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Abstract

Germinal center (GC) responses require B cells to respond to a dynamic set of intercellular and microenvironmental signals that instruct B cell positioning, differentiation, and metabolic reprogramming. RHO-associated coiled-coil–containing protein kinase 2 (ROCK2), a serine-threonine kinase that can be therapeutically targeted by ROCK inhibitors or statins, is a key downstream effector of RHOA GTPases. Although RHOA-mediated pathways are emerging as critical regulators of GC responses, the role of ROCK2 in B cells is unknown. Here, we found that ROCK2 was activated in response to key T cell signals like CD40 and IL-21 and that it regulated GC formation and maintenance. RNA-Seq analyses revealed that ROCK2 controlled a unique transcriptional program in GC B cells that promoted optimal GC polarization and cholesterol biosynthesis. ROCK2 regulated this program by restraining AKT activation and subsequently enhancing FOXO1 activity. ATAC-Seq (assay for transposase-accessible chromatin with high-throughput sequencing) and biochemical analyses revealed that the effects of ROCK2 on cholesterol biosynthesis were instead mediated via a novel mechanism. ROCK2 directly phosphorylated interferon regulatory factor 8 (IRF8), a crucial mediator of GC responses, and promoted its interaction with sterol regulatory element–binding transcription factor 2 (SREBP2) at key regulatory regions controlling the expression of cholesterol biosynthetic enzymes, resulting in optimal recruitment of SREBP2 at these sites. These findings thus uncover ROCK2 as a multifaceted and therapeutically targetable regulator of GC responses.

Authors

Edd Ricker, Yurii Chinenov, Tania Pannellini, Danny Flores-Castro, Chao Ye, Sanjay Gupta, Michela Manni, James K. Liao, Alessandra B. Pernis

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Abstract

Children and adults with Philadelphia chromosome–like B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (Ph-like B-ALL) experience high relapse rates despite best-available conventional chemotherapy. Ph-like ALL is driven by genetic alterations that activate constitutive cytokine receptor and kinase signaling, and early-phase trials are investigating the potential of the addition of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) to chemotherapy to improve clinical outcomes. However, preclinical studies have shown that JAK or PI3K pathway inhibition is insufficient to eradicate the most common cytokine receptor–like factor 2–rearranged (CRLF2-rearranged) Ph-like ALL subset. We thus sought to define additional essential signaling pathways required in Ph-like leukemogenesis for improved therapeutic targeting. Herein, we describe an adaptive signaling plasticity of CRLF2-rearranged Ph-like ALL following selective TKI pressure, which occurs in the absence of genetic mutations. Interestingly, we observed that Ph-like ALL cells have activated SRC, ERK, and PI3K signaling consistent with activated B cell receptor (BCR) signaling, although they do not express cell surface μ-heavy chain (μHC). Combinatorial targeting of JAK/STAT, PI3K, and “BCR-like” signaling with multiple TKIs and/or dexamethasone prevented this signaling plasticity and induced complete cell death, demonstrating a more optimal and clinically pragmatic therapeutic strategy for CRLF2-rearranged Ph-like ALL.

Authors

Christian Hurtz, Gerald B. Wertheim, Joseph P. Loftus, Daniel Blumenthal, Anne Lehman, Yong Li, Asen Bagashev, Bryan Manning, Katherine D. Cummins, Janis K. Burkhardt, Alexander E. Perl, Martin Carroll, Sarah K. Tasian

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Abstract

Proliferation of CD4+ T cells harboring HIV-1 proviruses is a major contributor to viral persistence in people on antiretroviral therapy (ART). To determine whether differential rates of clonal proliferation or HIV-1–specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) pressure shape the provirus landscape, we performed an intact proviral DNA assay (IPDA) and obtained 661 near–full-length provirus sequences from 8 individuals with suppressed viral loads on ART at time points 7 years apart. We observed slow decay of intact proviruses but no changes in the proportions of various types of defective proviruses. The proportion of intact proviruses in expanded clones was similar to that of defective proviruses in clones. Intact proviruses observed in clones did not have more escaped CTL epitopes than intact proviruses observed as singlets. Concordantly, total proviruses at later time points or observed in clones were not enriched in escaped or unrecognized epitopes. Three individuals with natural control of HIV-1 infection (controllers) on ART, included because controllers have strong HIV-1–specific CTL responses, had a smaller proportion of intact proviruses but a distribution of defective provirus types and escaped or unrecognized epitopes similar to that of the other individuals. This work suggests that CTL selection does not significantly check clonal proliferation of infected cells or greatly alter the provirus landscape in people on ART.

