46 total articles
A new sheriff is in town: as of March 1, 2007, the editorial board of the JCI will be based at the University of Pennsylvania. While our core mission to provide the best venue for biomedical research remains the same, we plan a number of refinements that we hope will benefit our readers, authors, and referees.
Laurence A. Turka
As stewards of the JCI, we are responsible for instituting and sustaining the highest possible standards for integrity. To this end, we have established a very specific set of guidelines for handling potential conflicts of interest — not only for authors and referees, but also for ourselves.
Ushma S. Neill, Craig B. Thompson, Marc Feldmann, William N. Kelley
Conflicts of interest are known to create problems for the integrity of biomedical research. The editors of the JCI have set out a rigorous policy to help manage conflicts. But they focus only on financially generated conflicts. Here I identify other sources of conflict and offer some suggestions for their management.
Arthur L. Caplan
Two broad hypotheses have arisen regarding the fundamental nature of the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs, which include ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease). The first contends that primary dysregulation of the mucosal immune system leads to excessive immunologic responses to normal microflora. The second suggests that changes in the composition of gut microflora and/or deranged epithelial barrier function elicits pathologic responses from the normal mucosal immune system. Here we examine these hypotheses and conclude that IBD is indeed characterized by an abnormal mucosal immune response but that microbial factors and epithelial cell abnormalities can facilitate this response.
Warren Strober, Ivan Fuss, Peter Mannon
Fibroproliferative diseases, including the pulmonary fibroses, systemic sclerosis, liver cirrhosis, cardiovascular disease, progressive kidney disease, and macular degeneration, are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality and can affect all tissues and organ systems. Fibrotic tissue remodeling can also influence cancer metastasis and accelerate chronic graft rejection in transplant recipients. Nevertheless, despite its enormous impact on human health, there are currently no approved treatments that directly target the mechanism(s) of fibrosis. The primary goals of this Review series on fibrotic diseases are to discuss some of the major fibroproliferative diseases and to identify the common and unique mechanisms of fibrogenesis that might be exploited in the development of effective antifibrotic therapies.
Thomas A. Wynn
The unrelenting and destructive progression of most fibrotic responses in the pulmonary, cardiovascular, integumentary, and alimentary systems remains a major medical challenge for which therapies are desperately needed. The pathophysiology of fibrosis remains an enigma, but considerable research and debate surrounds the question of whether chronic inflammation is the key driver of unrestrained wound healing (i.e., the fibrotic response) in these and other organ systems. This Review describes how infectious pathogens, chronic inflammation, and unrestrained fibroproliferation are likely to be part of a dynamic, unrelenting process propelling human fibrotic diseases.
Alessia Meneghin, Cory M. Hogaboam
Models of liver fibrosis, which include cell culture models, explanted and biopsied human material, and experimental animal models, have demonstrated that liver fibrosis is a highly dynamic example of solid organ wound healing. Recent work in human and animal models has shown that liver fibrosis is potentially reversible and, in specific circumstances, demonstrates resolution with a restoration of near normal architecture. This Review highlights the manner in which studies of models of liver fibrosis have contributed to the paradigm of dynamic wound healing in this solid organ.
John P. Iredale
The CXC chemokine family is a pleiotropic family of cytokines that are involved in promoting the trafficking of various leukocytes, in regulating angiogenesis and vascular remodeling, and in promoting the mobilization and trafficking of mesenchymal progenitor cells such as fibrocytes. These functions of CXC chemokines are important in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis and other fibroproliferative disorders. In this Review, we discuss the biology of CXC chemokine family members, specifically as it relates to their role in regulating vascular remodeling and trafficking of circulating mesenchymal progenitor cells (also known as fibrocytes) in pulmonary fibrosis.
Robert M. Strieter, Brigitte N. Gomperts, Michael P. Keane
A unique feature of systemic sclerosis (SSc) that distinguishes it from other fibrotic disorders is that autoimmunity and vasculopathy characteristically precede fibrosis. Moreover, fibrosis in SSc is not restricted to a single organ, but rather affects many organs and accounts for much of the morbidity and mortality associated with this disease. Although immunomodulatory drugs have been used extensively in the treatment of SSc, no therapy to date has been able to reverse or slow the progression of tissue fibrosis or substantially modify the natural progression of the disease. In this Review, we highlight recent studies that shed light on the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the fibrotic process in SSc and that identify cellular processes and intra- and extracellular proteins as potential novel targets for therapy in this prototypic multisystemic fibrotic disease.
John Varga, David Abraham
Hypertensive heart disease (HHD) occurs in patients that clinically have both diastolic and systolic heart failure and will soon become the most common cause of heart failure. Two key aspects of heart failure secondary to HHD are the relatively highly prevalent LV hypertrophy and cardiac fibrosis, caused by changes in the local and systemic neurohormonal environment. The fibrotic state is marked by changes in the balance between MMPs and their inhibitors, which alter the composition of the ECM. Importantly, the fibrotic ECM impairs cardiomyocyte function. Recent research suggests that therapies targeting the expression, synthesis, or activation of the enzymes responsible for ECM homeostasis might represent novel opportunities to modify the natural progression of HHD.
