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Abstract

Growing evidence supports a link between inflammation and cancer; however, mediators of the transition between inflammation and carcinogenesis remain incompletely understood. Sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) lyase (SPL) irreversibly degrades the bioactive sphingolipid S1P and is highly expressed in enterocytes but downregulated in colon cancer. Here, we investigated the role of SPL in colitis-associated cancer (CAC). We generated mice with intestinal epithelium-specific Sgpl1 deletion and chemically induced colitis and tumor formation in these animals. Compared with control animals, mice lacking intestinal SPL exhibited greater disease activity, colon shortening, cytokine levels, S1P accumulation, tumors, STAT3 activation, STAT3-activated microRNAs (miRNAs), and suppression of miR-targeted anti-oncogene products. This phenotype was attenuated by STAT3 inhibition. In fibroblasts, silencing SPL promoted tumorigenic transformation through a pathway involving extracellular transport of S1P through S1P transporter spinster homolog 2 (SPNS2), S1P receptor activation, JAK2/STAT3-dependent miR-181b-1 induction, and silencing of miR-181b-1 target cylindromatosis (CYLD). Colon biopsies from patients with inflammatory bowel disease revealed enhanced S1P and STAT3 signaling. In mice with chemical-induced CAC, oral administration of plant-type sphingolipids called sphingadienes increased colonic SPL levels and reduced S1P levels, STAT3 signaling, cytokine levels, and tumorigenesis, indicating that SPL prevents transformation and carcinogenesis. Together, our results suggest that dietary sphingolipids can augment or prevent colon cancer, depending upon whether they are metabolized to S1P or promote S1P metabolism through the actions of SPL.

Authors

Emilie Degagné ... Yasmin Ahmedi, Julie D. Saba

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Abstract

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) spectrum disorders affect approximately 1 billion individuals worldwide. However, the drivers of progressive steatohepatitis remain incompletely defined. Ketogenesis can dispose of much of the fat that enters the liver, and dysfunction in this pathway could promote the development of NAFLD. Here, we evaluated mice lacking mitochondrial 3-hydroxymethylglutaryl CoA synthase (HMGCS2) to determine the role of ketogenesis in preventing diet-induced steatohepatitis. Antisense oligonucleotide–induced loss of HMGCS2 in chow-fed adult mice caused mild hyperglycemia, increased hepatic gluconeogenesis from pyruvate, and augmented production of hundreds of hepatic metabolites, a suite of which indicated activation of the de novo lipogenesis pathway. High-fat diet feeding of mice with insufficient ketogenesis resulted in extensive hepatocyte injury and inflammation, decreased glycemia, deranged hepatic TCA cycle intermediate concentrations, and impaired hepatic gluconeogenesis due to sequestration of free coenzyme A (CoASH). Supplementation of the CoASH precursors pantothenic acid and cysteine normalized TCA intermediates and gluconeogenesis in the livers of ketogenesis-insufficient animals. Together, these findings indicate that ketogenesis is a critical regulator of hepatic acyl-CoA metabolism, glucose metabolism, and TCA cycle function in the absorptive state and suggest that ketogenesis may modulate fatty liver disease.

Authors

David G. Cotter ... Gary J. Patti, Peter A. Crawford

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Abstract

CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) have potent antitumor activity and therefore are leading candidates for use in tumor immunotherapy. The application of CTLs for clinical use has been limited by the susceptibility of ex vivo–expanded CTLs to become dysfunctional in response to immunosuppressive microenvironments. Here, we developed a microRNA-targeting (miRNA-targeting) approach that augments CTL cytotoxicity and preserves immunocompetence. Specifically, we screened for miRNAs that modulate cytotoxicity and identified miR-23a as a strong functional repressor of the transcription factor BLIMP-1, which promotes CTL cytotoxicity and effector cell differentiation. In a cohort of advanced lung cancer patients, miR-23a was upregulated in tumor-infiltrating CTLs, and expression correlated with impaired antitumor potential of patient CTLs. We determined that tumor-derived TGF-β directly suppresses CTL immune function by elevating miR-23a and downregulating BLIMP-1. Functional blocking of miR-23a in human CTLs enhanced granzyme B expression, and in mice with established tumors, immunotherapy with just a small number of tumor-specific CTLs in which miR-23a was inhibited robustly hindered tumor progression. Together, our findings provide a miRNA-based strategy that subverts the immunosuppression of CTLs that is often observed during adoptive cell transfer tumor immunotherapy and identify a TGF-β–mediated tumor immune-evasion pathway.

Authors

Regina Lin ... Bo Zhu, Qi-Jing Li

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Abstract

Intracellular Mg2+ levels are strictly regulated; however, the biological importance of intracellular Mg2+ levels and the pathways that regulate them remain poorly understood. Here, we determined that intracellular Mg2+ is important in regulating both energy metabolism and tumor progression. We determined that CNNM4, a membrane protein that stimulates Mg2+ efflux, binds phosphatase of regenerating liver (PRL), which is frequently overexpressed in malignant human cancers. Biochemical analyses of cultured cells revealed that PRL prevents CNNM4-dependent Mg2+ efflux and that regulation of intracellular Mg2+ levels by PRL and CNNM4 is linked to energy metabolism and AMPK/mTOR signaling. Indeed, treatment with the clinically available mTOR inhibitor rapamycin suppressed the growth of cancer cells in which PRL was overexpressed. In ApcΔ14/+ mice, which spontaneously form benign polyps in the intestine, deletion of Cnnm4 promoted malignant progression of intestinal polyps to adenocarcinomas. IHC analyses of tissues from patients with colon cancer demonstrated an inverse relationship between CNNM4 expression and colon cancer malignancy. Together, these results indicate that CNNM4-dependent Mg2+ efflux suppresses tumor progression by regulating energy metabolism.

