John Svaren, PhD – Slide of the Week

John Svaren Slide of the Week

Title: A superenhancer regulating a vital gene for myelin formation.

Legend: ChIP-Seq analysis demonstrates that one super-enhancer, hereafter termed Pmp22-SE (purple bar), coincides with a large region shared in overlapping duplications not including the Pmp22 gene associated with CMT1A-like symptoms. Genome editing was used to delete the superenhancer, resulting in a large decrease on the PMP22 levels.

Citation: Pantera H, Moran JJ, Hung HA, Pak E, Dutra A, Svaren J. (2018). Regulation of the neuropathy-associated Pmp22 gene by a distal super-enhancer. Human Molecular Genetics, 27(16):2830-2839. doi: 10.1093/hmg/ddy191.

Abstract: Peripheral nerve myelination is adversely affected in the most common form of the hereditary peripheral neuropathy called Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease. This form, classified as CMT1A, is caused by a 1.4 Mb duplication on chromosome 17, which includes the abundantly expressed Schwann cell myelin gene, Peripheral Myelin Protein 22 (PMP22). This is one of the most common copy number variants causing neurological disease. Overexpression of Pmp22 in rodent models recapitulates several aspects of neuropathy, and reduction of Pmp22 in such models results in amelioration of the neuropathy phenotype. Recently we identified a potential super-enhancer approximately 90-130 kb upstream of the Pmp22 transcription start sites. This super-enhancer encompasses a cluster of individual enhancers that have the acetylated histone H3K27 active enhancer mark, and coincides with smaller duplications identified in patients with milder CMT1A-like symptoms, where the PMP22 coding region itself was not part of the duplication. In this study, we have utilized genome editing to create a deletion of this super-enhancer to determine its role in Pmp22 regulation. Our data show a significant decrease in Pmp22 transcript expression using allele-specific internal controls. Moreover, the P2 promoter of the Pmp22 gene, which is used in other cell types, is affected, but we find that the Schwann cell-specific P1 promoter is disproportionately more sensitive to loss of the super-enhancer. These data show for the first time the requirement of these upstream enhancers for full Pmp22 expression.

About the Lab: The Svaren laboratory is focused on the transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of myelination. Myelin is a vital constituent of the nervous system that increases the speed of action potentials and also provides trophic support for the long axons that project from neurons. Their studies are centered on the myelin-producing cells of the peripheral nervous system, called Schwann cells. The Svaren lab has focused on elucidating regulation of gene networks during Schwann cell development and response to injury. They have also recently found a novel role of the polycomb repressive complex 2, an epigenetic regulator, in controlling the regenerative responses of Schwann cells after peripheral nerve injury.

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