Bradford C. Berk, Keigi Fujiwara, Stephanie Lehoux
Most diseases that cause catastrophic loss of vision do so as a result of abnormal angiogenesis and wound healing, often in response to tissue ischemia or inflammation. Disruption of the highly ordered tissue architecture in the eye caused by vascular leakage, hemorrhage, and concomitant fibrosis can lead to mechanical disruption of the visual axis and/or biological malfunctioning. An increased understanding of inflammation, wound healing, and angiogenesis has led to the development of drugs effective in modulating these biological processes and, in certain circumstances, the preservation of vision. Unfortunately, such pharmacological interventions often are too little, too late, and progression of vision loss frequently occurs. The recent development of progenitor and/or stem cell technologies holds promise for the treatment of currently incurable ocular diseases.
Although it was first described in 1989, our understanding of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) deficiency is only now coming of age with the recent first description of the underlying molecular defects. The diverse clinical presentations, classifiable into four major syndromes, raise the question as to whether the deficiencies are primary or secondary. Recent studies, including the one by Mollet, Rötig, and colleagues reported in this issue of the JCI, document molecular defects in three of the nine genes required for CoQ10 biosynthesis, all of which are associated with early and severe clinical presentations (see the related article beginning on page 765). It is anticipated that defects in the other six genes will cause similar early-onset encephalomyopathies. Awareness of CoQ10 deficiency is important because individuals with primary or secondary variants may benefit from oral CoQ10 supplementation.
Salvatore DiMauro, Catarina M. Quinzii, Michio Hirano
Protein accumulation is a hallmark of many neurodegenerative disorders. In Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a hyperphosphorylated form of the protein tau (p-tau) forms intracellular inclusions known as neurofibrillary tangles. Deposits of p-tau have also been found in the brains of patients with Down’s syndrome, supranuclear palsy, and prion disease. Mutations in tau have been causally associated with at least one inherited neurologic disorder, frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17), implying that tau abnormalities by themselves can be a primary cause of degenerative diseases of the CNS. Removal of these p-tau species may occur by both chaperone-mediated refolding and degradation. In this issue of the JCI, Dickey and colleagues show that a cochaperone protein, carboxyl terminus of Hsp70-interacting protein (CHIP), in a complex with Hsp90 plays an important role in the removal of p-tau (see the related article beginning on page 648). Pharmacologic manipulation of Hsp90 may be used to alleviate p-tau accumulation in disease.
Dmitry Goryunov, Ronald K.H. Liem
The hormone aldosterone increases extracellular fluid volume and blood pressure by activating epithelial Na+ channels (ENaCs). Serum- and glucocorticoid-induced kinase 1 (SGK1) is an aldosterone-stimulated signaling molecule that enhances distal nephron Na+ transport, in part by preventing the internalization of ENaCs from the plasma membrane. In this issue of the JCI, Zhang et al. demonstrate that SGK1 enhances transcription of the α subunit of ENaC by preventing histone methylation, providing an additional mechanism by which SGK1 increases ENaC-mediated Na+ transport in the distal nephron (see the related article beginning on page 773).
David Pearce, Thomas R. Kleyman
In this issue of the JCI, Vaisar et al. studied the proteome of HDL (see the related article beginning on page 746). They reveal, quite unexpectedly, that HDL is enriched in several proteins involved in the complement cascade, as well as in a variety of protease inhibitors, supporting the concept that HDL plays a role in innate immunity and in the regulation of proteolytic cascades involved in inflammatory and coagulation processes. The protein makeup of HDL also appears to be altered in patients with coronary artery disease. HDL proteomics is in its infancy, and preliminary findings will need to be confirmed using standardized approaches in larger clinical samples. However, this approach promises to better elucidate the relationship of HDL to atherosclerosis and its complications and could eventually help in the development of biomarkers to predict the outcome of interventions that alter HDL levels and functions.
Muredach P. Reilly, Alan R. Tall
Natural antibodies are autoreactive/polyreactive antibodies believed to be secreted in the absence of xenoantigens. The origin and functional role of this limited and selective autoimmunity are not clear, nor is the specificity and range of autoantigens that drive the development of B cells producing natural antibodies. In this issue of the JCI, Merbl et al. report that in utero, humans generate natural IgM and IgA antibodies that recognize a uniform set of autoantigens (see the related article beginning on page 712), some of which are associated with autoimmune diseases. The authors postulate that this “autoimmunity” at birth favors the emergence of autoimmune diseases in later life. We present a molecular basis for the limited and common repertoire of antibodies produced by fetal B cells, which may be distinct from the abnormalities in B cell development described in patients with autoimmune diseases.
