In this issue of the JCI, Kumar et al. describe a peptide-based PET ligand that enables dynamic analysis of anti–PD-L1 therapeutic engagement with targets on tumor cells. The noninvasive tool has the potential to optimize the efficacy of immune checkpoint inhibitors and provide insights into safer dosing and therapeutic regimens. Image credit: Jennifer E. Fairman, CMI, FAMI.
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The field of hereditary kidney cancer has begun to mature following the identification of several germline syndromes that define genetic and molecular features of this cancer. Molecular defects within these hereditary syndromes demonstrate consistent deficits in angiogenesis and metabolic signaling, largely driven by altered hypoxia signaling. The classical mutation, loss of function of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor, provides a human pathogenesis model for critical aspects of pseudohypoxia. These features are mimicked in a less common hereditary renal tumor syndrome, known as hereditary leiomyomatosis and renal cell carcinoma. Here, we review renal tumor angiogenesis and metabolism from a HIF-centric perspective, considering alterations in the hypoxic landscape, and molecular deviations resulting from high levels of HIF family members. Mutations underlying HIF deregulation drive multifactorial aberrations in angiogenic signals and metabolism. The mechanisms by which these defects drive tumor growth are still emerging. However, the distinctive patterns of angiogenesis and glycolysis-/glutamine-dependent bioenergetics provide insight into the cellular environment of these cancers. The result is a scenario permissive for aggressive tumorigenesis especially within the proximal renal tubule. These features of tumorigenesis have been highly actionable in kidney cancer treatments, and will likely continue as central tenets of kidney cancer therapeutics.
John C. Chappell, Laura Beth Payne, W. Kimryn Rathmell
The tumor suppressor phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) classically counteracts the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling cascade. Germline pathogenic PTEN mutations cause PTEN hamartoma tumor syndrome (PHTS), featuring various benign and malignant tumors, as well as neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism spectrum disorder. Germline and somatic mosaic mutations in genes encoding components of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway downstream of PTEN predispose to syndromes with partially overlapping clinical features, termed the “PTEN-opathies.” Experimental models of PTEN pathway disruption uncover the molecular and cellular processes influencing clinical phenotypic manifestations. Such insights not only teach us about biological mechanisms in states of health and disease, but also enable more accurate gene-informed cancer risk assessment, medical management, and targeted therapeutics. Hence, the PTEN-opathies serve as a prototype for bedside to bench, and back to the bedside, practice of evidence-based precision medicine.
Lamis Yehia, Joanne Ngeow, Charis Eng
The Hedgehog pathway is critical for the development of diverse organs. Misactivation of the Hedgehog pathway can cause developmental abnormalities and cancers, including medulloblastoma, the most common pediatric brain tumor, and basal cell carcinoma, the most common cancer in the United States. Here, we review how basic, translational, and clinical studies of the Hedgehog pathway have helped reveal how cells communicate, how intercellular communication controls development, how signaling goes awry to cause cancer, and how to use targeted molecular agents to treat both inherited and sporadic cancers.
David R. Raleigh, Jeremy F. Reiter
The initiation and evolution of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are driven by genomic events that disrupt multiple genes controlling hematopoiesis. Human genetic studies have discovered germline mutations in single genes that instigate familial MDS/AML. The best understood of these genes encode transcription factors, such as GATA-2, RUNX1, ETV6, and C/EBPα, which establish and maintain genetic networks governing the genesis and function of blood stem and progenitor cells. Many questions remain unanswered regarding how genes and circuits within these networks function in physiology and disease and whether network integrity is exquisitely sensitive to or efficiently buffered from perturbations. In familial MDS/AML, mutations change the coding sequence of a gene to generate a mutant protein with altered activity or introduce frameshifts or stop codons or disrupt regulatory elements to alter protein expression. Each mutation has the potential to exert quantitatively and qualitatively distinct influences on networks. Consistent with this mechanistic diversity, disease onset is unpredictable and phenotypic variability can be considerable. Efforts to elucidate mechanisms and forge prognostic and therapeutic strategies must therefore contend with a spectrum of patient-specific leukemogenic scenarios. Here we illustrate mechanistic advances in our understanding of familial MDS/AML syndromes caused by germline mutations of hematopoietic transcription factors.
Jane E. Churpek, Emery H. Bresnick
Mark W. Dewhirst, Yvonne M. Mowery, James B. Mitchell, Murali K. Cherukuri, Timothy W. Secomb
Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is a fatal disease characterized by premature aging in which young children fail to thrive and adolescents die from myocardial infarction or stroke. The pathogenesis of HGPS is studied intensively because the mechanisms of premature aging may lead to a better understanding of normal aging. In this issue of the JCI, Osmanagic-Myers and colleagues identify the cellular mechanisms that lead to vascular abnormalities and death in children with HGPS.
Charles J. Lowenstein, J. Allen Bennett
Antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) has emerged as an important cause of lung graft failure. In the current issue of the JCI, a study by Li et al. identifies a critical role of Foxp3+ T cells residing within lung allografts in the regulation of AMR. This study not only provides new insights into the nature of lung allografts as a primary site where T and B cell priming and immune regulation can occur, but also introduces the mouse orthotopic lung transplant as a model for studying the immunobiology of AMR. Because AMR can be so difficult to effectively treat in lung transplant recipients, the development of an animal model is a major advance in understanding the immunopathogenesis of AMR.
Elizabeth A. Lendermon, John F. McDyer
Stressful situations provoke the fight-or-flight response, incurring rapid elevation of cardiac output via activation of protein kinase A (PKA). In this issue of the JCI, Yang et al. focus on the L-type calcium channel complex (LTCC), and their findings require reexamination of dogmatic principles. LTCC phosphorylation sites identified and studied to date are dispensable for PKA modulation of LTCC; however, a CaVβ2-CaV1.2 calcium channel interaction is now shown to be required. Yang et al. suggest a new hypothesis that LTCC modulation involves rearrangement of auxiliary proteins within the LTCC. However, we still do not know the targets of PKA that mediate LTCC modulation.
Brooke M. Ahern, Jonathan Satin
A predominant feature of intestinal inflammation is the accumulation of neutrophils, which dictates a fine balance between epithelial repair or progression to chronic inflammation. While the processes of mucosal healing are well studied, how neutrophils advance an inflammatory insult towards epithelial neoplasia is less understood. In this issue of the JCI, Butin-Israeli et al. outline a mechanism whereby neutrophils control epithelial fitness and genomic instability via delivery of miR-23a–and miR-155–containing microparticles. Localized delivery of antisense oligonucleotides targeting miR-23a and miR-155 reversed this genomic instability and accelerated mucosal healing. This mechanism of neutrophil-derived microRNA shuttling opens up new therapeutic potential to enhance epithelial healing and limit mucosal injury.
