Sepsis remains a serious cause of morbidity and mortality, and the pathophysiology of the disease is not clear. The definition of the clinical manifestations of sepsis is ever evolving. This review discusses the search for effective therapeutic interventions, hurdles in translational sepsis research, and new therapies in development in current clinical trials.
Niels C. Riedemann, Ren-Feng Guo, Peter A. Ward
Brazil was heralded for completion of the first genome sequence of a plant pathogen following the development of a virtual research center — a collaborative network of laboratories throughout the state of São Paulo, drawing on the expertise of a dispersed and diverse scientific community and on investment from both the government and the private sector. Strategies key to the success of this model are discussed here in the context of continuing collaborative scientific endeavors in both developed and developing countries.
Anamaria A. Camargo, Andrew J.G. Simpson
In the human genome, the majority of protein-encoding genes are interrupted by introns, which are removed from primary transcripts by a macromolecular enzyme known as the spliceosome. Spliceosomes can constitutively remove all the introns in a primary transcript to yield a fully spliced mRNA or alternatively splice primary transcripts leading to the production of many different mRNAs from one gene. This review examines how spliceosomes can recombine two primary transcripts in trans to reprogram messenger RNAs.
Mariano A. Garcia-Blanco
An estimated 60% of all human genes undergo alternative splicing, a highly regulated process that produces splice variants with different functions. Such variants have been linked to a variety of cancers, and genetic diseases such as thalassemia and cystic fibrosis. This Perspective describes a promising approach to RNA repair based on the use of antisense oligonucleotides to modulate alternative splicing and engender the production of therapeutic gene products.
Peter Sazani, Ryszard Kole
Triplex-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) can bind to polypurine/polypyrimidine regions in DNA in a sequence-specific manner. The specificity of this binding raises the possibility of using triplex formation for directed genome modification, with the ultimate goal of repairing genetic defects in human cells. Several studies have demonstrated that treatment of mammalian cells with TFOs can provoke DNA repair and recombination, in a manner that can be exploited to introduce desired sequence changes. This review will summarize recent advances in this field while also highlighting major obstacles that remain to be overcome before the application of triplex technology to therapeutic gene repair can be achieved.
Michael M. Seidman, Peter M. Glazer
In an unusual paradox, asthmatics who are chronically treated with bronchodilating β-agonists sometimes experience a worsening of their condition. A new study describes one possible mechanism and reveals a potential new therapeutic target in the treatment of asthma.
Stephanie A. Shore, Jeffrey M. Drazen
Thyroid hormones are critical for differentiation, growth, and metabolism. A new study investigating the biological role of the TH receptor TR-β has demonstrated that DNA binding is critical for most of its functions, but also suggests that novel mechanisms independent of DNA binding may contribute to regulation of auditory function by TR-β.
Mitchell A. Lazar
The cell-surface associated molecule Cripto is overexpressed in a wide range of epithelial cancers, yet little is known about potential mechanisms by which Cripto expression might enhance tumorigenesis. A new study reveals that binding of Cripto to the TGF-β ligand Activin B can block Activin B–mediated suppression of cell proliferation. Furthermore, this study also demonstrates that antibody blockade of Cripto function may prove useful in the inhibition of tumorigenesis.
Michael M. Shen
Under pathologic conditions, renal tubular epithelial cells can undergo epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), a phenotypic conversion that is believed to play a critical role in renal interstitial fibrogenesis. However, the underlying mechanism that governs this process remains largely unknown. Here we demonstrate that integrin-linked kinase (ILK) plays an important role in mediating tubular EMT induced by TGF-β1. TGF-β1 induced ILK expression in renal tubular epithelial cells in a time- and dose-dependent manner, which was dependent on intracellular Smad signaling. Forced expression of ILK in human kidney proximal tubular epithelial cells suppressed E-cadherin expression and induced fibronectin expression and its extracellular assembly. ILK also induced MMP-2 expression and promoted cell migration and invasion in Matrigel. Conversely, ectopic expression of a dominant-negative, kinase-dead form of ILK largely abrogated TGF-β1–initiated tubular cell phenotypic conversion. In vivo, ILK was markedly induced in renal tubular epithelia in mouse models of chronic renal diseases, and such induction was spatially and temporally correlated with tubular EMT. Moreover, inhibition of ILK expression by HGF was associated with blockade of tubular EMT and attenuation of renal fibrosis. These findings suggest that ILK is a critical mediator for tubular EMT and likely plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of chronic renal fibrosis.