Eric Meffre, Jane E. Salmon
Inhaled environmental oxidants, such as ozone and particulates, have been variably linked to epithelial injury, inflammation, and perturbations in lung development, growth, and function. Reactions between ozone and lung surface lipids likely account for exposure-related pathophysiologic sequelae. In this issue of the JCI, Dahl et al. document a previously unrecognized pulmonary defense against inhaled oxidants in mice: macrophage scavenger receptors (SRs) bind proinflammatory oxidized lipids, thereby decreasing pulmonary inflammation (see the related article beginning on page 757). The study adds to our knowledge of diverse lung oxidative processes and identifies a potential regulatory mechanism governing pulmonary inflammation. Further investigations to elucidate more precise mechanisms and to determine the influence of SRs on airway epithelial injury, repair, and remodeling are warranted.
Edward M. Postlethwait
Granulomas represent a localized inflammatory reaction that is characteristically observed in many inflammatory conditions. However, the mechanisms of granuloma formation have not been fully defined. Herein we demonstrate, by using experimental models of intestinal inflammation, that a unique CD11c+ DC-like cell subset that exhibits phenotypic and functional features of immature myeloid DCs and is characterized by the expression of a macrophage marker (F4/80) produces large amounts of IL-23 and directly induces the development of granulomas under a Th1-predominant intestinal inflammatory condition. Importantly, both IL-4 and IgG contribute to the suppression of F4/80+ DC-like cell–mediated granuloma formation by regulating the function and differentiation of this cell subset. In addition, enteric flora is required for the F4/80+ DC-like cell–mediated granuloma formation. Collectively, our data provide what we believe are novel insights into the involvement of F4/80+ DC-like cells in intestinal granuloma formation and demonstrate the role of host (IL-4 and IgG) and environmental (enteric flora) factors that regulate this function.
Atsushi Mizoguchi ... Richard S. Blumberg, Atul K. Bhan
We previously found that low shear stress (LSS) induces atherosclerotic plaques in mice with increased lipid and matrix metalloproteinase content and decreased vascular smooth muscle and collagen content. Here, we evaluated the role of chemokines in this process, using an extravascular device inducing regions of LSS, high shear stress, and oscillatory shear stress (OSS) in the carotid artery. One week of shear stress alterations induced expression of IFN-γ–inducible protein–10 (IP-10) exclusively in the LSS region, whereas monocyte chemoattractant protein–1 (MCP-1) and the mouse homolog of growth-regulated oncogene α (GRO-α) were equally upregulated in both LSS and OSS regions. After 3 weeks, GRO-α and IP-10 were specifically upregulated in LSS regions. After 9 weeks, lesions with thinner fibrous caps and larger necrotic cores were found in the LSS region compared with the OSS region. Equal levels of MCP-1 expression were observed in both regions, while expression of fractalkine was found in the LSS region only. Blockage of fractalkine inhibited plaque growth and resulted in striking differences in plaque composition in the LSS region. We conclude that LSS or OSS triggers expression of chemokines involved in atherogenesis. Fractalkine upregulation is critically important for the composition of LSS-induced atherosclerotic lesions.
Caroline Cheng ... Rini de Crom, Rob Krams
In humans, inactivating mutations in the gene of the thyroid hormone transporter monocarboxylate transporter 8 (MCT8; SLC16A2) lead to severe forms of psychomotor retardation combined with imbalanced thyroid hormone serum levels. The MCT8-null mice described here, however, developed without overt deficits but also exhibited distorted 3,5,3′-triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) serum levels, resulting in increased hepatic activity of type 1 deiodinase (D1). In the mutants’ brains, entry of T4 was not affected, but uptake of T3 was diminished. Moreover, the T4 and T3 content in the brain of MCT8-null mice was decreased, the activity of D2 was increased, and D3 activity was decreased, indicating the hypothyroid state of this tissue. In the CNS, analysis of T3 target genes revealed that in the mutants, the neuronal T3 uptake was impaired in an area-specific manner, with strongly elevated thyrotropin-releasing hormone transcript levels in the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus and slightly decreased RC3 mRNA expression in striatal neurons; however, cerebellar Purkinje cells appeared unaffected, since they did not exhibit dendritic outgrowth defects and responded normally to T3 treatment in vitro. In conclusion, the circulating thyroid hormone levels of MCT8-null mice closely resemble those of humans with MCT8 mutations, yet in the mice, CNS development is only partially affected.
Marija Trajkovic ... Karl Bauer, Heike Heuer
Mediators involved in the generation of symptoms in patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are poorly understood. Here we show that colonic biopsy samples from IBS patients release increased levels of proteolytic activity (arginine cleavage) compared to asymptomatic controls. This was dependent on the activation of NF-κB. In addition, increased proteolytic activity was measured in vivo, in colonic washes from IBS compared with control patients. Trypsin and tryptase expression and release were increased in colonic biopsies from IBS patients compared with control subjects. Biopsies from IBS patients (but not controls) released mediators that sensitized murine sensory neurons in culture. Sensitization was prevented by a serine protease inhibitor and was absent in neurons lacking functional protease-activated receptor–2 (PAR2). Supernatants from colonic biopsies of IBS patients, but not controls, also caused somatic and visceral hyperalgesia and allodynia in mice, when administered into the colon. These pronociceptive effects were inhibited by serine protease inhibitors and a PAR2 antagonist and were absent in PAR2-deficient mice. Our study establishes that proteases are released in IBS and that they can directly stimulate sensory neurons and generate hypersensitivity symptoms through the activation of PAR2.
