Organ-specific autoimmune diseases have been postulated to be the result of T cell response against organ-specific self-peptides bound to MHC molecules. Contrary to this paradigm, we report here that transgenic mice lacking MHC class I expression and expressing an MHC class II I-Ab molecule that presents only a single peptide (Eα52-68) spontaneously develops peripheral nervous system–specific autoimmune disease with many of the histopathological features found in experimental allergic neuritis. Reciprocal bone marrow chimeras produced using susceptible and resistant lines revealed that bone marrow–derived cells determined disease susceptibility. While the expression of the I-Ab–Eα52-68 complex in the periphery was readily detectable in both lines, its expression on thymic dendritic cells responsible for tolerance induction was markedly lower in the susceptible line than in the resistant line. Consistent with this, CD4+ T cells that can be activated by the I-Ab–Eα52-68 complex were found in the susceptible line, but not in the resistant line. Such CD4+ T cells conferred the disease to the resistant line by adoptive transfer, and administration of Ab specific for the I-Ab–Eα52-68 complex inhibited disease manifestation in the susceptible line. These results indicate that disease development involves systemic T cell reactivity to I-Ab–Eα52-68 complex, probably caused by incomplete negative thymocyte selection.
Exocytosis at the apical surface of pancreatic acinar cells occurs in the presence of physiological concentrations of cholecystokinin (CCK) but is inhibited at high concentrations. Here we show that Munc18c is localized predominantly to the basal membranes of acinar cells. Supramaximal but not submaximal CCK stimulation caused Munc18c to dissociate from the plasma membrane, and this displacement was blocked by protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitors. Conversely, whereas the CCK analog CCK-OPE alone failed to displace Munc18c from the membrane, this agent caused Munc18c displacement following minimal PKC activation. To determine the physiological significance of this displacement, we used the fluorescent dye FM1-43 to visualize individual exocytosis events in real-time from rat acinar cells in culture. We showed that supramaximal CCK inhibition of secretion resulted from impaired apical secretion and a redirection of exocytic events to restricted basal membrane sites. In contrast, CCK-OPE evoked apical exocytosis and could only induce basolateral exocytosis following activation of PKC. Infusion of supraphysiological concentrations of CCK in rats, a treatment that induced tissue changes reminiscent of mild acute pancreatitis, likewise resulted in rapid displacement of Munc18c from the basal membrane in vivo.
We describe a new congenital disorder of glycosylation, CDG-If. The patient has severe psychomotor retardation, seizures, failure to thrive, dry skin and scaling with erythroderma, and impaired vision. CDG-If is caused by a defect in the gene MPDU1, the human homologue of hamster Lec35, and is the first disorder to affect the use, rather than the biosynthesis, of donor substrates for lipid-linked oligosaccharides. This leads to the synthesis of incomplete and poorly transferred precursor oligosaccharides lacking both mannose and glucose residues. The patient has a homozygous point mutation (221T→C, L74S) in a semiconserved amino acid of MPDU1. Chinese hamster ovary Lec35 cells lack a functional Lec35 gene and synthesize truncated lipid-linked oligosaccharides similar to the patient’s. They lack glucose and mannose residues donated by Glc-P-Dol and Man-P-Dol. Transfection with the normal human MPDU1 allele nearly completely restores normal glycosylation, whereas transfection with the patient’s MPDU1 allele only weakly restores normal glycosylation. This work provides a new clinical picture for another CDG that may involve synthesis of multiple types of glycoconjugates.
