Belief in God and belief in the science of evolution are not mutually exclusive concepts. Thousands of scientists who believe in God are able to separately study and teach evolution. As scientists and parents, we owe it to our children to ensure that public school science curricula teach the science of evolution and not promote a particular religious faith or belief system.
Ushma S. Neill, Andrew R. Marks
We review here the current political landscape and our own efforts to address the attempts to undermine science education in Wisconsin. To mount an effective response, expertise in evolutionary biology and in the history of the public controversy is useful but not essential. However, entering the fray requires a minimal tool kit of information. Here, we summarize some of the scientific and legal history of this issue and list a series of actions that scientists can take to help facilitate good science education and an improved atmosphere for the scientific enterprise nationally. Finally, we provide some model legislation that has been introduced in Wisconsin to strengthen the teaching of science.
Alan D. Attie, Elliot Sober, Ronald L. Numbers, Richard M. Amasino, Beth Cox, Terese Berceau, Thomas Powell, Michael M. Cox
Skin and bone — what comes to mind at hearing this phrase? While certainly a metaphor for disease, it also defines two very different tissues, one a flexible and contiguous outer covering, the other a morphologically diverse hard tissue distributed at over 200 sites in the body. As the accompanying series of Reviews highlights, these tissues are indeed diverse, but there are also surprising similarities. Skin is the interface between the internal organs and the environment, and as such plays a crucial role in the body’s defense mechanism. The skin and its many appendages are responsible for functions as diverse as epidermal barrier and defense, immune surveillance, UV protection, thermoregulation, sweating, lubrication, pigmentation, the sensations of pain and touch, and, importantly, the protection of various stem cell niches in the skin. Bone serves a number of purposes: it provides protection for vital organs, a lever for locomotion, a reservoir for calcium, and the site of adult hematopoiesis. The tissue is composed of osteoblasts, osteoclasts, and their individual precursors plus a complex mixture of mesenchymal, myeloid, and lymphoid cells in the marrow space. Finally, the endothelial microenvironment provides nutrition and is a conduit for the influx and emigration of cells that impact bone biology in several important ways. This Review series guides the reader through these various facets of 2 diverse, yet interdependent, tissues.
F. Patrick Ross, Angela M. Christiano
Skin is at the interface between the complex physiology of the body and the external, often hostile, environment, and the semipermeable epidermal barrier prevents both the escape of moisture and the entry of infectious or toxic substances. Newborns with rare congenital barrier defects underscore the skin’s essential role in a terrestrial environment and demonstrate the compensatory responses evoked ex utero to reestablish a barrier. Common inflammatory skin disorders such as atopic dermatitis and psoriasis exhibit decreased barrier function, and recent studies suggest that the complex response of epidermal cells to barrier disruption may aggravate, maintain, or even initiate such conditions. Either aiding barrier reestablishment or dampening the epidermal stress response may improve the treatment of these disorders. This Review discusses the molecular regulation of the epidermal barrier as well as causes and potential treatments for defects of barrier formation and proposes that medical management of barrier disruption may positively affect the course of common skin disorders.
Julia A. Segre
Autoimmune bullous disorders are a group of severe skin diseases characterized clinically by blisters and erosions of skin and/or mucous membranes. A hallmark of these disorders is the presence of IgG and occasionally IgA autoantibodies that target distinct adhesion structures of the epidermis, dermoepidermal basement membrane, and anchoring fibrils of the dermis. This Review focuses on the potential role of autoreactive T cells in the pathogenesis of these disorders. Pemphigus vulgaris (PV) and bullous pemphigoid (BP) are the best-characterized bullous disorders with regard to pathogenesis and T cell involvement. Activation of autoreactive T cells in PV and BP is restricted by distinct HLA class II alleles that are prevalent in individuals with these disorders. Autoreactive T cells are not only present in patients but can also be detected in healthy individuals. Recently, a subset of autoreactive T cells with remarkable regulatory function was identified in healthy individuals and to a much lesser extent in patients with PV, suggesting that the occurrence of autoimmune bullous disorders may be linked to a dysfunction of Tregs.
Michael Hertl, Rüdiger Eming, Christian Veldman
Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection causes virtually all cases of cervical cancer, the second most common cause of death from cancer among women worldwide. This Review examines prophylactic HPV subunit vaccines based on the ability of the viral L1 capsid protein to form virus-like particles (VLPs) that induce high levels of neutralizing antibodies. Following preclinical research by laboratories in the nonprofit sector, Merck and GlaxoSmithKline are developing commercial versions of the vaccine. Both vaccines target HPV16 and HPV18, which account for approximately 70% of cervical cancer. The Merck vaccine also targets HPV6 and HPV11, which account for approximately 90% of external genital warts. The vaccines have an excellent safety profile, are highly immunogenic, and have conferred complete type-specific protection against persistent infection and associated lesions in fully vaccinated women. Unresolved issues include the most critical groups to vaccinate and when the vaccine’s cost may be low enough for widespread implementation in the developing world, where 80% of cervical cancer occurs.
Douglas R. Lowy, John T. Schiller
This Review highlights selected frontiers in pruritus research and focuses on recently attained insights into the neurophysiological, neuroimmunological, and neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying skin-derived itch (pruritogenic pruritus), which may affect future antipruritic strategies. Special attention is paid to newly identified itch-specific neuronal pathways in the spinothalamic tract that are distinct from pain pathways and to CNS regions that process peripheral pruritogenic stimuli. In addition, the relation between itch and pain is discussed, with emphasis on how the intimate contacts between these closely related yet distinct sensory phenomena may be exploited therapeutically. Furthermore, newly identified or unduly neglected intracutaneous itch mediators (e.g., endovanilloids, proteases, cannabinoids, opioids, neurotrophins, and cytokines) and relevant receptors (e.g., vanilloid receptor channels and proteinase-activated, cannabinoid, opioid, cytokine, and new histamine receptors) are discussed. In summarizing promising new avenues for managing itch more effectively, we advocate therapeutic approaches that strive for the combination of peripherally active antiinflammatory agents with drugs that counteract chronic central itch sensitization.