Nicolas Cenac ... Eldon Shaffer, Nathalie Vergnolle
A primary pathologic component of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the formation of neurofibrillary tangles composed of hyperphosphorylated tau (p-tau). Expediting the removal of these p-tau species may be a relevant therapeutic strategy. Here we report that inhibition of Hsp90 led to decreases in p-tau levels independent of heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) activation. A critical mediator of this mechanism was carboxy terminus of Hsp70–interacting protein (CHIP), a tau ubiquitin ligase. Cochaperones were also involved in Hsp90-mediated removal of p-tau, while those of the mature Hsp90 refolding complex prevented this effect. This is the first demonstration to our knowledge that blockade of the refolding pathway promotes p-tau turnover through degradation. We also show that peripheral administration of a novel Hsp90 inhibitor promoted selective decreases in p-tau species in a mouse model of tauopathy, further suggesting a central role for the Hsp90 complex in the pathogenesis of tauopathies. When taken in the context of known high-affinity Hsp90 complexes in affected regions of the AD brain, these data implicate a central role for Hsp90 in the development of AD and other tauopathies and may provide a rationale for the development of novel Hsp90-based therapeutic strategies.
Chad A. Dickey ... Francis Burrows, Leonard Petrucelli
The inherited motor neuron disease spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is caused by mutation of the telomeric survival motor neuron 1 (SMN1) gene with retention of the centromeric SMN2 gene. We sought to establish whether the potent and specific hydroxamic acid class of histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors activates SMN2 gene expression in vivo and modulates the SMA disease phenotype when delivered after disease onset. Single intraperitoneal doses of 10 mg/kg trichostatin A (TSA) in nontransgenic and SMA model mice resulted in increased levels of acetylated H3 and H4 histones and modest increases in SMN gene expression. Repeated daily doses of TSA caused increases in both SMN2-derived transcript and SMN protein levels in neural tissues and muscle, which were associated with an improvement in small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (snRNP) assembly. When TSA was delivered daily beginning on P5, after the onset of weight loss and motor deficit, there was improved survival, attenuated weight loss, and enhanced motor behavior. Pathological analysis showed increased myofiber size and number and increased anterior horn cell size. These results indicate that the hydroxamic acid class of HDAC inhibitors activates SMN2 gene expression in vivo and has an ameliorating effect on the SMA disease phenotype when administered after disease onset.
Amy M. Avila ... Kenneth H. Fischbeck, Charlotte J. Sumner
Dopamine- and cAMP-regulated phosphoprotein of molecular weight 32 kDa (DARPP-32), encoded by PPP1R1B, is a pivotal integrator of information in dopaminoceptive neurons, regulating the response to neuroleptics, psychotomimetics, and drugs of abuse, and affecting striatal function and plasticity. Despite extensive preclinical work, there are almost no data on DARPP-32 function in humans. Here, we identify, through resequencing in 298 chromosomes, a frequent PPP1R1B haplotype predicting mRNA expression of PPP1R1B isoforms in postmortem human brain. This haplotype was associated with enhanced performance on several cognitive tests that depend on frontostriatal function. Multimodal imaging of healthy subjects revealed an impact of the haplotype on neostriatal volume, activation, and the functional connectivity of the prefrontal cortex. The haplotype was associated with the risk for schizophrenia in 1 family-based association analysis. Our convergent results identify a prefrontal-neostriatal system affected by variation in PPP1R1B and suggest that DARPP-32 plays a pivotal role in cognitive function and possibly in the pathogenesis of schizophrenia.
Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg ... Joel E. Kleinman, Daniel R. Weinberger
Aminoglycosides can readthrough premature termination codons (PTCs), permitting translation of full-length proteins. Previously we have found variable efficiency of readthrough in response to the aminoglycoside gentamicin among cystic fibrosis (CF) patients, all carrying the W1282X nonsense mutation. Here we demonstrate that there are patients in whom the level of CF transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) nonsense transcripts is markedly reduced, while in others it is significantly higher. Response to gentamicin was found only in patients with the higher level. We further investigated the possibility that the nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) might vary among cells and hence governs the level of nonsense transcripts available for readthrough. Our results demonstrate differences in NMD efficiency of CFTR transcripts carrying the W1282X mutation among different epithelial cell lines derived from the same tissue. Variability was also found for 5 physiologic NMD substrates, RPL3, SC35 1.6 kb, SC35 1.7 kb, ASNS, and CARS. Importantly, our results demonstrate the existence of cells in which NMD of all transcripts was efficient and others in which the NMD was less efficient. Downregulation of NMD in cells carrying the W1282X mutation increased the level of CFTR nonsense transcripts and enhanced the CFTR chloride channel activity in response to gentamicin. Together our results suggest that the efficiency of NMD might vary and hence have an important role in governing the response to treatments aiming to promote readthrough of PTCs in many genetic diseases.