Authors

Annukka A.R. Antar, Katharine M. Jenike, Sunyoung Jang, Danielle N. Rigau, Daniel B. Reeves, Rebecca Hoh, Melissa R. Krone, Jeanne C. Keruly, Richard D. Moore, Joshua T. Schiffer, Bareng A.S. Nonyane, Frederick M. Hecht, Steven G. Deeks, Janet D. Siliciano, Ya-Chi Ho, Robert F. Siliciano

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Abstract

BACKGROUND Postreceptor insulin resistance (IR) is associated with hyperglycemia and hepatic steatosis. However, receptor-level IR (e.g., insulin receptor pathogenic variants, INSR) causes hyperglycemia without steatosis. We examined 4 pathologic conditions of IR in humans to examine pathways controlling lipid metabolism and gluconeogenesis.METHODS Cross-sectional study of severe receptor IR (INSR, n = 7) versus postreceptor IR that was severe (lipodystrophy, n = 14), moderate (type 2 diabetes, n = 9), or mild (obesity, n = 8). Lipolysis (glycerol turnover), hepatic glucose production (HGP), gluconeogenesis (deuterium incorporation from body water into glucose), hepatic triglyceride (magnetic resonance spectroscopy), and hepatic fat oxidation (plasma β-hydroxybutyrate) were measured.RESULTS Lipolysis was 2- to 3-fold higher in INSR versus all other groups, and HGP was 2-fold higher in INSR and lipodystrophy versus type 2 diabetes and obesity (P < 0.001), suggesting severe adipose and hepatic IR. INSR subjects had a higher contribution of gluconeogenesis to HGP, approximately 77%, versus 52% to 59% in other groups (P = 0.0001). Despite high lipolysis, INSR subjects had low hepatic triglycerides (0.5% [interquartile range 0.1%–0.5%]), in contrast to lipodystrophy (10.6% [interquartile range 2.8%–17.1%], P < 0.0001). β-hydroxybutyrate was 2- to 7-fold higher in INSR versus all other groups (P < 0.0001), consistent with higher hepatic fat oxidation.CONCLUSION These data support a key pathogenic role of adipose tissue IR to increase glycerol and FFA availability to the liver in both receptor and postreceptor IR. However, the fate of FFA diverges in these populations. In receptor-level IR, FFA oxidation drives gluconeogenesis rather than being reesterified to triglyceride. In contrast, in postreceptor IR, FFA contributes to both gluconeogenesis and hepatic steatosis.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01778556, NCT00001987, and NCT02457897.FUNDING National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, US Department of Agriculture/Agricultural Research Service 58-3092-5-001.

Authors

Hilal Sekizkardes, Stephanie Therese Chung, Shaji Chacko, Morey W. Haymond, Megan Startzell, Mary Walter, Peter J. Walter, Marissa Lightbourne, Rebecca J. Brown

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Abstract

T follicular helper (Tfh) cells are indispensable for the formation of germinal center (GC) reactions, whereas T follicular regulatory (Tfr) cells inhibit Tfh-mediated GC responses. Aberrant activation of Tfh cells contributes substantially to the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Nonetheless, the molecular mechanisms mitigating excessive Tfh cell differentiation are not fully understood. Herein we demonstrate that the adenovirus E4 promoter-binding protein (E4BP4) mediates a feedback loop and acts as a transcriptional brake to inhibit Tfh cell differentiation. Furthermore, we show that such an immunological mechanism is compromised in patients with SLE. Establishing mice with either conditional knockout (cKO) or knockin (cKI) of the E4bp4 gene in T cells reveals that E4BP4 strongly inhibits Tfh cell differentiation. Mechanistically, E4BP4 regulates Bcl6 transcription by recruiting the repressive epigenetic modifiers HDAC1 and EZH2. E4BP4 phosphorylation site mutants have limited capability with regard to inhibiting Tfh cell differentiation. In SLE, we detected impaired phosphorylation of E4BP4, finding that this compromised transcription factor is positively correlated with disease activity. These findings unveiled molecular mechanisms by which E4BP4 restrains Tfh cell differentiation, whose compromised function is associated with uncontrolled autoimmune reactions in SLE.