Ralf Paus, Martin Schmelz, Tamás Bíró, Martin Steinhoff
Estrogen plays a fundamental role in skeletal growth and bone homeostasis in both men and women. Although remarkable progress has been made in our understanding of how estrogen deficiency causes bone loss, the mechanisms involved have proven to be complex and multifaceted. Although estrogen is established to have direct effects on bone cells, recent animal studies have identified additional unexpected regulatory effects of estrogen centered at the level of the adaptive immune response. Furthermore, a potential role for reactive oxygen species has now been identified in both humans and animals. One major challenge is the integration of a multitude of redundant pathways and cytokines, each apparently capable of playing a relevant role, into a comprehensive model of postmenopausal osteoporosis. This Review presents our current understanding of the process of estrogen deficiency–mediated bone destruction and explores some recent findings and hypotheses to explain estrogen action in bone. Due to the inherent difficulties associated with human investigation, many of the lessons learned have been in animal models. Consequently, many of these principles await further validation in humans.
M. Neale Weitzmann, Roberto Pacifici
The stem cell niche is composed of a specialized population of cells that plays an essential role in regulating adult stem cell self-renewal and differentiation. In adults, osteoblasts, responsible for osteogenesis, and hematopoietic cells, responsible for hematopoiesis, are closely associated in the bone marrow, suggesting a reciprocal relationship between the two. It was recently discovered that a subset of osteoblasts functions as a key component of the HSC niche (namely, the osteoblastic niche), controlling HSC numbers. HSCs interact not only with osteoblasts but also with other stromal cells, including endothelial cells. Sinusoidal endothelial cells in bone marrow have been revealed as an alternative HSC niche called the vascular niche. In this Review we compare the architecture of these 2 HSC niches in bone marrow. We also highlight the function of osteoblasts in maintaining a quiescent HSC microenvironment and the likely role of the vascular niche in regulating stem cell proliferation, differentiation, and mobilization. In addition, we focus on studies of animal models and in vitro assays that have provided direct insights into the actions of these osteoblastic and vascular niches, revealing central roles for numerous signaling and adhesion molecules. Many of the discoveries described herein may contribute to future clinical treatments for hematopoietic and bone-related disorders, including cancer.
Tong Yin, Linheng Li
Wnt proteins are a family of secreted proteins that regulate many aspects of cell growth, differentiation, function, and death. Considerable progress has been made in our understanding of the molecular links between Wnt signaling and bone development and remodeling since initial reports that mutations in the Wnt coreceptor low-density lipoprotein receptor–related protein 5 (LRP5) are causally linked to alterations in human bone mass. Of the pathways activated by Wnts, it is signaling through the canonical (i.e., Wnt/β-catenin) pathway that increases bone mass through a number of mechanisms including renewal of stem cells, stimulation of preosteoblast replication, induction of osteoblastogenesis, and inhibition of osteoblast and osteocyte apoptosis. This pathway is an enticing target for developing drugs to battle skeletal diseases as Wnt/β-catenin signaling is composed of a series of molecular interactions that offer potential places for pharmacological intervention. In considering opportunities for anabolic drug discovery in this area, one must consider multiple factors, including (a) the roles of Wnt signaling for development, remodeling, and pathology of bone; (b) how pharmacological interventions that target this pathway may specifically treat osteoporosis and other aspects of skeletal health; and (c) whether the targets within this pathway are amenable to drug intervention. In this Review we discuss the current understanding of this pathway in terms of bone biology and assess whether targeting this pathway might yield novel therapeutics to treat typical bone disorders.
Venkatesh Krishnan, Henry U. Bryant, Ormond A. MacDougald
Most G protein–coupled receptors (GPCRs) probably exist as homodimers, but it is increasingly recognized that GPCRs may also dimerize with other types of GPCRs and that this physical interaction may affect the function of either receptor. A study in this issue of the JCI demonstrates how heterodimerization between prostaglandin E receptors and β2–adrenergic receptors (β2ARs) in airway smooth muscle cells results in uncoupling of β2ARs and a diminished bronchodilator response to β2AR agonists (see the related article beginning on page 1400). This illustrates what we believe to be a novel mechanism of receptor cross-talk and highlights the potential importance of GPCR heterodimerization in diseases such as asthma and how this could lead to the development of more specific therapies in the future.
Peter J. Barnes
Autoimmune diseases such as the diabetes that develops in NOD mice depend on immunologic recognition of specific autoantigens, but recognition can result in a pathogenic or protective T cell response. A study by Du et al. in this issue of the JCI demonstrates that TGF-β signaling by T cells recognizing the insulin peptide B:9–23 is essential for such protection and that this inhibitory cytokine functions in both a paracrine and an autocrine manner (see the related article beginning on page 1360). We propose that the insulin peptide B:9–23 and a conserved TCR motif form an “immunologic homunculus” underlying the relatively common targeting of insulin by T cells that, as demonstrated by the study of Du and coworkers, results in a protective T cell response, or diabetes, as shown by other investigators, for related T cell receptors.
Dirk Homann, George S. Eisenbarth
Lectins like mannan-binding protein are part of the innate immune system. They circulate in association with serine proteases. Upon binding oligosaccharides, they activate the complement cascade analogous to the more familiar but evolutionarily more recent classical pathway, which is triggered by antibody binding to antigen. In this issue of the JCI, Selander et al. developed a sensitive and specific ELISA employing Salmonella-specific sugars to assess the activity of the lectin pathway of complement activation (see the related article beginning on page 1425). This more physiologic assay system allowed the investigators to rigorously define the requirements for lectin pathway activation. Furthermore, they uncovered an unsuspected means for this pathway to reach the desired critical step of activation of the opsonin C3. These types of functional assays will eventually replace the more laborious, less physiologic, and less informative approaches currently in use to monitor complement activation.