NPHS2 was recently identified as a gene whose mutations cause autosomal recessive steroid-resistant nephrotic syndrome. Its product, podocin, is a new member of the stomatin family, which consists of hairpin-like integral membrane proteins with intracellular NH2- and COOH-termini. Podocin is expressed in glomerular podocytes, but its subcellular distribution and interaction with other proteins are unknown. Here we show, by immunoelectron microscopy, that podocin localizes to the podocyte foot process membrane, at the insertion site of the slit diaphragm. Podocin accumulates in an oligomeric form in lipid rafts of the slit diaphragm. Moreover, GST pull-down experiments reveal that podocin associates via its COOH-terminal domain with CD2AP, a cytoplasmic binding partner of nephrin, and with nephrin itself. That podocin interacts with CD2AP and nephrin in vivo is shown by coimmunoprecipitation of these proteins from glomerular extracts. Furthermore, in vitro studies reveal direct interaction of podocin and CD2AP. Hence, as with the erythrocyte lipid raft protein stomatin, podocin is present in high-order oligomers and may serve a scaffolding function. We postulate that podocin serves in the structural organization of the slit diaphragm and the regulation of its filtration function.
The phosphoinositide 3-kinase–Akt/PKB pathway mediates the mitogenic effects various nutrients and growth factors in cultured cells. To study its effects in vivo in pancreatic islet β cells, we created transgenic mice that expressed a constitutively active Akt1/PKBα linked to an Insulin gene promoter. Transgenic mice exhibited a grossly visible increase in islet mass, largely due to proliferation of insulin-containing β cells. Morphometric analysis verified a six-fold increase in β cell mass/pancreas, a two-fold increase in 5-bromo-2′-deoxyuridine incorporation, a four-fold increase in the number of β cells per pancreas area, and a two-fold increase in cell size in transgenic compared with wild-type mice at 5 weeks. At least part of the increase in β cell number may be accounted for by neogenesis, defined by criteria that include β cells proliferating from ductular epithelium, and by a six-fold increase in the number of single and doublet β cells scattered throughout the exocrine pancreas of the transgenic mice. Glucose tolerance was improved, and fasting as well as fed insulin was greater compared with wild-type mice. Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion was maintained in transgenic mice, which were resistant to streptozotocin–induced diabetes. We conclude that activation of the Akt1/PKBα pathway affects islet β cell mass by alteration of size and number.
Phenotypic switching has been linked to the virulence of many pathogens, including fungi. However, it has not been conclusively shown to occur in vivo or to influence the outcome of infection. Cryptococcus neoformans undergoes phenotypic switching in vitro to colony types that differ in their virulence in mice. In this study, we asked whether C. neoformans undergoes phenotypic switching in vivo and whether this phenomenon contributes to virulence. By using a small inoculum to preclude the introduction of variants that had already switched during in vitro propagation, we demonstrated that in vivo switching to a mucoid phenotype occurred in two mice strains and was associated with a lethal outcome. Phenotypic switching resulted in changes of the capsular polysaccharide that inhibited phagocytosis by alveolar macrophages. This promoted a more vigorous inflammatory response and rapid demise. These data document in vivo switching in a fungus and associate this phenomenon with enhanced virulence and a lethal outcome. The importance of this finding is underscored by the increased likelihood of phenotypic switching in chronic cryptococcosis; thus this mechanism may account for the inability to eradicate the organism in immunocompromised hosts.
We found that ROP Os/+ (Os/+) mice had diffuse glomerulosclerosis and glomerular hypertrophy and that their mesangial cells (the vascular smooth muscle cells of the glomerulus) displayed an apparent sclerosing phenotype. Since mesangial cells are the major source of scar tissue in glomerulosclerosis, we postulated that the sclerosis phenotype was carried by mesangial cell progenitors and that this phenotype could be derived from the bone marrow (BM). Therefore, we transplanted BM from Os/+ mice into congenic ROP +/+ mice (+/+ mice), which have normal glomeruli. We found that glomeruli of +/+ recipients of Os/+ marrow contained the Os/+ genotype, were hypertrophied, and contained increased extracellular matrix. Clones of recipient glomerular mesangial cells with the donor genotype were found in all +/+ recipients that developed mesangial sclerosis and glomerular hypertrophy, whereas +/+ recipients of +/+ BM had normal glomeruli. Thus, the sclerotic (Os/+) or normal (+/+) genotype and phenotype were present in, and transmitted by, BM-derived progenitors. These data show that glomerular mesangial cell progenitors are derived from the BM and can deliver a disease phenotype to normal glomeruli. Glomerular lesions may therefore be perpetuated or aggravated, rather than resolved, by newly arriving progenitor cells exhibiting a disease phenotype.
Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression is normally tightly regulated. However, constitutive overexpression plays a key role in colon carcinogenesis. To understand the molecular nature of enhanced COX-2 expression detected in colon cancer, we examined the ability of the AU-rich element–containing (ARE-containing) 3′ untranslated region (3′UTR) of COX-2 mRNA to regulate rapid mRNA decay in human colon cancer cells. In tumor cells displaying enhanced growth and tumorigenicity that is correlated with elevated COX-2, vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), and IL-8 protein levels, the corresponding mRNAs were transcribed constitutively and turned over slowly. The observed mRNA stabilization is owing to defective recognition of class II-type AREs present within the COX-2, VEGF, and IL-8 3′UTRs; c-myc mRNA, containing a class I ARE decayed rapidly in the same cells. Correlating with cellular defects in mRNA stability, the RNA-binding of trans-acting cellular factors was altered. In particular, we found that the RNA-stability factor HuR binds to the COX-2 ARE, and overexpression of HuR, as detected in tumors, results in elevated expression of COX-2, VEGF, and IL-8. These findings demonstrate the functional significance rapid mRNA decay plays in controlling gene expression and show that dysregulation of these trans-acting factors can lead to overexpression of COX-2 and other angiogenic proteins, as detected in neoplasia.
Peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor-γ (PPARγ) controls adipogenesis and glucose metabolism. It was reported recently that PPARγ activation by its agonistic ligands modifies lymphocyte function. Since synthetic ligands are known to exert their effect via PPARγ-dependent and -independent pathways, we examined the physiological role of PPARγ in lymphocytes by using heterozygote mutant mice in which one allele of PPARγ is deleted (PPARγ+/–). In contrast to T cells, which did not exhibit a significant difference, B cells from PPARγ+/– showed an enhanced proliferative response to stimulation by either lipopolysaccharide or cross-linking of antigen receptors. Dysregulation of the NF-κB pathway in B cells from PPARγ+/– was indicated by spontaneous NF-κB activation, as well as increased IκBα phosphorylation and gel-shift activity following LPS stimulation. Mice primed with either ovalbumin or methylated BSA also showed enhanced antigen-specific immune response of both T and B cells, an immunological abnormality that exacerbated antigen-induced arthritis. These findings indicate that PPARγ plays a critical role in the control of B cell response and imply a role in diseases in which B cell hyperreactivity is involved, such as arthritis and autoimmunity.
Natural viral proteins do not always make optimal vaccines. We have found that sequence modification to increase epitope affinity for class II MHC molecules (epitope enhancement) can improve immunogenicity. Here we show first that a higher-affinity helper epitope-enhanced HIV vaccine not only induces more cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), but also skews helper cells toward Th1 cytokine production and protects against HIV-1 recombinant vaccinia viral challenge. Furthermore, we elucidate a novel mechanism in which the higher-affinity vaccine induces dramatically more effective helper cells with a higher level of CD40L per helper cell and more positive cells, which in turn more effectively conditions dendritic cells (DCs) for CTL activation in a second culture. The improved helper cells also induce much greater IL-12 production by DCs, accounting for the reciprocal T helper polarization to Th1, and increase costimulatory molecule expression. Thus, increasing affinity for class II MHC results in a complementary interaction in which T helper and antigen-presenting cells polarize each other, as well as increase CTL, and provide greater vaccine efficacy against viral infection.
