Common variants in 94 loci have been associated with breast cancer including 15 loci with genome-wide significant associations (P<5 × 10(-8)) with oestrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer and BRCA1-associated breast cancer risk. In this study, to identify new ER-negative susceptibility loci, we performed a meta-analysis of 11 genome-wide association studies (GWAS) consisting of 4,939 ER-negative cases and 14,352 controls, combined with 7,333 ER-negative cases and 42,468 controls and 15,252 BRCA1 mutation carriers genotyped on the iCOGS array. We identify four previously unidentified loci including two loci at 13q22 near KLF5, a 2p23.2 locus near WDR43 and a 2q33 locus near PPIL3 that display genome-wide significant associations with ER-negative breast cancer. In addition, 19 known breast cancer risk loci have genome-wide significant associations and 40 had moderate associations (P<0.05) with ER-negative disease. Using functional and eQTL studies we implicate TRMT61B and WDR43 at 2p23.2 and PPIL3 at 2q33 in ER-negative breast cancer aetiology. All ER-negative loci combined account for ∼11% of familial relative risk for ER-negative disease and may contribute to improved ER-negative and BRCA1 breast cancer risk prediction.
To investigate large structural clonal mosaicism of chromosome X, we analysed the SNP microarray intensity data of 38,303 women from cancer genome-wide association studies (20,878 cases and 17,425 controls) and detected 124 mosaic X events >2 Mb in 97 (0.25%) women. Here we show rates for X-chromosome mosaicism are four times higher than mean autosomal rates; X mosaic events more often include the entire chromosome and participants with X events more likely harbour autosomal mosaic events. X mosaicism frequency increases with age (0.11% in 50-year olds; 0.45% in 75-year olds), as reported for Y and autosomes. Methylation array analyses of 33 women with X mosaicism indicate events preferentially involve the inactive X chromosome. Our results provide further evidence that the sex chromosomes undergo mosaic events more frequently than autosomes, which could have implications for understanding the underlying mechanisms of mosaic events and their possible contribution to risk for chronic diseases.
Defaunation is causing declines of large-seeded animal-dispersed trees in tropical forests worldwide, but whether and how these declines will affect carbon storage across this biome is unclear. Here we show, using a pan-tropical data set, that simulated declines of large-seeded animal-dispersed trees have contrasting effects on aboveground carbon stocks across Earth's tropical forests. In our simulations, African, American and South Asian forests, which have high proportions of animal-dispersed species, consistently show carbon losses (2-12%), but Southeast Asian and Australian forests, where there are more abiotically dispersed species, show little to no carbon losses or marginal gains (±1%). These patterns result primarily from changes in wood volume, and are underlain by consistent relationships in our empirical data (∼2,100 species), wherein, large-seeded animal-dispersed species are larger as adults than small-seeded animal-dispersed species, but are smaller than abiotically dispersed species. Thus, floristic differences and distinct dispersal mode-seed size-adult size combinations can drive contrasting regional responses to defaunation.
Steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome (SRNS) causes 15% of chronic kidney disease (CKD). Here we show that recessive mutations in FAT1 cause a distinct renal disease entity in four families with a combination of SRNS, tubular ectasia, haematuria and facultative neurological involvement. Loss of FAT1 results in decreased cell adhesion and migration in fibroblasts and podocytes and the decreased migration is partially reversed by a RAC1/CDC42 activator. Podocyte-specific deletion of Fat1 in mice induces abnormal glomerular filtration barrier development, leading to podocyte foot process effacement. Knockdown of Fat1 in renal tubular cells reduces migration, decreases active RAC1 and CDC42, and induces defects in lumen formation. Knockdown of fat1 in zebrafish causes pronephric cysts, which is partially rescued by RAC1/CDC42 activators, confirming a role of the two small GTPases in the pathogenesis. These findings provide new insights into the pathogenesis of SRNS and tubulopathy, linking FAT1 and RAC1/CDC42 to podocyte and tubular cell function.
The Josephson effect describes the generic appearance of a supercurrent in a weak link between two superconductors. Its exact physical nature deeply influences the properties of the supercurrent. In recent years, considerable efforts have focused on the coupling of superconductors to the surface states of a three-dimensional topological insulator. In such a material, an unconventional induced p-wave superconductivity should occur, with a doublet of topologically protected gapless Andreev bound states, whose energies vary 4π-periodically with the superconducting phase difference across the junction. In this article, we report the observation of an anomalous response to rf irradiation in a Josephson junction made of a HgTe weak link. The response is understood as due to a 4π-periodic contribution to the supercurrent, and its amplitude is compatible with the expected contribution of a gapless Andreev doublet. Our work opens the way to more elaborate experiments to investigate the induced superconductivity in a three-dimensional insulator.