John P. Atkinson, Michael M. Frank
IL-23 induces the differentiation of naive CD4+ T cells into highly pathogenic helper T cells (Th17/ThIL-17) that produce IL-17, IL-17F, IL-6, and TNF-α, but not IFN-γ and IL-4. Two studies in this issue of the JCI demonstrate that blocking IL-23 or its downstream factors IL-17 and IL-6, but not the IL-12/IFN-γ pathways, can significantly suppress disease development in animal models of inflammatory bowel disease and MS (see the related articles beginning on pages 1310 and 1317). These studies suggest that the IL-23/IL-17 pathway may be a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases.
Yoichiro Iwakura, Harumichi Ishigame
In blood vessels, endothelia are submitted to constant shear effects and are, under normal conditions, capable of responding to any variation in hemodynamic forces. Caveolae — 50- to 100-nm plasma membrane invaginations present at the surface of terminally differentiated cells and particularly enriched in ECs — are composed of a high sphingolipid and cholesterol content and the protein caveolin-1 (Cav-1). Previous studies have suggested that caveolae and endothelial Cav-1 may regulate the vascular response to altered shear stress. In this issue of the JCI, Yu et al. have examined the role of Cav-1/caveolae in the regulation of flow-induced alterations (i.e., mechanotransduction) in vessels from wild-type mice, Cav-1–deficient mice, and Cav-1–deficient mice re-expressing Cav-1 only in ECs. Their data suggest that caveolae/Cav-1 may act as sensors of altered shear stress and that they also organize the signaling response in stimulated ECs (see the related article beginning on page 1284).
Philippe G. Frank, Michael P. Lisanti
To avoid toxic overload of cholesterol in peripheral cells, the reverse cholesterol transport pathway directs excess cholesterol through HDL acceptors to the liver for elimination. In this issue of the JCI, a study by Matsuura et al. reveals new features of this pathway, including the importance of the ATP-binding cassette transporter G1 in macrophages and apoE in cholesteryl efflux from cells to cholesterol ester–rich (CE-rich) HDL2 acceptors (see the related article beginning on page 1435). One proposal for boosting reverse cholesterol transport has been to elevate plasma HDL levels by inhibiting CE transfer protein (CETP), which transfers CE from HDL to lower-density lipoproteins. However, there has been concern that large, CE-rich HDL2 generated by CETP inhibition might impair reverse cholesterol transport. ApoE uniquely facilitates reverse cholesterol transport by allowing CE-rich core expansion in HDL. In lower species, these large HDLs are not atherogenic. Thus, CETP might not be essential for reverse cholesterol transport in humans, raising hope of using a CETP inhibitor to elevate HDL levels.
Robert W. Mahley, Yadong Huang, Karl H. Weisgraber
Current therapies for delayed- or nonunion bone fractures are still largely ineffective. Previous studies indicated that the VEGF homolog placental growth factor (PlGF) has a more significant role in disease than in health. Therefore we investigated the role of PlGF in a model of semistabilized bone fracture healing. Fracture repair in mice lacking PlGF was impaired and characterized by a massive accumulation of cartilage in the callus, reminiscent of delayed- or nonunion fractures. PlGF was required for the early recruitment of inflammatory cells and the vascularization of the fracture wound. Interestingly, however, PlGF also played a role in the subsequent stages of the repair process. Indeed in vivo and in vitro findings indicated that PlGF induced the proliferation and osteogenic differentiation of mesenchymal progenitors and stimulated cartilage turnover by particular MMPs. Later in the process, PlGF was required for the remodeling of the newly formed bone by stimulating osteoclast differentiation. As PlGF expression was increased throughout the process of bone repair and all the important cell types involved expressed its receptor VEGFR-1, the present data suggest that PlGF is required for mediating and coordinating the key aspects of fracture repair. Therefore PlGF may potentially offer therapeutic advantages for fracture repair.
Christa Maes, Lieve Coenegrachts, Ingrid Stockmans, Evis Daci, Aernout Luttun, Anna Petryk, Rajaram Gopalakrishnan, Karen Moermans, Nico Smets, Catherine M. Verfaillie, Peter Carmeliet, Roger Bouillon, Geert Carmeliet
Inflammatory skin disorders result in significant epidermal changes, including keratinocyte hyperproliferation, incomplete differentiation, and impaired barrier. Here we test whether, conversely, an impaired epidermal barrier can promote an inflammatory response. Mice lacking the transcription factor Kruppel-like factor 4 (Klf4) have a severe defect in epidermal barrier acquisition. Transcription profiling of Klf4–/– newborn skin revealed similar changes in gene expression to involved psoriatic plaques, including a significant upregulation of the gap junction protein connexin 26 (Cx26). Ectopic expression of Cx26 from the epidermis-specific involucrin (INV) promoter (INV-Cx26) demonstrated that downregulation of Cx26 is required for barrier acquisition during development. In juvenile and adult mice, persistent Cx26 expression kept wounded epidermis in a hyperproliferative state, blocked the transition to remodeling, and led to an infiltration of immune cells. Mechanistically, ectopic expression of Cx26 in keratinocytes resulted in increased ATP release, which delayed epidermal barrier recovery and promoted an inflammatory response in resident immune cells. These results provide a molecular link between barrier acquisition in utero and epidermal remodeling after wounding. More generally, these studies suggest that the most effective treatments for inflammatory skin disorders might concomitantly suppress the immune response and enhance epidermal differentiation to restore the barrier.