Eóin N. McNamee
The adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene plays, among other things, a crucial role in the regulation of cell proliferation and survival through its ability to regulate canonical Wnt signaling. In this issue of the JCI, Wang et al. provide an intriguing new mechanism for APC function involving the regulation of a novel long noncoding RNA (lncRNA), leading to changes in exosome production. APC signaling via this novel pathway can regulate cell proliferation and invasion as well as angiogenesis. In addition to enhancing our understanding of APC function, this new mechanism is of particular clinical significance, as it may provide additional targets for the treatment of APC-mutated cancers.
Pat J. Morin
Neoantigen-targeted therapies have typically been based upon personalized neoantigen-specific vaccines; however, in this issue of JCI, van der Lee et al. describe the development of a potential cellular immunotherapy targeting a “public” neoantigen derived from nucleophosmin 1 (NPM1), which is mutated in approximately 30% of acute myeloid leukemias (AMLs). The authors use reverse immunology to predict, and biochemically confirm, NPM1-derived neoepitopes (ΔNPM1) and then generate high-avidity T cell clones and retrovirally transduced T cell populations that kill NPM1-mutated AML. This study provides a general approach to adoptive cellular therapy that can be applied to targeting other tumors with public neoantigens.
Paul M. Armistead
The heart relies on mitochondria-derived energy production for continuous contraction and relaxation; therefore, the maintenance of a pool of healthy mitochondria is essential for sustaining normal cardiac performance. Mitophagy serves as a critical process for maintaining mitochondrial quality control and involves the PTEN-induced kinase 1/Parkin (Pink1/Parkin) pathway and autophagosomes labeled with the autophagy proteins autophagy-related 7 (ATG) and light chain 3 (LC3). In this issue of the JCI, Saito and colleagues identify an alternative pathway for mitophagy that utilizes the serine/threonine protein kinase Unc-51–like kinase 1 (Ulk1) and the small GTPase Rab9 to clear damaged mitochondria independently of conventional autophagy proteins. Together, the results of this study reveal that Ulk1 phosphorylation of Rab9 at serine 179 is critical for alternative mitophagy and cardioprotection under energy stress conditions.
Rimpy Dhingra, Inna Rabinovich-Nikitin, Lorrie A. Kirshenbaum
Achromatopsia is an inherited retinal degeneration characterized by the loss of cone photoreceptor function. In this issue of the JCI, Moshiri et al. characterize a naturally occurring model of the disease in the rhesus macaque caused by homozygous mutations in the phototransduction enzyme PDE6C. Using retinal imaging, and electrophysiologic and biochemical methods, the authors report a clinical phenotype nearly identical to the human condition. These findings represent the first genetic nonhuman primate model of an inherited retinal disease, and provide an ideal testing ground for the development of novel gene replacement, gene editing, and cell replacement therapies for cone dystrophies.
Katherine E. Uyhazi, Jean Bennett
Necrotizing fasciitis and myositis caused by group A streptococci (GAS) are among the most fulminating infections, with a mortality rate of 20% to 30%. Although numerous regimens have been utilized in attempts to control these devastating infections, such as combinations of various antimicrobial agents and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) as well as hyperbaric oxygen therapy, none have been the complete answer. Zhu and colleagues have utilized a transposon-directed insertion-site sequencing (TraDIS) protocol to identify 126 genes of M1 and 116 genes of M28 strains of GAS required for myositis, of which 25% encode transporters, which could be used as possible targets for future therapeutic protocols.
Harry R. Hill
Despite its success in treating melanoma and hematological malignancies, adoptive cell therapy (ACT) has had only limited effects in solid tumors. This is due in part to a lack of specific antigen targets, poor trafficking and infiltration, and immunosuppression in the tumor microenvironment. In this study, we combined ACT with oncolytic virus vaccines (OVVs) to drive expansion and tumor infiltration of transferred antigen-specific T cells and demonstrated that the combination is highly potent for the eradication of established solid tumors. Consistent with other successful immunotherapies, this approach elicited severe autoimmune consequences when the antigen targeted was a self-protein. However, modulation of IFN-α/-β signaling, either by functional blockade or rational selection of an OVV backbone, ameliorated autoimmune side effects without compromising antitumor efficacy. Our study uncovers a pathogenic role for IFN-α/-β in facilitating autoimmune toxicity during cancer immunotherapy and presents a safe and powerful combinatorial regimen with immediate translational applications.
Scott R. Walsh, Donald Bastin, Lan Chen, Andrew Nguyen, Christopher J. Storbeck, Charles Lefebvre, David Stojdl, Jonathan L. Bramson, John C. Bell, Yonghong Wan
Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is a premature aging disorder characterized by accelerated cardiovascular disease with extensive fibrosis. It is caused by a mutation in LMNA leading to expression of truncated prelamin A (progerin) in the nucleus. To investigate the contribution of the endothelium to cardiovascular HGPS pathology, we generated an endothelium-specific HGPS mouse model with selective endothelial progerin expression. Transgenic mice develop interstitial myocardial and perivascular fibrosis and left ventricular hypertrophy associated with diastolic dysfunction and premature death. Endothelial cells show impaired shear stress response and reduced levels of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) and NO. On the molecular level, progerin impairs nucleocytoskeletal coupling in endothelial cells through changes in mechanoresponsive components at the nuclear envelope, increased F-actin/G-actin ratios, and deregulation of mechanoresponsive myocardin-related transcription factor-A (MRTFA). MRTFA binds to the Nos3 promoter and reduces eNOS expression, thereby mediating a profibrotic paracrine response in fibroblasts. MRTFA inhibition rescues eNOS levels and ameliorates the profibrotic effect of endothelial cells in vitro. Although this murine model lacks the key anatomical feature of vascular smooth muscle cell loss seen in HGPS patients, our data show that progerin-induced impairment of mechanosignaling in endothelial cells contributes to excessive fibrosis and cardiovascular disease in HGPS patients.
Selma Osmanagic-Myers, Attila Kiss, Christina Manakanatas, Ouafa Hamza, Franziska Sedlmayer, Petra L. Szabo, Irmgard Fischer, Petra Fichtinger, Bruno K. Podesser, Maria Eriksson, Roland Foisner
Innate immune activation contributes to the transition from nonalcoholic fatty liver to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Stimulator of IFN genes (STING, also referred to Tmem173) is a universal receptor that recognizes released DNA and triggers innate immune activation. In this work, we investigated the role of STING in the progression of NASH in mice. Both methionine- and choline-deficient diet (MCD) and high-fat diet (HFD) were used to induce NASH in mice. Strikingly, STING deficiency attenuated steatosis, fibrosis, and inflammation in livers in both murine models of NASH. Additionally, STING deficiency increased fasting glucose levels in mice independently of insulin, but mitigated HFD-induced insulin resistance and weight gain and reduced levels of cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL in serum; it also enhanced levels of HDL. The mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from hepatocytes of HFD-fed mice induced TNF-α and IL-6 expression in cultured Kupffer cells (KCs), which was attenuated by STING deficiency or pretreatment with BAY11-7082 (an NF-κB inhibitor). Finally, chronic exposure to 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid (DMXAA, a STING agonist) led to hepatic steatosis and inflammation in WT mice, but not in STING-deficient mice. We proposed that STING functions as an mtDNA sensor in the KCs of liver under lipid overload and induces NF-κB–dependent inflammation in NASH.
