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High-throughput single-cell activity-based screening and sequencing of antibodies using droplet microfluidics
Laboratoire Biochimie - Annabelle Gérard, Adam Woolfe, Guillaume Mottet, Marcel Reichen, Carlos Castrillon, Vera Menrath, Sami Ellouze, Adeline Poitou, Raphaël Doineau, Luis Briseno-Roa, Pablo Canales-Herrerias, Pascaline Mary, Gregory Rose, Charina Ortega, Matthieu Delincé, So
Nature Biotechnology - 38 715–721 - - 2020
Mining the antibody repertoire of plasma cells and plasmablasts could enable the discovery of useful antibodies for therapeutic or research purposes1. We present a method for high-throughput, single-cell screening of IgG-secreting primary cells to characterize antibody binding to soluble and membrane-bound antigens. CelliGO is a droplet microfluidics system that combines high-throughput screening for IgG activity, using fluorescence-based in-droplet single-cell bioassays2, with sequencing of paired antibody V genes, using in-droplet single-cell barcoded reverse transcription. We analyzed IgG repertoire diversity, clonal expansion and somatic hypermutation in cells from mice immunized with a vaccine target, a multifunctional enzyme or a membrane-bound cancer target. Immunization with these antigens yielded 100–1,000 IgG sequences per mouse. We generated 77 recombinant antibodies from the identified sequences and found that 93% recognized the soluble antigen and 14% the membrane antigen. The platform also allowed recovery of ~450–900 IgG sequences from ~2,200 IgG-secreting activated human memory B cells, activated ex vivo, demonstrating its versatility.
The generality of transient compartmentalization and its associated error thresholds
Laboratoire Biochimie - Alex Blokhuis, Philippe Nghe , Luca Peliti , David Lacoste
J Theor Biol . - 487 110110 - doi: 10.1016/j.jtbi.2019.110110 - 2020
Can prelife proceed without cell division? A recently proposed mechanism suggests that transient compartmentalization could have preceded cell division in prebiotic scenarios. Here, we study transient compartmentalization dynamics in the presence of mutations and noise in replication, as both can be detrimental the survival of compartments. Our study comprises situations where compartments contain uncoupled autocatalytic reactions feeding on a common resource, and systems based on RNA molecules copied by replicases, following a recent experimental study. Using the theory of branching processes, we show analytically that two regimes are possible. In the diffusion-limited regime, replication is asynchronous which leads to a large variability in the composition of compartments. In contrast, in a replication-limited regime, the growth is synchronous and thus the compositional variability is low. Typically, simple autocatalysts are in the former regime, while polymeric replicators can access the latter. For deterministic growth dynamics, we introduce mutations that turn functional replicators into parasites. We derive the phase boundary separating coexistence or parasite dominance as a function of relative growth, inoculation size and mutation rate. We show that transient compartmentalization allows coexistence beyond the classical error threshold, above which the parasite dominates. Our findings invite to revisit major prebiotic transitions, notably the transitions towards cooperation, complex polymers and cell division.
Predicting Evolution Using Regulatory Architecture
Laboratoire Biochimie - Philippe Nghe , Marjon G J de Vos , Enzo Kingma , Manjunatha Kogenaru , Frank J Poelwijk , Liedewij Laan , Sander J Tans
Annu Rev Biophys - 6(49) 181-197 - doi: 10.1146/annurev-biophys-070317-032939 - 2020
The limits of evolution have long fascinated biologists. However, the causes of evolutionary constraint have remained elusive due to a poor mechanistic understanding of studied phenotypes. Recently, a range of innovative approaches have leveraged mechanistic information on regulatory networks and cellular biology. These methods combine systems biology models with population and single-cell quantification and with new genetic tools, and they have been applied to a range of complex cellular functions and engineered networks. In this article, we review these developments, which are revealing the mechanistic causes of epistasis at different levels of biological organization-in molecular recognition, within a single regulatory network, and between different networks-providing first indications of predictable features of evolutionary constraint.

Metabolic cost of rapid adaptation of single yeast cells
Laboratoire Biochimie - Gabrielle Woronoff, Philippe Nghe, Jean Baudry, Laurent Boitard, Erez Bra
PNAS - 117 (20) 10660-10666 - - 2020
We establish, using single-cell analysis of metabolism and division in a droplet microfluidic system, that yeast can adapt, resuming division, extremely rapidly to an unforeseen environmental challenge, and that adaptation is an active process, requiring the consumption of a characteristic amount energy. The adapted state is stable over at least several days, showing that this is a genuine adaptation process. The adaptation rate (10−3 cells per hour) is orders of magnitude higher than expected based on known mutation rates, suggesting an epigenetic origin, and the tight energetic coupling implies that there is active exploration of different states, and fixation of the solution(s) that allow adaptation.

