In this issue, Yonker et al. report that multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is associated with increased gastrointestinal mucosal permeability. They suggest this could allow SARS-CoV-2 antigens in the gastrointestinal tract to leak into the bloodstream, triggering cytokine storm and hyperinflammatory responses. Image credit: SciStories.
S Indicates subscriber content
The start codon c.1A>G mutation in KLHL24, encoding ubiquitin-ligase KLHL24, results in the loss of 28 N-terminal amino acids (KLHL24-ΔN28) by skipping the initial start codon. In skin, KLHL24-ΔN28 leads to gain of function, excessively targeting intermediate filament keratin-14 for proteasomal degradation, ultimately causing epidermolysis bullosa simplex (EBS). The majority of these EBS-patients are also diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), but the pathological mechanism in the heart is unknown. As desmin is the cardiac homologue of keratin-14, we hypothesized that KLHL24-ΔN28 leads to excessive degradation of desmin, resulting in DCM. Dynamically loaded engineered heart tissues (dyn-EHTs) were generated from human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes from two patients and three (non)familial controls. Ten-fold lower desmin protein levels were observed in patient-derived dyn-EHTs, in line with diminished desmin levels detected in patients’ explanted heart. This was accompanied by tissue dilatation, impaired mitochondrial function, decreased force values and increased cardiomyocyte stress. HEK293 transfection studies confirmed KLHL24-mediated desmin degradation. KLHL24 RNA interference or direct desmin overexpression recovered desmin protein levels, restoring morphology and function in patient-derived dyn-EHTs. To conclude, presence of KLHL24-ΔN28 in cardiomyocytes leads to excessive degradation of desmin, affecting tissue morphology and function, that can be prevented by restoring desmin protein levels.
Mathilde C.S.C. Vermeer, Maria C. Bolling, Jacqueline M. Bliley, Karla F. Arevalo Gomez, Mario G. Pavez-Giani, Duco Kramer, Pedro H. Romero-Herrera, B. Daan Westenbrink, Gilles F.H. Diercks, Maarten P. van den Berg, Adam W. Feinberg, Herman H. W. Silljé, Peter van der Meer
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is associated with substantial morbidity, mortality, and societal cost, and pharmacological treatment options for AUD are limited. The endogenous cannabinoid (eCB) signaling system is critically involved in reward processing and alcohol intake is positively correlated with release of the eCB ligand 2-Arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) within reward neurocircuitry. Here we show that genetic and pharmacological inhibition of diacylglycerol lipase (DAGL), the rate limiting enzyme in the synthesis of 2-AG, reduces alcohol consumption in a variety of preclinical models ranging from a voluntary free-access model to aversion resistant-drinking and dependence-like drinking induced via chronic intermittent ethanol vapor exposure in mice. DAGL inhibition during either chronic alcohol consumption or protracted withdrawal was devoid of anxiogenic and depressive-like behavioral effects. Lastly, DAGL inhibition also prevented ethanol-induced suppression of GABAergic transmission onto midbrain dopamine neurons, providing mechanistic insight into how DAGL inhibition could affect alcohol reward. These data suggest reducing 2-AG signaling via inhibition of DAGL could represent an effective approach to reduce alcohol consumption across the spectrum of AUD severity.
Nathan D. Winters, Gaurav Bedse, Anastasia A. Astafyev, Toni A. Patrick, Megan Altemus, Amanda J. Morgan, Snigdha Mukerjee, Keenan D. Johnson, Vikrant R. Mahajan, Md. Jashim Uddin, Philip J. Kingsley, Samuel W. Centanni, Cody A. Siciliano, David C. Samuels, Lawrence J. Marnett, Danny G. Winder, Sachin Patel
Intratumoral T cells that might otherwise control tumors are often identified in an ‘exhausted’ state, defined by specific epigenetic modifications and upregulation of genes such as CD38, CTLA-4 and PD-1. While the term might imply inactivity, there has been little study of this state at the phenotypic level in tumors to understand the extent of their incapacitation. Starting with the observation that T cells move more quickly through mouse tumors as residence time increases and they progress towards exhaustion, we elaborated a non-stimulatory live-biopsy method for real-time study of T cell behaviors within individual patient tumors. Using two-photon microscopy, we studied native CD8 T cells interacting with APCs and cancer cells in different micro-niches of human tumors, finding that T cell speed was variable by region and by patient and was inversely correlated with local tumor density. Across a range of tumor types, we found a strong relationship between CD8 T cell motility and exhausted T cell state that corresponds to observations made in mouse models where exhausted T cells move faster. Our study demonstrates T cell dynamic states in individual human tumors and supports the existence of an active program in ‘exhausted’ T cells that extends beyond incapacitating them.