River outgassing has proven to be an integral part of the carbon cycle. In Southeast Asia, river outgassing quantities are uncertain due to lack of measured data. Here we investigate six rivers in Indonesia and Malaysia, during five expeditions. CO2 fluxes from Southeast Asian rivers amount to 66.9 ± 15.7 Tg C per year, of which Indonesia releases 53.9 ± 12.4 Tg C per year. Malaysian rivers emit 6.2 ± 1.6 Tg C per year. These moderate values show that Southeast Asia is not the river outgassing hotspot as would be expected from the carbon-enriched peat soils. This is due to the relatively short residence time of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) in the river, as the peatlands, being the primary source of DOC, are located near the coast. Limitation of bacterial production, due to low pH, oxygen depletion or the refractory nature of DOC, potentially also contributes to moderate CO2 fluxes as this decelerates decomposition.
The small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) is implicated in various cellular activities, including transcriptional regulation. We previously showed that the yeast activator Gcn4 becomes sumoylated during activation, facilitating its eventual promoter eviction and transcriptional shut off. Here we show that the corepressor Tup1 is sumoylated, at two specific lysines, under various stress conditions. Mutation of these sites has no effect on Tup1 recruitment or RNAP II promoter occupancy immediately following induction. However, Tup1 levels subsequently decrease, while RNAP II and transcription increase in Tup1 mutant cells. Consistent with this, a Tup1 mutant displaying increased sumoylation led to reduced transcription. We also show that coordinated sumoylation of Gcn4 and Tup1 enhances Gcn4 promoter eviction and that multiple Tup1-interacting proteins become sumoylated after stress. Together, our studies provide evidence that coordinated sumoylation of Gcn4, Tup1 and likely other factors dampens activated transcription by stabilizing Tup1 binding and stimulating Gcn4 and RNAP II removal.
Balancing economic development with international commitments to protect biodiversity is a global challenge. Achieving this balance requires an understanding of the possible consequences of alternative future scenarios for a range of stakeholders. We employ an integrated economic and environmental planning approach to evaluate four alternative futures for the mega-diverse island of Borneo. We show what could be achieved if the three national jurisdictions of Borneo coordinate efforts to achieve their public policy targets and allow a partial reallocation of planned land uses. We reveal the potential for Borneo to simultaneously retain ∼50% of its land as forests, protect adequate habitat for the Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) and Bornean elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis), and achieve an opportunity cost saving of over US$43 billion. Such coordination would depend on enhanced information sharing and reforms to land-use planning, which could be supported by the increasingly international nature of economies and conservation efforts.
Invertebrates are dominant species in primary tropical rainforests, where their abundance and diversity contributes to the functioning and resilience of these globally important ecosystems. However, more than one-third of tropical forests have been logged, with dramatic impacts on rainforest biodiversity that may disrupt key ecosystem processes. We find that the contribution of invertebrates to three ecosystem processes operating at three trophic levels (litter decomposition, seed predation and removal, and invertebrate predation) is reduced by up to one-half following logging. These changes are associated with decreased abundance of key functional groups of termites, ants, beetles and earthworms, and an increase in the abundance of small mammals, amphibians and insectivorous birds in logged relative to primary forest. Our results suggest that ecosystem processes themselves have considerable resilience to logging, but the consistent decline of invertebrate functional importance is indicative of a human-induced shift in how these ecological processes operate in tropical rainforests.
GWAS have identified a breast cancer susceptibility locus on 2q35. Here we report the fine mapping of this locus using data from 101,943 subjects from 50 case-control studies. We genotype 276 SNPs using the 'iCOGS' genotyping array and impute genotypes for a further 1,284 using 1000 Genomes Project data. All but two, strongly correlated SNPs (rs4442975 G/T and rs6721996 G/A) are excluded as candidate causal variants at odds against >100:1. The best functional candidate, rs4442975, is associated with oestrogen receptor positive (ER+) disease with an odds ratio (OR) in Europeans of 0.85 (95% confidence interval=0.84-0.87; P=1.7 × 10(-43)) per t-allele. This SNP flanks a transcriptional enhancer that physically interacts with the promoter of IGFBP5 (encoding insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 5) and displays allele-specific gene expression, FOXA1 binding and chromatin looping. Evidence suggests that the g-allele confers increased breast cancer susceptibility through relative downregulation of IGFBP5, a gene with known roles in breast cell biology.
