Albuminuria acts as a marker of progressive chronic kidney disease and as an indicator for initiation of hypertension treatment via modulation of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system with angiotensin receptor blockers or angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. However, the true significance of albuminuria has yet to be fully defined. Is it merely a marker of underlying pathophysiology, or does it play a causal role in the progression of kidney disease? The answer remains under debate. In this issue of the JCI, Bedin et al. used next-generation sequencing data to identify patients with chronic proteinuria who had biallelic variants in the cubilin gene (CUBN). Through investigation of these pathogenic mutations in CUBN, the authors have further illuminated the clinical implications of albuminuria.
Andrew Beenken, Jonathan M. Barasch, Ali G. Gharavi
Novel approaches for adjunctive therapy are urgently needed for complicated infections and patients with compromised immunity. Necrotizing fasciitis (NF) is a destructive skin and soft tissue infection. Despite treatment with systemic antibiotics and radical debridement of necrotic tissue, lethality remains high. The key iron regulatory hormone hepcidin was originally identified as a cationic antimicrobial peptide (AMP), but its putative expression and role in the skin, a major site of AMP production, have never been investigated. We report here that hepcidin production is induced in the skin of patients with group A Streptococcus (GAS) NF. In a GAS-induced NF model, mice lacking hepcidin in keratinocytes failed to restrict systemic spread of infection from an initial tissue focus. Unexpectedly, this effect was due to its ability to promote production of the CXCL1 chemokine by keratinocytes, resulting in neutrophil recruitment. Unlike CXCL1, hepcidin is resistant to degradation by major GAS proteases and could therefore serve as a reservoir to maintain steady-state levels of CXCL1 in infected tissue. Finally, injection of synthetic hepcidin at the site of infection can limit or completely prevent systemic spread of GAS infection, suggesting that hepcidin agonists could have a therapeutic role in NF.
Mariangela Malerba, Sabine Louis, Sylvain Cuvellier, Srikanth Mairpady Shambat, Camille Hua, Camille Gomart, Agnès Fouet, Nicolas Ortonne, Jean-Winoc Decousser, Annelies S. Zinkernagel, Jacques R.R. Mathieu, Carole Peyssonnaux
Immunotherapy targeting programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) induces durable antitumor efficacy in many types of cancer. However, such clinical benefit is limited because of the insufficient reinvigoration of antitumor immunity with the drug alone; therefore, rational therapeutic combinations are required to improve its efficacy. In our preclinical study, we evaluated the antitumor effect of U3-1402, a human epidermal growth factor receptor 3–targeting (HER3–targeting) antibody-drug conjugate, and its potential synergism with PD-1 inhibition. Using a syngeneic mouse tumor model that is refractory to anti–PD-1 therapy, we found that treatment with U3-1402 exhibited an obvious antitumor effect via direct lysis of tumor cells. Disruption of tumor cells by U3-1402 enhanced the infiltration of innate and adaptive immune cells. Chemotherapy with exatecan derivative (Dxd, the drug payload of U3-1402) revealed that the enhanced antitumor immunity produced by U3-1402 was associated with the induction of alarmins, including high-mobility group box-1 (HMGB-1), via tumor-specific cytotoxicity. Notably, U3-1402 significantly sensitized the tumor to PD-1 blockade, as a combination of U3-1402 and the PD-1 inhibitor significantly enhanced antitumor immunity. Further, clinical analyses indicated that tumor-specific HER3 expression was frequently observed in patients with PD-1 inhibitor–resistant solid tumors. Overall, U3-1402 is a promising candidate as a partner of immunotherapy for such patients.
