoplasmic transport. Oxygen deprivation amplifies the impact of saturated lipids, causing NE rigidification and rupture. Conversely, lipid droplets buffer saturated lipids to preserve NE architecture. Our study uncovers a fundamental link between lipid acyl chain structure and the integrity of the cell nucleus with implications for nuclear membrane malfunction in ischaemic tissues. © 2023, The Author(s).

Research field(s)
Natural Sciences

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Published in

January 1, 2022

While acetylated, RNA-binding-deficient TDP-43 reversibly phase separates within nuclei into complex droplets (anisosomes) comprised of TDP-43-containing liquid outer shells and liquid centres of HSP70-family chaperones, cytoplasmic aggregates of TDP-43 are hallmarks of multiple neurodegenerative diseases, including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Here we show that transient oxidative stress, proteasome inhibition or inhibition of the ATP-dependent chaperone activity of HSP70 provokes reversible cytoplasmic TDP-43 de-mixing and transition from liquid to gel/solid, independently of RNA binding or stress granules. Isotope labelling mass spectrometry was used to identify that phase-separated cytoplasmic TDP-43 is bound by the small heat-shock protein HSPB1. Binding is direct, mediated through TDP-43’s RNA binding and low-complexity domains. HSPB1 partitions into TDP-43 droplets, inhibits TDP-43 assembly into fibrils, and is essential for disassembly of stress-induced TDP-43 droplets. A decrease in HSPB1 promotes cytoplasmic TDP-43 de-mixing and mislocalization. HSPB1 depletion was identified in spinal motor neurons of patients with ALS containing aggregated TDP-43. These findings identify HSPB1 to be a regulator of cytoplasmic TDP-43 phase separation and aggregation.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Biomedical Research, Developmental Biology

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Published in

June 1, 2021

Expression of exon-specific isoforms from alternatively spliced mRNA is a fundamental mechanism that substantially expands the proteome of a cell. However, conventional methods to assess alternative splicing are either consumptive and work-intensive or do not quantify isoform expression longitudinally at the protein level. Here, we therefore developed an exon-specific isoform expression reporter system (EXSISERS), which non-invasively reports the translation of exon-containing isoforms of endogenous genes by scarlessly excising reporter proteins from the nascent polypeptide chain through highly efficient, intein-mediated protein splicing. We applied EXSISERS to quantify the inclusion of the disease-associated exon 10 in microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT) in patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells and screened Cas13-based RNA-targeting effectors for isoform specificity. We also coupled cell survival to the inclusion of exon 18b of FOXP1, which is involved in maintaining pluripotency of embryonic stem cells, and confirmed that MBNL1 is a dominant factor for exon 18b exclusion. EXSISERS enables non-disruptive and multimodal monitoring of exon-specific isoform expression with high sensitivity and cellular resolution, and empowers high-throughput screening of exon-specific therapeutic interventions.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Biomedical Research, Developmental Biology

NOMIS Researcher(s)

Published in

January 1, 2013

Diseases affecting the kidney constitute a major health issue worldwide. Their incidence and poor prognosis affirm the urgent need for the development of new therapeutic strategies. Recently, differentiation of pluripotent cells to somatic lineages has emerged as a promising approach for disease modelling and cell transplantation. Unfortunately, differentiation of pluripotent cells into renal lineages has demonstrated limited success. Here we report on the differentiation of human pluripotent cells into ureteric-bud-committed renal progenitor-like cells. The generated cells demonstrated rapid and specific expression of renal progenitor markers on 4-day exposure to defined media conditions. Further maturation into ureteric bud structures was accomplished on establishment of a three-dimensional culture system in which differentiated human cells assembled and integrated alongside murine cells for the formation of chimeric ureteric buds. Altogether, our results provide a new platform for the study of kidney diseases and lineage commitment, and open new avenues for the future application of regenerative strategies in the clinic. © 2013 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Research field(s)
Health Sciences, Biomedical Research, Developmental Biology