Yongsheng Yu, Yu Liu, Weishuai An, Jingwen Song, Yuefan Zhang, Xianxian Zhao
Antibody-mediated rejection (AMR) is a principal cause of acute and chronic failure of lung allografts. However, mechanisms mediating this oftentimes fatal complication are poorly understood. Here, we show that Foxp3+ T cells formed aggregates in rejection-free human lung grafts and accumulated within induced bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT) of tolerant mouse lungs. Using a retransplantation model, we show that selective depletion of graft-resident Foxp3+ T lymphocytes resulted in the generation of donor-specific antibodies (DSA) and AMR, which was associated with complement deposition and destruction of airway epithelium. AMR was dependent on graft infiltration by B and T cells. Depletion of graft-resident Foxp3+ T lymphocytes resulted in prolonged interactions between B and CD4+ T cells within transplanted lungs, which was dependent on CXCR5-CXCL13. Blockade of CXCL13 as well as inhibition of the CD40 ligand and the ICOS ligand suppressed DSA production and prevented AMR. Thus, we have shown that regulatory Foxp3+ T cells residing within BALT of tolerant pulmonary allografts function to suppress B cell activation, a finding that challenges the prevailing view that regulation of humoral responses occurs peripherally. As pulmonary AMR is largely refractory to current immunosuppression, our findings provide a platform for developing therapies that target local immune responses.
Wenjun Li, Jason M. Gauthier, Ryuji Higashikubo, Hsi-Min Hsiao, Satona Tanaka, Linh Vuong, Jon H. Ritter, Alice Y. Tong, Brian W. Wong, Ramsey R. Hachem, Varun Puri, Ankit Bharat, Alexander S. Krupnick, Chyi S. Hsieh, William M. Baldwin III, Francine L. Kelly, Scott M. Palmer, Andrew E. Gelman, Daniel Kreisel
Prostate cancer (PC) progressed to castration resistance (CRPC) is a fatal disease. CRPC tumors develop resistance to new-generation antiandrogen enzalutamide through lineage plasticity, characterized by epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and a basal-like phenotype. FOXA1 is a transcription factor essential for epithelial lineage differentiation. Here, we demonstrate that FOXA1 loss leads to remarkable upregulation of transforming growth factor beta 3 (TGFB3), which encodes a ligand of the TGF-β pathway. Mechanistically, this is due to genomic occupancy of FOXA1 on an upstream enhancer of the TGFB3 gene to directly inhibit its transcription. Functionally, FOXA1 downregulation induces TGF-β signaling, EMT, and cell motility, which is effectively blocked by the TGF-β receptor I inhibitor galunisertib (LY2157299). Tissue microarray analysis confirmed reduced levels of FOXA1 protein and a concordant increase in TGF-β signaling, indicated by SMAD2 phosphorylation, in CRPC as compared with primary tumors. Importantly, combinatorial LY2157299 treatment sensitized PC cells to enzalutamide, leading to synergistic effects in inhibiting cell invasion in vitro and xenograft CRPC tumor growth and metastasis in vivo. Therefore, our study establishes FOXA1 as an important regulator of lineage plasticity mediated in part by TGF-β signaling, and supports a novel therapeutic strategy to control lineage switching and potentially extend clinical response to antiandrogen therapies.
Bing Song, Su-Hong Park, Jonathan C. Zhao, Ka-wing Fong, Shangze Li, Yongik Lee, Yeqing A. Yang, Subhasree Sridhar, Xiaodong Lu, Sarki A. Abdulkadir, Robert L. Vessella, Colm Morrissey, Timothy M. Kuzel, William Catalona, Ximing Yang, Jindan Yu
X-linked dominant incontinentia pigmenti (IP) and X-linked recessive anhidrotic ectodermal dysplasia with immunodeficiency (EDA-ID) are caused by loss-of-function and hypomorphic IKBKG (also known as NEMO) mutations, respectively. We describe a European mother with mild IP and a Japanese mother without IP, whose 3 boys with EDA-ID died from ID. We identify the same private variant in an intron of IKBKG, IVS4+866 C>T, which was inherited from and occurred de novo in the European mother and Japanese mother, respectively. This mutation creates a new splicing donor site, giving rise to a 44-nucleotide pseudoexon (PE) generating a frameshift. Its leakiness accounts for NF-κB activation being impaired but not abolished in the boys’ cells. However, aberrant splicing rates differ between cell types, with WT NEMO mRNA and protein levels ranging from barely detectable in leukocytes to residual amounts in induced pluripotent stem cell–derived (iPSC-derived) macrophages, and higher levels in fibroblasts and iPSC-derived neuronal precursor cells. Finally, SRSF6 binds to the PE, facilitating its inclusion. Moreover, SRSF6 knockdown or CLK inhibition restores WT NEMO expression and function in mutant cells. A recurrent deep intronic splicing mutation in IKBKG underlies a purely quantitative NEMO defect in males that is most severe in leukocytes and can be rescued by the inhibition of SRSF6 or CLK.
Bertrand Boisson, Yoshitaka Honda, Masahiko Ajiro, Jacinta Bustamante, Matthieu Bendavid, Andrew R. Gennery, Yuri Kawasaki, Jose Ichishima, Mitsujiro Osawa, Hiroshi Nihira, Takeshi Shiba, Takayuki Tanaka, Maya Chrabieh, Benedetta Bigio, Hong Hur, Yuval Itan, Yupu Liang, Satoshi Okada, Kazushi Izawa, Ryuta Nishikomori, Osamu Ohara, Toshio Heike, Laurent Abel, Anne Puel, Megumu K. Saito, Jean-Laurent Casanova, Masatoshi Hagiwara, Takahiro Yasumi
Current thalassemia gene therapy protocols require the collection of hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs), in vitro culture, lentivirus vector transduction, and retransplantation into myeloablated patients. Because of cost and technical complexity, it is unlikely that such protocols will be applicable in developing countries, where the greatest demand for a β-thalassemia therapy lies. We have developed a simple in vivo HSPC gene therapy approach that involves HSPC mobilization and an intravenous injection of integrating HDAd5/35++ vectors. Transduced HSPCs homed back to the bone marrow, where they persisted long-term. HDAd5/35++ vectors for in vivo gene therapy of thalassemia had a unique capsid that targeted primitive HSPCs through human CD46, a relatively safe SB100X transposase–based integration machinery, a micro-LCR–driven γ-globin gene, and an MGMT(P140K) system that allowed for increasing the therapeutic effect by short-term treatment with low-dose O6-benzylguanine plus bis-chloroethylnitrosourea. We showed in “healthy” human CD46–transgenic mice and in a mouse model of thalassemia intermedia that our in vivo approach resulted in stable γ-globin expression in the majority of circulating red blood cells. The high marking frequency was maintained in secondary recipients. In the thalassemia model, a near-complete phenotypic correction was achieved. The treatment was well tolerated. This cost-efficient and “portable” approach could permit a broader clinical application of thalassemia gene therapy.