Ran You, Jordan Artichoker, Adam Fries, Austin W. Edwards, Alexis J. Combes, Gabriella C. Reeder, Bushra Samad, Matthew F. Krummel
Skeletal muscle can undergo a regenerative process from injury or disease to preserve muscle mass and function, which is critically influenced by cellular stress responses. Inositol-requiring enzyme 1 (IRE1) is an ancient endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress sensor and mediates a key branch of the unfolded protein response (UPR). In mammals, IRE1α is implicated in the homeostatic control of stress responses during tissue injury and regeneration. Here, we show that IRE1α serves as a myogenic regulator in skeletal muscle regeneration in response to injury and muscular dystrophy. We found in mice that IRE1α was activated during injury-induced muscle regeneration, and muscle-specific IRE1α ablation resulted in impaired regeneration upon cardiotoxin-induced injury. Gain- and loss-of-function studies in myocytes demonstrated that IRE1αacts to sustain both differentiation in myoblasts and hypertrophy in myotubes through regulated IRE1-dependent decay (RIDD) of mRNA encoding Myostatin, a key negative regulator of muscle repair and growth. Furthermore, in the mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), loss of muscle IRE1α resulted in augmented Myostatin signaling and exacerbated the dystrophic phenotypes. Thus, these results reveal a pivotal role for the RIDD output of IRE1α in muscle regeneration, offering new insight into potential therapeutic strategies for muscle loss diseases.
Shengqi He, Tingting Fu, Yue Yu, Qinhao Liang, Luyao Li, Jing Liu, Xuan Zhang, Qian Zhou, Qiqi Guo, Dengqiu Xu, Yong Chen, Xiaolong Wang, Yulin Chen, Jianmiao Liu, Zhenji Gan, Yong Liu
Both epidemiologic and cellular studies in the context of autoimmune diseases have established that protein tyrosine phosphatase non-receptor type 22 (PTPN22) is a key regulator of T cell receptor (TCR) signaling. However, its mechanism of action in tumors and its translatability as a target for cancer immunotherapy have not been established. Here we show that a germline variant of PTPN22, rs2476601, portended a lower likelihood of cancer in patients. PTPN22 expression was also associated with markers of immune regulation in multiple cancer types. In mice, lack of PTPN22 augmented antitumor activity with greater infiltration and activation of macrophages, natural killer (NK) cells, and T cells. Notably, we generated a novel small molecule inhibitor of PTPN22, named L-1, that phenocopied the antitumor effects seen in genotypic PTPN22 knockout. PTPN22 inhibition promoted activation of CD8+ T cells and macrophage subpopulations toward MHC-II expressing M1-like phenotypes, both of which were necessary for successful antitumor efficacy. Increased PD1-PDL1 axis in the setting of PTPN22 inhibition could be further leveraged with PD1 inhibition to augment antitumor effects. Similarly, cancer patients with the rs2476601 variant responded significantly better to checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy. Our findings suggest that PTPN22 is a druggable systemic target for cancer immunotherapy.
Won Jin Ho, Sarah Croessmann, Jianping Lin, Zaw H. Phyo, Soren Charmsaz, Ludmila Danilova, Aditya A. Mohan, Nicole E. Gross, Fangluo Chen, Jiajun Dong, Devesh Aggarwal, Yunpeng Bai, Janey Wang, Jing He, James M. Leatherman, Mark Yarchoan, Todd D. Armstrong, Neeha Zaidi, Elana J. Fertig, Joshua C. Denny, Ben H. Park, Zhong-Yin Zhang, Elizabeth M. Jaffee
JCI This Month is a digest of the research, reviews, and other features published each month.
This collection of reviews focuses on the gut-brain axis, highlighting crosstalk between the gastrointestinal tract and the enteric and central nervous systems. While the enteric nervous system can exert independent control over the gut, multi-directional communication with the central nervous system, as well as intestinal epithelial, stromal, immune, and enteroendocrine cells can result in wide-ranging influences on health and disease. The gut microbiome and its metabolites add further complexity to this intricate interactive network. Reviews in this series take a critical approach to describing the role of gut-brain connections in conditions affecting both gut and brain, with the common goal of illuminating the importance of the central and enteric nervous system interface in disease pathogenesis and identifying nodes that offer therapeutic potential.