Koji Haratani, Kimio Yonesaka, Shiki Takamura, Osamu Maenishi, Ryoji Kato, Naoki Takegawa, Hisato Kawakami, Kaoru Tanaka, Hidetoshi Hayashi, Masayuki Takeda, Naoyuki Maeda, Takashi Kagari, Kenji Hirotani, Junji Tsurutani, Kazuto Nishio, Katsumi Doi, Masaaki Miyazawa, Kazuhiko Nakagawa
Patients with bladder cancer (BCa) with clinical lymph node (LN) metastasis have an extremely poor prognosis. VEGF-C has been demonstrated to play vital roles in LN metastasis in BCa. However, approximately 20% of BCa with LN metastasis exhibits low VEGF-C expression, suggesting a VEGF-C–independent mechanism for LN metastasis of BCa. Herein, we demonstrate that BCa cell–secreted exosome-mediated lymphangiogenesis promoted LN metastasis in BCa in a VEGF-C–independent manner. We identified an exosomal long noncoding RNA (lncRNA), termed lymph node metastasis-associated transcript 2 (LNMAT2), that stimulated human lymphatic endothelial cell (HLEC) tube formation and migration in vitro and enhanced tumor lymphangiogenesis and LN metastasis in vivo. Mechanistically, LNMAT2 was loaded to BCa cell–secreted exosomes by directly interacting with heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A2B1 (hnRNPA2B1). Subsequently, exosomal LNMAT2 was internalized by HLECs and epigenetically upregulated prospero homeobox 1 (PROX1) expression by recruitment of hnRNPA2B1 and increasing the H3K4 trimethylation level in the PROX1 promoter, ultimately resulting in lymphangiogenesis and lymphatic metastasis. Therefore, our findings highlight a VEGF-C–independent mechanism of exosomal lncRNA-mediated LN metastasis and identify LNMAT2 as a therapeutic target for LN metastasis in BCa.
Changhao Chen, Yuming Luo, Wang He, Yue Zhao, Yao Kong, Hongwei Liu, Guangzheng Zhong, Yuting Li, Jun Li, Jian Huang, Rufu Chen, Tianxin Lin
Fibronectin–splice variant containing extra domain A (Fn-EDA) is associated with smooth muscle cells (SMCs) following vascular injury. The role of SMC-derived Fn-EDA in SMC phenotypic switching or its implication in neointimal hyperplasia remains unclear. Herein, using human coronary artery sections with a bare metal stent, we demonstrate the expression of Fn-EDA in the vicinity of SMC-rich neointima and peri-strut areas. In mice, Fn-EDA colocalizes with SMCs in the neointima of injured carotid arteries and promotes neointima formation in the comorbid condition of hyperlipidemia by potentiating SMC proliferation and migration. No sex-based differences were observed. Mechanistic studies suggested that Fn-EDA mediates integrin- and TLR4-dependent proliferation and migration through activation of FAK/Src and Akt1/mTOR signaling, respectively. Specific deletion of Fn-EDA in SMCs, but not in endothelial cells, reduced intimal hyperplasia and suppressed the SMC synthetic phenotype concomitant with decreased Akt1/mTOR signaling. Targeting Fn-EDA in human aortic SMCs suppressed the synthetic phenotype and downregulated Akt1/mTOR signaling. These results reveal that SMC-derived Fn-EDA potentiates phenotypic switching in human and mouse aortic SMCs and neointimal hyperplasia in the mouse. We suggest that targeting Fn-EDA could be explored as a potential therapeutic strategy to reduce neointimal hyperplasia.
Manish Jain, Nirav Dhanesha, Prakash Doddapattar, Mehul R. Chorawala, Manasa K. Nayak, Anne Cornelissen, Liang Guo, Aloke V. Finn, Steven R. Lentz, Anil K. Chauhan
Activation of host T cells that mediate allograft rejection is a 2-step process. The first occurs in secondary lymphoid organs where T cells encounter alloantigens presented by host DCs and differentiate to effectors. Antigen presentation at these sites occurs principally via transfer of intact, donor MHC-peptide complexes from graft cells to host DCs (cross-dressing) or by uptake and processing of donor antigens into allopeptides bound to self-MHC molecules (indirect presentation). The second step takes place in the graft, where effector T cells reengage with host DCs before causing rejection. How host DCs present alloantigens to T cells in the graft is not known. Using mouse islet and kidney transplantation models, imaging cytometry, and 2-photon intravital microscopy, we demonstrate extensive cross-dressing of intragraft host DCs with donor MHC-peptide complexes that occurred early after transplantation, whereas host DCs presenting donor antigen via the indirect pathway were rare. Cross-dressed DCs stably engaged TCR-transgenic effector CD8+ T cells that recognized donor antigen and were sufficient for sustaining acute rejection. In the chronic kidney rejection model, cross-dressing declined over time, but was still conspicuous 8 weeks after transplantation. We conclude that cross-dressing of host DCs with donor MHC molecules is a major antigen presentation pathway driving effector T cell responses within allografts.
