In this article, Efrat Shema describes EPINUC, a liquid biopsy method based on epigenetic profiling of nucleosomes from cell-free DNA in the plasma. EPINUC, combined with protein biomarker measurements, enables the accurate differentiation of samples from healthy volunteers and patients.
Cohen L. R. Z., Kaffe B., Deri E.
, Leibson C., Nissim-Rafinia M., Maman M., Harpaz N., Ron G., Shema E., Meshorer E. et al.
Nucleic Acids Research.
The histone H3 variant, H3.3, is localized at specific regions in the genome, especially promoters and active enhancers, and has been shown to play important roles in development. A lysine to methionine substitution in position 27 (H3.3K27M) is a main cause of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (specifically Diffuse Midline Glioma, K27M-mutant), a lethal type of pediatric cancer. H3.3K27M has a dominant-negative effect by inhibiting the Polycomb Repressor Complex 2 (PRC2) activity. Here, we studied the immediate, genome-wide, consequences of the H3.3K27M mutation independent of PRC2 activity. We developed Doxycycline (Dox)-inducible mouse embryonic stem cells (ESCs) carrying a single extra copy of WT-H3.3, H3.3K27M and H3.3K27L, all fused to HA. We performed RNA-Seq and ChIP-Seq at different times following Dox induction in undifferentiated and differentiated ESCs. We find increased binding of H3.3 around transcription start sites in cells expressing both H3.3K27M and H3.3K27L compared with WT, but not in cells treated with PRC2 inhibitors. Differentiated cells carrying either H3.3K27M or H3.3K27L retain expression of ESC-active genes, in expense of expression of genes related to neuronal differentiation. Taken together, our data suggest that a modifiable H3.3K27 is required for proper histone incorporation and cellular maturation, independent of PRC2 activity.
Fedyuk V., Erez N., Furth N.
, Beresh O., Andreishcheva E. N., Shinde A., Jones D., Bar Zakai B., Mavor Y., Peretz T., Hubert A., Cohen J., Salah A., Temper M., Grinshpun A., Maoz M., Zick A., Ron G., Shema E. et al.
The analysis of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in plasma provides information on pathological processes in the body. Blood cfDNA is in the form of nucleosomes, which maintain their tissue- and cancer-specific epigenetic state. We developed a single-molecule multiparametric assay to comprehensively profile the epigenetics of plasma-isolated nucleosomes (EPINUC), DNA methylation and cancer-specific protein biomarkers. Our system allows for high-resolution detection of six active and repressive histone modifications and their ratios and combinatorial patterns on millions of individual nucleosomes by single-molecule imaging. In addition, our system provides sensitive and quantitative data on plasma proteins, including detection of non-secreted tumor-specific proteins, such as mutant p53. EPINUC analysis of a cohort of 63 colorectal cancer, 10 pancreatic cancer and 33 healthy plasma samples detected cancer with high accuracy and sensitivity, even at early stages. Finally, combining EPINUC with direct single-molecule DNA sequencing revealed the tissue of origin of colorectal, pancreatic, lung and breast tumors. EPINUC provides multilayered information of potential clinical relevance from limited (