Authors

Yosuke Funato, Daisuke Yamazaki, Shin Mizukami, Lisa Du, Kazuya Kikuchi, Hiroaki Miki

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Abstract

Follicular Tregs (Tfr cells) inhibit antibody production, whereas follicular Th cells (Tfh cells) stimulate it. Tfr cells are found in blood; however, relatively little is known about the developmental signals for these cells or their functions. Here we demonstrated that circulating Tfr and Tfh cells share properties of memory cells and are distinct from effector Tfr and Tfh cells found within lymph nodes (LNs). Circulating memory-like Tfh cells were potently reactivated by DCs, homed to germinal centers, and produced more cytokines than did effector LN Tfh cells. Circulating memory-like Tfr cells persisted for long periods of time in vivo and homed to germinal centers after reactivation. Effector LN Tfr cells suppressed Tfh cell activation and production of cytokines, including IL-21, and inhibited class switch recombination and B cell activation. The suppressive function of this population was not dependent on specific antigen. Similar to LN effector Tfr cells, circulating Tfr cells also suppressed B and Tfh cells, but with a much lower capacity. Our data indicate that circulating memory-like Tfr cells are less suppressive than LN Tfr cells and circulating memory-like Tfh cells are more potent than LN effector Tfh cells; therefore, these circulating populations can provide rapid and robust systemic B cell help during secondary antigen exposure.

Authors

Peter T. Sage, David Alvarez, Jernej Godec, Ulrich H. von Andrian, Arlene H. Sharpe

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Abstract

Dermal infiltration of T cells is an important step in the onset and progression of immune-mediated skin diseases such as psoriasis; however, it is not known whether epidermal factors play a primary role in the development of these diseases. Here, we determined that the prodifferentiation transcription factor grainyhead-like 3 (GRHL3), which is essential during epidermal development, is dispensable for adult skin homeostasis, but required for barrier repair after adult epidermal injury. Consistent with activation of a GRHL3-regulated repair pathway in psoriasis, we found that GRHL3 is upregulated in lesional skin and binds known epidermal differentiation gene targets. Using an imiquimod-induced model of immune-mediated epidermal hyperplasia, we found that mice lacking GRHL3 have an exacerbated epidermal damage response, greater sensitivity to disease induction, delayed resolution of epidermal lesions, and resistance to anti–IL-22 therapy compared with WT animals. ChIP-Seq and gene expression profiling of murine skin revealed that while GRHL3 regulates differentiation pathways both during development and during repair from immune-mediated damage, it targets distinct sets of genes in the 2 processes. In particular, GRHL3 suppressed a number of alarmin and other proinflammatory genes after immune injury. This study identifies a GRHL3-regulated epidermal barrier repair pathway that suppresses disease initiation and helps resolve existing lesions in immune-mediated epidermal hyperplasia.

Authors

William M. Gordon ... Pierre F. Baldi, Bogi Andersen

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Abstract

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and has a unique combination of hardness and fracture toughness that protects teeth from dental caries, the most common chronic disease worldwide. In addition to a high mineral content, tooth enamel comprises organic material that is important for mechanical performance and influences the initiation and progression of caries; however, the protein composition of tooth enamel has not been fully characterized. Here, we determined that epithelial hair keratins, which are crucial for maintaining the integrity of the sheaths that support the hair shaft, are expressed in the enamel organ and are essential organic components of mature enamel. Using genetic and intraoral examination data from 386 children and 706 adults, we found that individuals harboring known hair disorder–associated polymorphisms in the gene encoding keratin 75 (KRT75), KRT75A161T and KRT75E337K, are prone to increased dental caries. Analysis of teeth from individuals carrying the KRT75A161T variant revealed an altered enamel structure and a marked reduction of enamel hardness, suggesting that a functional keratin network is required for the mechanical stability of tooth enamel. Taken together, our results identify a genetic locus that influences enamel structure and establish a connection between hair disorders and susceptibility to dental caries.

Authors

Olivier Duverger ... Mary L. Marazita, Maria I. Morasso

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October 2014


124-10-cover

October 2014 Issue

On the cover:
Celebrating 90 years of publishing scientific discoveries in medicine

This month, the JCI celebrates 90 years of publishing outstanding scientific discoveries in biomedical research. On page 4135, editor-in-chief Howard Rockman reflects on the spirit of the JCI that has endured since our inaugural issue in October 1924.

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Jci_impact_2014_10

October 2014 Impact

JCI Impact is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published in each month's issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

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Review Series - More

Gut Microbiome

Series edited by Martin J. Blaser

The human gastrointestinal tract harbors approximately one hundred trillion microbial cells, collectively known as the gut microbiome. We have been aware of these friendly bacteria for around a century, but we are only now beginning to appreciate their influence in multiple aspects of human physiology and disease. Our understanding of the gut microbiome is constantly evolving and is currently being aided by new technologies and approaches that combine ecological principles with biomedical techniques. These new studies take into account both the pathological and commensal aspects of the microbes that inhabit our bodies. Reviews in this series explore how perturbation of the microbiome not only contributes to disease, but also helps to reveal its function; the impact of the microbiome on the metabolism of therapeutics and dietary nutrients; the contributions of commensal bacteria to disease, including cancer and cardiovascular disease; and the role of the microbiome in the development and maintenance of the immune system.

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