Neuronatin (Nnat) is an imprinted gene implicated in human obesity and widely expressed in neuroendocrine and metabolic tissues in a hormone- and nutrient-sensitive manner. However, its molecular and cellular functions and precise role in organismal physiology remain only partly defined. Here we demonstrate that mice lacking Nnat globally or specifically in β cells display impaired glucose-stimulated insulin secretion leading to defective glucose handling under conditions of nutrient excess. In contrast, we report no evidence for any feeding or body weight phenotypes in global Nnat-null mice. At the molecular level neuronatin augments insulin signal peptide cleavage by binding to the signal peptidase complex and facilitates translocation of the nascent preprohormone. Loss of neuronatin expression in β cells therefore reduces insulin content and blunts glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. Nnat expression, in turn, is glucose-regulated. This mechanism therefore represents a novel site of nutrient-sensitive control of β cell function and whole-animal glucose homeostasis. These data also suggest a potential wider role for Nnat in the regulation of metabolism through the modulation of peptide processing events.
Steven J. Millership, Gabriela Da Silva Xavier, Agharul I. Choudhury, Sergio Bertazzo, Pauline Chabosseau, Silvia M.A. Pedroni, Elaine E. Irvine, Alex Montoya, Peter Faull, William R. Taylor, Julie Kerr-Conte, Francois Pattou, Jorge Ferrer, Mark Christian, Rosalind M. John, Mathieu Latreille, Ming Liu, Guy A. Rutter, James Scott, Dominic J. Withers
Langerhans cells (LCs) are likely among the first targets of HIV-1 infection due to their localization in mucosal tissues. In their recent work, Pena-Cruz and colleagues were able to study HIV-1 infection in vaginal epithelial DCs (VEDCs), termed CD1a+ VEDCs. They show that VEDCs are distinct from other blood- and tissue-derived DCs or LCs because they express the protein langerin but not the lectin receptor DC-SIGN, and they do not have Birbeck granules. The results from this study indicate that HIV-1 using CXCR4 replicates poorly in VEDCs but that a higher replication for HIV-1 using CCR5 strains is supported by VDECs. Furthermore, Pena-Cruz and colleagues demonstrate that VDECs can represent a viral reservoir in HIV-1–infected virologically suppressed women. As such, VDECs may represent another sanctuary of viral persistence and can be an additional obstacle to viral eradication.
Stephan Caucheteux, Vincent Piguet
Crescentic glomerulonephritis, a complication of severe immune glomerular injury, is the pathological correlate of rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis, mediated by both humoral and cellular effectors. In the current issue of the JCI, Chen et al. have implicated Bowman’s capsule in functionally isolating potentially immune effectors, specifically antigen-specific CD8+ T lymphocytes, from podocytes. They suggest that, in crescentic glomerulonephritis, immune-mediated glomerular endothelial injury results in inside-out injury to the glomerulus, with subsequent leukocyte migration through a weakened or ruptured Bowman’s capsule, resulting in outside-in injury. Effector T cells then recognize nephritogenic antigens presented by podocytes or other cells within the urinary space, enhancing injury and crescent formation.
A. Richard Kitching, Maliha A. Alikhan
Clarin-1, a tetraspan-like membrane protein defective in Usher syndrome type IIIA (USH3A), is essential for hair bundle morphogenesis in auditory hair cells. We report a new synaptic role for clarin-1 in mouse auditory hair cells elucidated by characterization of Clrn1 total (Clrn1ex4–/–) and postnatal hair cell–specific conditional (Clrn1ex4fl/fl Myo15-Cre+/–) knockout mice. Clrn1ex4–/– mice were profoundly deaf, whereas Clrn1ex4fl/fl Myo15-Cre+/– mice displayed progressive increases in hearing thresholds, with, initially, normal otoacoustic emissions and hair bundle morphology. Inner hair cell (IHC) patch-clamp recordings for the 2 mutant mice revealed defective exocytosis and a disorganization of synaptic F-actin and CaV1.3 Ca2+ channels, indicative of a synaptopathy. Postsynaptic defects were also observed, with an abnormally broad distribution of AMPA receptors associated with a loss of afferent dendrites and defective electrically evoked auditory brainstem responses. Protein-protein interaction assays revealed interactions between clarin-1 and the synaptic CaV1.3 Ca2+ channel complex via the Cavβ2 auxiliary subunit and the PDZ domain–containing protein harmonin (defective in Usher syndrome type IC). Cochlear gene therapy in vivo, through adeno-associated virus–mediated Clrn1 transfer into hair cells, prevented the synaptic defects and durably improved hearing in Clrn1ex4fl/fl Myo15-Cre+/– mice. Our results identify clarin-1 as a key organizer of IHC ribbon synapses, and suggest new treatment possibilities for USH3A patients.