Hongjie Wang, Aphrodite Georgakopoulou, Nikoletta Psatha, Chang Li, Chrysi Capsali, Himanshu Bhusan Samal, Achilles Anagnostopoulos, Anja Ehrhardt, Zsuzsanna Izsvák, Thalia Papayannopoulou, Evangelia Yannaki, André Lieber
Immune checkpoint therapies have shown tremendous promise in cancer therapy. However, tools to assess their target engagement, and hence the ability to predict their efficacy, have been lacking. Here, we show that target engagement and tumor-residence kinetics of antibody therapeutics targeting programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1) can be quantified noninvasively. In computational docking studies, we observed that PD-L1–targeted monoclonal antibodies (atezolizumab, avelumab, and durvalumab) and a high-affinity PD-L1–binding peptide, WL12, have common interaction sites on PD-L1. Using the peptide radiotracer [64Cu]WL12 in vivo, we employed positron emission tomography (PET) imaging and biodistribution studies in multiple xenograft models and demonstrated that variable PD-L1 expression and its saturation by atezolizumab, avelumab, and durvalumab can be quantified independently of biophysical properties and pharmacokinetics of antibodies. Next, we used [64Cu]WL12 to evaluate the impact of time and dose on the unoccupied fraction of tumor PD-L1 during treatment. These quantitative measures enabled, by mathematical modeling, prediction of antibody doses needed to achieve therapeutically effective occupancy (defined as >90%). Thus, we show that peptide-based PET is a promising tool for optimizing dose and therapeutic regimens employing PD-L1 checkpoint antibodies, and can be used for improving therapeutic efficacy.
Dhiraj Kumar, Ala Lisok, Elyes Dahmane, Matthew McCoy, Sagar Shelake, Samit Chatterjee, Viola Allaj, Polina Sysa-Shah, Bryan Wharram, Wojciech G. Lesniak, Ellen Tully, Edward Gabrielson, Elizabeth M. Jaffee, John T. Poirier, Charles M. Rudin, Jogarao V.S. Gobburu, Martin G. Pomper, Sridhar Nimmagadda
Macrophages perform key functions in tissue homeostasis that are influenced by the local tissue environment. Within the tumor microenvironment, tumor-associated macrophages can be altered to acquire properties that enhance tumor growth. Here, we found that lactate, a metabolite found in high concentration within the anaerobic tumor environment, activated mTORC1 that subsequently suppressed TFEB-mediated expression of the macrophage-specific vacuolar ATPase subunit ATP6V0d2. Atp6v0d2–/– mice were more susceptible to tumor growth, with enhanced HIF-2α–mediated VEGF production in macrophages that display a more protumoral phenotype. We found that ATP6V0d2 targeted HIF-2α but not HIF-1α for lysosome-mediated degradation. Blockade of HIF-2α transcriptional activity reversed the susceptibility of Atp6v0d2–/– mice to tumor development. Furthermore, in a cohort of patients with lung adenocarcinoma, expression of ATP6V0d2 and HIF-2α was positively and negatively correlated with survival, respectively, suggesting a critical role of the macrophage lactate/ATP6V0d2/HIF-2α axis in maintaining tumor growth in human patients. Together, our results highlight the ability of tumor cells to modify the function of tumor-infiltrating macrophages to optimize the microenvironment for tumor growth.
Na Liu, Jing Luo, Dong Kuang, Sanpeng Xu, Yaqi Duan, Yu Xia, Zhengping Wei, Xiuxiu Xie, Bingjiao Yin, Fang Chen, Shunqun Luo, Huicheng Liu, Jing Wang, Kan Jiang, Feili Gong, Zhao-hui Tang, Xiang Cheng, Huabin Li, Zhuoya Li, Arian Laurence, Guoping Wang, Xiang-Ping Yang
Ca2+ channel β-subunit interactions with pore-forming α-subunits are long-thought to be obligatory for channel trafficking to the cell surface and for tuning of basal biophysical properties in many tissues. Unexpectedly, we demonstrate that transgenic expression of mutant α1C subunits lacking capacity to bind CaVβ can traffic to the sarcolemma in adult cardiomyocytes in vivo and sustain normal excitation-contraction coupling. However, these β-less Ca2+ channels cannot be stimulated by β-adrenergic pathway agonists, and thus adrenergic augmentation of contractility is markedly impaired in isolated cardiomyocytes and in hearts. Similarly, viral-mediated expression of a β-subunit–sequestering peptide sharply curtailed β-adrenergic stimulation of WT Ca2+ channels, identifying an approach to specifically modulate β-adrenergic regulation of cardiac contractility. Our data demonstrate that β subunits are required for β-adrenergic regulation of CaV1.2 channels and positive inotropy in the heart, but are dispensable for CaV1.2 trafficking to the adult cardiomyocyte cell surface, and for basal function and excitation-contraction coupling.
Lin Yang, Alexander Katchman, Jared Kushner, Alexander Kushnir, Sergey I. Zakharov, Bi-xing Chen, Zunaira Shuja, Prakash Subramanyam, Guoxia Liu, Arianne Papa, Daniel Roybal, Geoffrey S. Pitt, Henry M. Colecraft, Steven O. Marx
The aortic root is the predominant site for development of aneurysm caused by heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in positive effectors of the transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) pathway. Using a mouse model of Loeys-Dietz syndrome (LDS) that carries a heterozygous kinase-inactivating mutation in TGF-β receptor I, we found that the effects of this mutation depend on the lineage of origin of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). Secondary heart field–derived (SHF-derived), but not neighboring cardiac neural crest–derived (CNC-derived), VSMCs showed impaired Smad2/3 activation in response to TGF-β, increased expression of angiotensin II (AngII) type 1 receptor (Agtr1a), enhanced responsiveness to AngII, and higher expression of TGF-β ligands. The preserved TGF-β signaling potential in CNC-derived VSMCs associated, in vivo, with increased Smad2/3 phosphorylation. CNC-, but not SHF-specific, deletion of Smad2 preserved aortic wall architecture and reduced aortic dilation in this mouse model of LDS. Taken together, these data suggest that aortic root aneurysm predisposition in this LDS mouse model depends both on defective Smad signaling in SHF-derived VSMCs and excessive Smad signaling in CNC-derived VSMCs. This work highlights the importance of considering the regional microenvironment and specifically lineage-dependent variation in the vulnerability to mutations in the development and testing of pathogenic models for aortic aneurysm.