Ali R. Djalilian, David McGaughey, Satyakam Patel, Eun Young Seo, Chenghua Yang, Jun Cheng, Melanija Tomic, Satrajit Sinha, Akemi Ishida-Yamamoto, Julia A. Segre
Autoimmune diseases are often precipitated by viral infections. Yet our current understanding fails to explain how viruses trigger organ-specific autoimmunity despite thymic tolerance extending to many nonlymphohematopoietic self antigens. Additionally, a key epidemiological finding needs to be explained: In genetically susceptible individuals, early childhood infections seem to predispose them to multiple sclerosis (MS) or type 1 diabetes years or even decades before clinical onset. In the present work, we show that the innate immune system of neonatal mice was sufficient to eliminate an attenuated lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) from most tissues except for the CNS, where the virus persisted in neurons (predisposing virus). Virus-specific cytotoxic T cells (CTLs) were neither deleted nor sufficiently primed to cause disease, but they were efficiently triggered in adulthood upon WT LCMV infection (precipitating virus). This defined sequence of viral infections caused severe CNS inflammation that was histomorphologically reminiscent of rasmussen encephalitis, a fatal human autoimmune disease. Yet disease in mice was mediated by antiviral CTLs targeting an epitope shared by the precipitating virus and the predisposing virus persisting in neurons (déjà vu). Thus the concept of “viral déjà vu” demonstrates how 2 related but independently encountered viral infections can cause organ-specific immune disease without molecular mimicry of self and without breaking self tolerance.
Doron Merkler, Edit Horvath, Wolfgang Bruck, Rolf M. Zinkernagel, Juan Carlos del la Torre, Daniel D. Pinschewer
We have used a novel conditional transgenic system to study the mechanisms of angioproliferation induced by viral G protein–coupled receptor (vGPCR), the constitutively active chemokine receptor encoded by human herpesvirus 8 (HHV8, also known as Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus). Using this system, we were able to control temporal expression of vGPCR and to monitor its expression in situ via the use of the surrogate marker LacZ. Upon treatment with doxycycline (DOX), cells expressing vGPCR and LacZ (vGPCR/LacZ+ cells) progressively accumulated in areas where angioproliferation was observed. Sorted vGPCR/LacZ+ cells from angiogenic lesions expressed markers characteristic of endothelial progenitor cells, produced angiogenic factors, and proliferated in vitro. Prolonged treatment of transgenic mice with DOX led to development of tumors in the skin of ears, tail, nose, and paws. vGPCR/LacZ+ cells were frequent in early lesions but scarce within these tumors. Finally, transfer of vGPCR/LacZ+ cells into Rag1–/– mice treated with DOX led to angioproliferation and, with time, to development of tumors containing both vGPCR/LacZ+ and vGPCR/LacZ– cells. Taken together, these results indicate that vGPCR triggers angioproliferation directly and suggest a novel role for this molecule in the pathogenesis of Kaposi sarcoma.
Marcos G. Grisotto, Alexandre Garin, Andrea P. Martin, Kristian K. Jensen, PokMan Chan, Stuart C. Sealfon, Sergio A. Lira
To define the factors that control the tissue effects of IL-4, we compared the effects of Tg IL-4 in Balb/c and C57BL/6 mice. In the former, IL-4 caused modest eosinophilic inflammation and mild airway fibrosis and did not shorten survival. In C57BL/6 mice, IL-4 caused profound eosinophilic inflammation, airway fibrosis, emphysematous alveolar destruction, and premature death. These differences could not be accounted for by changes in Th2 or Th1 cytokines, receptor components, STAT6 activation, MMPs, or cathepsins. In contrast, in C57BL/6 mice, alveolar remodeling was associated with decreased levels of tissue inhibitors of metalloproteinase 2, -3, and -4 and α1-antitrypsin, and fibrosis was associated with increased levels of total and bioactive TGF-β1. Impressive differences in adenosine metabolism were also appreciated, with increased tissue adenosine levels and A1, A2B, and A3 adenosine receptor expression and decreased adenosine deaminase (ADA) activity in C57BL/6 animals. Treatment with ADA also reduced the inflammation, fibrosis, and emphysematous destruction and improved the survival of C57BL/6 Tg animals. These studies demonstrate that genetic influences control IL-4 effector pathways in the murine lung. They also demonstrate that IL-4 has different effects on adenosine metabolism in Balb/c and C57BL/6 mice and that these differences contribute to the different responses that IL-4 induces in these inbred animals.
Bing Ma, Michael R. Blackburn, Chun Geun Lee, Robert J. Homer, Wei Liu, Richard A. Flavell, Lynn Boyden, Richard P. Lifton, Chun-Xiao Sun, Hays W. Young, Jack A. Elias
Caveolae in endothelial cells have been implicated as plasma membrane microdomains that sense or transduce hemodynamic changes into biochemical signals that regulate vascular function. Therefore we compared long- and short-term flow-mediated mechanotransduction in vessels from WT mice, caveolin-1 knockout (Cav-1 KO) mice, and Cav-1 KO mice reconstituted with a transgene expressing Cav-1 specifically in endothelial cells (Cav-1 RC mice). Arterial remodeling during chronic changes in flow and shear stress were initially examined in these mice. Ligation of the left external carotid for 14 days to lower blood flow in the common carotid artery reduced the lumen diameter of carotid arteries from WT and Cav-1 RC mice. In Cav-1 KO mice, the decrease in blood flow did not reduce the lumen diameter but paradoxically increased wall thickness and cellular proliferation. In addition, in isolated pressurized carotid arteries, flow-mediated dilation was markedly reduced in Cav-1 KO arteries compared with those of WT mice. This impairment in response to flow was rescued by reconstituting Cav-1 into the endothelium. In conclusion, these results showed that endothelial Cav-1 and caveolae are necessary for both rapid and long-term mechanotransduction in intact blood vessels.