Authors

Zijun Wang, Ming Zhao, Jinghua Yin, Limin Liu, Longyuan Hu, Yi Huang, Aiyun Liu, Jiajun Ouyang, Xiaoli Min, Shijia Rao, Wenhui Zhou, Haijing Wu, Akihiko Yoshimura, Qianjin Lu

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Abstract

Allergic asthma is mediated by Th2 responses to inhaled allergens. Although previous experiments indicated that Notch signaling activates expression of the key Th2 transcription factor Gata3, it remains controversial how Notch promotes allergic airway inflammation. Here we show that T cell–specific Notch deficiency in mice prevented house dust mite–driven eosinophilic airway inflammation and significantly reduced Th2 cytokine production, serum IgE levels, and airway hyperreactivity. However, transgenic Gata3 overexpression in Notch-deficient T cells only partially rescued this phenotype. We found that Notch signaling was not required for T cell proliferation or Th2 polarization. Instead, Notch-deficient in vitro–polarized Th2 cells showed reduced accumulation in the lungs upon in vivo transfer and allergen challenge, as Notch-deficient Th2 cells were retained in the lung-draining lymph nodes. Transcriptome analyses and sequential adoptive transfer experiments revealed that while Notch-deficient lymph node Th2 cells established competence for lung migration, they failed to upregulate sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 1 (S1PR1) and its critical upstream transcriptional activator Krüppel-like factor 2 (KLF2). As this KLF2/S1PR1 axis represents the essential cell-intrinsic regulator of T cell lymph node egress, we conclude that the druggable Notch signaling pathway licenses the Th2 response in allergic airway inflammation via promoting lymph node egress.

Authors

Irma Tindemans, Anne van Schoonhoven, Alex KleinJan, Marjolein J.W. de Bruijn, Melanie Lukkes, Menno van Nimwegen, Anouk van den Branden, Ingrid M. Bergen, Odilia B.J. Corneth, Wilfred F.J. van IJcken, Ralph Stadhouders, Rudi W. Hendriks

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Abstract

Immune microenvironment plays a critical role in lung cancer control versus progression and metastasis. In this investigation, we explored the effect of tumor-infiltrating lymphocyte subpopulations on lung cancer biology by studying in vitro cocultures, in vivo mouse models, and human lung cancer tissue. Lymphocyte conditioned media (CM) induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) and migration in both primary human lung cancer cells and cell lines. Correspondingly, major accumulation of Th9 and Th17 cells was detected in human lung cancer tissue and correlated with poor survival. Coculturing lung cancer cells with Th9/Th17 cells or exposing them to the respective CM induced EMT in cancer cells and modulated the expression profile of genes implicated in EMT and metastasis. These features were reproduced by the signatory cytokines IL-9 and IL-17, with gene regulatory profiles evoked by these cytokines partly overlapping and partly complementary. Coinjection of Th9/Th17 cells with tumor cells in WT, Rag1–/–, Il9r–/–, and Il17ra–/– mice altered tumor growth and metastasis. Accordingly, inhibition of IL-9 or IL-17 cytokines by neutralizing antibodies decreased EMT and slowed lung cancer progression and metastasis. In conclusion, Th9 and Th17 lymphocytes induce lung cancer cell EMT, thereby promoting migration and metastatic spreading and offering potentially novel therapeutic strategies.

Authors

Ylia Salazar, Xiang Zheng, David Brunn, Hartmann Raifer, Felix Picard, Yajuan Zhang, Hauke Winter, Stefan Guenther, Andreas Weigert, Benno Weigmann, Laure Dumoutier, Jean-Christophe Renauld, Ari Waisman, Anja Schmall, Amanda Tufman, Ludger Fink, Bernhard Brüne, Tobias Bopp, Friedrich Grimminger, Werner Seeger, Soni Savai Pullamsetti, Magdalena Huber, Rajkumar Savai

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Abstract

Mechanical stretch of baroreceptors in the wall of the aortic arch and carotid sinus initiates autonomic reflexes to change heart rate and blood pressure for cardiovascular homeostasis. In this issue of the JCI, Lu et al. show that tentonin 3 (TTN3), a recently identified stretch-sensitive ion channel, was present at the vagus afferent nerve endings innervating the aortic arch to function as a baroreceptor. This study expands the molecular profiles of baroreceptors and provides new insights into molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of cardiovascular functions through baroreceptor function.