Andrew D. Hughes, Daqiang Zhao, Hehua Dai, Khodor I. Abou-Daya, Roger Tieu, Rayan Rammal, Amanda L. Williams, Douglas P. Landsittel, Warren D. Shlomchik, Adrian E. Morelli, Martin H. Oberbarnscheidt, Fadi G. Lakkis
Brown adipose tissue (BAT), as the main site of adaptive thermogenesis, exerts beneficial metabolic effects on obesity and insulin resistance. BAT has been previously assumed to contain a homogeneous population of brown adipocytes. Utilizing multiple mouse models capable of genetically labeling different cellular populations, as well as single-cell RNA sequencing and 3D tissue profiling, we discovered a new brown adipocyte subpopulation with low thermogenic activity coexisting with the classical high-thermogenic brown adipocytes within the BAT. Compared with the high-thermogenic brown adipocytes, these low-thermogenic brown adipocytes had substantially lower Ucp1 and Adipoq expression, larger lipid droplets, and lower mitochondrial content. Functional analyses showed that, unlike the high-thermogenic brown adipocytes, the low-thermogenic brown adipocytes have markedly lower basal mitochondrial respiration, and they are specialized in fatty acid uptake. Upon changes in environmental temperature, the 2 brown adipocyte subpopulations underwent dynamic interconversions. Cold exposure converted low-thermogenic brown adipocytes into high-thermogenic cells. A thermoneutral environment had the opposite effect. The recruitment of high-thermogenic brown adipocytes by cold stimulation is not affected by high fat diet feeding, but it does substantially decline with age. Our results revealed a high degree of functional heterogeneity of brown adipocytes.
Anying Song, Wenting Dai, Min Jee Jang, Leonard Medrano, Zhuo Li, Hu Zhao, Mengle Shao, Jiayi Tan, Aimin Li, Tinglu Ning, Marcia M. Miller, Brian Armstrong, Janice M. Huss, Yi Zhu, Yong Liu, Viviana Gradinaru, Xiwei Wu, Lei Jiang, Philipp E. Scherer, Qiong A. Wang
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory, demyelinating disease of the CNS. Although CD4+ T cells are implicated in MS pathogenesis and have been the main focus of MS research using the animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), substantial evidence from patients with MS points to a role for CD8+ T cells in disease pathogenesis. We previously showed that an MHC class I–restricted epitope of myelin basic protein (MBP) is presented in the CNS during CD4+ T cell–initiated EAE. Here, we investigated whether naive MBP-specific CD8+ T cells recruited to the CNS during CD4+ T cell–initiated EAE engaged in determinant spreading and influenced disease. We found that the MBP-specific CD8+ T cells exacerbated brain but not spinal cord inflammation. We show that a higher frequency of monocytes and monocyte-derived cells presented the MHC class I–restricted MBP ligand in the brain compared with the spinal cord. Infiltration of MBP-specific CD8+ T cells enhanced ROS production in the brain only in these cell types and only when the MBP-specific CD8+ T cells expressed Fas ligand (FasL). These results suggest that myelin-specific CD8+ T cells may contribute to disease pathogenesis via a FasL-dependent mechanism that preferentially promotes lesion formation in the brain.
