Group for Genomic Regulation of Cell Signaling Systems

Department of Genetics and Postgenomic Technologies

Head: Anton Buzdin, D.Sc

Genome- and Transcriptome Wide Analysis of Gene Expression in Higher Eukaryotes; Identification of Major Molecular Genetic Aspects of Human Speciation; Engineering of human tissue specific gene regulatory sequences; Recovery of new molecular genetic oncom

Our group exists since February 2006 when it had separated from the group supervised by Dr. Yuri Lebedev in the Laboratory of Human Genes Structure and Functions. First of all, the head of the above laboratory, professor Eugene Sverdlov, is our scientific guru.

  1. Functional genomic analysis of human specific DNA
  2. Design of new experimental techniques for large scale functional studies of the complex genomes
  3. Engineering of gene regulatory sequences
  1. Discovery of chimeric retroelements in the mammalian genomes
  2. Development of new experimental techniques for functional genomics
  3. Identification of gene regulatory regions in the human specific DNA
  4. Directed differentiation of several stem cell cultures
Anton Buzdin, D.Scdepart.
Andrew Garazhar.
1152, Ph.D.r.
Galina Malahovaj. r.
Maria Suntsovaj. r.
Anastasiya ZabolotnevaPhD
Mihail Potapovres. eng.+7()3306547

Selected publications

  1. Suntsova M., Gogvadze E.V., Salozhin S., Gaifullin N., Eroshkin F., Dmitriev S.E., Martynova N., Kulikov K., Malakhova G., Tukhbatova G., Bolshakov A.P., Ghilarov D., Garazha A., Aliper A., Cantor C.R., Solokhin Y., Roumiantsev S., Balaban P., Zhavoronkov A., Buzdin A. (2013). Human-specific endogenous retroviral insert serves as an enhancer for the schizophrenia-linked gene PRODH. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. , [+]

    Using a systematic, whole-genome analysis of enhancer activity of human-specific endogenous retroviral inserts (hsERVs), we identified an element, hsERVPRODH, that acts as a tissue-specific enhancer for the PRODH gene, which is required for proper CNS functioning. PRODH is one of the candidate genes for susceptibility to schizophrenia and other neurological disorders. It codes for a proline dehydrogenase enzyme, which catalyses the first step of proline catabolism and most likely is involved in neuromediator synthesis in the CNS. We investigated the mechanisms that regulate hsERVPRODH enhancer activity. We showed that the hsERVPRODH enhancer and the internal CpG island of PRODH synergistically activate its promoter. The enhancer activity of hsERVPRODH is regulated by methylation, and in an undermethylated state it can up-regulate PRODH expression in the hippocampus. The mechanism of hsERVPRODH enhancer activity involves the binding of the transcription factor SOX2, whch is preferentially expressed in hippocampus. We propose that the interaction of hsERVPRODH and PRODH may have contributed to human CNS evolution.

  2. Kholodenko R., Kholodenko I., Sorokin V., Tolmazova A., Sazonova O., Buzdin A. (2007). Anti-apoptotic effect of retinoic acid on retinal progenitor cells mediated by a protein kinase A-dependent mechanism. Cell Res. 17 (2), 151–62 [+]

    Retinal progenitor cells (RPCs) are neural stem cells able to differentiate into any normal adult retinal cell type, except for pigment epithelial cells. Retinoic acid (RA) is a powerful growth/differentiation factor that generally causes growth inhibition, differentiation and/or apoptosis. In this study, we demonstrate that RA not only affects mouse RPC differentiation but also improves cell survival by reducing spontaneous apoptotic rate without affecting RPC proliferation. The enhanced cell survival was accompanied by a significant upregulation of the expression of protein kinase A (PKA) and several protein kinase C (PKC) isoforms. Treatment of cells grown in RA-free media with 8-bromoadenosine3',5'-cyclic monophosphate, a known activator of PKA, resulted in an anti-apoptotic effect similar to that caused by RA; whereas the PKA inhibitor N-[2-(p-bromocinnamylamino)ethyl]-5-isoquinolinesulfonamide dihydrochloride led to a significant ( approximately 32%) increase in apoptosis. In contrast, treatment of RPCs with any of two PKC selective inhibitors, 2,2',3,3',4,4'-hexahydroxy-1,1'-biphenyl-6,6'-dimethanol dimethyl ether and bisindolylmaleimide XI, led to diminished apoptosis; while a PKC activator, phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate, increased apoptosis. These and other data suggest that the effect of RA on RPC survival is mostly due to the increased anti-apoptotic activity elicited by PKA, which might in turn be antagonized by PKC. Such a mechanism is a new example of tight regulation of important biological processes triggered by RA. Although the detailed mechanisms remain to be elucidated, we provide evidence that the pro-survival effect of RA on RPCs is not mediated by changed expression of p53 or bcl-2, and appears to be independent of beta-amyloid, Fas ligand, TNF-alpha, ganglioside GM1 and ceramide C16-induced apoptotic pathways.