Authors

Jianguo G. Gu, Dan E. Berkowitz

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Abstract

Th17 cells (producing IL-17) and Th9 cells (producing IL-9) exhibit functional plasticity, and their role in tumorigenicity is controversial. Th17/IL-17 and Th9/IL-9 exhibit critical, but often opposing, roles in tumor progression. In this issue of the JCI, Salazar et al. show that while IL-17 and IL-9 induced distinct but complementary molecular pathways, both cytokines also induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in lung cancer cells and promoted metastatic spreading. A key question before us now is whether IL-9 and IL-17 contribute to tumor progression in a sequential and stage-specific manner within the tumor microenvironment.

Authors

Chi Yan, Ann Richmond

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Abstract

The baroreceptor reflex is a powerful neural feedback that regulates arterial pressure (AP). Mechanosensitive channels transduce pulsatile AP to electrical signals in baroreceptors. Here we show that tentonin 3 (TTN3/TMEM150C), a cation channel activated by mechanical strokes, is essential for detecting AP changes in the aortic arch. TTN3 was expressed in nerve terminals in the aortic arch and nodose ganglion (NG) neurons. Genetic ablation of Ttn3 induced ambient hypertension, tachycardia, AP fluctuations, and impaired baroreflex sensitivity. Chemogenetic silencing or activation of Ttn3+ neurons in the NG resulted in an increase in AP and heart rate, or vice versa. More important, overexpression of Ttn3 in the NG of Ttn3–/– mice reversed the cardiovascular changes observed in Ttn3–/– mice. We conclude that TTN3 is a molecular component contributing to the sensing of dynamic AP changes in baroreceptors.

Authors

Huan-Jun Lu, Thien-Luan Nguyen, Gyu-Sang Hong, Sungmin Pak, Hyesu Kim, Hyungsup Kim, Dong-Yoon Kim, Sung-Yon Kim, Yiming Shen, Pan Dong Ryu, Mi-Ock Lee, Uhtaek Oh

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Abstract

Cryptococcus neoformans is an opportunistic yeast that is present worldwide and interacts with various organisms. In humans, it is responsible for cryptococcosis, a deadly invasive fungal infection that represents around 220,000 cases per year worldwide. Starting from the natural history of the disease in humans, there is accumulating evidence on the capacity of this organism to enter dormancy. In response to the harsh host environment, the yeast is able to adapt dramatically and escape the vigilance of the host’s immune cells to survive. Indeed, the yeast exposed to the host takes on pleiotropic phenotypes, enabling the generation of populations in heterogeneous states, including dormancy, to eventually survive at low metabolic cost and revive in favorable conditions. The concept of dormancy has been validated in C. neoformans from both epidemiological and genotyping data, and more recently from the biological point of view with the characterization of dormancy through the description of viable but nonculturable cells.

Authors

Alexandre Alanio

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Abstract

Emerging immune therapy, such as with the anti–programmed cell death–1 (anti–PD-1) monoclonal antibody nivolumab, has shown efficacy in tumor suppression. Patients with terminal cancer suffer from cancer pain as a result of bone metastasis and bone destruction, but how PD-1 blockade affects bone cancer pain remains unknown. Here, we report that mice lacking Pdcd1 (Pd1−/−) demonstrated remarkable protection against bone destruction induced by femoral inoculation of Lewis lung cancer cells. Compared with WT mice, Pd1−/− mice exhibited increased baseline pain sensitivity, but the development of bone cancer pain was compromised in Pd1−/− mice. Consistently, these beneficial effects in Pd1−/− mice were recapitulated by repeated i.v. applications of nivolumab in WT mice, even though nivolumab initially increased mechanical and thermal pain. Notably, PD-1 deficiency or nivolumab treatment inhibited osteoclastogenesis without altering tumor burden. PD-L1 and CCL2 are upregulated within the local tumor microenvironment, and PD-L1 promoted RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis through JNK activation and CCL2 secretion. Bone cancer upregulated CCR2 in primary sensory neurons, and CCR2 antagonism effectively reduced bone cancer pain. Our findings suggest that, despite a transient increase in pain sensitivity following each treatment, anti–PD-1 immunotherapy could produce long-term benefits in preventing bone destruction and alleviating bone cancer pain by suppressing osteoclastogenesis.