Liat Linde ... Eitan Kerem, Batsheva Kerem
High-mobility group A1 (HMGA1) overexpression and gene rearrangement are frequent events in human cancer, but the molecular basis of HMGA1 oncogenic activity remains unclear. Here we describe a mechanism through which HMGA1 inhibits p53-mediated apoptosis by counteracting the p53 proapoptotic activator homeodomain-interacting protein kinase 2 (HIPK2). We found that HMGA1 overexpression promoted HIPK2 relocalization in the cytoplasm and inhibition of p53 apoptotic function, while HIPK2 overexpression reestablished HIPK2 nuclear localization and sensitivity to apoptosis. HIPK2 depletion by RNA interference suppressed the antiapoptotic effect of HMGA1, which indicates that HIPK2 is the target required for HMGA1 to repress the apoptotic activity of p53. Consistent with this process, a strong correlation among HMGA1 overexpression, HIPK2 cytoplasmic localization, and low spontaneous apoptosis index (comparable to that observed in mutant p53–carrying tumors) was observed in WT p53–expressing human breast carcinomas. Hence, cytoplasmic relocalization of HIPK2 induced by HMGA1 overexpression is a mechanism of inactivation of p53 apoptotic function that we believe to be novel.
Giovanna Maria Pierantoni ... Silvia Soddu, Alfredo Fusco
A major adaptive pathway for hypoxia is hypoxic preconditioning (HPC), a form of endogenous protection that renders cells tolerant to severe challenges of hypoxia. We sought to define the antiinflammatory properties of HPC. cDNA microarray analysis of lung tissue from mice subjected to hypoxia or HPC identified a cluster of NF-κB–regulated genes whose expression is attenuated by HPC. Studies using an NF-κB luciferase reporter assay confirmed a significant suppression of NF-κB activation during HPC. HPC-elicited activity was conferrable, as a soluble supernatant from HPC-treated cells, and the active fraction was purified and identified as adenosine (Ado). Guided by recent studies demonstrating bacterial inhibition of NF-κB through cullin-1 (Cul-1) deneddylation, we found a dose-dependent deneddylation of Cul-1 by Ado receptor stimulation predominantly mediated by the Ado A2B receptor subtype. Further, siRNA-mediated repression of CSN5, a subunit of the COP9 signalosome responsible for deneddylation of Cul-1, partially reversed HPC-mediated inhibition of NF-κB. Cul-1 deneddylation was evident in a murine model of HPC and lost in animals lacking extracellular Ado (Cd73–/– mice). Taken together, these results demonstrate that HPC induces extracellular accumulation of Ado and suppresses NF-κB activity through deneddylation of Cul-1. These results define a molecular regulatory pathway by which Ado provides potent antiinflammatory properties.
Joseph Khoury, Juan C. Ibla, Andrew S. Neish, Sean P. Colgan
Autoimmune diseases are often marked by autoantibodies binding to self antigens. However, many healthy persons also manifest autoantibodies that bind to self antigens, known as natural autoantibodies. In order to characterize natural autoantibodies present at birth, we used an antigen microarray (antigen chip) to analyze informatically (with clustering algorithms and correlation mapping) the natural IgM, IgA, and IgG autoantibody repertoires present in 10 pairs of sera from healthy mothers and the cords of their newborn babies. These autoantibodies were found to bind to 305 different, mostly self, molecules. We report that in utero, humans develop IgM and IgA autoantibodies to relatively uniform sets of self molecules. The global patterns of maternal IgM autoantibodies significantly diverged from those at birth, although certain reactivities remained common to both maternal and cord samples. Because maternal IgG antibodies (unlike IgM and IgA) cross the placenta, maternal and cord IgG autoantibodies showed essentially identical reactivities. We found that some self antigens that bind cord autoantibodies were among the target self antigens associated with autoimmune diseases later in life. Thus, the obviously benign autoimmunity prevalent at birth may provide the basis for the emergence of some autoimmune diseases relatively prevalent later in life.
Yifat Merbl, Merav Zucker-Toledano, Francisco J. Quintana, Irun R. Cohen
Melanoma is the cancer with the highest increase in incidence, and transformation of radial growth to vertical growth (i.e., noninvasive to invasive) melanoma is required for invasive disease and metastasis. We have previously shown that p42/p44 MAP kinase is activated in radial growth melanoma, suggesting that further signaling events are required for vertical growth melanoma. The molecular events that accompany this transformation are not well understood. Akt, a signaling molecule downstream of PI3K, was introduced into the radial growth WM35 melanoma in order to test whether Akt overexpression is sufficient to accomplish this transformation. Overexpression of Akt led to upregulation of VEGF, increased production of superoxide ROS, and the switch to a more pronounced glycolytic metabolism. Subcutaneous implantation of WM35 cells overexpressing Akt led to rapidly growing tumors in vivo, while vector control cells did not form tumors. We demonstrated that Akt was associated with malignant transformation of melanoma through at least 2 mechanisms. First, Akt may stabilize cells with extensive mitochondrial DNA mutation, which can generate ROS. Second, Akt can induce expression of the ROS-generating enzyme NOX4. Akt thus serves as a molecular switch that increases angiogenesis and the generation of superoxide, fostering more aggressive tumor behavior. Targeting Akt and ROS may be of therapeutic importance in treatment of advanced melanoma.