Flux, toxicity and protein expression costs shape genetic interaction in a metabolic pathways
Laboratoire Biochimie - Gabrielle Woronoff, Philippe Nghe, Jean Baudry, Laurent Boitard, Erez Bra
Science Advances - 6 23 - DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb2236 - 2020
Our ability to predict the impact of mutations on traits relevant for disease and evolution remains severely limited by the dependence of their effects on the genetic background and environment. Even when molecular interactions between genes are known, it is unclear how these translate to organism-level interactions between alleles. We therefore characterized the interplay of genetic and environmental dependencies in determining fitness by quantifying ~4000 fitness interactions between expression variants of two metabolic genes, starting from various environmentally modulated expression levels. We detect a remarkable variety of interactions dependent on initial expression levels and demonstrate that they can be quantitatively explained by a mechanistic model accounting for catabolic flux, metabolite toxicity, and expression costs. Complex fitness interactions between mutations can therefore be predicted simply from their simultaneous impact on a few connected molecular phenotypes.

Dynamic single-cell phenotyping of immune cells using the microfluidic platform DropMap
Laboratoire Biochimie - Yacine Bounab, Klaus Eyer, Sophie Dixneuf, Magda Rybczynska, Cécile Chauvel, Maxime Mistretta, Trang Tran, Nathan Aymerich, Guilhem Chenon, Jean-François Llitjos, Fabienne Venet, Guillaume Monneret, Iain A. Gillespie, Pierre Cortez, Virginie Moucadel, Al
Protocol - 15 2920–2955 - - 2020
Characterization of immune responses is currently hampered by the lack of systems enabling quantitative and dynamic phenotypic characterization of individual cells and, in particular, analysis of secreted proteins such as cytokines and antibodies. We recently developed a simple and robust microfluidic platform, DropMap, to measure simultaneously the kinetics of secretion and other cellular characteristics, including endocytosis activity, viability and expression of cell-surface markers, from tens of thousands of single immune cells. Single cells are compartmentalized in 50-pL droplets and analyzed using fluorescence microscopy combined with an immunoassay based on fluorescence relocation to paramagnetic nanoparticles aligned to form beadlines in a magnetic field. The protocol typically takes 8–10 h after preparation of microfluidic chips and chambers, which can be done in advance. By contrast, enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT), flow cytometry, time-of-flight mass cytometry (CyTOF), and single-cell sequencing enable only end-point measurements and do not enable direct, quantitative measurement of secreted proteins. We illustrate how this system can be used to profile downregulation of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) secretion by single monocytes in septic shock patients, to study immune responses by measuring rates of cytokine secretion from single T cells, and to measure affinity of antibodies secreted by single B cells.

The Quantitative Assessment of the Secreted IgG Repertoire after Recall to Evaluate the Quality of Immunizations
Laboratoire Biochimie - Klaus Eyer, Carlos Castrillon, Guilhem Chenon, Jérôme Bibette, Pierre Bruhns, Andrew D. Griffiths and Jean Baudry
J Immunol July - 206 10 - DOI: - 2020
One of the major goals of vaccination is to prepare the body to rapidly secrete specific Abs during an infection. Assessment of the vaccine quality is often difficult to perform, as simple measurements like Ab titer only partly correlate with protection. Similarly, these simple measurements are not always sensitive to changes in the preceding immunization scheme. Therefore, we introduce in this paper a new, to our knowledge, method to assay the quality of immunization schemes for mice: shortly after a recall with pure Ag, we analyze the frequencies of IgG-secreting cells (IgG-SCs) in the spleen, as well as for each cells, the Ag affinity of the secreted Abs. We observed that after recall, appearance of the IgG-SCs within the spleen of immunized mice was fast (<24 h) and this early response was free of naive IgG-SCs. We further confirmed that our phenotypic analysis of IgG-SCs after recall strongly correlated with the different employed immunization schemes. Additionally, a phenotypic comparison of IgG-SCs presented in the spleen during immunization or after recall revealed similarities but also significant differences. The developed approach introduced a novel (to our knowledge), quantitative, and functional highly resolved alternative to study the quality of immunizations.

Deep phenotypic characterization of immunization-induced antibacterial IgG repertoires in mice using a single-antibody bioassa
Laboratoire Biochimie - M. Heo, G. Chenon, C. Castrillon, J. Bibette, P. Bruhns, A.D. Griffiths, J. Baudry and K. Eyer
Communications Biology - 3 614 - - 2020
Thresholds in origin of life scenarios
Laboratoire Biochimie - Jeancolas, C., Malaterre, C., & Nghe, P.