Authors

Kaiyuan Wang, Yun Gu, Yihan Liao, Sangsu Bang, Christopher R. Donnelly, Ouyang Chen, Xueshu Tao, Anthony J. Mirando, Matthew J. Hilton, Ru-Rong Ji

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Abstract

Enteric neuronal degeneration, as seen in inflammatory bowel disease, obesity, and diabetes, can lead to gastrointestinal dysmotility. Pyroptosis is a novel form of programmed cell death but little is known about its role in enteric neuronal degeneration. We observed higher levels of cleaved caspase-1, a marker of pyroptosis, in myenteric ganglia of overweight and obese human subjects compared with normal-weight subjects. Western diet–fed (WD-fed) mice exhibited increased myenteric neuronal pyroptosis, delayed colonic transit, and impaired electric field stimulation–induced colonic relaxation responses. WD increased TLR4 expression and cleaved caspase-1 in myenteric nitrergic neurons. Overactivation of nitrergic neuronal NF-κB signaling resulted in increased pyroptosis and delayed colonic motility. In caspase-11–deficient mice, WD did not induce nitrergic myenteric neuronal pyroptosis and colonic dysmotility. To understand the contributions of saturated fatty acids and bacterial products to the steps leading to enteric neurodegeneration, we performed in vitro experiments using mouse enteric neurons. Palmitate and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) increased nitrergic, but not cholinergic, enteric neuronal pyroptosis. LPS gained entry to the cytosol in the presence of palmitate, activating caspase-11 and gasdermin D, leading to pyroptosis. These results support a role of the caspase-11–mediated pyroptotic pathway in WD-induced myenteric nitrergic neuronal degeneration and colonic dysmotility, providing important therapeutic targets for enteric neuropathy.

Authors

Lan Ye, Ge Li, Anna Goebel, Abhinav V. Raju, Feng Kong, Yanfei Lv, Kailin Li, Yuanjun Zhu, Shreya Raja, Peijian He, Fang Li, Simon Musyoka Mwangi, Wenhui Hu, Shanthi Srinivasan

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Abstract

Authors

Barney S. Graham, Kizzmekia S. Corbett

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Abstract

β Cell apoptosis and dedifferentiation are 2 hotly debated mechanisms underlying β cell loss in type 2 diabetes; however, the molecular drivers underlying such events remain largely unclear. Here, we performed a side-by-side comparison of mice carrying β cell–specific deletion of ER-associated degradation (ERAD) and autophagy. We reported that, while autophagy was necessary for β cell survival, the highly conserved Sel1L-Hrd1 ERAD protein complex was required for the maintenance of β cell maturation and identity. Using single-cell RNA-Seq, we demonstrated that Sel1L deficiency was not associated with β cell loss, but rather loss of β cell identity. Sel1L-Hrd1 ERAD controlled β cell identity via TGF-β signaling, in part by mediating the degradation of TGF-β receptor 1. Inhibition of TGF-β signaling in Sel1L-deficient β cells augmented the expression of β cell maturation markers and increased the total insulin content. Our data revealed distinct pathogenic effects of 2 major proteolytic pathways in β cells, providing a framework for therapies targeting distinct mechanisms of protein quality control.

Authors

Neha Shrestha, Tongyu Liu, Yewei Ji, Rachel B. Reinert, Mauricio Torres, Xin Li, Maria Zhang, Chih-Hang Anthony Tang, Chih-Chi Andrew Hu, Chengyang Liu, Ali Naji, Ming Liu, Jiandie D. Lin, Sander Kersten, Peter Arvan, Ling Qi