Jun Yu, Sonia Bergaya, Takahisa Murata, Ilkay F. Alp, Michael P. Bauer, Michelle I. Lin, Marek Drab, Teymuras V. Kurzchalia, Radu V. Stan, William C. Sessa
Factors that determine the spectrum of target organs involved in autoimmune destruction are poorly understood. Although loss of function of autoimmune regulator (AIRE) in thymic epithelial cells is responsible for autoimmunity, the pathogenic roles of AIRE in regulating target-organ specificity remain elusive. In order to gain insight into this issue, we have established NOD mice, an animal model of type 1 diabetes caused by autoimmune attack against β cell islets, in which Aire has been abrogated. Remarkably, acinar cells rather than β cell islets were the major targets of autoimmune destruction in Aire-deficient NOD mice, and this alteration of intra-pancreatic target-organ specificity was associated with production of autoantibody against pancreas-specific protein disulfide isomerase (PDIp), an antigen expressed predominantly by acinar cells. Consistent with this pathological change, the animals were resistant to the development of diabetes. The results suggest that Aire not only is critical for the control of self-tolerance but is also a strong modifier of target-organ specificity through regulation of T cell repertoire diversification. We also demonstrated that transcriptional expression of PDIp was retained in the Aire-deficient NOD thymus, further supporting the concept that Aire may regulate the survival of autoreactive T cells beyond transcriptional control of self-protein expression in the thymus.
Shino Niki, Kiyotaka Oshikawa, Yasuhiro Mouri, Fumiko Hirota, Akemi Matsushima, Masashi Yano, Hongwei Han, Yoshimi Bando, Keisuke Izumi, Masaki Matsumoto, Keiichi I. Nakayama, Noriyuki Kuroda, Mitsuru Matsumoto
We have previously reported that genetically increased angiotensin-converting enzyme levels, or absence of the bradykinin B2 receptor, increase kidney damage in diabetic mice. We demonstrate here that this is part of a more general phenomenon — diabetes and, to a lesser degree, absence of the B2 receptor, independently but also largely additively when combined, enhance senescence-associated phenotypes in multiple tissues. Thus, at 12 months of age, indicators of senescence (alopecia, skin atrophy, kyphosis, osteoporosis, testicular atrophy, lipofuscin accumulation in renal proximal tubule and testicular Leydig cells, and apoptosis in the testis and intestine) are virtually absent in WT mice, detectable in B2 receptor–null mice, clearly apparent in mice diabetic because of a dominant mutation (Akita) in the Ins2 gene, and most obvious in Akita diabetic plus B2 receptor–null mice. Renal expression of several genes that encode proteins associated with senescence and/or apoptosis (TGF-β1, connective tissue growth factor, p53, α-synuclein, and forkhead box O1) increases in the same progression. Concomitant increases occur in 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine, point mutations and deletions in kidney mitochondrial DNA, and thiobarbituric acid–reactive substances in plasma, together with decreases in the reduced form of glutathione in erythrocytes. Thus, absence of the bradykinin B2 receptor increases the oxidative stress, mitochondrial DNA damage, and many senescence-associated phenotypes already present in untreated Akita diabetic mice.
Masao Kakoki, Catherine M. Kizer, Xianwen Yi, Nobuyuki Takahashi, Hyung-Suk Kim, C. Robert Bagnell, Cora-Jean S. Edgell, Nobuyo Maeda, J. Charles Jennette, Oliver Smithies
Uncontrolled mucosal immunity in the gastrointestinal tract of humans results in chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), such as Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis. In early clinical trials as well as in animal models, IL-12 has been implicated as a major mediator of these diseases based on the ability of anti-p40 mAb treatment to reverse intestinal inflammation. The cytokine IL-23 shares the same p40 subunit with IL-12, and the anti-p40 mAbs used in human and mouse IBD studies neutralized the activities of both IL-12 and IL-23. IL-10–deficient mice spontaneously develop enterocolitis. To determine how IL-23 contributes to intestinal inflammation, we studied the disease susceptibility in the absence of either IL-23 or IL-12 in this model, as well as the ability of recombinant IL-23 to exacerbate IBD induced by T cell transfer. Our study shows that in these models, IL-23 is essential for manifestation of chronic intestinal inflammation, whereas IL-12 is not. A critical target of IL-23 is a unique subset of tissue-homing memory T cells, which are specifically activated by IL-23 to produce the proinflammatory mediators IL-17 and IL-6. This pathway may be responsible for chronic intestinal inflammation as well as other chronic autoimmune inflammatory diseases.
David Yen, Jeanne Cheung, Heleen Scheerens, Frédérique Poulet, Terrill McClanahan, Brent Mckenzie, Melanie A. Kleinschek, Alex Owyang, Jeanine Mattson, Wendy Blumenschein, Erin Murphy, Manjiri Sathe, Daniel J. Cua, Robert A. Kastelein, Donna Rennick
IL-23 is a member of the IL-12 cytokine family that drives a highly pathogenic T cell population involved in the initiation of autoimmune diseases. We have shown that IL-23–dependent, pathogenic T cells produced IL-17A, IL-17F, IL-6, and TNF but not IFN-γ or IL-4. We now show that T-bet and STAT1 transcription factors are not required for the initial production of IL-17. However, optimal IL-17 production in response to IL-23 stimulation appears to require the presence of T-bet. To explore the clinical efficacy of targeting the IL-23 immune pathway, we generated anti–IL-23p19–specific antibodies and tested to determine whether blocking IL-23 function can inhibit EAE, a preclinical animal model of human multiple sclerosis. Anti–IL-23p19 treatment reduced the serum level of IL-17 as well as CNS expression of IFN-γ, IP-10, IL-17, IL-6, and TNF mRNA. In addition, therapeutic treatment with anti–IL-23p19 during active disease inhibited proteolipid protein (PLP) epitope spreading and prevented subsequent disease relapse. Thus, therapeutic targeting of IL-23 effectively inhibited multiple inflammatory pathways that are critical for driving CNS autoimmune inflammation.