Didier Dulon, Samantha Papal, Pranav Patni, Matteo Cortese, Philippe F.Y. Vincent, Margot Tertrais, Alice Emptoz, Aziz Tlili, Yohan Bouleau, Vincent Michel, Sedigheh Delmaghani, Alain Aghaie, Elise Pepermans, Olinda Alegria-Prevot, Omar Akil, Lawrence Lustig, Paul Avan, Saaid Safieddine, Christine Petit, Aziz El-Amraoui
Myocardial infarction (MI) arising from obstruction of the coronary circulation engenders massive cardiomyocyte loss and replacement by non-contractile scar tissue, leading to pathological remodeling, dysfunction, and ultimately heart failure. This is presently a global health problem for which there is no effective cure. Following MI, the innate immune system directs the phagocytosis of dead cell debris in an effort to stimulate cell repopulation and tissue renewal. In the mammalian adult heart, however, the persistent influx of immune cells, coupled with the lack of an inherent regenerative capacity, results in cardiac fibrosis. Here, we reveal that stimulation of cardiac lymphangiogenesis with VEGF-C improves clearance of the acute inflammatory response after MI by trafficking immune cells to draining mediastinal lymph nodes (MLNs) in a process dependent on lymphatic vessel endothelial hyaluronan receptor 1 (LYVE-1). Deletion of Lyve1 in mice, preventing docking and transit of leukocytes through the lymphatic endothelium, results in exacerbation of chronic inflammation and long-term deterioration of cardiac function. Our findings support targeting of the lymphatic/immune cell axis as a therapeutic paradigm to promote immune modulation and heart repair.
Joaquim Miguel Vieira, Sophie Norman, Cristina Villa del Campo, Thomas J. Cahill, Damien N. Barnette, Mala Gunadasa-Rohling, Louise A. Johnson, David R. Greaves, Carolyn A. Carr, David G. Jackson, Paul R. Riley
T cells play a key role in immune-mediated glomerulonephritis, but how cytotoxic T cells interact with podocytes remains unclear. To address this, we injected EGFP-specific CD8+ T cells from just EGFP death inducing (Jedi) mice into transgenic mice with podocyte-specific expression of EGFP. In healthy mice, Jedi T cells could not access EGFP+ podocytes. Conversely, when we induced nephrotoxic serum nephritis (NTSN) and injected Jedi T cells, EGFP+ podocyte transgenic mice showed enhanced proteinuria and higher blood urea levels. Morphometric analysis showed greater loss of EGFP+ podocytes, which was associated with severe crescentic and necrotizing glomerulonephritis. Notably, only glomeruli with disrupted Bowman’s capsule displayed massive CD8+ T cell infiltrates that were in direct contact with EGFP+ podocytes, causing their apoptosis. Thus, under control conditions with intact Bowman’s capsule, podocytes are not accessible to CD8+ T cells. However, breaches in Bowman’s capsule, as also noted in human crescentic glomerulonephritis, allow access of CD8+ T cells to the glomerular tuft and podocytes, resulting in their destruction. Through these mechanisms, a potentially reversible glomerulonephritis undergoes an augmentation process to a rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis, leading to end-stage kidney disease. Translating these mechanistic insights to human crescentic nephritis should direct future therapeutic interventions at blocking CD8+ T cells, especially in progressive stages of rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis.
Anqun Chen, Kyung Lee, Vivette D. D’Agati, Chengguo Wei, Jia Fu, Tian-Jun Guan, John Cijiang He, Detlef Schlondorff, Judith Agudo
Cancer progression is associated with alterations of intra- and extramedullary hematopoiesis to support a systemic tumor-promoting myeloid response. However, the functional specialty, mechanism, and clinical relevance of extramedullary hematopoiesis (EMH) remain unclear. Here, we showed that the heightened splenic myelopoiesis in tumor-bearing hosts was not only characterized by the accumulation of myeloid precursors, but also associated with profound functional alterations of splenic early hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs). With the distinct capability to produce and respond to granulocyte-macrophage CSF (GM-CSF), these splenic HSPCs were “primed” and committed to generating immunosuppressive myeloid cells. Mechanistically, the CCL2/CCR2 axis–dependent recruitment and the subsequent local education by the splenic stroma were critical for eliciting this splenic HSPC response. Selective abrogation of this splenic EMH was sufficient to synergistically enhance the therapeutic efficacy of immune checkpoint blockade. Clinically, patients with different types of solid tumors exhibited increased splenic HSPC levels associated with poor survival. These findings reveal a unique and important role of splenic hematopoiesis in tumor-associated myelopoiesis.
