Since their discovery in the early 2000s, microRNAs (miRNAs) and their penchant for RNA interference have taken the scientific community by storm, working their way into virtually every corner of biological inquiry. The very nature of their action, the ability to simultaneously extinguish the expression of a multitude of genes and negate their functions, immediately suggested therapeutic promise. In this issue of the JCI, a step toward the realization of this promise is described. Taulli et al. demonstrate that the miRNAs miR-1/miR-206, which are routinely lost in advanced, poorly differentiated rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) but characteristically expressed in the mature skeletal muscle from which these tumors arise, restore the myogenic differentiation program and block the tumorigenic phenotype (see the related article beginning on page 2366). Their data support the notion that these small RNAs, effectively functioning as “micro-sheriffs” by restoring myogenic law and order, hold substantial clinical potential as differentiation therapy for RMS and perhaps other solid tumors. miRNA reexpression therapy constitutes a novel approach to handcuff oncogenes and arrest tumor development.
Prasun J. Mishra, Glenn Merlino
Aberrant endocytosis, vesicle targeting, and receptor recycling represent emerging hallmarks of cancer. In this issue of the JCI, Zhang and colleagues demonstrate that RAB-coupling protein (RCP; also known as RAB11FIP1) is a “driver” of the 8p11–12 amplicon in human breast cancer and mouse xenograft models of mammary carcinogenesis (see the related article beginning on page 2171). Their finding that RAB GTPase function enables genomic amplification to confer aggressiveness to mammary tumors adds significantly to the body of evidence supporting pivotal roles for receptor trafficking in the proliferation and metastasis of cancer.
Gordon B. Mills, Igor Jurisica, Yosef Yarden, Jim C. Norman
Conventional chemotherapeutics may induce immunogenic cancer cell death or stimulate immune effectors via so-called off-target effects. The study by Besch et al. in this issue of the JCI now demonstrates that agents designed to stimulate the innate immune system by activating intracellular pattern recognition receptors can kill cancer cells in a direct, cell-autonomous fashion (see the related article beginning on page 2399). The authors show that ligation of viral RNA sensors, such as RIG-I or MDA-5, by viral RNA mimetics triggers mitochondrial apoptosis in human melanoma cells in an IFN-independent fashion. The data suggest that tumor cell killing and immunostimulation may synergize for optimal anticancer immunochemotherapy.
Laurence Zitvogel, Guido Kroemer
The level of neurotransmitters present in the synaptic cleft is a function of the delicate balance among neurotransmitter synthesis, recycling, and degradation. While much is known about the processes controlling neurotransmitter synthesis and release, the enzymes that degrade peptide neurotransmitters are poorly understood. A new study in this issue of the JCI reveals the important role of neuropeptide degradation in regulating obesity (see the related article beginning on page 2291). Wallingford et al. provide evidence that, in mice, the enzyme prolylcarboxypeptidase (PRCP) degrades α-melanocyte–stimulating hormone (α-MSH) to an inactive form that is unable to inhibit food intake. Their studies indicate that PRCP expression promotes obesity, while inhibitors of the enzyme counteract obesity.
Richard D. Palmiter
The combination of rituximab, a type I anti-CD20 mAb, with conventional chemotherapy has significantly improved the outcome of patients with B cell malignancies. Regardless of this success, many patients still relapse with therapy-resistant disease, highlighting the need for the development of mAbs with higher capacity to induce programmed cell death. The so-called type II anti-CD20 mAbs (e.g., tositumomab) that trigger caspase-independent B cell lymphoma cell death in vitro and show superior efficacy as compared with rituximab in eradicating target cells in mouse models are emerging as the next generation of therapeutic anti-CD20 mAbs. In this issue of the JCI, Ivanov and colleagues identify the lysosomal compartment as a target for type II mAbs (see the related article beginning on page 2143). These data encourage the further clinical development of type II mAbs as well as other lysosome-targeting drugs in the treatment of B cell malignancies.
Kirsten Grønbæk, Marja Jäättelä
The cytotoxic activity of lymphocytes is crucial for immune surveillance and homeostasis. Several independent, naturally occurring genetic models characterized by defects in granule trafficking or exocytosis have helped to decipher the multiple steps and molecules that regulate the cytotoxic process. The study by Rüder and colleagues in this issue of the JCI shows that an engineered absence of EBAG9, previously reported as a tumor-associated antigen, enhances cytotoxic activity of CTLs but not NK cells, likely acting on the endosomal-lysosomal trafficking of the cytotoxic effectors (see the related article beginning on page 2184). This finding adds a new piece to the puzzle of complex mechanisms that tightly regulate the capacity of the cytotoxic response and suggests a new target to negatively modulate CTL responsiveness.