Iscience - 23(11) 101756 - - 2020
Predicting Evolutionary Constraints by Identifying Conflicting Demands in Regulatory Networks
Laboratoire Biochimie - M., Nghe, P., Poelwijk, F.J. and Tans, S.J.
Cell systems - 10(6) 526-534 - - 2020
Universal motifs and the diversity of autocatalytic systems
Laboratoire Biochimie - Blokhuis, A., Lacoste, D., & Nghe, P
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America - 117(41) 25230-25236 - - 2020
Mineral surfaces select for longer RNA molecules
Laboratoire Biochimie - Ryo Mizuuchi, Alex Blokhuis,b, Lena Vincent, Philippe Nghe, Niles Lehman, and David Baumd
Chem. Comm. - 55(14) 2090–2093. - 10.1039/c8cc10319d - 2019
We report empirically and theoretically that multiple prebiotic minerals can selectively accumulate longer RNAs, with selectivity enhanced at higher temperatures. We further demonstrate that surfaces can be combined with a catalytic RNA to form longer RNA polymers, supporting the potential of minerals to develop genetic information on the early Earth.
Large work extraction and the Landauer limit in a continuous Maxwell demon
Laboratoire Biochimie - Marco Ribezzi Crivellari
Nature Physics - 15(7) 93 - DOI: 10.1038/s41567-019-0481-0 - 2019
The relation between entropy and information dates back to the classical Maxwell demon paradox¹, a thought experiment proposed in 1867 by James Clerk Maxwell to violate the second law of thermodynamics. A variant of the classical Maxwell demon is the Szilard engine, proposed by Leo Szilard in 1929¹. In it, at a given time, the demon observes the compartment occupied by a single molecule in a vessel and extracts work by operating a pulley device. Here, we introduce the continuous Maxwell demon, a device capable of extracting arbitrarily large amounts of work per cycle by repeated measurements of the state of a system, and experimentally test it in single DNA hairpin pulling experiments. In the continuous Maxwell demon, the demon monitors the state of the DNA hairpin (folded or unfolded) by observing it at equally spaced time intervals, but it extracts work only when the molecule changes state. We demonstrate that the average maximum work per cycle that can be extracted by the continuous Maxwell demon is limited by the information content of the stored sequences, in agreement with the second law. Work extraction efficiency is found to be maximal in the large information-content limit where work extraction is fuelled by rare events.
High-throughput single-cell ChIP-seq identifies heterogeneity of chromatin states in breast cancer
Laboratoire Biochimie - Grosselin K1,2,3, Durand A4,5, Marsolier J, Poitou A, Marangoni E, Nemati F, Dahmani A, Lameiras S, Reyal F, Frenoy O, Pousse Y, Reichen M, Woolfe A, Brenan C, Griffiths AD, Vallot C, Gérard A.i
Nat Genet. - 51(6) 1060-1066 - doi: 10.1038/s41588-019-0424-9. - 2019
Modulation of chromatin structure via histone modification is a major epigenetic mechanism and regulator of gene expression. However, the contribution of chromatin features to tumor heterogeneity and evolution remains unknown. Here we describe a high-throughput droplet microfluidics platform to profile chromatin landscapes of thousands of cells at single-cell resolution. Using patient-derived xenograft models of acquired resistance to chemotherapy and targeted therapy in breast cancer, we found that a subset of cells within untreated drug-sensitive tumors share a common chromatin signature with resistant cells, undetectable using bulk approaches. These cells, and cells from the resistant tumors, have lost chromatin marks-H3K27me3, which is associated with stable transcriptional repression-for genes known to promote resistance to treatment. This single-cell chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing approach paves the way to study the role of chromatin heterogeneity, not just in cancer but in other diseases and healthy systems, notably during cellular differentiation and development.
Experimental evidence of symmetry breaking of transition-path times
Laboratoire Biochimie - J.Gladrow, M. Ribezzi-Crivellari, F. Ritort & U. F. Keyser
Nature Communications - 10 55 - - 2019
While thermal rates of state transitions in classical systems have been studied for almost a century, associated transition-path times have only recently received attention. Uphill and downhill transition paths between states at different free energies should be statistically indistinguishable. Here, we systematically investigate transition-path-time symmetry and report evidence of its breakdown on the molecular- and meso-scale out of equilibrium. In automated Brownian dynamics experiments, we establish first-passage-time symmetries of colloids driven by femtoNewton forces in holographically-created optical landscapes confined within microchannels. Conversely, we show that transitions which couple in a path-dependent manner to fluctuating forces exhibit asymmetry. We reproduce this asymmetry in folding transitions of DNA-hairpins driven out of equilibrium and suggest a topological mechanism of symmetry breakdown. Our results are relevant to measurements that capture a single coordinate in a multidimensional free energy landscape, as encountered in electrophysiology and single-molecule fluorescence experiments.