Chong Wu, Huiheng Ning, Mingyu Liu, Jie Lin, Shufeng Luo, Wenjie Zhu, Jing Xu, Wen-Chao Wu, Jing Liang, Chun-Kui Shao, Jiaqi Ren, Bin Wei, Jun Cui, Min-Shan Chen, Limin Zheng
HIV-1 acquisition occurs most commonly after sexual contact. To establish infection, HIV-1 must infect cells that support high-level replication, namely CD4+ T cells, which are absent from the outermost genital epithelium. Dendritic cells (DCs), present in mucosal epithelia, potentially facilitate HIV-1 acquisition. We show that vaginal epithelial DCs, termed CD1a+ VEDCs, are unlike other blood- and tissue-derived DCs because they express langerin but not DC-SIGN, and unlike skin-based langerin+ DC subset Langerhans cells (LCs), they do not harbor Birbeck granules. Individuals primarily acquire HIV-1 that utilizes the CCR5 receptor (termed either R5 or R5X4) during heterosexual transmission, and the mechanism for the block against variants that only use the CXCR4 receptor (classified as X4) remains unclear. We show that X4 as compared with R5 HIV-1 shows limited to no replication in CD1a+ VEDCs. This differential replication occurs after fusion, suggesting that receptor usage influences postentry steps in the virus life cycle. Furthermore, CD1a+ VEDCs isolated from HIV-1–infected virologically suppressed women harbor HIV-1 DNA. Thus, CD1a+ VEDCs are potentially infected early during heterosexual transmission and also retain virus during treatment. Understanding the interplay between HIV-1 and CD1a+ VEDCs is important for future prevention and cure strategies.
Victor Pena-Cruz, Luis M. Agosto, Hisashi Akiyama, Alex Olson, Yvetane Moreau, Jean-Robert Larrieux, Andrew Henderson, Suryaram Gummuluru, Manish Sagar
Podocyte malfunction occurs in autoimmune and nonautoimmune kidney disease. Calcium signaling is essential for podocyte injury, but the role of Ca2+/calmodulin–dependent kinase (CaMK) signaling in podocytes has not been fully explored. We report that podocytes from patients with lupus nephritis and focal segmental glomerulosclerosis and lupus-prone and lipopolysaccharide- or adriamycin-treated mice display increased expression of CaMK IV (CaMK4), but not CaMK2. Mechanistically, CaMK4 modulated podocyte motility by altering the expression of the GTPases Rac1 and RhoA and suppressed the expression of nephrin, synaptopodin, and actin fibers in podocytes. In addition, it phosphorylated the scaffold protein 14-3-3β, which resulted in the release and degradation of synaptopodin. Targeted delivery of a CaMK4 inhibitor to podocytes preserved their ultrastructure, averted immune complex deposition and crescent formation, and suppressed proteinuria in lupus-prone mice and proteinuria in mice exposed to lipopolysaccharide-induced podocyte injury by preserving nephrin/synaptopodin expression. In animals exposed to adriamycin, podocyte-specific delivery of a CaMK4 inhibitor prevented and reversed podocyte injury and renal disease. We conclude that CaMK4 is pivotal in immune and nonimmune podocyte injury and that its targeted cell-specific inhibition preserves podocyte structure and function and should have therapeutic value in lupus nephritis and podocytopathies, including focal segmental glomerulosclerosis.