Large population-based registry studies have shown that breast cancer prognosis is inherited. Here we analyse single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) of genes implicated in human immunology and inflammation as candidates for prognostic markers of breast cancer survival involving 1,804 oestrogen receptor (ER)-negative patients treated with chemotherapy (279 events) from 14 European studies in a prior large-scale genotyping experiment, which is part of the Collaborative Oncological Gene-environment Study (COGS) initiative. We carry out replication using Asian COGS samples (n=522, 53 events) and the Prospective Study of Outcomes in Sporadic versus Hereditary breast cancer (POSH) study (n=315, 108 events). Rs4458204_A near CCL20 (2q36.3) is found to be associated with breast cancer-specific death at a genome-wide significant level (n=2,641, 440 events, combined allelic hazard ratio (HR)=1.81 (1.49-2.19); P for trend=1.90 × 10(-9)). Such survival-associated variants can represent ideal targets for tailored therapeutics, and may also enhance our current prognostic prediction capabilities.
Oil palm, a plantation crop of major economic importance in Southeast Asia, is the predominant source of edible oil worldwide. We report the identification of the virescens (VIR) gene, which controls fruit exocarp colour and is an indicator of ripeness. VIR is a R2R3-MYB transcription factor with homology to Lilium LhMYB12 and similarity to Arabidopsis production of anthocyanin pigment1 (PAP1). We identify five independent mutant alleles of VIR in over 400 accessions from sub-Saharan Africa that account for the dominant-negative virescens phenotype. Each mutation results in premature termination of the carboxy-terminal domain of VIR, resembling McClintock's C1-I allele in maize. The abundance of alleles likely reflects cultural practices, by which fruits were venerated for magical and medicinal properties. The identification of VIR will allow selection of the trait at the seed or early-nursery stage, 3-6 years before fruits are produced, greatly advancing introgression into elite breeding material.
Comparative whole-genome sequencing enables the identification of specific mutations during adaptation of bacteria to new environments and allelic replacement can establish their causality. However, the mechanisms of action are hard to decipher and little has been achieved for epistatic mutations, especially at the metabolic level. Here we show that a strain of Escherichia coli carrying mutations in the rpoC and glpK genes, derived from adaptation in glycerol, uses two distinct metabolic strategies to gain growth advantage. A 27-bp deletion in the rpoC gene first increases metabolic efficiency. Then, a point mutation in the glpK gene promotes growth by improving glycerol utilization but results in increased carbon wasting as overflow metabolism. In a strain carrying both mutations, these contrasting carbon/energy saving and wasting mechanisms work together to give an 89% increase in growth rate. This study provides insight into metabolic reprogramming during adaptive laboratory evolution for fast cellular growth.
Clinical use of 2-deoxystreptamine aminoglycoside antibiotics, which target the bacterial ribosome, is compromised by adverse effects related to limited drug selectivity. Here we present a series of 4',6'-O-acetal and 4'-O-ether modifications on glucopyranosyl ring I of aminoglycosides. Chemical modifications were guided by measuring interactions between the compounds synthesized and ribosomes harbouring single point mutations in the drug-binding site, resulting in aminoglycosides that interact poorly with the drug-binding pocket of eukaryotic mitochondrial or cytosolic ribosomes. Yet, these compounds largely retain their inhibitory activity for bacterial ribosomes and show antibacterial activity. Our data indicate that 4'-O-substituted aminoglycosides possess increased selectivity towards bacterial ribosomes and little activity for any of the human drug-binding pockets.
Genome-wide association studies have reported 11 regions conferring risk of high-grade serous epithelial ovarian cancer (HGSOC). Expression quantitative trait locus (eQTL) analyses can identify candidate susceptibility genes at risk loci. Here we evaluate cis-eQTL associations at 47 regions associated with HGSOC risk (P≤10(-5)). For three cis-eQTL associations (P<1.4 × 10(-3), FDR<0.05) at 1p36 (CDC42), 1p34 (CDCA8) and 2q31 (HOXD9), we evaluate the functional role of each candidate by perturbing expression of each gene in HGSOC precursor cells. Overexpression of HOXD9 increases anchorage-independent growth, shortens population-doubling time and reduces contact inhibition. Chromosome conformation capture identifies an interaction between rs2857532 and the HOXD9 promoter, suggesting this SNP is a leading causal variant. Transcriptomic profiling after HOXD9 overexpression reveals enrichment of HGSOC risk variants within HOXD9 target genes (P=6 × 10(-10) for risk variants (P<10(-4)) within 10 kb of a HOXD9 target gene in ovarian cells), suggesting a broader role for this network in genetic susceptibility to HGSOC.