Catriona A. Wagner, Pamela J. Roqué, Trevor R. Mileur, Denny Liggitt, Joan M. Goverman
Unconventional T cells that recognize mycobacterial antigens are of great interest as potential vaccine targets against tuberculosis (TB). This includes donor-unrestricted T cells (DURTs), such as mucosa-associated invariant T cells (MAITs), CD1-restricted T cells, and γδ T cells. We exploited the distinctive nature of DURTs and γδ T cell receptors (TCRs) to investigate the involvement of these T cells during TB in the human lung by global TCR sequencing. Making use of surgical lung resections, we investigated the distribution, frequency, and characteristics of TCRs in lung tissue and matched blood from individuals infected with TB. Despite depletion of MAITs and certain CD1-restricted T cells from the blood, we found that the DURT repertoire was well preserved in the lungs, irrespective of disease status or HIV coinfection. The TCRδ repertoire, in contrast, was highly skewed in the lungs, where it was dominated by Vδ1 and distinguished by highly localized clonal expansions, consistent with the nonrecirculating lung-resident γδ T cell population. These data show that repertoire sequencing is a powerful tool for tracking T cell subsets during disease.
Paul Ogongo, Adrie J.C. Steyn, Farina Karim, Kaylesh J. Dullabh, Ismael Awala, Rajhmun Madansein, Alasdair Leslie, Samuel M. Behar
Unconventional T cell subsets, including donor-unrestricted T cells (DURTs) and γδ T cells, are promising new players in the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases. In this issue of the JCI, Ogongo et al. used T cell receptor (TCR) sequencing to characterize unconventional T cell subsets in surgical lung resections and blood from Mycobacterium tuberculosis–infected (Mtb-infected) individuals with and without HIV coinfection. The study revealed highly localized expansions of γδ T cell clonotypes not previously associated with the immune response to Mtb and demonstrates the power of high-throughput analysis of the TCR repertoire directly from infected tissue. The findings contribute to our understanding of tuberculosis control and have implications for the development of both therapeutic and vaccination strategies.
Corinna A. Kulicke, Deborah A. Lewinsohn, David M. Lewinsohn
Brown adipose tissue (BAT) contains mitochondria-enriched thermogenic fat cells (brown adipocytes) that play a crucial role in the regulation of energy metabolism and systemic glucose homeostasis. It was presumed that brown adipocytes are composed of a homogeneous cell population. In this issue of the JCI, however, Song and colleagues report a previously uncharacterized subpopulation of brown adipocytes that display distinct characteristics from the conventional brown adipocytes in their molecular signature, regulation, and fuel utilization. The present study provides novel insight into our understanding of cellular heterogeneity in adipose tissues.
Yasuo Oguri, Shingo Kajimura
Potentiating radiotherapy and chemotherapy by inhibiting DNA damage repair is proposed as a therapeutic strategy to improve outcomes for patients with solid tumors. However, this approach risks enhancing normal tissue toxicity as much as tumor toxicity, thereby limiting its translational impact. Using NU5455, a newly identified highly selective oral inhibitor of DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit (DNA-PKcs) activity, we found that it was indeed possible to preferentially augment the effect of targeted radiotherapy on human orthotopic lung tumors without influencing acute DNA damage or a late radiation-induced toxicity (fibrosis) to normal mouse lung. Furthermore, while NU5455 administration increased both the efficacy and the toxicity of a parenterally administered topoisomerase inhibitor, it enhanced the activity of doxorubicin released locally in liver tumor xenografts without inducing any adverse effect. This strategy is particularly relevant to hepatocellular cancer, which is treated clinically with localized drug-eluting beads and for which DNA-PKcs activity is reported to confer resistance to treatment. We conclude that transient pharmacological inhibition of DNA-PKcs activity is effective and tolerable when combined with localized DNA-damaging therapies and thus has promising clinical potential.