Kayaho Maeda, Kotaro Otomo, Nobuya Yoshida, Mones S. Abu-Asab, Kunihiro Ichinose, Tomoya Nishino, Michihito Kono, Andrew Ferretti, Rhea Bhargava, Shoichi Maruyama, Sean Bickerton, Tarek M. Fahmy, Maria G. Tsokos, George C. Tsokos
Genome-wide association studies have repeatedly mapped susceptibility loci for emphysema to genes that modify hedgehog signaling, but the functional relevance of hedgehog signaling to this morbid disease remains unclear. In the current study, we identified a broad population of mesenchymal cells in the adult murine lung receptive to hedgehog signaling, characterized by higher activation of hedgehog surrounding the proximal airway relative to the distal alveoli. Single cell RNA-sequencing showed that the hedgehog-receptive mesenchyme is composed of mostly fibroblasts with distinct proximal and distal subsets with discrete identities. Ectopic hedgehog activation in the distal fibroblasts promoted expression of proximal fibroblast markers, and promoted loss of distal alveoli and airspace enlargement of over twenty percent compared to controls. We found that hedgehog suppressed mesenchymal-derived mitogens enriched in distal fibroblasts that regulate alveolar stem cell regeneration and airspace size. Finally, single cell analysis of the human lung mesenchyme showed that segregated proximal-distal identity with preferential hedgehog activation in the proximal fibroblasts is conserved between mice and humans. In conclusion, we showed that differential hedgehog activation segregates mesenchymal identities of distinct fibroblast subsets, and disruption of fibroblast identity can alter the alveolar stem cell niche leading to emphysematous changes in the murine lung.
Chaoqun Wang, Nabora S. Reyes de Mochel, Stephanie A. Christenson, Monica Cassandras, Rebecca Moon, Alexis N. Brumwell, Lauren E. Byrnes, Alfred Li, Yasuyuki Yokosaki, Peiying Shan, Julie B. Sneddon, David Jablons, Patty J. Lee, Michael A. Matthay, Harold A. Chapman, Tien Peng
Germinal centers (GCs) are major sites of clonal B cell expansion and generation of long-lived, high-affinity antibody responses to pathogens. Signaling through toll-like receptors(TLRs) on B cells promotes many aspects of GC B cell responses, including affinity-maturation, class-switching and differentiation into long-lived memory and plasma cells. A major challenge for effective vaccination is identifying strategies to specifically promote GC B cell responses. Here we have identified a mechanism of regulation of GC B cell TLR signaling, mediated by αv integrins and non-canonical autophagy. Using B cell-specific αv-knockout mice, we show that loss of αv-mediated TLR regulation increased GC B cell expansion, somatic-hypermutation, class-switching, and generation of long-lived plasma cells after immunization with virus-like particles(VLPs) or antigens associated with TLR ligand adjuvants. Furthermore, targeting αv-mediated regulation increased the magnitude and breadth of antibody responses to influenza virus vaccination. These data therefore identify a mechanism of regulation of GC B cells, which can be targeted to enhance antibody responses to vaccination.
Fiona Raso, Sara Sagadiev, Samuel Du, Emily Gage, Tanvi Arkatkar, Genita Metzler, Lynda M. Stuart, Mark T. Orr, David Rawlings, Shaun Jackson, Adam Lacy-Hulbert, Mridu Acharya
Anaplastic thyroid carcinomas (ATC) have a high prevalence of BRAF and TP53 mutations. A trial of vemurafenib in non-melanoma BRAFV600E-mutant cancers showed significant, although short-lived, responses in ATCs, indicating that these virulent tumors remain addicted to BRAF despite their high mutation burden. To explore the mechanisms mediating acquired resistance to BRAF blockade we generated mice with thyroid-specific deletion of p53 and dox-dependent expression of BRAFV600E, 50% of which developed ATCs after dox treatment. Upon dox withdrawal there was complete regression in all mice, although recurrences were later detected in 85% of animals. The relapsed tumors had elevated MAPK transcriptional output, and retained responses to the MEK/RAF inhibitor CH5126766 in vivo and in vitro. Whole exome sequencing identified recurrent focal amplifications of chromosome 6, with a minimal region of overlap that included Met. Met-amplified recurrences overexpressed the receptor as well as its ligand Hgf. Growth, signaling and viability of Met-amplified tumor cells were suppressed in vitro and in vivo by the Met kinase inhibitors PF-04217903 and crizotinib, whereas primary ATCs and Met-diploid relapses were resistant. Hence, recurrences are the rule after BRAF suppression in murine ATCs, most commonly due to activation of HGF/MET signaling, which generates exquisite dependency to MET kinase inhibitors.