Gaël Ménasché, Geneviève de Saint Basile
Hemoglobin (Hb) is crucial to the function of the red blood cell. However, when it is released during intravascular hemolysis from the cell into blood plasma, it produces a state of NO depletion, oxidant stress, and vascular dysfunction, including hypertension. In their study reported in this issue of the JCI, Boretti and colleagues used canine and guinea pig models to demonstrate that pharmacological doses of glucocorticoid can increase the plasma levels of haptoglobin (Hp), the principal plasma-binding protein for free Hb (see the related article beginning on page 2271). Hp prevented Hb-induced hypertension and the generation of oxidant damage to the kidney. Neutralization of free Hb appears to be part of the downstream antiinflammatory properties of glucocorticoid.
Gregory J. Kato
mAbs are becoming increasingly utilized in the treatment of lymphoid disorders. Although Fc-FcγR interactions are thought to account for much of their therapeutic effect, this does not explain why certain mAb specificities are more potent than others. An additional effector mechanism underlying the action of some mAbs is the direct induction of cell death. Previously, we demonstrated that certain CD20-specific mAbs (which we termed type II mAbs) evoke a nonapoptotic mode of cell death that appears to be linked with the induction of homotypic adhesion. Here, we reveal that peripheral relocalization of actin is critical for the adhesion and cell death induced by both the type II CD20-specific mAb tositumomab and an HLA-DR–specific mAb in both human lymphoma cell lines and primary chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells. The cell death elicited was rapid, nonapoptotic, nonautophagic, and dependent on the integrity of plasma membrane cholesterol and activation of the V-type ATPase. This cytoplasmic cell death involved lysosomes, which swelled and then dispersed their contents, including cathepsin B, into the cytoplasm and surrounding environment. The resulting loss of plasma membrane integrity occurred independently of caspases and was not controlled by Bcl-2. These experiments provide what we believe to be new insights into the mechanisms by which 2 clinically relevant mAbs elicit cell death and show that this homotypic adhesion–related cell death occurs through a lysosome-dependent pathway.
Andrei Ivanov, Stephen A. Beers, Claire A. Walshe, Jamie Honeychurch, Waleed Alduaij, Kerry L. Cox, Kathleen N. Potter, Stephen Murray, Claude H.T. Chan, Tetyana Klymenko, Jekaterina Erenpreisa, Martin J. Glennie, Tim M. Illidge, Mark S. Cragg
Members of the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) family of transcription factors regulate the cellular response to hypoxia. In non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), high HIF2α levels correlate with decreased overall survival, and inhibition of either the protein encoded by the canonical HIF target gene VEGF or VEGFR2 improves clinical outcomes. However, whether HIF2α is causal in imparting this poor prognosis is unknown. Here, we generated mice that conditionally express both a nondegradable variant of HIF2α and a mutant form of Kras (KrasG12D) that induces lung tumors. Mice expressing both Hif2a and KrasG12D in the lungs developed larger tumors and had an increased tumor burden and decreased survival compared with mice expressing only KrasG12D. Additionally, tumors expressing both KrasG12D and Hif2a were more invasive, demonstrated features of epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), and exhibited increased angiogenesis associated with mobilization of circulating endothelial progenitor cells. These results implicate HIF2α causally in the pathogenesis of lung cancer in mice, demonstrate in vivo that HIF2α can promote expression of markers of EMT, and define HIF2α as a promoter of tumor growth and progression in a solid tumor other than renal cell carcinoma. They further suggest a possible causal relationship between HIF2α and prognosis in patients with NSCLC.