Yi Chen, Claire L. Langrish, Brent Mckenzie, Barbara Joyce-Shaikh, Jason S. Stumhofer, Terrill McClanahan, Wendy Blumenschein, Tatyana Churakovsa, Justin Low, Leonard Presta, Christopher A. Hunter, Robert A. Kastelein, Daniel J. Cua
When exposed to a pathogen, a naive CD4+ T cell is forced to make a cell fate decision that leads to a polarized population of Th1 IFN-γ– or Th2 IL-4– producing cells. Although IL-4 has traditionally been considered a factor that promotes Th2 cell differentiation, recent evidence has demonstrated that the site and timing of IL-4 expression in an immune response determines its ultimate effects on CD4+ T cell fate. Using a mast cell (MC) reconstitution model, we demonstrate that MC-derived IL-4 promoted Th1 responses in vivo. Furthermore, MCs from genetically disparate mouse strains varied in their potential for IL-4 expression. Independent of the activation mode, MCs from Th1-prone C57BL/6 mice exhibited a more robust Il4 response than did the Th2-prone strain Balb/c. The hierarchy of IL-4 expression potential was directly associated with the degree of basal chromatin accessibility at cis-regulatory elements conserved noncoding sequence–1 and VA enhancer within the Th2 locus. GATA1/2 and Ikaros, factors with opposing roles in chromatin remodeling, acted at these sites. We propose that GATA and Ikaros proteins coordinately fine-tune accessibility at the Il4 locus during development to variably regulate IL-4 expression. These events likely contribute to the genetically determined heterogeneity in Th1 responses that underlie susceptibility to many diseases.
Gregory D. Gregory, Shveta S. Raju, Susan Winandy, Melissa A. Brown
Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) is the most common primary glomerular diagnosis resulting in end-stage renal disease. Defects in several podocyte proteins have been implicated in the etiology of FSGS, including podocin, α-actinin–4, CD2-associated protein (CD2AP), and TRPC6. Despite our growing understanding of genes involved in the pathogenesis of focal segmental sclerosis, the vast majority of patients with this disease, even those with a familial linkage, lack a clear genetic diagnosis. Here, we tested whether combinations of genetic heterozygosity (bigenic heterozygosity) that alone do not result in clinical kidney disease could function together to enhance susceptibility to glomerular damage and FSGS. Combinations of Cd2ap heterozygosity and heterozygosity of either synaptopodin (Synpo) or Fyn proto-oncogene (Fyn) but not kin of IRRE like 1 (Neph1) resulted in spontaneous proteinuria and in FSGS-like glomerular damage. These genetic interactions were also reflected at a functional level, as we found that CD2AP associates with Fyn and Synpo but not with Neph1. This demonstrates that bigenic heterozygosity can lead to FSGS and suggests that combined mutations in 2 or multiple podocyte genes may be a common etiology for glomerular disease.
Tobias B. Huber, Christopher Kwoh, Hui Wu, Katsuhiko Asanuma, Markus Gödel, Björn Hartleben, Ken J. Blumer, Jeffrey H. Miner, Peter Mundel, Andrey S. Shaw
A properly established and maintained podocyte intercellular junction, or slit diaphragm, is a necessary component of the selective permeability barrier of the kidney glomerulus. The observation that mutation or deletion of the slit diaphragm transmembrane protein nephrin results in failure of podocyte foot process morphogenesis and concomitant proteinuria first suggested the hypothesis that nephrin serves as a component of a signaling complex that directly integrates podocyte junctional integrity with cytoskeletal dynamics. The observations made herein provide the first direct evidence to our knowledge for a phosphorylation-mediated signaling mechanism by which this integrative function is derived. Our data support the model that during podocyte intercellular junction formation, engagement of the nephrin ectodomain induces transient Fyn catalytic activity that results in nephrin phosphorylation on specific nephrin cytoplasmic domain tyrosine residues. We found that this nephrin phosphorylation event resulted in recruitment of the SH2–SH3 domain–containing adapter protein Nck and assembly of actin filaments in an Nck-dependent fashion. Considered in the context of the role of nephrin family proteins in other organisms and the integral relationship of actin dynamics and junction formation, these observations establish a function for nephrin in regulating actin cytoskeletal dynamics.
Rakesh Verma, Iulia Kovari, Abdul Soofi, Deepak Nihalani, Kevin Patrie, Lawrence B. Holzman
We have previously isolated insulin-reactive Tregs from diabetic NOD mice designated 2H6, from which TCR transgenic mice were generated. The T cells from these 2H6 transgenic mice recognize insulin but have suppressive properties in vitro. They protect NOD mice in vivo from spontaneous development of diabetes and adoptive transfer of disease caused by polyclonal diabetogenic spleen cells as well as the highly diabetogenic monoclonal BDC2.5 TCR transgenic T cells that recognize an islet granule antigen. Using cells from both NOD and BDC2.5 mice that express a dominant-negative TGF-β receptor type II (TGF-βDNRII), we show that 2H6 T cells protected from disease by producing TGF-β and that the ability of the target diabetogenic T cells to respond to TGF-β was crucial. We further demonstrate that TGF-β signaling in 2H6 cells was important for their protective properties, as 2H6 cells were unable to protect from adoptive transfer–induced diabetes if they were unable to respond to TGF-β. Thus, our data demonstrate that insulin-specific regulatory cells protect from diabetes by virtue of their production of TGF-β1 that acts in an autocrine manner to maintain their regulatory function and acts in a paracrine manner on the target cells.