Jeffrey A. Knauf, Kathleen A. Luckett, Kuen-Yuan Chen, Francesca Voza, Nicholas D. Socci, Ronald Ghossein, James A. Fagin
Induction of TLR2 activation depends on its association with adapter protein MyD88. We have found that levels of TLR2 and MyD88 are elevated in the hippocampus and cortex of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients and 5XFAD mouse model of AD. Since there is no specific inhibitor of TLR2, to target induced TLR2 from therapeutic angle, we engineered a peptide corresponding to the TLR2-interacting domain of MyD88 (TIDM) that binds to the BB loop of only TLR2, but not other TLRs. Interestingly, wild type (wt) TIDM peptide inhibited microglial activation induced by fibrillar Aβ1-42 and lipoteichoic acid, but not 1-methyl-4-phenylpyridinium, double-stranded RNA, bacterial lipopolysaccharide, flagellin, and CpG DNA. After intranasal administration, wtTIDM peptide reached the hippocampus, reduced hippocampal glial activation, lowered Aβ burden, attenuated neuronal apoptosis, and improved memory and learning in 5XFAD mice. However, wtTIDM peptide was not effective in 5XFAD mice lacking TLR2. In addition to 5XFAD mice, wtTIDM peptide also suppressed the disease process in mice with experimental allergic encephalomyelitis and collagen-induced arthritis. Therefore, selective targeting of activated status of one component of the innate immune system by wtTIDM peptide may be beneficial in AD as well as other disorders in which TLR2-MyD88 signaling plays a role in disease pathogenesis.
Suresh B. Rangasamy, Malabendu Jana, Avik Roy, Grant T. Corbett, Madhuchhanda Kundu, Sujyoti Chandra, Susanta Mondal, Sridevi Dasarathi, Elliott J. Mufson, Rama K. Mishra, Chi-Hao Luan, David A. Bennett, Kalipada Pahan
Cyclin D1 is an oncogene frequently overexpressed in human cancers that plays a dual function as cell cycle and transcriptional regulator, although the latter is widely unexplored. Here, we investigated the transcriptional role of cyclin D1 in lymphoid tumor cells with cyclin D1 oncogenic overexpression. Cyclin D1 showed widespread binding to the promoters of most actively transcribed genes and the promoter occupancy positively correlated with the transcriptional output of targeted genes. Despite this association, the overexpression of cyclin D1 in lymphoid cells led to a global transcriptional downmodulation that was proportional to cyclin D1 levels. This cyclin D1 dependent global transcriptional downregulation was associated with a reduced nascent transcription and an accumulation of promoter-proximal paused RNA Polymerase II (Pol II) that colocalized with cyclin D1. Concordantly, cyclin D1 overexpresion promoted an increment of the Poll II pausing index. This transcriptional impairment seems to be mediated by the interaction of cyclin D1 with the transcription machinery. In addition, cyclin D1 overexpression sensitized cells to transcription inhibitors revealing a synthetic lethality interaction that it was also observed in primary MCL cases. This global transcriptional dysregulation expands the oncogenic cyclin D1 functions and places the transcriptional machinery as a potential therapeutic target in cyclin D1 overexpressing tumors.
Robert Albero, Anna Enjuanes, Santiago Demajo, Giancarlo Castellano, Magda Pinyol, Noelia García, Cristina Capdevila, Guillem Clot, Helena Suárez-Cisneros, Mariko Shimada, Kennosuke Karube, Mónica López-Guerra, Dolors Colomer, Sílvia Beà, José Ignacio Martin-Subero, Elías Campo, Pedro Jares
In this issue of the JCI, Asosingh et al. establish a central role for allergen-sensing hematopoietic progenitors and endothelial cells in the pathogenesis of asthma, reporting that the allergen-stimulated cells are sufficient to induce angiogenic remodeling, inflammation, and airway hyperreactivity in the lung endothelium. The cover image visualizes disruption of the murine airway endothelial barrier following exposure to house dust mite allergen. Dark-stained areas indicate where the endothelial barrier is breached by protease allergens.
JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.
Infection and injury induce self-limited inflammatory responses that mount a defense against pathogens and initiate activities that expedite recovery. However, the benefits of inflammation recede when these responses fail to resolve in a timely manner. This series features a family of specialized lipid mediators that regulate the resolution of inflammation. The reviews, curated by Charles Serhan, highlight the wide-ranging involvement of these bioactive lipids in health and disease. Work by Serhan and others has revealed that the resolvin, protectin, and maresin families of pro-resolving mediators act as immunoresolvents and represent promising alternatives to immunosuppressant and anti-inflammatory therapies. Other lipid mediators, including leukotrienes, ceramides, and sphingolipids have roles in cancer, cardiovascular disease, and aging. Our evolving understanding of lipid mediators in regulating inflammation and disease pathogenesis presents promising opportunities for new therapeutic strategies.