William Y. Kim, Samanthi Perera, Bing Zhou, Julian Carretero, Jen Jen Yeh, Samuel A. Heathcote, Autumn L. Jackson, Petros Nikolinakos, Beatriz Ospina, George Naumov, Kathleyn A. Brandstetter, Victor J. Weigman, Sara Zaghlul, D. Neil Hayes, Robert F. Padera, John V. Heymach, Andrew L. Kung, Norman E. Sharpless, William G. Kaelin Jr., Kwok-Kin Wong
Aggressive forms of cancer are often defined by recurrent chromosomal alterations, yet in most cases, the causal or contributing genetic components remain poorly understood. Here, we utilized microarray informatics to identify candidate oncogenes potentially contributing to aggressive breast cancer behavior. We identified the Rab-coupling protein RCP (also known as RAB11FIP1), which is located at a chromosomal region frequently amplified in breast cancer (8p11–12) as a potential candidate. Overexpression of RCP in MCF10A normal human mammary epithelial cells resulted in acquisition of tumorigenic properties such as loss of contact inhibition, growth-factor independence, and anchorage-independent growth. Conversely, knockdown of RCP in human breast cancer cell lines inhibited colony formation, invasion, and migration in vitro and markedly reduced tumor formation and metastasis in mouse xenograft models. Overexpression of RCP enhanced ERK phosphorylation and increased Ras activation in vitro. As these results indicate that RCP is a multifunctional gene frequently amplified in breast cancer that encodes a protein with Ras-activating function, we suggest it has potential importance as a therapeutic target. Furthermore, these studies provide new insight into the emerging role of the Rab family of small G proteins and their interacting partners in carcinogenesis.
Jinqiu Zhang, Xuejing Liu, Arpita Datta, Kunde Govindarajan, Wai Leong Tam, Jianyong Han, Joshy George, Christopher Wong, Kalpana Ramnarayanan, Tze Yoong Phua, Wan Yee Leong, Yang Sun Chan, Nallasivam Palanisamy, Edison Tak-Bun Liu, Krishna Murthy Karuturi, Bing Lim, Lance David Miller
CTLs eliminate virus-infected and tumorigenic cells through exocytosis of cytotoxic agents from lytic granules. While insights into the intracellular mechanisms facilitating lytic granule release have been obtained through analysis of loss-of-function mutations in humans and mice, there is a paucity of information on negative regulators of secretory lysosome release at the molecular level. By generating and analyzing estrogen receptor–binding fragment-associated antigen 9–KO (Ebag9 KO) mice, we show here that loss of EBAG9 confers CTLs with enhanced cytolytic capacity in vitro and in vivo. Although loss of EBAG9 did not affect lymphocyte development, it led to an increase in CTL secretion of granzyme A, a marker of lytic granules. This resulted in increased cytotoxicity in vitro and an enhanced cytolytic primary and memory T cell response in vivo. We further found that EBAG9 interacts with the adaptor molecule γ2-adaptin, suggesting EBAG9 is involved in endosomal-lysosomal biogenesis and membrane fusion. Indeed, granzyme B was sorted to secretory lysosomes more efficiently in EBAG9-deficient CTLs than it was in WT CTLs, a finding consistent with the observed enhanced kinetics of cathepsin D proteolytic processing. While EBAG9 deficiency did not disrupt the formation of the immunological synapse, lytic granules in Ebag9–/– CTLs were smaller than in WT CTLs. These data suggest that EBAG9 is a tunable inhibitor of CTL-mediated adaptive immune response functions.
Constantin Rüder, Uta E. Höpken, Jana Wolf, Hans-Willi Mittrücker, Boris Engels, Bettina Erdmann, Susanne Wollenzin, Wolfgang Uckert, Bernd Dörken, Armin Rehm
Cardiac progenitor cells are a potential source of cell therapy for heart failure. Although recent studies have shown that transplantation of cardiac stem/progenitor cells improves function of infarcted hearts, the precise mechanisms of the improvement in function remain poorly understood. The present study demonstrates that transplantation of sheets of clonally expanded stem cell antigen 1–positive (Sca-1–positive) cells (CPCs) ameliorates cardiac dysfunction after myocardial infarction in mice. CPC efficiently differentiated into cardiomyocytes and secreted various cytokines, including soluble VCAM-1 (sVCAM-1). Secreted sVCAM-1 induced migration of endothelial cells and CPCs and prevented cardiomyocyte death from oxidative stress through activation of Akt, ERK, and p38 MAPK. Treatment with antibodies specific for very late antigen-4 (VLA-4), a receptor of sVCAM-1, abolished the effects of CPC-derived conditioned medium on cardiomyocytes and CPCs in vitro and inhibited angiogenesis, CPC migration, and survival in vivo, which led to attenuation of improved cardiac function following transplantation of CPC sheets. These results suggest that CPC transplantation improves cardiac function after myocardial infarction through cardiomyocyte differentiation and paracrine mechanisms mediated via the sVCAM-1/VLA-4 signaling pathway.