Catherine E. Willoughby, Yanyan Jiang, Huw D. Thomas, Elaine Willmore, Suzanne Kyle, Anita Wittner, Nicole Phillips, Yan Zhao, Susan J. Tudhope, Lisa Prendergast, Gesa Junge, Luiza Madia Lourenco, M. Raymond V. Finlay, Paul Turner, Joanne M. Munck, Roger J. Griffin, Tommy Rennison, James Pickles, Celine Cano, David R. Newell, Helen L. Reeves, Anderson J. Ryan, Stephen R. Wedge
Javid Moslehi, W. Kimryn Rathmell
The c-MYC (MYC) oncoprotein is often overexpressed in human breast cancer; however, its role in driving disease phenotypes is poorly understood. Here, we investigate the role of MYC in HER2+ disease, examining the relationship between HER2 expression and MYC phosphorylation in HER2+ patient tumors and characterizing the functional effects of deregulating MYC expression in the murine NeuNT model of amplified-HER2 breast cancer. Deregulated MYC alone was not tumorigenic, but coexpression with NeuNT resulted in increased MYC Ser62 phosphorylation and accelerated tumorigenesis. The resulting tumors were metastatic and associated with decreased survival compared with NeuNT alone. MYC;NeuNT tumors had increased intertumoral heterogeneity including a subtype of tumors not observed in NeuNT tumors, which showed distinct metaplastic histology and worse survival. The distinct subtypes of MYC;NeuNT tumors match existing subtypes of amplified-HER2, estrogen receptor–negative human tumors by molecular expression, identifying the preclinical utility of this murine model to interrogate subtype-specific differences in amplified-HER2 breast cancer. We show that these subtypes have differential sensitivity to clinical HER2/EGFR–targeted therapeutics, but small-molecule activators of PP2A, the phosphatase that regulates MYC Ser62 phosphorylation, circumvents these subtype-specific differences and ubiquitously suppresses tumor growth, demonstrating the therapeutic utility of this approach in targeting deregulated MYC breast cancers.
Tyler Risom, Xiaoyan Wang, Juan Liang, Xiaoli Zhang, Carl Pelz, Lydia G. Campbell, Jenny Eng, Koei Chin, Caroline Farrington, Goutham Narla, Ellen M. Langer, Xiao-Xin Sun, Yulong Su, Colin J. Daniel, Mu-Shui Dai, Christiane V. Löhr, Rosalie C. Sears
Nora D. Volkow, Carlos Blanco
Mutations in genes encoding components of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) replication machinery cause mtDNA depletion syndromes (MDSs), which associate ocular features with severe neurological syndromes. Here, we identified heterozygous missense mutations in single-strand binding protein 1 (SSBP1) in 5 unrelated families, leading to the R38Q and R107Q amino acid changes in the mitochondrial single-stranded DNA-binding protein, a crucial protein involved in mtDNA replication. All affected individuals presented optic atrophy, associated with foveopathy in half of the cases. To uncover the structural features underlying SSBP1 mutations, we determined a revised SSBP1 crystal structure. Structural analysis suggested that both mutations affect dimer interactions and presumably distort the DNA-binding region. Using patient fibroblasts, we validated that the R38Q variant destabilizes SSBP1 dimer/tetramer formation, affects mtDNA replication, and induces mtDNA depletion. Our study showing that mutations in SSBP1 cause a form of dominant optic atrophy frequently accompanied with foveopathy brings insights into mtDNA maintenance disorders.
Camille Piro-Mégy, Emmanuelle Sarzi, Aleix Tarrés-Solé, Marie Péquignot, Fenna Hensen, Mélanie Quilès, Gaël Manes, Arka Chakraborty, Audrey Sénéchal, Béatrice Bocquet, Chantal Cazevieille, Agathe Roubertie, Agnès Müller, Majida Charif, David Goudenège, Guy Lenaers, Helmut Wilhelm, Ulrich Kellner, Nicole Weisschuh, Bernd Wissinger, Xavier Zanlonghi, Christian Hamel, Johannes N. Spelbrink, Maria Sola, Cécile Delettre
Robert A. Brodsky, Michael R. DeBaun
The mineralocorticoid aldosterone is produced in the adrenal zona glomerulosa (ZG) under the control of the renin–angiotensin II (AngII) system. Primary aldosteronism (PA) results from renin-independent production of aldosterone and is a common cause of hypertension. PA is caused by dysregulated localization of the enzyme aldosterone synthase (Cyp11b2), which is normally restricted to the ZG. Cyp11b2 transcription and aldosterone production are predominantly regulated by AngII activation of the Gq signaling pathway. Here, we report the generation of transgenic mice with Gq-coupled designer receptors exclusively activated by designer drugs (DREADDs) specifically in the adrenal cortex. We show that adrenal-wide ligand activation of Gq DREADD receptors triggered disorganization of adrenal functional zonation, with induction of Cyp11b2 in glucocorticoid-producing zona fasciculata cells. This result was consistent with increased renin-independent aldosterone production and hypertension. All parameters were reversible following termination of DREADD-mediated Gq signaling. These findings demonstrate that Gq signaling is sufficient for adrenocortical aldosterone production and implicate this pathway in the determination of zone-specific steroid production within the adrenal cortex. This transgenic mouse also provides an inducible and reversible model of hyperaldosteronism to investigate PA therapeutics and the mechanisms leading to the damaging effects of aldosterone on the cardiovascular system.