Yingjian Li, Junwei Yang, Chunsun Dai, Chuanyue Wu, Youhua Liu
Stepwise degradation of the invariant chain (Ii) is required for the binding of antigenic peptides to MHC class II molecules. Cathepsin (Cat) L in the murine thymus and Cat S in peripheral APCs have both been implicated in the last step of Ii degradation that gives rise to the class II–associated invariant chain peptides (CLIP). Cat V has been recently described as highly homologous to Cat L and exclusively expressed in human thymus and testis, but with no mouse orthologue. We report that Cat V is the dominant cysteine protease in cortical human thymic epithelial cells, while Cat L and Cat S seem to be restricted to dendritic and macrophage-like cells. Active Cat V in thymic lysosomal preparations was demonstrated by active-site labeling. Recombinant Cat V was capable of converting Ii into CLIP efficiently, suggesting that Cat V is the protease that controls the generation of αβ-CLIP complexes in the human thymus, in analogy to Cat L in mouse. Comparison of Cat V expression between thymi from patients with myasthenia gravis and healthy controls revealed a significantly higher expression level in the pathological samples, suggesting a potential involvement of this protease in the immunopathogenesis of myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune disease almost invariably associated with thymic pathology.
Eva Tolosa, Weijie Li, Yoshiyuki Yasuda, Wolfgang Wienhold, Lisa K. Denzin, Alfred Lautwein, Christoph Driessen, Petra Schnorrer, Ekkehard Weber, Stefan Stevanovic, Raffael Kurek, Arthur Melms, Dieter Brömme
Diabetes is caused by an absolute (type 1) or relative (type 2) deficiency of insulin-producing β cells. We have disrupted expression of the mitochondrial protein frataxin selectively in pancreatic β cells. Mice were born healthy but subsequently developed impaired glucose tolerance progressing to overt diabetes mellitus. These observations were explained by impairment of insulin secretion due to a loss of β cell mass in knockout animals. This phenotype was preceded by elevated levels of reactive oxygen species in knockout islets, an increased frequency of apoptosis, and a decreased number of proliferating β cells. Hence, disruption of the frataxin gene in pancreatic β cells causes diabetes following cellular growth arrest and apoptosis, paralleled by an increase in reactive oxygen species in islets. These observations might provide insight into the deterioration of β cell function observed in different subtypes of diabetes in humans.
Michael Ristow, Hindrik Mulder, Doreen Pomplun, Tim J. Schulz, Katrin Müller-Schmehl, Anja Krause, Malin Fex, Hélène Puccio, Jörg Müller, Frank Isken, Joachim Spranger, Dirk Müller-Wieland, Mark A. Magnuson, Matthias Möhlig, Michel Koenig, Andreas F.H. Pfeiffer
The type I IFNs (IFN-α and IFN-β), which are crucial in antiviral defense and immune regulation, signal via the Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription (JAK/STAT) pathway with activation of STAT1 and STAT2. Here, the function of STAT2 was studied in transgenic mice (termed GIFN/STAT2–/–) with CNS production of IFN-α. Surprisingly, GIFN/STAT2–/–, but not GIFN/STAT1-null, transgenic mice, with CNS production of IFN-α, died prematurely with medulloblastoma. An immune response also induced in the brain of the GIFN/STAT2–/– mice was associated with IFN-γ gene expression by CD3+ T cells and the activation of the STAT1, STAT3, STAT4, and STAT5 molecules. Expression of the Sonic hedgehog (Shh) and the downstream transcriptional factor Gli-1 genes, implicated in the pathogenesis of medulloblastoma, was found to be significantly increased and cotranscribed in cerebellar granule neurons of the GIFN/STAT2–/– mice. IFN-γ, but not IFN-α, induced STAT1-dependent expression of the Shh gene in cultured cerebellar granule neurons. Thus, there is an unexpected and extraordinarily adverse biological potency of IFN-α in the CNS when the primary signal transduction molecule STAT2 is absent. Moreover, a hitherto unknown role is indicated for the immune system in the pathogenesis of developmental disorders and tumorigenesis of the CNS via dysregulated Shh signaling mediated by IFN-γ.