Baskaran Govindarajan ... José M. Cuezva, Jack L. Arbiser
The receptor tyrosine kinase/PI3K/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (RTK/PI3K/Akt/mTOR) pathway is frequently altered in tumors. Inactivating mutations of either the TSC1 or the TSC2 tumor-suppressor genes cause tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC), a benign tumor syndrome in which there is both hyperactivation of mTOR and inhibition of RTK/PI3K/Akt signaling, partially due to reduced PDGFR expression. We report here that activation of PI3K or Akt, or deletion of phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) also suppresses PDGFR expression. This was a direct effect of mTOR activation, since rapamycin restored PDGFR expression and PDGF-sensitive Akt activation in Tsc1–/– and Tsc2–/– cells. Akt activation in response to EGF in Tsc2–/– cells was also reduced. Furthermore, Akt activation in response to each of EGF, IGF, and PMA was reduced in cells lacking both PDGFRα and PDGFRβ, implying a role for PDGFR in transmission of growth signals downstream of these stimuli. Consistent with the reduction in PI3K/Akt signaling, in a nude mouse model both Tsc1–/– and Tsc2–/– cells had reduced tumorigenic potential in comparison to control cells, which was enhanced by expression of either active Akt or PDGFRβ. In conclusion, PDGFR is a major target of negative feedback regulation in cells with activated mTOR, which limits the growth potential of TSC tumors.
Hongbing Zhang ... James D. Griffin, David J. Kwiatkowski
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is strongly associated with hepatic insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes mellitus, but the molecular signals linking hepatic fat accumulation to hepatic insulin resistance are unknown. Three days of high-fat feeding in rats results specifically in hepatic steatosis and hepatic insulin resistance. In this setting, PKCε, but not other isoforms of PKC, is activated. To determine whether PKCε plays a causal role in the pathogenesis of hepatic insulin resistance, we treated rats with an antisense oligonucleotide against PKCε and subjected them to 3 days of high-fat feeding. Knocking down PKCε expression protects rats from fat-induced hepatic insulin resistance and reverses fat-induced defects in hepatic insulin signaling. Furthermore, we show that PKCε associates with the insulin receptor in vivo and impairs insulin receptor kinase activity both in vivo and in vitro. These data support the hypothesis that PKCε plays a critical role in mediating fat-induced hepatic insulin resistance and represents a novel therapeutic target for type 2 diabetes.
Varman T. Samuel ... Sanjay Bhanot, Gerald I. Shulman
HDL lowers the risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease by promoting cholesterol efflux from macrophage foam cells. However, other antiatherosclerotic properties of HDL are poorly understood. To test the hypothesis that the lipoprotein carries proteins that might have novel cardioprotective activities, we used shotgun proteomics to investigate the composition of HDL isolated from healthy subjects and subjects with coronary artery disease (CAD). Unexpectedly, our analytical strategy identified multiple complement-regulatory proteins and a diverse array of distinct serpins with serine-type endopeptidase inhibitor activity. Many acute-phase response proteins were also detected, supporting the proposal that HDL is of central importance in inflammation. Mass spectrometry and biochemical analyses demonstrated that HDL3 from subjects with CAD was selectively enriched in apoE, raising the possibility that HDL carries a unique cargo of proteins in humans with clinically significant cardiovascular disease. Collectively, our observations suggest that HDL plays previously unsuspected roles in regulating the complement system and protecting tissue from proteolysis and that the protein cargo of HDL contributes to its antiinflammatory and antiatherogenic properties.
Tomas Vaisar ... John F. Oram, Jay W. Heinecke
Alveolar macrophages (AMs) express the class A scavenger receptors (SRAs) macrophage receptor with collagenous structure (MARCO) and scavenger receptor AI/II (SRA-I/II), which recognize oxidized lipids and provide innate defense against inhaled pathogens and particles. Increased MARCO expression in lungs of ozone-resistant mice suggested an additional role protecting against inhaled oxidants. After ozone exposure, MARCO–/– mice showed greater lung injury than did MARCO+/+ mice. Ozone is known to generate oxidized, proinflammatory lipids in lung lining fluid, such as 5β,6β-epoxycholesterol (β-epoxide) and 1-palmitoyl-2-(9′-oxo-nonanoyl)-glycerophosphocholine (PON-GPC). Intratracheal instillation of either lipid caused substantial neutrophil influx in MARCO–/– mice, but had no effect in MARCO+/+ mice. Normal AMs showed greater uptake in vitro of β-epoxide compared with MARCO–/– AMs, consistent with SRA function in binding oxidized lipids. SR-AI/II–/– mice showed similar enhanced acute lung inflammation after β-epoxide or another inhaled oxidant (aerosolized leachate of residual oil fly ash). In contrast, subacute ozone exposure did not enhance inflammation in SR-AI/II–/– versus SR-AI/II+/+ mice, reflecting increased AM expression of MARCO. These data identify what we believe to be a novel function for AM SRAs in decreasing pulmonary inflammation after oxidant inhalation by scavenging proinflammatory oxidized lipids from lung lining fluids.