Wei Du, F. Susan Wong, Ming O. Li, Jian Peng, Hao Qi, Richard A. Flavell, Robert Sherwin, Li Wen
Safe induction of autoantigen-specific long-term tolerance is the “holy grail” for the treatment of autoimmune diseases. In animal models of type 1 diabetes, oral or i.n. immunization with islet antigens induces Tregs that are capable of bystander suppression. However, such interventions are only effective early in the prediabetic phase. Here, we demonstrate that a novel combination treatment with anti-CD3ε–specific antibody and i.n. proinsulin peptide can reverse recent-onset diabetes in 2 murine diabetes models with much higher efficacy than with monotherapy with anti-CD3 or antigen alone. In vivo, expansion of CD25+Foxp3+ and insulin-specific Tregs producing IL-10, TGF-β, and IL-4 was strongly enhanced. These cells could transfer dominant tolerance to immunocompetent recent-onset diabetic recipients and suppressed heterologous autoaggressive CD8 responses. Thus, combining a systemic immune modulator with antigen-specific Treg induction is more efficacious in reverting diabetes. Since Tregs act site-specifically, this strategy should also be expected to reduce the potential for systemic side effects.
Damien Bresson, Lisa Togher, Evelyn Rodrigo, Yali Chen, Jeffrey A. Bluestone, Kevan C. Herold, Matthias von Herrath
T cells recognizing self antigens expressed by cancer cells are prevalent in the immune repertoire. However, activation of these autoreactive T cells is limited by weak signals that are incapable of fully priming naive T cells, creating a state of tolerance or ignorance. Even if T cell activation occurs, immunity can be further restricted by a dominant response directed at only a single epitope. Enhanced antigen presentation of multiple epitopes was investigated as a strategy to overcome these barriers. Specific point mutations that create altered peptide ligands were introduced into the gene encoding a nonimmunogenic tissue self antigen expressed by melanoma, tyrosinase-related protein-1 (Tyrp1). Deficient asparagine-linked glycosylation, which was caused by additional mutations, produced altered protein trafficking and fate that increased antigen processing. Immunization of mice with mutated Tyrp1 DNA elicited cross-reactive CD8+ T cell responses against multiple nonmutated epitopes of syngeneic Tyrp1 and against melanoma cells. These multispecific anti-Tyrp1 CD8+ T cell responses led to rejection of poorly immunogenic melanoma and prolonged survival when immunization was started after tumor challenge. These studies demonstrate how rationally designed DNA vaccines directed against self antigens for enhanced antigen processing and presentation reveal novel self epitopes and elicit multispecific T cell responses to nonimmunogenic, nonmutated self antigens, enhancing immunity against cancer self antigens.
José A. Guevara-Patiño, Manuel E. Engelhorn, Mary Jo Turk, Cailian Liu, Fei Duan, Gabrielle Rizzuto, Adam D. Cohen, Taha Merghoub, Jedd D. Wolchok, Alan N. Houghton
We investigated the mechanisms by which inhibitors of prostaglandin G/H synthase-2 (PGHS-2; known colloquially as COX-2) increase the incidence of myocardial infarction and stroke. These inhibitors are believed to exert both their beneficial and their adverse effects by suppression of PGHS-2–derived prostacyclin (PGI2) and PGE2. Therefore, the challenge remains to identify a mechanism whereby PGI2 and PGE2 expression can be suppressed while avoiding adverse cardiovascular events. Here, selective inhibition, knockout, or mutation of PGHS-2, or deletion of the receptor for PGHS-2–derived PGI2, was shown to accelerate thrombogenesis and elevate blood pressure in mice. These responses were attenuated by COX-1 knock down, which mimics the beneficial effects of low-dose aspirin. PGE2 biosynthesis is catalyzed by the coordinate actions of COX enzymes and microsomal PGE synthase-1 (mPGES-1). We show that deletion of mPGES-1 depressed PGE2 expression, augmented PGI2 expression, and had no effect on thromboxane biosynthesis in vivo. Most importantly, mPGES-1 deletion affected neither thrombogenesis nor blood pressure. These results suggest that inhibitors of mPGES-1 may retain their antiinflammatory efficacy by depressing PGE2, while avoiding the adverse cardiovascular consequences associated with PGHS-2–mediated PGI2 suppression.
Yan Cheng, Miao Wang, Ying Yu, John Lawson, Colin D. Funk, Garret A. FitzGerald
Multiple and paradoxical effects of airway smooth muscle (ASM) 7-transmembrane–spanning receptors activated during asthma, or by treatment with bronchodilators such as β2–adrenergic receptor (β2AR) agonists, indicate extensive receptor crosstalk. We examined the signaling of the prostanoid-EP1 receptor, since its endogenous agonist prostaglandin E2 is abundant in the airway, but its functional implications are poorly defined. Activation of EP1 failed to elicit ASM contraction in mouse trachea via this Gαq-coupled receptor. However, EP1 activation markedly reduced the bronchodilatory function of β2AR agonist, but not forskolin, indicating an early pathway interaction. Activation of EP1 reduced β2AR-stimulated cAMP in ASM but did not promote or augment β2AR phosphorylation or alter β2AR trafficking. Bioluminescence resonant energy transfer showed EP1 and β2AR formed heterodimers, which were further modified by EP1 agonist. In cell membrane [35S]GTPγS binding studies, the presence of the EP1 component of the dimer uncoupled β2AR from Gαs, an effect accentuated by EP1 agonist activation. Thus alone, EP1 does not appear to have a significant direct effect on airway tone but acts as a modulator of the β2AR, altering Gαs coupling via steric interactions imposed by the EP1:β2AR heterodimeric signaling complex and ultimately affecting β2AR-mediated bronchial relaxation. This mechanism may contribute to β-agonist resistance found in asthma.