Katsuhisa Matsuura, Atsushi Honda, Toshio Nagai, Noritoshi Fukushima, Koji Iwanaga, Masakuni Tokunaga, Tatsuya Shimizu, Teruo Okano, Hiroshi Kasanuki, Nobuhisa Hagiwara, Issei Komuro
Neural crest cells (NCCs) participate in the remodeling of the cardiac outflow tract and pharyngeal arch arteries during cardiovascular development. Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) mediates signal transduction by integrin and growth factor receptors, each of which is important for normal cardiovascular development. To investigate the role of FAK in NCC morphogenesis, we deleted it in murine NCCs using Wnt1cre, yielding craniofacial and cardiovascular malformations resembling those observed in individuals with DiGeorge syndrome. In these mice, we observed normal cardiac NCC migration but reduced differentiation into smooth muscle within the aortic arch arteries and impaired cardiac outflow tract rotation, which resulted in a dextroposed aortic root. Moreover, within the conotruncal cushions, Fak-deficient NCCs formed a less organized mesenchyme, with reduced expression of perlecan and semaphorin 3C, and exhibited disorganized F-actin stress fibers within the aorticopulmonary septum. Additionally, absence of Fak resulted in reduced in vivo phosphorylation of Crkl and Erk1/2, components of a signaling pathway essential for NCC development. Consistent with this, both TGF-β and FGF induced FAK and Crkl phosphorylation in control but not Fak-deficient NCCs in vitro. Our results indicate that FAK plays an essential role in cardiac outflow tract development by promoting the activation of molecules such as Crkl and Erk1/2.
Ainara Vallejo-Illarramendi, Keling Zang, Louis F. Reichardt
The success of clinically relevant immunotherapies requires reversing tumor-induced immunosuppression. Here we demonstrated that linear polyethylenimine-based (PEI-based) nanoparticles encapsulating siRNA were preferentially and avidly engulfed by regulatory DCs expressing CD11c and programmed cell death 1–ligand 1 (PD-L1) at ovarian cancer locations in mice. PEI-siRNA uptake transformed these DCs from immunosuppressive cells to efficient antigen-presenting cells that activated tumor-reactive lymphocytes and exerted direct tumoricidal activity, both in vivo and in situ. PEI triggered robust and selective TLR5 activation in vitro and elicited the production of hallmark TLR5-inducible cytokines in WT mice, but not in Tlr5–/– littermates. Thus, PEI is a TLR5 agonist that, to our knowledge, was not previously recognized. In addition, PEI-complexed nontargeting siRNA oligonucleotides stimulated TLR3 and TLR7. The nonspecific activation of multiple TLRs (specifically, TLR5 and TLR7) reversed the tolerogenic phenotype of human and mouse ovarian tumor–associated DCs. In ovarian carcinoma–bearing mice, this induced T cell–mediated tumor regression and prolonged survival in a manner dependent upon myeloid differentiation primary response gene 88 (MyD88; i.e., independent of TLR3). Furthermore, gene-specific siRNA-PEI nanocomplexes that silenced immunosuppressive molecules on mouse tumor-associated DCs elicited discernibly superior antitumor immunity and enhanced therapeutic effects compared with nontargeting siRNA-PEI nanocomplexes. Our results demonstrate that the intrinsic TLR5 and TLR7 stimulation of siRNA-PEI nanoparticles synergizes with the gene-specific silencing activity of siRNA to transform tumor-infiltrating regulatory DCs into DCs capable of promoting therapeutic antitumor immunity.