Morten Dahl ... Steven R. Kleeberger, Lester Kobzik
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) plays a pivotal role in oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS), as it distributes electrons among the various dehydrogenases and the cytochrome segments of the respiratory chain. We have identified 2 novel inborn errors of CoQ10 biosynthesis in 2 distinct families. In both cases, enzymologic studies showed that quinone-dependent OXPHOS activities were in the range of the lowest control values, while OXPHOS enzyme activities were normal. CoQ10 deficiency was confirmed by restoration of normal OXPHOS activities after addition of quinone. A genome-wide search for homozygosity in family 1 identified a region of chromosome 10 encompassing the gene prenyldiphosphate synthase, subunit 1 (PDSS1), which encodes the human ortholog of the yeast COQ1 gene, a key enzyme of CoQ10 synthesis. Sequencing of PDSS1 identified a homozygous nucleotide substitution modifying a conserved amino acid of the protein (D308E). In the second family, direct sequencing of OH-benzoate polyprenyltransferase (COQ2), the human ortholog of the yeast COQ2 gene, identified a single base pair frameshift deletion resulting in a premature stop codon (c.1198delT, N401fsX415). Transformation of yeast Δcoq1 and Δcoq2 strains by mutant yeast COQ1 and mutant human COQ2 genes, respectively, resulted in defective growth on respiratory medium, indicating that these mutations are indeed the cause of OXPHOS deficiency.
Julie Mollet ... Arnold Munnich, Agnès Rötig
Aldosterone plays a major role in the regulation of salt balance and the pathophysiology of cardiovascular and renal diseases. Many aldosterone-regulated genes — including that encoding the epithelial Na+ channel (ENaC), a key arbiter of Na+ transport in the kidney and other epithelia — have been identified, but the mechanisms by which the hormone modifies chromatin structure and thus transcription remain unknown. We previously described the basal repression of ENaCα by a complex containing the histone H3 Lys79 methyltransferase disruptor of telomeric silencing alternative splice variant a (Dot1a) and the putative transcription factor ALL1-fused gene from chromosome 9 (Af9) as well as the release of this repression by aldosterone treatment. Here we provide evidence from renal collecting duct cells and serum- and glucocorticoid-induced kinase–1 (Sgk1) WT and knockout mice that Sgk1 phosphorylated Af9, thereby impairing the Dot1a-Af9 interaction and leading to targeted histone H3 Lys79 hypomethylation at the ENaCα promoter and derepression of ENaCα transcription. Thus, Af9 is a physiologic target of Sgk1, and Sgk1 negatively regulates the Dot1a-Af9 repressor complex that controls transcription of ENaCα and likely other aldosterone-induced genes.
Wenzheng Zhang ... Volker Vallon, Bruce C. Kone
Neutropenia and neutrophil dysfunction are common in many diseases, although their etiology is often unclear. Previous views held that there was a single ER enzyme, glucose-6-phosphatase–α (G6Pase-α), whose activity — limited to the liver, kidney, and intestine — was solely responsible for the final stages of gluconeogenesis and glycogenolysis, in which glucose-6-phosphate (G6P) is hydrolyzed to glucose for release to the blood. Recently, we characterized a second G6Pase activity, that of G6Pase-β (also known as G6PC), which is also capable of hydrolyzing G6P to glucose but is ubiquitously expressed and not implicated in interprandial blood glucose homeostasis. We now report that the absence of G6Pase-β led to neutropenia; defects in neutrophil respiratory burst, chemotaxis, and calcium flux; and increased susceptibility to bacterial infection. Consistent with this, G6Pase-β–deficient (G6pc3–/–) mice with experimental peritonitis exhibited increased expression of the glucose-regulated proteins upregulated during ER stress in their neutrophils and bone marrow, and the G6pc3–/– neutrophils exhibited an enhanced rate of apoptosis. Our results define a molecular pathway to neutropenia and neutrophil dysfunction of previously unknown etiology, providing a potential model for the treatment of these conditions.
Yuk Yin Cheung ... Brian C. Mansfield, Janice Y. Chou
The study of regulatory networks in human pathogens such as Cryptococcus neoformans provides insights into host-pathogen interactions that may allow for correlation of gene expression patterns with clinical outcomes. In the present study, deletion of the cryptococcal copper-dependent transcription factor 1 (Cuf1) led to defects in growth and virulence factor expression in low copper conditions. In mouse models, cuf1Δ strains exhibited reduced dissemination to the brain, but no change in lung growth, suggesting copper is limiting in neurologic infections. To examine this further, a biologic probe of available copper was constructed using the cryptococcal CUF1-dependent copper transporter, CTR4. Fungal cells demonstrated high CTR4 expression levels after phagocytosis by macrophage-like J774.16 cells and during infection of mouse brains, but not lungs, consistent with limited copper availability during neurologic infection. This was extended to human brain infections by demonstrating CTR4 expression during C. neoformans infection of an AIDS patient. Moreover, high CTR4 expression by cryptococcal strains from 24 solid organ transplant patients was associated with dissemination to the CNS. Our results suggest that copper acquisition plays a central role in fungal pathogenesis during neurologic infection and that measurement of stable traits such as CTR4 expression may be useful for risk stratification of individuals with cryptococcosis.