Understanding fluid dynamics under extreme confinement, where device and intrinsic fluid length scales become comparable, is essential to successfully develop the coming generations of fluidic devices. Here we report measurements of advancing fluid fronts in such a regime, which we dub superconfinement. We find that the strong coupling between contact-line friction and geometric confinement gives rise to a new stability regime where the maximum speed for a stable moving front exhibits a distinctive response to changes in the bounding geometry. Unstable fronts develop into drop-emitting jets controlled by thermal fluctuations. Numerical simulations reveal that the dynamics in superconfined systems is dominated by interfacial forces. Henceforth, we present a theory that quantifies our experiments in terms of the relevant interfacial length scale, which in our system is the intrinsic contact-line slip length. Our findings show that length-scale overlap can be used as a new fluid-control mechanism in strongly confined systems.
Metal nanoparticles prepared by exsolution at the surface of perovskite oxides have been recently shown to enable new dimensions in catalysis and energy conversion and storage technologies owing to their socketed, well-anchored structure. Here we show that contrary to general belief, exsolved particles do not necessarily re-dissolve back into the underlying perovskite upon oxidation. Instead, they may remain pinned to their initial locations, allowing one to subject them to further chemical transformations to alter their composition, structure and functionality dramatically, while preserving their initial spatial arrangement. We refer to this concept as chemistry at a point and illustrate it by tracking individual nanoparticles throughout various chemical transformations. We demonstrate its remarkable practical utility by preparing a nanostructured earth abundant metal catalyst which rivals platinum on a weight basis over hundreds of hours of operation. Our concept enables the design of compositionally diverse confined oxide particles with superior stability and catalytic reactivity.
Binary expression systems have revolutionised genetic research by enabling delivery of loss-of-function and gain-of-function transgenes with precise spatial-temporal resolution in vivo. However, at present, each existing platform relies on a defined exogenous transcription activator capable of binding a unique recognition sequence. Consequently, none of these technologies alone can be used to simultaneously target different tissues or cell types in the same organism. Here, we report a modular system based on programmable transcription activator-like effector (TALE) proteins, which enables parallel expression of multiple transgenes in spatially distinct tissues in vivo. Using endogenous enhancers coupled to TALE drivers, we demonstrate multiplexed orthogonal activation of several transgenes carrying cognate variable activating sequences (VAS) in distinct neighbouring cell types of the Drosophila central nervous system. Since the number of combinatorial TALE-VAS pairs is virtually unlimited, this platform provides an experimental framework for highly complex genetic manipulation studies in vivo.
Less than half of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions remain in the atmosphere. While carbon balance models imply large carbon uptake in tropical forests, direct on-the-ground observations are still lacking in Southeast Asia. Here, using long-term plot monitoring records of up to half a century, we find that intact forests in Borneo gained 0.43 Mg C ha-1 per year (95% CI 0.14-0.72, mean period 1988-2010) above-ground live biomass. These results closely match those from African and Amazonian plot networks, suggesting that the world's remaining intact tropical forests are now en masse out-of-equilibrium. Although both pan-tropical and long-term, the sink in remaining intact forests appears vulnerable to climate and land use changes. Across Borneo the 1997-1998 El Niño drought temporarily halted the carbon sink by increasing tree mortality, while fragmentation persistently offset the sink and turned many edge-affected forests into a carbon source to the atmosphere.
Native species that forage in farmland may increase their local abundances thereby affecting adjacent ecosystems within their landscape. We used two decades of ecological data from a protected primary rainforest in Malaysia to illutrate how subsidies from neighboring oil palm plantations triggered powerful secondary 'cascading' effects on natural habitats located >1.3 km away. We found (i) oil palm fruit drove 100-fold increases in crop-raiding native wild boar (Sus scrofa), (ii) wild boar used thousands of understory plants to construct birthing nests in the pristine forest interior, and (iii) nest building caused a 62% decline in forest tree sapling density over the 24-year study period. The long-term, landscape-scale indirect effects from agriculture suggest its full ecological footprint may be larger in extent than is currently recognized. Cross-boundary subsidy cascades may be widespread in both terrestrial and marine ecosystems and present significant conservation challenges.