Jianping Wang, Ngan Pham-Mitchell, Christian Schindler, Iain L. Campbell
We studied the immunological basis for the very potent encephalitogenicity of myelin/oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), a minor component of myelin in the CNS that is widely used to induce experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). For this purpose, we generated a mutant mouse lacking a functional mog gene. This MOG-deficient mouse presents no clinical or histological abnormalities, permitting us to directly assess the role of MOG as a target autoantigen in EAE. In contrast to WT mice, which developed severe EAE following immunization with whole myelin, MOG-deficient mice had a mild phenotype, demonstrating that the anti-MOG response is a major pathogenic component of the autoimmune response directed against myelin. Moreover, while MOG transcripts are expressed in lymphoid organs in minute amounts, both MOG-deficient and WT mice show similar T and B cell responses against the extracellular domain of MOG, including the immunodominant MOG 35–55 T cell epitope. Furthermore, no differences in the fine specificity of the T cell responses to overlapping peptides covering the complete mouse MOG sequence were observed between MOG+/+ and MOG–/– mice. In addition, upon adoptive transfer, MOG-specific T cells from WT mice and those from MOG-deficient mice are equally pathogenic. This total lack of immune tolerance to MOG in WT C57BL/6 mice may be responsible for the high pathogenicity of the anti-MOG immune response as well as the high susceptibility of most animal strains to MOG-induced EAE.
Cécile Delarasse, Philippe Daubas, Lennart T. Mars, Csaba Vizler, Tobias Litzenburger, Antonio Iglesias, Jan Bauer, Bruno Della Gaspera, Anna Schubart, Laurence Decker, Dalia Dimitri, Guy Roussel, Andrée Dierich, Sandra Amor, André Dautigny, Roland Liblau, Danielle Pham-Dinh
Aldosterone controls the final sodium reabsorption and potassium secretion in the kidney by regulating the activity of the epithelial sodium channel (ENaC) in the aldosterone-sensitive distal nephron (ASDN). ASDN consists of the last portion of the distal convoluted tubule (late DCT), the connecting tubule (CNT), and the collecting duct (CD) (i.e., the cortical CD [CCD] and the medullary CD [MCD]). It has been proposed that the control of sodium transport in the CCD is essential for achieving sodium and potassium balance. We have tested this hypothesis by inactivating the α subunit of ENaC in the CD but leaving ENaC expression in the late DCT and CNT intact. Under salt restriction or under aldosterone infusion, whole-cell voltage clamp of principal cells of CCD showed no detectable ENaC activity, whereas large amiloride-sensitive currents were observed in control littermates. The animals survive well and are able to maintain sodium and potassium balance, even when challenged by salt restriction, water deprivation, or potassium loading. We conclude that the expression of ENaC in the CD is not a prerequisite for achieving sodium and potassium balance in mice. This stresses the importance of more proximal nephron segments (late DCT/CNT) to achieve sodium and potassium balance.
Isabelle Rubera, Johannes Loffing, Lawrence G. Palmer, Gustavo Frindt, Nicole Fowler-Jaeger, Daniel Sauter, Tom Carroll, Andrew McMahon, Edith Hummler, Bernard C. Rossier
Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways that is coordinated by Th2 cells in both human asthmatics and animal models of allergic asthma. Migration of Th2 cells to the lung is key to their inflammatory function and is regulated in large part by chemokine receptors, members of the seven-membrane-spanning receptor family. It has been reported recently that T cells lacking β-arrestin-2, a G protein–coupled receptor regulatory protein, demonstrate impaired migration in vitro. Here we show that allergen-sensitized mice having a targeted deletion of the β-arrestin-2 gene do not accumulate T lymphocytes in their airways, nor do they demonstrate other physiological and inflammatory features characteristic of asthma. In contrast, the airway inflammatory response to LPS, an event not coordinated by Th2 cells, is fully functional in mice lacking β-arrestin-2. β-arrestin-2–deficient mice demonstrate OVA-specific IgE responses, but have defective macrophage-derived chemokine–mediated CD4+ T cell migration to the lung. This report provides the first evidence that β-arrestin-2 is required for the manifestation of allergic asthma. Because β-arrestin-2 regulates the development of allergic inflammation at a proximal step in the inflammatory cascade, novel therapies focused on this protein may prove useful in the treatment of asthma.