Scott R. Waterman ... Nina Singh, Peter R. Williamson
An essential element of the innate immune response to injury is the capacity to recognize microbial invasion and stimulate production of antimicrobial peptides. We investigated how this process is controlled in the epidermis. Keratinocytes surrounding a wound increased expression of the genes coding for the microbial pattern recognition receptors CD14 and TLR2, complementing an increase in cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide expression. These genes were induced by 1,25(OH)2 vitamin D3 (1,25D3; its active form), suggesting a role for vitamin D3 in this process. How 1,25D3 could participate in the injury response was explained by findings that the levels of CYP27B1, which converts 25OH vitamin D3 (25D3) to active 1,25D3, were increased in wounds and induced in keratinocytes in response to TGF-β1. Blocking the vitamin D receptor, inhibiting CYP27B1, or limiting 25D3 availability prevented TGF-β1 from inducing cathelicidin, CD14, or TLR2 in human keratinocytes, while CYP27B1-deficient mice failed to increase CD14 expression following wounding. The functional consequence of these observations was confirmed by demonstrating that 1,25D3 enabled keratinocytes to recognize microbial components through TLR2 and respond by cathelicidin production. Thus, we demonstrate what we believe to be a previously unexpected role for vitamin D3 in innate immunity, enabling keratinocytes to recognize and respond to microbes and to protect wounds against infection.
Jürgen Schauber ... Robert L. Modlin, Richard L. Gallo
We rescued the embryonic lethality of global PPARγ knockout by breeding Mox2-Cre (MORE) mice with floxed PPARγ mice to inactivate PPARγ in the embryo but not in trophoblasts and created a generalized PPARγ knockout mouse model, MORE-PPARγ knockout (MORE-PGKO) mice. PPARγ inactivation caused severe lipodystrophy and insulin resistance; surprisingly, it also caused hypotension. Paradoxically, PPARγ agonists had the same effect. We showed that another mouse model of lipodystrophy was hypertensive, ruling out the lipodystrophy as a cause. Further, high salt loading did not correct the hypotension in MORE-PGKO mice. In vitro studies showed that the vasculature from MORE-PGKO mice was more sensitive to endothelial-dependent relaxation caused by muscarinic stimulation, but was not associated with changes in eNOS expression or phosphorylation. In addition, vascular smooth muscle had impaired contraction in response to α-adrenergic agents. The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system was mildly activated, consistent with increased vascular capacitance or decreased volume. These effects are likely mechanisms contributing to the hypotension. Our results demonstrated that PPARγ is required to maintain normal adiposity and insulin sensitivity in adult mice. Surprisingly, genetic loss of PPARγ function, like activation by agonists, lowered blood pressure, likely through a mechanism involving increased vascular relaxation.
Sheng Zhong Duan ... David S. Milstone, Richard M. Mortensen
Peripheral T cell lymphoma, unspecified (PTCL/U), the most common form of PTCL, displays heterogeneous morphology and phenotype, poor response to treatment, and poor prognosis. We demonstrate that PTCL/U shows a gene expression profile clearly distinct from that of normal T cells. Comparison with the profiles of purified T cell subpopulations (CD4+, CD8+, resting [HLA-DR–], and activated [HLA-DR+]) reveals that PTCLs/U are most closely related to activated peripheral T lymphocytes, either CD4+ or CD8+. Interestingly, the global gene expression profile cannot be surrogated by routine CD4/CD8 immunohistochemistry. When compared with normal T cells, PTCLs/U display deregulation of functional programs often involved in tumorigenesis (e.g., apoptosis, proliferation, cell adhesion, and matrix remodeling). Products of deregulated genes can be detected in PTCLs/U by immunohistochemistry with an ectopic, paraphysiologic, or stromal location. PTCLs/U aberrantly express, among others, PDGFRα, a tyrosine-kinase receptor, whose deregulation is often related to a malignant phenotype. Notably, both phosphorylation of PDGFRα and sensitivity of cultured PTCL cells to imatinib (as well as to an inhibitor of histone deacetylase) were found. These results, which might be extended to other more rare PTCL categories, provide insight into tumor pathogenesis and clinical management of PTCL/U.
Pier Paolo Piccaluga ... Riccardo Dalla Favera, Stefano A. Pileri
Amrie C. Grammer ... Gabor G. Illei, Peter E. Lipsky
Ellen J. Kim ... Maria Wysocka, Alain H. Rook
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