Dennis W. McGraw, Kathryn A. Mihlbachler, Mary Rose Schwarb, Fahema F. Rahman, Kersten M. Small, Khalid F. Almoosa, Stephen B. Liggett
There is no treatment for the neurodegenerative disorder Huntington disease (HD). Cystamine is a candidate drug; however, the mechanisms by which it operates remain unclear. We show here that cystamine increases levels of the heat shock DnaJ-containing protein 1b (HSJ1b) that are low in HD patients. HSJ1b inhibits polyQ-huntingtin–induced death of striatal neurons and neuronal dysfunction in Caenorhabditis elegans. This neuroprotective effect involves stimulation of the secretory pathway through formation of clathrin-coated vesicles containing brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). Cystamine increases BDNF secretion from the Golgi region that is blocked by reducing HSJ1b levels or by overexpressing transglutaminase. We demonstrate that cysteamine, the FDA-approved reduced form of cystamine, is neuroprotective in HD mice by increasing BDNF levels in brain. Finally, cysteamine increases serum levels of BDNF in mouse and primate models of HD. Therefore, cysteamine is a potential treatment for HD, and serum BDNF levels can be used as a biomarker for drug efficacy.
Maria Borrell-Pagès, Josep M. Canals, Fabrice P. Cordelières, J. Alex Parker, José R. Pineda, Ghislaine Grange, Elzbieta A. Bryson, Martine Guillermier, Etienne Hirsch, Philippe Hantraye, Michael E. Cheetham, Christian Néri, Jordi Alberch, Emmanuel Brouillet, Frédéric Saudou, Sandrine Humbert
Lectin pathway activation of C3 is known to involve target recognition by mannan-binding lectin (MBL) or ficolins and generation of classical pathway C3 convertase via cleavage of C4 and C2 by MBL-associated serine protease 2 (MASP-2). We investigated C3 activation in C2-deficient human sera and in sera with other defined defects of complement to assess other mechanisms through which MBL might recruit complement. The capacity of serum to support C3 deposition was examined by ELISA using microtiter plates coated with O antigen–specific oligosaccharides derived from Salmonella typhimurium, S. thompson, and S. enteritidis corresponding to serogroups B, C, and D (BO, CO, and DO). MBL bound to CO, but not to BO and DO, and efficiently supported C3 deposition in the absence of C2, C4, or MASP-2. The existence of an MBL-dependent C2 bypass mechanism for alternative pathway–mediated C3 activation was clearly demonstrated using CO, solid-phase mannan, and E. coli LPS. MASP-1 might contribute, but was not required for C3 deposition in the model used. Independent of MBL, specific antibodies to CO supported C3 deposition through classical and alternative pathways. MBL-dependent C2 bypass activation could be particularly important in various inherited and acquired complement deficiency states.
Barbro Selander, Ulla Mårtensson, Andrej Weintraub, Eva Holmström, Misao Matsushita, Steffen Thiel, Jens C. Jensenius, Lennart Truedsson, Anders G. Sjöholm
Genetic deficiency or inhibition of cholesteryl ester transfer protein (CETP) leads to a marked increase in plasma levels of large HDL-2 particles. However, there is concern that such particles may be dysfunctional in terms of their ability to promote cholesterol efflux from macrophages. Recently, the ATP-binding cassette transporter ABCG1, a macrophage liver X receptor (LXR) target, has been shown to stimulate cholesterol efflux to HDL. We have assessed the ability of HDL from subjects with homozygous deficiency of CETP (CETP-D) to promote cholesterol efflux from macrophages and have evaluated the role of ABCG1 and other factors in this process. CETP-D HDL-2 caused a 2- to 3-fold stimulation of net cholesterol efflux compared with control HDL-2 in LXR-activated macrophages, due primarily to an increase in lecithin:cholesterol acyltransferase–mediated (LCAT-mediated) cholesteryl ester formation in media. Genetic knockdown or overexpression of ABCG1 showed that increased cholesterol efflux to CETP-D HDL was ABCG1 dependent. LCAT and apoE contents of CETP-D HDL-2 were markedly increased compared with control HDL-2, and increased cholesterol esterification activity resided within the apoE-HDL fraction. Thus, CETP-D HDL has enhanced ability to promote cholesterol efflux from foam cells in an ABCG1-dependent pathway due to an increased content of LCAT and apoE.
Fumihiko Matsuura, Nan Wang, Wengen Chen, Xian-Cheng Jiang, Alan R. Tall
Why some virus-specific CD8 TCR repertoires are diverse and others restricted or “oligoclonal” has been unknown. We show here that oligoclonality and extreme clonal dominance can be a consequence of T cell cross-reactivity. Lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus (LCMV) and Pichinde virus (PV) encode NP205–212 epitopes that induce different but highly cross-reactive diverse TCR repertoires. Homologous viral challenge of immune mice only slightly skewed the repertoire and enriched for predictable TCR motifs. However, heterologous viral challenge resulted in a narrow oligoclonal repertoire with dominant clones with unpredictable TCR sequences. This shift in clonal dominance varied with the private, i.e., unique, specificity of the host’s TCR repertoire and was simulated using affinity-based computer models. The skewing differences in TCR repertoire following homologous versus heterologous challenge were observed within the same private immune system in mice adoptively reconstituted with memory CD8 T cell pools from the same donor. Conditions driving oligoclonality resulted in an LCMV epitope escape variant in vivo resembling the natural Lassa virus sequence. Thus, T cell oligoclonality, including extremes in clonal dominance, may be a consequence of heterologous immunity and lead to viral escape. This has implications for the design of peptide-based vaccines, which might unintentionally prime for skewed TCR responses to cross-reactive epitopes.
Markus Cornberg, Alex T. Chen, Lee A. Wilkinson, Michael A. Brehm, Sung-Kwon Kim, Claudia Calcagno, Dario Ghersi, Roberto Puzone, Franco Celada, Raymond M. Welsh, Liisa K. Selin
υsa Betten, Johan Bylund, Thierry Christophe, François Boulay, Ana Romero, Kristoffer Hellstrand, Claes Dahlgren
Stuart P. Weisberg, Deborah Hunter, Reid Huber, Jacob Lemieux, Sarah Slaymaker, Kris Vaddi, Israel Charo, Rudolph L. Leibel, Anthony W. Ferrante Jr.