Julia K.L. Walker, Alan M. Fong, Barbara L. Lawson, Jordan D. Savov, Dhavalkumar D. Patel, David A. Schwartz, Robert J. Lefkowitz
Cripto, a cell surface–associated protein belonging to the EGF-CFC family of growth factor–like molecules, is overexpressed in many human solid tumors, including 70–80% of breast and colon tumors, yet how it promotes cell transformation is unclear. During embryogenesis, Cripto complexes with Alk4 via its unique cysteine-rich CFC domain to facilitate signaling by the TGF-β ligand Nodal. We report, for the first time to our knowledge, that Cripto can directly bind to another TGF-β ligand, Activin B, and that Cripto overexpression blocks Activin B growth inhibition of breast cancer cells. This result suggests a novel mechanism for antagonizing Activin signaling that could promote tumorigenesis by deregulating growth homeostasis. We show that an anti–CFC domain antibody, A8.G3.5, both disrupts Cripto-Nodal signaling and reverses Cripto blockade of Activin B–induced growth suppression by blocking Cripto’s association with either Alk4 or Activin B. In two xenograft models, testicular and colon cancer, A8.G3.5 inhibited tumor cell growth by up to 70%. Both Nodal and Activin B expression was found in the xenograft tumor, suggesting that either ligand could be promoting tumorigenesis. These data validate that functional blockade of Cripto inhibits tumor growth and highlight antibodies that block Cripto signaling mediated through its CFC domain as an important class of antibodies for further therapeutic development.
Heather B. Adkins, Caterina Bianco, Susan G. Schiffer, Paul Rayhorn, Mohammad Zafari, Anne E. Cheung, Olivia Orozco, Dian Olson, Antonella De Luca, Ling Ling Chen, Konrad Miatkowski, Chris Benjamin, Nicola Normanno, Kevin P. Williams, Matthew Jarpe, Doreen LePage, David Salomon, Michele Sanicola
Thyroid hormone action is mediated by thyroid hormone receptors (TRs), which are members of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily. DNA-binding is presumed to be essential for all nuclear actions of thyroid hormone. To test this hypothesis in vivo, the DNA-binding domain of TR-β was mutated within its P-box (GS mutant) using gene targeting techniques. This mutation in vitro completely abolishes TR-β DNA-binding, while preserving ligand (T3) and cofactor interactions with the receptor. Homozygous mutant (TR-βGS/GS) mice displayed abnormal T3 regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis and retina identical to abnormalities previously observed in TR-β KO (TR-β–/–) mice. However, TR-βGS/GS mutant mice maintained normal hearing at certain frequencies and did not display significant outer hair cell loss, in contrast to TR-β–/– mice. DNA-binding, therefore, is essential for many functions of the TR, including retinal development and negative feedback regulation by thyroid hormone of the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis. Inner ear development, although not completely normal, can occur in the absence of TR DNA-binding, suggesting that an alternative and perhaps novel thyroid hormone-signaling pathway may mediate these effects.
Nobuyuki Shibusawa, Koshi Hashimoto, Amisra A. Nikrodhanond, M. Charles Liberman, Meredithe L. Applebury, Xiao Hui Liao, Janet T. Robbins, Samuel Refetoff, Ronald N. Cohen, Fredric E. Wondisford
Regulated recruitment and clearance of neutrophils (PMN) is the hallmark of competent host defense and resolution of inflammation. We now report that IFN-γ controls PMN infiltration and modulates IL-6 signaling through its soluble receptor (sIL-6R) to promote their apoptosis and clearance. Induction of peritoneal inflammation in IFN-γ–deficient (IFN-γ–/–) mice emphasized that the initial rate of PMN recruitment was impaired. This defect in PMN recruitment was also associated with the suppressed intraperitoneal expression of IL-1β and IL-6. Reconstitution of IFN-γ signaling restored the rate of PMN infiltration and IL-6 levels and was accompanied by normalization of PMN-activating CXC chemokine expression. To test whether local IL-6 signaling modulated PMN recruitment, inflammation was induced in IFN-γ–/– and IL-6–/– mice and cytokine signaling adapted by intraperitoneal sIL-6R–IL-6 fusion protein (HYPER-IL-6) or IFN-γ. Although HYPER-IL-6 attenuated PMN influx in IFN-γ–/– mice, IFN-γ had no effect on PMN infiltration in IL-6–/– mice. Examination of the leukocyte infiltrate from IFN-γ–/–, IL-6–/–, and wild-type mice showed that apoptosis was aberrant in the absence of IFN-γ and IL-6 as a result of impaired sIL-6R signaling. These data emphasize a pivotal role for IFN-γ in regulating innate immunity through control of both the recruitment and clearance phases of PMN trafficking.