Juan R. Cubillos-Ruiz, Xavier Engle, Uciane K. Scarlett, Diana Martinez, Amorette Barber, Raul Elgueta, Li Wang, Yolanda Nesbeth, Yvon Durant, Andrew T. Gewirtz, Charles L. Sentman, Ross Kedl, Jose R. Conejo-Garcia
Treg deficiencies are associated with autoimmunity. Conversely, CD4+ and CD8+ Tregs accumulate in the tumor microenvironment and are associated with prevention of antitumor immunity and anticancer immunotherapy. Recently, CD4+ Tregs have been much studied, but little is known about CD8+ Tregs and the antigens they recognize. Here, we describe what we believe to be the first natural target for CD8+ Tregs. Naturally occurring HLA-A2–restricted CD8+ T cells specific for the antiinflammatory molecule heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) were able to suppress cellular immune responses with outstanding efficacy. HO-1–specific CD8+ T cells were detected ex vivo and in situ among T cells from cancer patients. HO-1–specific T cells isolated from the peripheral blood of cancer patients inhibited cytokine release, proliferation, and cytotoxicity of other immune cells. Notably, the inhibitory effect of HO-1–specific T cells was far more pronounced than that of conventional CD4+CD25+CD127– Tregs. The inhibitory activity of HO-1–specific T cells seemed at least partly to be mediated by soluble factors. Our data link the cellular stress response to the regulation of adaptive immunity, expand the role of HO-1 in T cell–mediated immunoregulation, and establish a role for peptide-specific CD8+ T cells in regulating cellular immune responses. Identification of potent antigen-specific CD8+ Tregs may open new avenues for therapeutic interventions in both autoimmune diseases and cancer.
Mads Hald Andersen, Rikke Bæk Sørensen, Marie K. Brimnes, Inge Marie Svane, Jürgen C. Becker, Per thor Straten
Down syndrome critical region gene 1 (DSCR-1) short variant (DSCR-1s) is an inhibitor of calcineurin/NFAT signaling encoded by exons 4–7 of DSCR1. We previously reported that VEGF induces DSCR-1s expression in endothelial cells, which in turn negatively feeds back to attenuate endothelial cell activation. Here, in order to characterize the role of the promoter that drives DSCR-1s expression in mediating inducible expression in vivo and to determine the functional relevance of DSCR-1s in inflammation, we targeted a DNA construct containing 1.7 kb of the human DSCR1s promoter coupled to the lacZ reporter to the hypoxanthine guanine phosphoribosyl transferase (Hprt) locus of mice. We determined that lacZ was uniformly expressed in the endothelium of transgenic embryos but was markedly downregulated postnatally. Systemic administration of VEGF or LPS in adult mice resulted in cyclosporine A–sensitive reactivation of the DSCR1s promoter and endogenous gene expression in a subset of organs, including the heart and brain. The DSCR1s promoter was similarly induced in the endothelium of tumor xenografts. In a mouse model of endotoxemia, DSCR-1s–deficient mice demonstrated increased sepsis mortality, whereas adenovirus-mediated DSCR-1s overexpression protected against LPS-induced lethality. Collectively, these data suggest that the DSCR1s promoter directs vascular bed–specific expression in activated endothelium and that DSCR-1s serves to dampen the host response to infection.
Takashi Minami, Kiichiro Yano, Mai Miura, Mika Kobayashi, Jun-ichi Suehiro, Patrick C. Reid, Takao Hamakubo, Sandra Ryeom, William C. Aird, Tatsuhiko Kodama
Release of hemoglobin (Hb) into the circulation is a central pathophysiologic event that contributes to morbidity and mortality in chronic hemolytic anemias and severe malaria. These toxicities arise from Hb-mediated vasoactivity, possibly due to NO scavenging and localized tissue oxidative processes. Currently, there is no established treatment that targets circulating extracellular Hb. Here, we assessed the role of haptoglobin (Hp), the primary scavenger of Hb in the circulation, in limiting the toxicity of cell-free Hb infusion. Using a canine model, we found that glucocorticoid stimulation of endogenous Hp synthesis prevented Hb-induced hemodynamic responses. Furthermore, guinea pigs administered exogenous Hp displayed decreased Hb-induced hypertension and oxidative toxicity to extravascular environments, such as the proximal tubules of the kidney. The ability of Hp to both attenuate hypertensive responses during Hb exposure and prevent peroxidative toxicity in extravascular compartments was dependent on Hb-Hp complex formation, which likely acts through sequestration of Hb rather than modulation of its NO- and O2-binding characteristics. Our data therefore suggest that therapies involving supplementation of endogenous Hb scavengers may be able to treat complications of acute and chronic hemolysis, as well as counter the adverse effects associated with Hb-based oxygen therapeutics.