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Abstract

AMPK is a key regulator at the molecular level for maintaining energy metabolism homeostasis. Mammalian AMPK is a heterotrimeric complex, and its catalytic α subunit exists in 2 isoforms: AMPKα1 and AMPKα2. Recent studies suggest a role of AMPKα overactivation in Alzheimer’s disease–associated (AD-associated) synaptic failure. However, whether AD-associated dementia can be improved by targeting AMPK remains unclear, and roles of AMPKα isoforms in AD pathophysiology are not understood. Here, we showed distinct disruption of hippocampal AMPKα isoform expression patterns in postmortem human AD patients and AD model mice. We further investigated the effects of brain- and isoform-specific AMPKα repression on AD pathophysiology. We found that repression of AMPKα1 alleviated cognitive deficits and synaptic failure displayed in 2 separate lines of AD model mice. In contrast, AMPKα2 suppression did not alter AD pathophysiology. Using unbiased mass spectrometry–based proteomics analysis, we identified distinct patterns of protein expression associated with specific AMPKα isoform suppression in AD model mice. Further, AD-associated hyperphosphorylation of eukaryotic elongation factor 2 (eEF2) was blunted with selective AMPKα1 inhibition. Our findings reveal isoform-specific roles of AMPKα in AD pathophysiology, thus providing insights into potential therapeutic strategies for AD and related dementia syndromes.

Authors

Helena R. Zimmermann, Wenzhong Yang, Nicole P. Kasica, Xueyan Zhou, Xin Wang, Brenna C. Beckelman, Jingyun Lee, Cristina M. Furdui, C. Dirk Keene, Tao Ma

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Abstract

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disorder of the CNS. Bile acids are cholesterol metabolites that can signal through receptors on cells throughout the body, including in the CNS and the immune system. Whether bile acid metabolism is abnormal in MS is unknown. Using global and targeted metabolomic profiling, we identified lower levels of circulating bile acid metabolites in multiple cohorts of adult and pediatric patients with MS compared with controls. In white matter lesions from MS brain tissue, we noted the presence of bile acid receptors on immune and glial cells. To mechanistically examine the implications of lower levels of bile acids in MS, we studied the in vitro effects of an endogenous bile acid, tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA), on astrocyte and microglial polarization. TUDCA prevented neurotoxic (A1) polarization of astrocytes and proinflammatory polarization of microglia in a dose-dependent manner. TUDCA supplementation in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis reduced the severity of disease through its effects on G protein–coupled bile acid receptor 1 (GPBAR1). We demonstrate that bile acid metabolism was altered in MS and that bile acid supplementation prevented polarization of astrocytes and microglia to neurotoxic phenotypes and ameliorated neuropathology in an animal model of MS. These findings identify dysregulated bile acid metabolism as a potential therapeutic target in MS.

Authors

Pavan Bhargava, Matthew D. Smith, Leah Mische, Emily Harrington, Kathryn C. Fitzgerald, Kyle Martin, Sol Kim, Arthur Anthony Reyes, Jaime Gonzalez-Cardona, Christina Volsko, Ajai Tripathi, Sonal Singh, Kesava Varanasi, Hannah-Noelle Lord, Keya Meyers, Michelle Taylor, Marjan Gharagozloo, Elias S. Sotirchos, Bardia Nourbakhsh, Ranjan Dutta, Ellen M. Mowry, Emmanuelle Waubant, Peter A. Calabresi

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Abstract

Posttranslational modifications are a common feature of proteins associated with neurodegenerative diseases including prion protein (PrPC), tau and α-synuclein. Alternative self-propagating protein states or strains give rise to different disease phenotypes and display strain-specific subsets of posttranslational modifications. The relationships between strain-specific structure, posttranslational modifications and disease phenotype are poorly understood. We previously reported that among hundreds of PrPC sialoglycoforms expressed by a cell, individual prion strains recruited PrPC molecules selectively, according to the sialylation status of their N-linked glycans. Here we report that transmission of a prion strain to a new host is accompanied by a dramatic shift in the selectivity of recruitment of PrPC sialoglycoforms giving rise to PrPSc with a unique sialoglycoform signature and disease phenotype. The newly emerged strain has the shortest incubation time to disease, is characterized by a colocalization of PrPSc with microglia and a very profound proinflammatory response, features that are linked to a unique sialoglycoform composition of PrPSc. The current work provides experimental support for a hypothesis that strain-specific patterns of PrPSc sialoglycoforms formed as a result of selective recruitment dictate strain-specific disease phenotypes. This work suggests a causative relationship between a strain-specific structure, posttranslational modifications and disease phenotype.