Elena Gallo MacFarlane, Sarah J. Parker, Joseph Y. Shin, Benjamin E. Kang, Shira G. Ziegler, Tyler J. Creamer, Rustam Bagirzadeh, Djahida Bedja, Yichun Chen, Juan F. Calderon, Katherine Weissler, Pamela A. Frischmeyer-Guerrerio, Mark E. Lindsay, Jennifer P. Habashi, Harry C. Dietz
Abnormal alternative splicing (AS) caused by alterations to splicing factors contributes to tumor progression. Serine/arginine splicing factor 1 (SRSF1) has emerged as a key oncodriver in numerous solid tumors, leaving its roles and mechanisms largely obscure in glioma. Here, we demonstrate that SRSF1 is increased in glioma tissues and cell lines. Moreover, its expression was correlated positively with tumor grade and Ki-67 index, but inversely with patient survival. Using RNA-Seq, we comprehensively screened and identified multiple SRSF1-affected AS events. Motif analysis revealed a position-dependent modulation of AS by SRSF1 in glioma. Functionally, we verified that SRSF1 promoted cell proliferation, survival, and invasion by specifically switching the AS of the myosin IB (MYO1B) gene and facilitating the expression of the oncogenic and membrane-localized isoform, MYO1B-fl. Strikingly, MYO1B splicing was dysregulated in parallel with SRSF1 expression in gliomas and predicted the poor prognosis of the patients. Further investigation revealed that SRSF1-guided AS of the MYO1B gene increased the tumorigenic potential of glioma cells through the PDK1/AKT and PAK/LIMK pathways. Taken together, we identify SRSF1 as an important oncodriver that integrates AS control of MYO1B into promotion of gliomagenesis and represents a potential prognostic biomarker and target for glioma therapy.
Xuexia Zhou, Run Wang, Xuebing Li, Lin Yu, Dan Hua, Cuiyun Sun, Cuijuan Shi, Wenjun Luo, Chun Rao, Zhendong Jiang, Ying Feng, Qian Wang, Shizhu Yu
Peroxisomes perform essential functions in lipid metabolism, including fatty acid oxidation and plasmalogen synthesis. Here, we describe a role for peroxisomal lipid metabolism in mitochondrial dynamics in brown and beige adipocytes. Adipose tissue peroxisomal biogenesis was induced in response to cold exposure through activation of the thermogenic coregulator PRDM16. Adipose-specific knockout of the peroxisomal biogenesis factor Pex16 (Pex16-AKO) in mice impaired cold tolerance, decreased energy expenditure, and increased diet-induced obesity. Pex16 deficiency blocked cold-induced mitochondrial fission, decreased mitochondrial copy number, and caused mitochondrial dysfunction. Adipose-specific knockout of the peroxisomal β-oxidation enzyme acyl-CoA oxidase 1 (Acox1-AKO) was not sufficient to affect adiposity, thermogenesis, or mitochondrial copy number, but knockdown of the plasmalogen synthetic enzyme glyceronephosphate O-acyltransferase (GNPAT) recapitulated the effects of Pex16 inactivation on mitochondrial morphology and function. Plasmalogens are present in mitochondria and decreased with Pex16 inactivation. Dietary supplementation with plasmalogens increased mitochondrial copy number, improved mitochondrial function, and rescued thermogenesis in Pex16-AKO mice. These findings support a surprising interaction between peroxisomes and mitochondria regulating mitochondrial dynamics and thermogenesis.
Hongsuk Park, Anyuan He, Min Tan, Jordan M. Johnson, John M. Dean, Terri A. Pietka, Yali Chen, Xiangyu Zhang, Fong-Fu Hsu, Babak Razani, Katsuhiko Funai, Irfan J. Lodhi
Neutrophil (PMN) infiltration of the intestinal mucosa is a hallmark of tissue injury associated with inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). The pathological effects of PMNs are largely attributed to the release of soluble mediators and reactive oxygen species (ROS). We identified what we believe is a new, ROS-independent mechanism whereby activated tissue-infiltrating PMNs release microparticles armed with proinflammatory microRNAs (miR-23a and miR-155). Using IBD clinical samples, and in vitro and in vivo injury models, we show that PMN-derived miR-23a and miR-155 promote accumulation of double-strand breaks (DSBs) by inducing lamin B1–dependent replication fork collapse and inhibition of homologous recombination (HR) by targeting HR-regulator RAD51. DSB accumulation in injured epithelium led to impaired colonic healing and genomic instability. Targeted inhibition of miR-23a and miR-155 in cultured intestinal epithelial cells and in acutely injured mucosa decreased the detrimental effects of PMNs and enhanced tissue healing responses, suggesting that this approach can be used in therapies aimed at resolution of inflammation, in wound healing, and potentially to prevent neoplasia.
Veronika Butin-Israeli, Triet M. Bui, Hannah L. Wiesolek, Lorraine Mascarenhas, Joseph J. Lee, Lindsey C. Mehl, Kaitlyn R. Knutson, Stephen A. Adam, Robert D. Goldman, Arthur Beyder, Lisa Wiesmuller, Stephen B. Hanauer, Ronen Sumagin
The adenomatous polyposis coli (APC) gene plays a pivotal role in the pathogenesis of colorectal carcinoma (CRC) but remains a challenge for drug development. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are invaluable in identifying cancer pathologies and providing therapeutic options for patients with cancer. Here, we identified a lncRNA (lncRNA-APC1) activated by APC through lncRNA microarray screening and examined its expression in a large cohort of CRC tissues. A decrease in lncRNA-APC1 expression was positively associated with lymph node and/or distant metastasis, a more advanced clinical stage, as well as a poor prognosis for patients with CRC. Additionally, APC could enhance lncRNA-APC1 expression by suppressing the enrichment of PPARα on the lncRNA-APC1 promoter. Furthermore, enforced lncRNA-APC1 expression was sufficient to inhibit CRC cell growth, metastasis, and tumor angiogenesis by suppressing exosome production through the direct binding of Rab5b mRNA and a reduction of its stability. Importantly, exosomes derived from lncRNA-APC1–silenced CRC cells promoted angiogenesis by activating the MAPK pathway in endothelial cells, and, moreover, exosomal Wnt1 largely enhanced CRC cell proliferation and migration through noncanonicial Wnt signaling. Collectively, lncRNA-APC1 is a critical lncRNA regulated by APC in the pathogenesis of CRC. Our findings suggest that an APC-regulated lncRNA-APC1 program is an exploitable therapeutic approach for the treatment of patients with CRC.