Matthew J. Taylor, Matthew R. Ullenbruch, Emily C. Frucci, Juilee Rege, Mark S. Ansorge, Celso E. Gomez-Sanchez, Salma Begum, Edward Laufer, David T. Breault, William E. Rainey
Whether respiratory epithelial cells regulate the final transit of extravasated neutrophils into the inflamed airspace or are a passive barrier is poorly understood. Alveolar epithelial type 1 (AT1) cells, best known for solute transport and gas exchange, have few established immune roles. Epithelial membrane protein 2 (EMP2), a tetraspan protein that promotes recruitment of integrins to lipid rafts, is highly expressed in AT1 cells, but has no known function in lung biology. Here, we show that Emp2–/– mice exhibit reduced neutrophil influx into the airspace after a wide range of inhaled exposures. During bacterial pneumonia, Emp2–/– mice had attenuated neutrophilic lung injury and improved survival. Bone marrow chimeras, intravital neutrophil labeling, and in vitro assays suggested that defective transepithelial migration of neutrophils into the alveolar lumen occurs in Emp2–/– lungs. Emp2–/– AT1 cells had dysregulated surface display of multiple adhesion molecules, associated with reduced raft abundance. Epithelial raft abundance was dependent upon putative cholesterol-binding motifs in EMP2, whereas EMP2 supported adhesion molecule display and neutrophil transmigration through suppression of caveolins. Taken together, we propose that EMP2-dependent membrane organization ensures proper display on AT1 cells of a suite of proteins required to instruct paracellular neutrophil traffic into the alveolus.
Wan-Chi Lin, Kymberly M. Gowdy, Jennifer H. Madenspacher, Rachel L. Zemans, Kazuko Yamamoto, Miranda Lyons-Cohen, Hideki Nakano, Kyathanahalli Janardhan, Carmen J. Williams, Donald N. Cook, Joseph P. Mizgerd, Michael B. Fessler
Currently, an effective targeted therapy for pancreatitis is lacking. Hereditary pancreatitis (HP) is a heritable, autosomal-dominant disorder with recurrent acute pancreatitis (AP) progressing to chronic pancreatitis (CP) and a markedly increased risk of pancreatic cancer. In 1996, mutations in PRSS1 were linked to the development of HP. Here, we developed a mouse model by inserting a full-length human PRSS1R122H gene, the most commonly mutated gene in human HP, into mice. Expression of PRSS1R122H protein in the pancreas markedly increased stress signaling pathways and exacerbated AP. After the attack of AP, all PRSS1R122H mice had disease progression to CP, with similar histologic features as those observed in human HP. By comparing PRSS1R122H mice with PRSS1WT mice as well as enzymatically inactivated Dead-PRSS1R122H mice, we unraveled that increased trypsin activity is the mechanism for R122H mutation to sensitize mice to the development of pancreatitis. We further discovered that trypsin inhibition, in combination with anticoagulation therapy, synergistically prevented progression to CP in PRSS1R122H mice. These animal models help us better understand the complex nature of this disease and provide powerful tools for developing and testing novel therapeutics for human pancreatitis.
Fu Gui, Yuebo Zhang, Jianhua Wan, Xianbao Zhan, Yao Yao, Yinghua Li, Ashley N. Haddock, Ji Shi, Jia Guo, Jiaxiang Chen, Xiaohui Zhu, Brandy H. Edenfield, Lu Zhuang, Cheng Hu, Ying Wang, Debabrata Mukhopadhyay, Evette S. Radisky, Lizhi Zhang, Aurelia Lugea, Stephen J. Pandol, Yan Bi, Baoan Ji