Authors

Natallia Makarava, Jennifer Chen-Yu Chang, Kara Molesworth, Ilia V. Baskakov

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Abstract

FTY720 (Gilenya, Novartis), is a treatment for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). It is an analog of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) and targets S1P receptors 1,3,4, and 5. Recent reports indicate an association between long term exposure to FTY720 and cases of cryptococcal infection. Here, we studied the effect of FTY720 and its derivative, BAF312 (Mayzent, Novartis), which only target S1P receptors 1 and 5, in a mouse model of cryptococcal infection. We found that treatment with FTY720, but not with BAF312, lead to decreased survival and increased organ burden in mouse cryptococcal granulomas. Both FTY720 and BAF312 caused a profound CD4+ and CD8+ T cell depletion in blood and lungs but only treatment with FTY720 lead to cryptococcal reactivation. Treatment with FTY720, but not with BAF312, was associated with disorganization of macrophages and with a M2 polarization at the granuloma site. In a cell system, FTY720 decreased phagocytosis and production of reactive oxygen species by macrophages, a phenotype recapitulated in the S1pr3-/- knockout macrophages. Our results suggest that FTY720 reactivates cryptococcosis from the granuloma through a S1P receptor 3-mediated mechanism and support the rationale for development of more specific receptor modulators for therapeutic use of MS.

Authors

Arielle M. Bryan, Jeehyun Karen You, Travis McQuiston, Cristina Lazzarini, Zhijuan Qiu, Brian S. Sheridan, Barbara Nuesslein-Hildesheim, Maurizio Del Poeta

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Abstract

T helper cells integrate signals from their microenvironment to acquire distinct specialization programs for efficient clearance of diverse pathogens or for immunotolerance. Ionic signals have recently been demonstrated to affect T cell polarization and function. Sodium chloride (NaCl) was proposed to accumulate in peripheral tissues upon dietary intake and to promote autoimmunity via the Th17 cell axis. Here we demonstrate that high NaCl conditions induced a stable, pathogen-specific, anti-inflammatory Th17 cell fate in human T cells in vitro. The p38/MAPK pathway, involving NFAT5 and SGK1, regulated FoxP3 and interleukin (IL)-17A-expression in high-NaCl conditions. The NaCl-induced acquisition of an anti-inflammatory Th17 cell fate was confirmed in vivo in an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mouse model, which demonstrated strongly reduced disease symptoms upon transfer of T cells polarized in high NaCl conditions. However, NaCl was coopted to promote murine and human Th17 cell pathogenicity, if T cell stimulation occurred in a pro-inflammatory and TGF-β-low cytokine microenvironment. Taken together, our findings reveal a context-dependent, dichotomous role for NaCl in shaping Th17 cell pathogenicity. NaCl might therefore prove beneficial for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases in combination with cytokine-blocking drugs.

Authors

Julia Matthias, Sylvia Heink, Felix S.R. Picard, Julia Zeiträg, Anna Kolz, Ying-Yin Chao, Dominik Soll, Gustavo P. de Almeida, Elke Glasmacher, Ilse D. Jacobsen, Thomas Riedel, Anneli Peters, Stefan Floess, Jochen Huehn, Dirk Baumjohann, Magdalena Huber, Thomas Korn, Christina E. Zielinski

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Abstract

Peripheral neurotoxicity is a debilitating toxicity that afflicts up to 90% of patients with colorectal cancer receiving oxaliplatin-containing therapy. Although emerging evidence has highlighted the importance of various solute carriers to the toxicity of anticancer drugs, the contribution of these proteins to oxaliplatin-induced peripheral neurotoxicity remains controversial. Among candidate transporters investigated in genetically-engineered mouse models, we provide evidence for a critical role of the organic cation transporter 2 (OCT2) in satellite glial cells to oxaliplatin-induced neurotoxicity, and demonstrate that targeting OCT2 using genetic and pharmacological approaches ameliorates acute and chronic forms of neurotoxicity. The relevance of this transport system was verified in transporter-deficient rats as a secondary model organism, and translational significance of preventative strategies was demonstrated in preclinical models of colorectal cancer. These studies suggest that pharmacological targeting of OCT2 could be exploited to afford neuroprotection in cancer patients requiring treatment with oxaliplatin.