Feng-Wei Wang, Chen-Hui Cao, Kai Han, Yong-Xiang Zhao, Mu-Yan Cai, Zhi-Cheng Xiang, Jia-Xing Zhang, Jie-Wei Chen, Li-Ping Zhong, Yong Huang, Su-Fang Zhou, Xiao-Han Jin, Xin-Yuan Guan, Rui-Hua Xu, Dan Xie
Goblet cell metaplasia, a disabling hallmark of chronic lung disease, lacks curative treatments at present. To identify novel therapeutic targets for goblet cell metaplasia, we studied the transcriptional response profile of IL-13–exposed primary human airway epithelia in vitro and asthmatic airway epithelia in vivo. A perturbation-response profile connectivity approach identified geldanamycin, an inhibitor of heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) as a candidate therapeutic target. Our experiments confirmed that geldanamycin and other HSP90 inhibitors prevented IL-13–induced goblet cell metaplasia in vitro and in vivo. Geldanamycin also reverted established goblet cell metaplasia. Geldanamycin did not induce goblet cell death, nor did it solely block mucin synthesis or IL-13 receptor–proximal signaling. Geldanamycin affected the transcriptome of airway cells when exposed to IL-13, but not when exposed to vehicle. We hypothesized that the mechanism of action probably involves TGF-β, ERBB, or EHF, which would predict that geldanamycin would also revert IL-17–induced goblet cell metaplasia, a prediction confirmed by our experiments. Our findings suggest that persistent airway goblet cell metaplasia requires HSP90 activity and that HSP90 inhibitors will revert goblet cell metaplasia, despite active upstream inflammatory signaling. Moreover, HSP90 inhibitors may be a therapeutic option for airway diseases with goblet cell metaplasia of unknown mechanism.
Alejandro A. Pezzulo, Rosarie A. Tudas, Carley G. Stewart, Luis G. Vargas Buonfiglio, Brian D. Lindsay, Peter J. Taft, Nicholas D. Gansemer, Joseph Zabner
Loss of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) represents one hallmark of prostate cancer (PCa). However, restoration of PTEN or inhibition of the activated PI3K/AKT pathway has shown limited success, prompting us to identify obligate targets for disease intervention. We hypothesized that PTEN loss might expose cells to unique epigenetic vulnerabilities. Here, we identified a synthetic lethal relationship between PTEN and Brahma-related gene 1 (BRG1), an ATPase subunit of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex. Higher BRG1 expression in tumors with low PTEN expression was associated with a worse clinical outcome. Genetically engineered mice (GEMs) and organoid assays confirmed that ablation of PTEN sensitized the cells to BRG1 depletion. Mechanistically, PTEN loss stabilized BRG1 protein through the inhibition of the AKT/GSK3β/FBXW7 axis. Increased BRG1 expression in PTEN-deficient PCa cells led to chromatin remodeling into configurations that drove a protumorigenic transcriptome, causing cells to become further addicted to BRG1. Furthermore, we showed in preclinical models that BRG1 antagonist selectively inhibited the progression of PTEN-deficient prostate tumors. Together, our results highlight the synthetic lethal relationship between PTEN and BRG1 and support targeting BRG1 as an effective approach to the treatment of PTEN-deficient PCa.
Yufeng Ding, Ni Li, Baijun Dong, Wangxin Guo, Hui Wei, Qilong Chen, Huairui Yuan, Ying Han, Hanwen Chang, Shan Kan, Xuege Wang, Qiang Pan, Ping Wu, Chao Peng, Tong Qiu, Qintong Li, Dong Gao, Wei Xue, Jun Qin
The most frequent subtype of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is defined by mutations in the nucleophosmin 1 (NPM1) gene. Mutated NPM1 (ΔNPM1) is an attractive target for immunotherapy, since it is an essential driver gene and 4 bp frameshift insertions occur in the same hotspot in 30%–35% of AMLs, resulting in a C-terminal alternative reading frame of 11 aa. By searching the HLA class I ligandome of primary AMLs, we identified multiple ΔNPM1-derived peptides. For one of these peptides, HLA-A*02:01–binding CLAVEEVSL, we searched for specific T cells in healthy individuals using peptide-HLA tetramers. Tetramer-positive CD8+ T cells were isolated and analyzed for reactivity against primary AMLs. From one clone with superior antitumor reactivity, we isolated the T cell receptor (TCR) and demonstrated specific recognition and lysis of HLA-A*02:01–positive ΔNPM1 AML after retroviral transfer to CD8+ and CD4+ T cells. Antitumor efficacy of TCR-transduced T cells was confirmed in immunodeficient mice engrafted with a human AML cell line expressing ΔNPM1. In conclusion, the data show that ΔNPM1-derived peptides are presented on AML and that CLAVEEVSL is a neoantigen that can be efficiently targeted on AML by ΔNPM1 TCR gene transfer. Immunotherapy targeting ΔNPM1 may therefore contribute to treatment of AML.
Dyantha I. van der Lee, Rogier M. Reijmers, Maria W. Honders, Renate S. Hagedoorn, Rob C.M. de Jong, Michel G.D. Kester, Dirk M. van der Steen, Arnoud H. de Ru, Christiaan Kweekel, Helena M. Bijen, Inge Jedema, Hendrik Veelken, Peter A. van Veelen, Mirjam H.M. Heemskerk, J.H. Frederik Falkenburg, Marieke Griffioen
Tumor cure with conventional fractionated radiotherapy is 65%, dependent on tumor cell–autonomous gradual buildup of DNA double-strand break (DSB) misrepair. Here we report that single-dose radiotherapy (SDRT), a disruptive technique that ablates more than 90% of human cancers, operates a distinct dual-target mechanism, linking acid sphingomyelinase–mediated (ASMase-mediated) microvascular perfusion defects to DNA unrepair in tumor cells to confer tumor cell lethality. ASMase-mediated microcirculatory vasoconstriction after SDRT conferred an ischemic stress response within parenchymal tumor cells, with ROS triggering the evolutionarily conserved SUMO stress response, specifically depleting chromatin-associated free SUMO3. Whereas SUMO3, but not SUMO2, was indispensable for homology-directed repair (HDR) of DSBs, HDR loss of function after SDRT yielded DSB unrepair, chromosomal aberrations, and tumor clonogen demise. Vasoconstriction blockade with the endothelin-1 inhibitor BQ-123, or ROS scavenging after SDRT using peroxiredoxin-6 overexpression or the SOD mimetic tempol, prevented chromatin SUMO3 depletion, HDR loss of function, and SDRT tumor ablation. We also provide evidence of mouse-to-human translation of this biology in a randomized clinical trial, showing that 24 Gy SDRT, but not 3×9 Gy fractionation, coupled early tumor ischemia/reperfusion to human cancer ablation. The SDRT biology provides opportunities for mechanism-based selective tumor radiosensitization via accessing of SDRT/ASMase signaling, as current studies indicate that this pathway is tractable to pharmacologic intervention.
