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Articles by D. S Johnson
Total Records ( 3 ) for D. S Johnson
  A. L Brunner , D. S Johnson , S. W Kim , A Valouev , T. E Reddy , N. F Neff , E Anton , C Medina , L Nguyen , E Chiao , C. B Oyolu , G. P Schroth , D. M Absher , J. C Baker and R. M. Myers

To investigate the role of DNA methylation during human development, we developed Methyl-seq, a method that assays DNA methylation at more than 90,000 regions throughout the genome. Performing Methyl-seq on human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), their derivatives, and human tissues allowed us to identify several trends during hESC and in vivo liver differentiation. First, differentiation results in DNA methylation changes at a minimal number of assayed regions, both in vitro and in vivo (2%–11%). Second, in vitro hESC differentiation is characterized by both de novo methylation and demethylation, whereas in vivo fetal liver development is characterized predominantly by demethylation. Third, hESC differentiation is uniquely characterized by methylation changes specifically at H3K27me3-occupied regions, bivalent domains, and low density CpG promoters (LCPs), suggesting that these regions are more likely to be involved in transcriptional regulation during hESC differentiation. Although both H3K27me3-occupied domains and LCPs are also regions of high variability in DNA methylation state during human liver development, these regions become highly unmethylated, which is a distinct trend from that observed in hESCs. Taken together, our results indicate that hESC differentiation has a unique DNA methylation signature that may not be indicative of in vivo differentiation.

  J. M Landolin , D. S Johnson , N. D Trinklein , S. F Aldred , C Medina , H Shulha , Z Weng and R. M. Myers

Promoters are important regulatory elements that contain the necessary sequence features for cells to initiate transcription. To functionally characterize a large set of human promoters, we measured the transcriptional activities of 4575 putative promoters across eight cell lines using transient transfection reporter assays. In parallel, we measured gene expression in the same cell lines and observed a significant correlation between promoter activity and endogenous gene expression (r = 0.43). As transient transfection assays directly measure the promoting effect of a defined fragment of DNA sequence, decoupled from epigenetic, chromatin, or long-range regulatory effects, we sought to predict whether a promoter was active using sequence features alone. CG dinucleotide content was highly predictive of ubiquitous promoter activity, necessitating the separation of promoters into two groups: high CG promoters, mostly ubiquitously active, and low CG promoters, mostly cell line–specific. Computational models trained on the binding potential of transcriptional factor (TF) binding motifs could predict promoter activities in both high and low CG groups: average area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of the models was 91% and exceeded the AUC of CG content by an average of 23%. Known relationships, for example, between HNF4A and hepatocytes, were recapitulated in the corresponding cell lines, in this case the liver-derived cell line HepG2. Half of the associations between tissue-specific TFs and cell line–specific promoters were new. Our study underscores the importance of collecting functional information from complementary assays and conditions to understand biology in a systematic framework.

  D. S Johnson , C Cinnioglu , R Ross , A Filby , G Gemelos , M Hill , A Ryan , D Smotrich , M Rabinowitz and M. J. Murray

Aneuploidy has been well-documented in blastocyst embryos, but prior studies have been limited in scale and/or lack mechanistic data. We previously reported preclinical validation of microarray 24-chromosome preimplantation genetic screening in a 24-h protocol. The method diagnoses chromosome copy number, structural chromosome aberrations, parental source of aneuploidy and distinguishes certain meiotic from mitotic errors. In this study, our objective was to examine aneuploidy in human blastocysts and determine correspondence of karyotypes between trophectoderm (TE) and inner cell mass (ICM). We disaggregated 51 blastocysts from 17 couples into ICM and one or two TE fractions. The average maternal age was 31. Next, we ran 24-chromosome microarray molecular karyotyping on all of the samples, and then performed a retrospective analysis of the data. The average per-chromosome confidence was 99.95%. Approximately 80% of blastocysts were euploid. The majority of aneuploid embryos were simple aneuploid, i.e. one or two whole-chromosome imbalances. Structural chromosome aberrations, which are common in cleavage stage embryos, occurred in only three blastocysts (5.8%). All TE biopsies derived from the same embryos were concordant. Forty-nine of 51 (96.1%) ICM samples were concordant with TE biopsies derived from the same embryos. Discordance between TE and ICM occurred only in the two embryos with structural chromosome aberration. We conclude that TE karyotype is an excellent predictor of ICM karyotype. Discordance between TE and ICM occurred only in embryos with structural chromosome aberrations.

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