Authors

Kevin M. Huang, Alix F. Leblanc, Muhammad Erfan Uddin, Ji Young Kim, Mingqing Chen, Eric D. Eisenmann, Alice Gibson, Yang Li, Kristen W. Hong, Duncan DiGiacomo, Sherry Huinan Xia, Paola Alberti, Alessia Chiorazzi, Stephen N. Housley, Timothy C. Cope, Jason A. Sprowl, Jing Wang, Charles L. Loprinzi, Anne Noonan, Maryam Lustberg, Guido Cavaletti, Navjotsingh Pabla, Shuiying Hu, Alex Sparreboom

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Abstract

Mutation in the LMNA gene, encoding Lamin A/C, cause a diverse group of diseases called laminopathies. Cardiac involvement is the major cause of death and manifests as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), heart failure, arrhythmias, and sudden death. There is no specific therapy for LMNA-associated cardiomyopathy. We report that deletion of Lmna in cardiac myocytes in mice leads to severe cardiac dysfunction, conduction defect, ventricular arrhythmias, fibrosis, apoptosis, and premature death within 4 weeks. The phenotype is similar to LMNA-associated cardiomyopathy in humans. RNA sequencing, performed prior to the onset of cardiac dysfunction, led to identification of 2,338 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in Lmna-deleted cardiac myocytes. DEGs predicted activation of bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4), a regulator of chromatin-associated proteins and transcription factors, which was confirmed by complementary approaches, including chromatin immunoprecipitation-sequencing. Daily injection of JQ1, a specific BET bromodomain inhibitor partially reversed the DEGs, including those encoding secretome, improved cardiac function, abrogated cardiac arrhythmias, fibrosis, and apoptosis, and prolonged the median survival time by 2-fold in the myocyte-specific Lmna-deleted mice. The findings highlight the important role of LMNA in cardiac myocyte and identify BET bromodomain inhibition as a potential therapeutic target in LMNA-associated cardiomyopathy, for which there is no specific effective therapy.

Authors

Gaelle Auguste, Leila Rouhi, Scot J. Matkovich, Cristian Coarfa, Matthew J. Robertson, Grazyna Czernuszewicz, Priyatansh Gurha, Ali J. Marian

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June 2020

June 2020 Issue

On the cover:
Muscle-produced IL-6 is relayed to osteoblasts

Physical endurance, muscle, and bone mass can change with activity; however, the molecular mechanisms that underlie exercise capacity remain largely unexplored. In this issue of the JCI, Chowdhury et al. investigated the role of IL-6 in exercise capacity. During exercise, the body increases circulating IL-6 and osteocalcin. The authors show that muscle is a primary source of circulating IL-6. Muscle-derived IL-6 increased exercise capacity, maintained muscle mass, and enabled production of circulating osteocalcin by signaling through the IL-6 receptor on osteoblasts to promote osteoclast differentiation. Osteoclast-derived osteocalcin promoted glucose and fatty acid uptake. These results reveal a conserved mechanism that underlies exercise capacity and furthers our understanding of the muscle-bone-muscle endocrine axis. The cover image depicts a relay race with skeletal muscle passing the IL-6 baton to the skeletal system. Image credit: Biagio Palmisano. 

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June 2020 JCI This Month

JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.

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Review Series - More

Immunotherapy in Hematological Cancers

Series edited by Leo Luznik

Immunotherapeutic strategies leveraging the immune system’s antitumor activity have become a mainstay of cancer treatment. Strategies including antibody-directed approaches, stem cell transplantation, immunomodulatory drugs, immune checkpoint inhibitors, CAR T cells, and vaccines have demonstrated particular success in controlling and even eradicating hematological cancers. This Review Series, developed by JCI’s associate editor Leo Luznik, discusses ongoing progress in immunotherapeutic targeting of hematological cancers. Reviews will address the state-of-the-art in immunotherapies for acute myeloid leukemia, multiple myeloma, and lymphoma and highlight recent successes and challenges in clinical trials for these diseases; take a detailed look at recent developments in CAR T therapies for B cell malignancies; and describe how personalized antigen targeting can be applied to immunotherapeutic treatment of blood malignancies.

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