Recent insights into the genotype–phenotype relationship from massively parallel genetic assays
Laboratoire Biochimie - Harry Kemble Philippe Nghe Olivier Tenaillon
Nature Physics - 9 12 - - 2019
With the molecular revolution in Biology, a mechanistic understanding of the genotype–phenotype relationship became possible. Recently, advances in DNA synthesis and sequencing have enabled the development of deep mutational scanning assays, capable of scoring comprehensive libraries of genotypes for fitness and a variety of phenotypes in massively parallel fashion. The resulting empirical genotype–fitness maps pave the way to predictive models, potentially accelerating our ability to anticipate the behaviour of pathogen and cancerous cell populations from sequencing data. Besides from cellular fitness, phenotypes of direct application in industry (e.g. enzyme activity) and medicine (e.g. antibody binding) can be quantified and even selected directly by these assays. This review discusses the technological basis of and recent developments in massively parallel genetics, along with the trends it is uncovering in the genotype–phenotype relationship (distribution of mutation effects, epistasis), their possible mechanistic bases and future directions for advancing towards the goal of predictive genetics.
Large scale control and programming of gene expression using CRISPR.
Laboratoire Biochimie - Deyell M, Ameta S, Nghe P
Semin Cell Dev Biol. - S1084-9521(18 30110-1 - doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2019.05.013 - 2019
The control of gene expression in cells and organisms allows to unveil gene to function relationships and to reprogram biological responses. Several systems, such as Zinc fingers, TALE (Transcription activator-like effectors), and siRNAs (small-interfering RNAs), have been exploited to achieve this. However, recent advances in Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats and Cas9 (CRISPR-Cas9) have overshadowed them due to high specificity, compatibility with many different organisms, and design flexibility. In this review we summarize state-of-the art for CRISPR-Cas9 technology for large scale gene perturbation studies, including single gene and multiple genes knock-out, knock-down, knock-up libraries, and their associated screening assays. We feature in particular the combination of these methods with single-cell transcriptomics approaches. Finally, we highlight the application of CRISPR-Cas9 systems in building synthetic circuits that can be interfaced with gene networks to control cellular states.
Sign epistasis caused by hierarchy within signalling cascades.
Laboratoire Biochimie - Nghe P, Kogenaru M, Tans SJ.
Nat Commun - 9(1) 1451. - doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03644-8 - 2018
Sign epistasis is a central evolutionary constraint, but its causal factors remain difficult to predict. Here we use the notion of parameterised optima to explain epistasis within a signalling cascade, and test these predictions in Escherichia coli. We show that sign epistasis arises from the benefit of tuning phenotypic parameters of cascade genes with respect to each other, rather than from their complex and incompletely known genetic bases. Specifically, sign epistasis requires only that the optimal phenotypic parameters of one gene depend on the phenotypic parameters of another, independent of other details, such as activating or repressing nature, position within the cascade, intra-genic pleiotropy or genotype. Mutational effects change sign more readily in downstream genes, indicating that optimising downstream genes is more constrained. The findings show that sign epistasis results from the inherent upstream-downstream hierarchy between signalling cascade genes, and can be addressed without exhaustive genotypic mapping.
Coupled catabolism and anabolism in autocatalytic RNA sets.
Laboratoire Biochimie - Arsène S, Ameta S, Lehman N, Griffiths AD, Nghe P.
Nucleic Acids Res. - 46(18) 9660-9666 - doi: 10.1093/nar/gky598. - 2018
The ability to process molecules available in the environment into useable building blocks characterizes catabolism in contemporary cells and was probably critical for the initiation of life. Here we show that a catabolic process in collectively autocatalytic sets of RNAs allows diversified substrates to be assimilated. We modify fragments of the Azoarcus group I intron and find that the system is able to restore the original native fragments by a multi-step reaction pathway. This allows in turn the formation of catalysts by an anabolic process, eventually leading to the accumulation of ribozymes. These results demonstrate that rudimentary self-reproducing RNA systems based on recombination possess an inherent capacity to assimilate an expanded repertoire of chemical resources and suggest that coupled catabolism and anabolism could have arisen at a very early stage in primordial living systems.
Selection Dynamics in Transient Compartmentalization.
Laboratoire Biochimie - Blokhuis A, Lacoste D, Nghe P, Peliti L
Phys. Rev. Lett. - 158101 120(15): - doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1004972 - 2018
Transient compartments have been recently shown to be able to maintain functional replicators in the context of prebiotic studies. Here, we show that a broad class of selection dynamics is able to achieve this goal. We identify two key parameters, the relative amplification of nonactive replicators (parasites) and the size of compartments. These parameters account for competition and diversity, and the results are relevant to similar multilevel selection problems, such as those found in virus-host ecology and trait group selection.


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