Rachel M. McLoughlin, Janusz Witowski, Rachel L. Robson, Thomas S. Wilkinson, Suzanne M. Hurst, Anwen S. Williams, John D. Williams, Stefan Rose-John, Simon A. Jones, Nicholas Topley
Activation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ) by thiazolidinediones (TZDs) improves insulin resistance by increasing insulin-stimulated glucose disposal in skeletal muscle. It remains debatable whether the effect of TZDs on muscle is direct or indirect via adipose tissue. We therefore generated mice with muscle-specific PPARγ knockout (MuPPARγKO) using Cre/loxP recombination. Interestingly, MuPPARγKO mice developed excess adiposity despite reduced dietary intake. Although insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in muscle was not impaired, MuPPARγKO mice had whole-body insulin resistance with a 36% reduction (P < 0.05) in the glucose infusion rate required to maintain euglycemia during hyperinsulinemic clamp, primarily due to dramatic impairment in hepatic insulin action. When placed on a high-fat diet, MuPPARγKO mice developed hyperinsulinemia and impaired glucose homeostasis identical to controls. Simultaneous treatment with TZD ameliorated these high fat–induced defects in MuPPARγKO mice to a degree identical to controls. There was also altered expression of several lipid metabolism genes in the muscle of MuPPARγKO mice. Thus, muscle PPARγ is not required for the antidiabetic effects of TZDs, but has a hitherto unsuspected role for maintenance of normal adiposity, whole-body insulin sensitivity, and hepatic insulin action. The tissue crosstalk mediating these effects is perhaps due to altered lipid metabolism in muscle.
Andrew W. Norris, Lihong Chen, Simon J. Fisher, Ildiko Szanto, Michael Ristow, Alison C. Jozsi, Michael F. Hirshman, Evan D. Rosen, Laurie J. Goodyear, Frank J. Gonzalez, Bruce M. Spiegelman, C. Ronald Kahn
β-adrenergic receptors (βARs) relax airway smooth muscle and bronchodilate, but chronic β-agonist treatment in asthma causes increased sensitivity to airway constriction (hyperreactivity) and is associated with exacerbations. This paradox was explored using mice with ablated βAR genes (βAR–/–) and transgenic mice overexpressing airway smooth muscle β2AR (β2AR-OE) representing two extremes: absence and persistent activity of airway βAR. Unexpectedly, βAR–/– mice, lacking these bronchodilating receptors, had markedly decreased bronchoconstrictive responses to methacholine and other Gq-coupled receptor agonists. In contrast, β2AR-OE mice had enhanced constrictive responses. Contraction to permeabilization with β-escin was unaltered by gene ablation or overexpression. Inositol phosphate accumulation by Gq-coupled M3-muscarinic, thromboxane-A2, and 5-HT2 receptors was desensitized in airway smooth muscle cells from βAR–/– mice and sensitized in cells from β2AR-OE mice. Thus, βAR antithetically regulates constrictive signals, affecting bronchomotor tone/reactivity by additional means other than direct dilatation. Studies of signaling elements in these pathways revealed the nodal point of this cross talk as phospholipase C-β1, whose expression was altered by βAR in a direction and magnitude consistent with the physiologic and cellular responses. These results establish a mechanism of the β-agonist paradox and identify a potential asthma modifier gene (phospholipase C-β1), which may also be a therapeutic target in asthma when chronic β-agonists are required.
Dennis W. McGraw, Khalid F. Almoosa, Richard J. Paul, Brian K. Kobilka, Stephen B. Liggett