Sahra Bodo, Cécile Campagne, Tin Htwe Thin, Daniel S. Higginson, H. Alberto Vargas, Guoqiang Hua, John D. Fuller, Ellen Ackerstaff, James Russell, Zhigang Zhang, Stefan Klingler, HyungJoon Cho, Matthew G. Kaag, Yousef Mazaheri, Andreas Rimner, Katia Manova-Todorova, Boris Epel, Joan Zatcky, Cristian R. Cleary, Shyam S. Rao, Yoshiya Yamada, Michael J. Zelefsky, Howard J. Halpern, Jason A. Koutcher, Carlos Cordon-Cardo, Carlo Greco, Adriana Haimovitz-Friedman, Evis Sala, Simon N. Powell, Richard Kolesnick, Zvi Fuks
Energy stress, such as ischemia, induces mitochondrial damage and death in the heart. Degradation of damaged mitochondria by mitophagy is essential for the maintenance of healthy mitochondria and survival. Here, we show that mitophagy during myocardial ischemia was mediated predominantly through autophagy characterized by Rab9-associated autophagosomes, rather than the well-characterized form of autophagy that is dependent on the autophagy-related 7 (Atg) conjugation system and LC3. This form of mitophagy played an essential role in protecting the heart against ischemia and was mediated by a protein complex consisting of unc-51 like kinase 1 (Ulk1), Rab9, receptor-interacting serine/thronine protein kinase 1 (Rip1), and dynamin-related protein 1 (Drp1). This complex allowed the recruitment of trans-Golgi membranes associated with Rab9 to damaged mitochondria through S179 phosphorylation of Rab9 by Ulk1 and S616 phosphorylation of Drp1 by Rip1. Knockin of Rab9 (S179A) abolished mitophagy and exacerbated the injury in response to myocardial ischemia, without affecting conventional autophagy. Mitophagy mediated through the Ulk1/Rab9/Rip1/Drp1 pathway protected the heart against ischemia by maintaining healthy mitochondria.
Toshiro Saito, Jihoon Nah, Shin-ichi Oka, Risa Mukai, Yoshiya Monden, Yasuhiro Maejima, Yoshiyuki Ikeda, Sebastiano Sciarretta, Tong Liu, Hong Li, Erdene Baljinnyam, Diego Fraidenraich, Luke Fritzky, Peiyong Zhai, Shizuko Ichinose, Mitsuaki Isobe, Chiao-Po Hsu, Mondira Kundu, Junichi Sadoshima
Molecular signaling mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease (AD) remain unclear. Maintenance of memory and synaptic plasticity depend on de novo protein synthesis, dysregulation of which is implicated in AD. Recent studies showed AD-associated hyperphosphorylation of mRNA translation factor eukaryotic elongation factor 2 (eEF2), which results in inhibition of protein synthesis. We tested to determine whether suppression of eEF2 phosphorylation could improve protein synthesis capacity and AD-associated cognitive and synaptic impairments. Genetic reduction of the eEF2 kinase (eEF2K) in 2 AD mouse models suppressed AD-associated eEF2 hyperphosphorylation and improved memory deficits and hippocampal long-term potentiation (LTP) impairments without altering brain amyloid β (Aβ) pathology. Furthermore, eEF2K reduction alleviated AD-associated defects in dendritic spine morphology, postsynaptic density formation, de novo protein synthesis, and dendritic polyribosome assembly. Our results link eEF2K/eEF2 signaling dysregulation to AD pathophysiology and therefore offer a feasible therapeutic target.
Brenna C. Beckelman, Wenzhong Yang, Nicole P. Kasica, Helena R. Zimmermann, Xueyan Zhou, C. Dirk Keene, Alexey G. Ryazanov, Tao Ma
Persistent, unresolved inflammation in adipose tissue is a major contributor to obesity-associated metabolic complications. However, the molecular links between lipid-overloaded adipocytes and inflammatory immune cells in obese adipose tissues remain elusive. Here we identified adipocyte-secreted microRNA-34a (miR-34a) as a key mediator through its paracrine actions on adipose-resident macrophages. The expression of miR-34a in adipose tissues was progressively increased with the development of dietary obesity. Adipose-selective or adipocyte-specific miR-34a–KO mice were resistant to obesity-induced glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and systemic inflammation, and this was accompanied by a significant shift in polarization of adipose-resident macrophages from proinflammatory M1 to antiinflammatory M2 phenotype. Mechanistically, mature adipocyte-secreted exosomes transported miR-34a into macrophages, thereby suppressing M2 polarization by repressing the expression of Krüppel-like factor 4 (Klf4). The suppressive effects of miR-34a on M2 polarization and its stimulation of inflammatory responses were reversed by ectopic expression of Klf4 in both bone marrow–derived macrophages and adipose depots of obese mice. Furthermore, increased miR-34a expression in visceral fat of overweight/obese subjects correlated negatively with reduced Klf4 expression, but positively with the parameters of insulin resistance and metabolic inflammation. In summary, miR-34a was a key component of adipocyte-secreted exosomal vesicles that transmitted the signal of nutrient overload to the adipose-resident macrophages for exacerbation of obesity-induced systemic inflammation and metabolic dysregulation.
Yong Pan, Xiaoyan Hui, Ruby Lai Chong Hoo, Dewei Ye, Cyrus Yuk Cheung Chan, Tianshi Feng, Yu Wang, Karen Siu Ling Lam, Aimin Xu
Both natural influenza infection and current seasonal influenza vaccines primarily induce neutralizing antibody responses against highly diverse epitopes within the “head” of the viral hemagglutinin (HA) protein. There is increasing interest in redirecting immunity toward the more conserved HA stem or stalk as a means of broadening protective antibody responses. Here we examined HA stem–specific B cell and T follicular helper (Tfh) cell responses in the context of influenza infection and immunization in mouse and monkey models. We found that during infection, the stem domain was immunologically subdominant to the head in terms of serum antibody production and antigen-specific B and Tfh cell responses. Similarly, we found that HA stem immunogens were poorly immunogenic compared with the full-length HA with abolished sialic acid binding activity, with limiting Tfh cell elicitation a potential constraint to the induction or boosting of anti-stem immunity by vaccination. Finally, we confirm that currently licensed seasonal influenza vaccines can boost preexisting memory responses against the HA stem in humans. An increased understanding of the immune dynamics surrounding the HA stem is essential to inform the design of next-generation influenza vaccines for broad and durable protection.