  3. Buzdin A., Kovalskaya-Alexandrova E., Gogvadze E., Sverdlov E. (2006). At least 50% of human-specific HERV-K (HML-2) long terminal repeats serve in vivo as active promoters for host nonrepetitive DNA transcription. J. Virol. 80 (21), 10752–62 [+]

    We report the first genome-wide comparison of in vivo promoter activities of a group of human-specific endogenous retroviruses in healthy and cancerous germ line tissues. To this end, we employed a recently developed technique termed genomic repeat expression monitoring. We found that at least 50% of human-specific long terminal repeats (LTRs) possessed promoter activity, and many of them were up- or downregulated in a seminoma. Individual LTRs were expressed at markedly different levels, ranging from approximately 0.001 to approximately 3% of the housekeeping beta-actin gene transcript level. We demonstrated that the main factors affecting the LTR promoter activity were the LTR type (5'-proviral, 3' proviral, or solitary) and position with regard to genes. The averaged promoter strengths of solitary and 3'-proviral LTRs were almost identical in both tissues, whereas 5'-proviral LTRs displayed two- to fivefold higher promoter activities. The relative content of promoter-active LTRs in gene-rich regions was significantly higher than that in gene-poor loci. This content was maximal in those regions where LTRs "overlapped" readthrough transcripts. Although many promoter-active LTRs were mapped near known genes, no clear-cut correlation was observed between transcriptional activities of genes and neighboring LTRs. Our data also suggest a selective suppression of transcription for LTRs located in gene introns.

  4. Buzdin A., Kovalskaya-Alexandrova E., Gogvadze E., Sverdlov E. (2006). GREM, a technique for genome-wide isolation and quantitative analysis of promoter active repeats. Nucleic Acids Res. 34 (9), e67 [+]

    We developed a technique called GREM (Genomic Repeat Expression Monitor) that can be applied to genome-wide isolation and quantitative analysis of any kind of transcriptionally active repetitive elements. Briefly, the technique includes three major stages: (i) generation of a transcriptome wide library of cDNA 5' terminal fragments, (ii) selective amplification of repeat-flanking genomic loci and (iii) hybridization of the cDNA library (i) to the amplicon (ii) with subsequent selective amplification and cloning of the cDNA-genome hybrids. The sequences obtained serve as 'tags' for promoter active repetitive elements. The advantage of GREM is an unambiguous mapping of individual promoter active repeats at a genome-wide level. We applied GREM for genome-wide experimental identification of human-specific endogenous retroviruses and their solitary long terminal repeats (LTRs) acting in vivo as promoters. Importantly, GREM tag frequencies linearly correlated with the corresponding LTR-driven transcript levels found using RT-PCR. The GREM technique enabled us to identify 54 new functional human promoters created by retroviral LTRs.

  5. Buzdin A., Gogvadze E., Kovalskaya E., Volchkov P., Ustyugova S., Illarionova A., Fushan A., Vinogradova T., Sverdlov E. (2003). The human genome contains many types of chimeric retrogenes generated through in vivo RNA recombination. Nucleic Acids Res. 31 (15), 4385–90 [+]

    L1 retrotransposons play an important role in mammalian genome shaping. In particular, they can transduce their 3'-flanking regions to new genomic loci or produce pseudogenes or retrotranscripts through reverse transcription of different kinds of cellular RNAs. Recently, we found in the human genome an unusual family of chimeric retrotranscripts composed of full-sized copies of U6 small nuclear RNAs fused at their 3' termini with 5'-truncated, 3'-poly(A)-tailed L1s. The chimeras were flanked by 11-21 bp long direct repeats, and contained near their 5' ends T2A4 hexanucleotide motifs, preferably recognized by L1 nicking endonuclease. These features suggest that the chimeras were formed using the L1 integration machinery. Here we report the identification of 81 chimeras consisting of fused DNA copies of different RNAs, including mRNAs of known human genes. Based on their structural features, the chimeras were subdivided into nine distinct families. 5' Parts of the chimeras usually originated from different nuclear RNAs, whereas their 3' parts represented cytoplasmic RNAs: mRNAs, including L1 mRNA and Alu RNA. Some of these chimeric retrotranscripts are expressed in a variety of human tissues. These findings suggest that RNA-RNA recombination during L1 reverse transcription followed by the integration of the recombinants into the host genome is a general event in genome evolution.

  6. Buzdin A., Khodosevich K., Mamedov I., Vinogradova T., Lebedev Y., Hunsmann G., Sverdlov E. (2002). A technique for genome-wide identification of differences in the interspersed repeats integrations between closely related genomes and its application to detection of human-specific integrations of HERV-K LTRs. Genomics 79 (3), 413–22 [+]

    We have developed a method of targeted genomic difference analysis (TGDA) for genomewide detection of interspersed repeat integration site differences between closely related genomes. The method includes a whole-genome amplification of the flanks adjacent to target interspersed repetitive elements in both genomic DNAs under comparison, and subtractive hybridization (SH) of the selected amplicons. The potential of TGDA was demonstrated by the detection of differences in the integration sites of human endogenous retroviruses K (HERV-K) and related solitary long terminal repeats (LTRs) between the human and chimpanzee genomes. Of 55 randomly sequenced clones from a library enriched with human-specific integration (HSI) sites, 33 (60%) represented HSIs. All the human-specific (Hs) LTRs belong to two related evolutionarily young groups, suggesting simultaneous activity of two master genes in the hominid lineage. No deletion/insertion polymorphism was detected for the LTR HSIs for 25 unrelated caucasoid individuals. We also discuss the possible research applications for TGDA research.


Anton Buzdin

  • Russia, Moscow, Ul. Miklukho-Maklaya 16/10 — On the map
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New methods of estimation of evolutional rate of molecular pathways (2017-12-11)

We showed that transcription factor binding sites in the vicinities of gene promoters, that colocalize with the transposable elements, may serve as the markers of the evolutional rate ofmolecular pathways. We found that in human ancestral lineage the most quickly evolving pathways were linked with immunity and response to pathogens, as well as for metabolism of fats and catabolism of heterocyclic molecules, and for formation of perception organs.