Deficiencies in the pathway of N-glycan biosynthesis lead to severe multisystem diseases, known as congenital disorders of glycosylation (CDG). The clinical appearance of CDG is variable, and different types can be distinguished according to the gene that is altered. In this report, we describe the molecular basis of a novel type of the disease in three unrelated patients diagnosed with CDG-I. Serum transferrin was hypoglycosylated and patients’ fibroblasts accumulated incomplete lipid-linked oligosaccharide precursors for N-linked protein glycosylation. Transfer of incomplete oligosaccharides to protein was detected. Sequence analysis of the Lec35/MPDU1 gene, known to be involved in the use of dolichylphosphomannose and dolichylphosphoglucose, revealed mutations in all three patients. Retroviral-based expression of the normal Lec35 cDNA in primary fibroblasts of patients restored normal lipid-linked oligosaccharide biosynthesis. We concluded that mutations in the Lec35/MPDU1 gene cause CDG. This novel type was termed CDG-If.
Castration of normal male mice induces expansion of the bone marrow B cell population, an effect that can be reversed by androgen replacement. We employed in vitro cultures and two in vivo models to investigate whether androgens exert these effects directly on marrow lymphoid precursors or whether actions on marrow stromal elements are required. Immature B cells from normal mouse bone marrow were not responsive to the suppressive effect of androgens unless they were cocultured with marrow stromal cells or with supernatants from androgen-treated stromal cells, suggesting that the androgen effects are exerted through marrow stromal elements by production of a diffusible mediator. Further experiments revealed that bone marrow stromal cells produced TGF-β in response to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and neutralization of TGF-β in the DHT-treated stromal cells reversed the suppressive effects. The stromal cell requirement for androgen-mediated effects was confirmed in vivo by experiments using chimeric animals created by bone marrow transplantation in which androgen receptor expression was restricted to either the stromal or lymphoid cells of the bone marrow. Androgens only affected B cell development in chimeric mice with androgen-sensitive stromal cells. These experiments suggest that effects of androgens on developing B cells are mediated through androgen receptors in bone marrow stromal cells. TGF-β is a candidate mediator for these hormonal effects.
To investigate the impact of chloride (Cl–) permeability, mediated by residual activity of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) or by other Cl– channels, on the manifestations of cystic fibrosis (CF), we determined Cl– transport properties of the respiratory and intestinal tracts in ΔF508 homozygous twins and siblings. In the majority of patients, cAMP and/or Ca2+-regulated Cl– conductance was detected in the airways and intestine. Our finding of cAMP-mediated Cl– conductance suggests that, in vivo, at least some ΔF508 CFTR can reach the plasma membrane and affect Cl– permeability. In respiratory tissue, the expression of basal CFTR-mediated Cl– conductance, demonstrated by 30% of ΔF508 homozygotes, was identified as a positive predictor of milder CF disease. In intestinal tissue, 4,4′-diisothiocyanatostilbene-2,2′-disulfonic acid–insensitive (DIDS-insensitive) Cl– secretion, which is indicative of functional CFTR channels, correlated with a milder phenotype, whereas DIDS-sensitive Cl– secretion was observed mainly in more severely affected patients. The more concordant Cl– secretory patterns within monozygous twins compared with dizygous pairs imply that genes other than CFTR significantly influence the manifestation of the basic defect.
Mammalian female fertility depends on complex interactions between the ovary and the extraovarian environment (e.g., the hypothalamic-hypophyseal ovarian axis). The role of plasma lipoproteins in fertility was examined using HDL-receptor SR-BI knockout (KO) mice. SR-BI KO females have abnormal HDLs, ovulate dysfunctional oocytes, and are infertile. Fertility was restored when the structure and/or quantity of abnormal HDL was altered by inactivating the apoAI gene or administering the cholesterol-lowering drug probucol. This suggests that abnormal lipoprotein metabolism can cause murine infertility — implying a functional hepatic-ovarian axis — and may contribute to some forms of human female infertility.
Copyright © 2014 American Society for Clinical Investigation