Hyon-Xhi Tan, Sinthujan Jegaskanda, Jennifer A. Juno, Robyn Esterbauer, Julius Wong, Hannah G. Kelly, Yi Liu, Danielle Tilmanis, Aeron C. Hurt, Jonathan W. Yewdell, Stephen J. Kent, Adam K. Wheatley
Inherited retinal degenerations are a common cause of untreatable blindness worldwide, with retinitis pigmentosa and cone dystrophy affecting approximately 1 in 3500 and 1 in 10,000 individuals, respectively. A major limitation to the development of effective therapies is the lack of availability of animal models that fully replicate the human condition. Particularly for cone disorders, rodent, canine, and feline models with no true macula have substantive limitations. By contrast, the cone-rich macula of a nonhuman primate (NHP) closely mirrors that of the human retina. Consequently, well-defined NHP models of heritable retinal diseases, particularly cone disorders that are predictive of human conditions, are necessary to more efficiently advance new therapies for patients. We have identified 4 related NHPs at the California National Primate Research Center with visual impairment and findings from clinical ophthalmic examination, advanced retinal imaging, and electrophysiology consistent with achromatopsia. Genetic sequencing confirmed a homozygous R565Q missense mutation in the catalytic domain of PDE6C, a cone-specific phototransduction enzyme associated with achromatopsia in humans. Biochemical studies demonstrate that the mutant mRNA is translated into a stable protein that displays normal cellular localization but is unable to hydrolyze cyclic GMP (cGMP). This NHP model of a cone disorder will not only serve as a therapeutic testing ground for achromatopsia gene replacement, but also for optimization of gene editing in the macula and of cone cell replacement in general.
Ala Moshiri, Rui Chen, Soohyun Kim, R. Alan Harris, Yumei Li, Muthuswamy Raveendran, Sarah Davis, Qingnan Liang, Ori Pomerantz, Jun Wang, Laura Garzel, Ashley Cameron, Glenn Yiu, J. Timothy Stout, Yijun Huang, Christopher J. Murphy, Jeffrey Roberts, Kota N. Gopalakrishna, Kimberly Boyd, Nikolai O. Artemyev, Jeffrey Rogers, Sara M. Thomasy
BACKGROUND. Varicella-zoster virus (VZV) is under consideration as a promising recombinant viral vector to deliver foreign antigens including HIV. However, new vectors have come under increased scrutiny, since trials with adenovirus serotype 5–vectored (Ad5-vectored) HIV vaccine demonstrated increased HIV risk in individuals with pre-immunity to the vector that was thought to be associated with mucosal immune activation (IA). Therefore, given the prospect of developing an HIV/VZV chimeric vaccine, it is particularly important to define the impact of VZV vaccination on IA. METHODS. Healthy VZV-seropositive Kenyan women (n = 44) were immunized with high-dose live attenuated VZV vaccine, and we assessed the expression on CD4+ T cells isolated from blood, cervix, and rectum of IA markers including CD38 and HLA-DR and of markers of cell migration and tissue retention, as well as the concentration of genital and intestinal cytokines. A delayed-start group (n = 22) was used to control for natural variations in these parameters. RESULTS. Although immunogenic, VZV vaccination did not result in significant difference in the frequency of cervical activated (HLA-DR+CD38+) CD4+ T cells (median 1.61%, IQR 0.93%–2.76%) at 12 weeks after vaccination when compared with baseline (median 1.58%, IQR 0.75%–3.04%), the primary outcome for this study. VZV vaccination also had no measurable effect on any of the IA parameters at 4, 8, and 12 weeks after vaccination. CONCLUSION. This study provides the first evidence to our knowledge about the effects of VZV vaccination on human mucosal IA status and supports further evaluation of VZV as a potential vector for an HIV vaccine. TRIAL REGISTRATION. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02514018. FUNDING. Primary support from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR). For other sources, see Acknowledgments.
Catia T. Perciani, Bashir Farah, Rupert Kaul, Mario A. Ostrowski, Salaheddin M. Mahmud, Omu Anzala, Walter Jaoko, KAVI-ICR Team, Kelly S. MacDonald
Necrotizing fasciitis and myositis are devastating infections characterized by high mortality. Group A streptococcus (GAS) is a common cause of these infections, but the molecular pathogenesis is poorly understood. We report a genome-wide analysis using serotype M1 and M28 strains that identified GAS genes contributing to necrotizing myositis in nonhuman primates (NHP), a clinically relevant model. Using transposon-directed insertion-site sequencing (TraDIS), we identified 126 and 116 GAS genes required for infection by serotype M1 and M28 organisms, respectively. For both M1 and M28 strains, more than 25% of the GAS genes required for necrotizing myositis encode known or putative transporters. Thirteen GAS transporters contributed to both M1 and M28 strain fitness in NHP myositis, including putative importers for amino acids, carbohydrates, and vitamins and exporters for toxins, quorum-sensing peptides, and uncharacterized molecules. Targeted deletion of genes encoding 5 transporters confirmed that each isogenic mutant strain was significantly (P < 0.05) impaired in causing necrotizing myositis in NHPs. Quantitative reverse-transcriptase PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis showed that these 5 genes are expressed in infected NHP and human skeletal muscle. Certain substrate-binding lipoproteins of these transporters, such as Spy0271 and Spy1728, were previously documented to be surface exposed, suggesting that our findings have translational research implications.
Luchang Zhu, Randall J. Olsen, Stephen B. Beres, Jesus M. Eraso, Matthew Ojeda Saavedra, Samantha L. Kubiak, Concepcion C. Cantu, Leslie Jenkins, Amelia R. L. Charbonneau, Andrew S. Waller, James M. Musser
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a complication of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) that affects multiple organs. GVHD-associated intestinal damage can be separated into two distinct phases, initiation and propagation, which correspond to conditioning-induced damage and effector T cell activation and infiltration, respectively. Substantial evidence indicates that intestinal damage induced by pretransplant conditioning is a key driver of GVHD initiation. Here, we aimed to determine the impact of dysregulated intestinal permeability on the subsequent GVHD propagation phase. The initiation phase of GVHD was unchanged in mice lacking long MLCK (MLCK210), an established regulator of epithelial tight junction permeability. However, MLCK210-deficient mice were protected from sustained barrier loss and exhibited limited GVHD propagation, as indicated by reduced histopathology, fewer CD8+ effector T cells in the gut, and improved overall survival. Consistent with these findings, intestinal epithelial MLCK210 expression and enzymatic activity were similarly increased in human and mouse GVHD biopsies. Intestinal epithelial barrier loss mediated by MLCK210 is therefore a key driver of the GVHD propagation. These data suggest that inhibition of MLCK210-dependent barrier regulation may be an effective approach to limiting GVHD progression.
Sam C. Nalle, Li Zuo, Ma. Lora Drizella M. Ong, Gurminder Singh, Alicia M. Worthylake, Wangsun Choi, Mario Cabrero Manresa, Anna P. Southworth, Karen L. Edelblum, Gregory J. Baker, Nora E. Joseph, Peter A. Savage, Jerrold R. Turner