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  1. Transcription factors associate with architectural proteins to regulate genome organization and three-dimensional gene regulation.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  2. B-cells undergo somatic hypermutation and affinity maturation in germinal centers. Somatic hypermutated germinal center B-cells (GCBs) compete to engage with and capture antigens on follicular dendritic cells. Recent studies show that when encountering membrane antigens, GCBs generate actin-rich pod-like structures with B-cell receptor (BCR) microclusters to facilitate affinity discrimination. While deficiencies in actin regulators, including the Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein (WASp), cause B-cell affinity maturation defects, the mechanism by which actin regulates BCR signaling in GBCs is not fully understood. Using WASp knockout (WKO) mice that express Lifeact-GFP and live-cell total internal reflection fluorescence imaging, this study examined the role of WASp-mediated branched actin polymerization in the GCB immunological synapse. After rapid spreading on antigen-coated planar lipid bilayers, GCBs formed microclusters of phosphorylated BCRs and proximal signaling molecules at the center and the outer edge of the contact zone. The centralized signaling clusters localized at actin-rich GCB membrane protrusions. WKO reduced the centralized micro-signaling clusters by decreasing the number and stability of F-actin foci supporting GCB membrane protrusions. The actin structures that support the spreading membrane also appeared less frequently and regularly in WKO than in WT GCBs, which led to reductions in both the level and rate of GCB spreadingmore »and antigen gathering. Our results reveal essential roles for WASp in the generation and maintenance of unique structures for GCB immunological synapses.« less
  3. Lidke, Diane S. (Ed.)
    Activation of T cells leads to the formation of the immunological synapse (IS) with antigen presenting cells. This requires T cell polarization and coordination between the actomyosin and microtubule cytoskeletons. The interactions between these two cytoskeletal components during T cell activation are not well understood. Here, we elucidate the interactions between microtubules and actin at the IS with high-resolution fluorescence microscopy. We show that microtubule growth dynamics in the peripheral actin-rich region are distinct from those in the central actin-free region. We further demonstrate that these differences arise from differential involvement of Arp2/3- and formin-nucleated actin structures. Formin inhibition results in a moderate decrease in microtubule growth rates, which is amplified in the presence of integrin engagement. In contrast, Arp2/3 inhibition leads to an increase in microtubule growth rates. We find that microtubule filaments are more deformed and exhibit greater shape fluctuations in the periphery of the IS compared to the center. Using small molecule inhibitors, we show that actin dynamics and actomyosin contractility play key roles in defining microtubule deformations and shape fluctuations. Our results indicate a mechanical coupling between the actomyosin and microtubule systems during T cell activation, whereby different actin structures influence microtubule dynamics in distinct ways.more »[Media: see text] [Media: see text] [Media: see text] [Media: see text] [Media: see text]« less
  4. Abstract Single-molecule tracking (SMT) allows the study of transcription factor (TF) dynamics in the nucleus, giving important information regarding the diffusion and binding behavior of these proteins in the nuclear environment. Dwell time distributions obtained by SMT for most TFs appear to follow bi-exponential behavior. This has been ascribed to two discrete populations of TFs—one non-specifically bound to chromatin and another specifically bound to target sites, as implied by decades of biochemical studies. However, emerging studies suggest alternate models for dwell-time distributions, indicating the existence of more than two populations of TFs (multi-exponential distribution), or even the absence of discrete states altogether (power-law distribution). Here, we present an analytical pipeline to evaluate which model best explains SMT data. We find that a broad spectrum of TFs (including glucocorticoid receptor, oestrogen receptor, FOXA1, CTCF) follow a power-law distribution of dwell-times, blurring the temporal line between non-specific and specific binding, suggesting that productive binding may involve longer binding events than previously believed. From these observations, we propose a continuum of affinities model to explain TF dynamics, that is consistent with complex interactions of TFs with multiple nuclear domains as well as binding and searching on the chromatin template.
  5. Abstract

    Regulation of membrane receptor mobility tunes cellular response to external signals, such as in binding of B cell receptors (BCR) to antigen, which initiates signaling. However, whether BCR signaling is regulated by BCR mobility, and what factors mediate this regulation, are not well understood. Here we use single molecule imaging to examine BCR movement during signaling activation and a novel machine learning method to classify BCR trajectories into distinct diffusive states. Inhibition of actin dynamics downstream of the actin nucleating factors, Arp2/3 and formin, decreases BCR mobility. Constitutive loss or acute inhibition of the Arp2/3 regulator, N-WASP, which is associated with enhanced signaling, increases the proportion of BCR trajectories with lower diffusivity. Furthermore, loss of N-WASP reduces the diffusivity of CD19, a stimulatory co-receptor, but not that of FcγRIIB, an inhibitory co-receptor. Our results implicate a dynamic actin network in fine-tuning receptor mobility and receptor-ligand interactions for modulating B cell signaling.