Felicitas S. Boretti, Paul W. Buehler, Felice D’Agnillo, Katharina Kluge, Tony Glaus, Omer I. Butt, Yiping Jia, Jeroen Goede, Claudia P. Pereira, Marco Maggiorini, Gabriele Schoedon, Abdu I. Alayash, Dominik J. Schaer
Biliary atresia is a neonatal obstructive cholangiopathy that progresses to end-stage liver disease. Although the etiology is unknown, a neonatal adaptive immune signature has been mechanistically linked to obstruction of the extrahepatic bile ducts. Here, we investigated the role of the innate immune response in the pathogenesis of biliary atresia. Analysis of livers of infants at diagnosis revealed that NK cells populate the vicinity of intrahepatic bile ducts and overexpress several genes involved in cytotoxicity. Using a model of rotavirus-induced biliary atresia in newborn mice, we found that activated NK cells also populated murine livers and were the most abundant cells in extrahepatic bile ducts at the time of obstruction. Rotavirus-primed hepatic NK cells lysed cholangiocytes in a contact- and Nkg2d-dependent fashion. Depletion of NK cells and blockade of Nkg2d each prevented injury of the duct epithelium after rotavirus infection, maintained continuity of duct lumen between the liver and duodenum, and enabled bile flow, despite the presence of virus in the tissue and the overexpression of proinflammatory cytokines. These findings identify NK cells as key initiators of cholangiocyte injury via Nkg2d and demonstrate that injury to the duct epithelium drives the phenotype of experimental biliary atresia.
Pranavkumar Shivakumar, Gregg E. Sabla, Peter Whitington, Claire A. Chougnet, Jorge A. Bezerra
The anorexigenic neuromodulator α-melanocyte–stimulating hormone (α-MSH; referred to here as α-MSH1–13) undergoes extensive posttranslational processing, and its in vivo activity is short lived due to rapid inactivation. The enzymatic control of α-MSH1–13 maturation and inactivation is incompletely understood. Here we have provided insight into α-MSH1–13 inactivation through the generation and analysis of a subcongenic mouse strain with reduced body fat compared with controls. Using positional cloning, we identified a maximum of 6 coding genes, including that encoding prolylcarboxypeptidase (PRCP), in the donor region. Real-time PCR revealed a marked genotype effect on Prcp mRNA expression in brain tissue. Biochemical studies using recombinant PRCP demonstrated that PRCP removes the C-terminal amino acid of α-MSH1–13, producing α-MSH1–12, which is not neuroactive. We found that Prcp was expressed in the hypothalamus in neuronal populations that send efferents to areas where α-MSH1–13 is released from axon terminals. The inhibition of PRCP activity by small molecule protease inhibitors administered peripherally or centrally decreased food intake in both wild-type and obese mice. Furthermore, Prcp-null mice had elevated levels of α-MSH1–13 in the hypothalamus and were leaner and shorter than the wild-type controls on a regular chow diet; they were also resistant to high-fat diet–induced obesity. Our results suggest that PRCP is an important component of melanocortin signaling and weight maintenance via control of active α-MSH1–13 levels.
Nicholas Wallingford, Bertrand Perroud, Qian Gao, Anna Coppola, Erika Gyengesi, Zhong-Wu Liu, Xiao-Bing Gao, Adam Diament, Kari A. Haus, Zia Shariat-Madar, Fakhri Mahdi, Sharon L. Wardlaw, Alvin H. Schmaier, Craig H. Warden, Sabrina Diano
Massive liver resection and small-for-size liver transplantation pose a therapeutic challenge, due to increased susceptibility of the remnant/graft to ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI) and impaired regeneration. We investigated the dual role of complement in IRI versus regeneration in mice. Complement component 3 (C3) deficiency and complement inhibition with complement receptor 2–complement receptor 1–related protein y (CR2-Crry, an inhibitor of C3 activation) provided protection from hepatic IRI, and while C3 deficiency also impaired liver regeneration following partial hepatectomy (PHx), the effect of CR2-Crry in this context was dose dependent. In a combined model of IRI and PHx, either C3 deficiency or high-dose CR2-Crry resulted in steatosis, severe hepatic injury, and high mortality, whereas low-dose CR2-Crry was protective and actually increased hepatic proliferative responses relative to control mice. Reconstitution experiments revealed an important role for the C3a degradation product acylation-stimulating protein (ASP) in the balance between inflammation/injury versus regeneration. Furthermore, liver regeneration was dependent on the putative ASP receptor, C5L2. Several potential mechanisms of hepatoprotection and recovery were identified in mice treated with low-dose CR2-Crry, including enhanced IL-6 expression and STAT3 activation, reduced hepatic ATP depletion, and attenuated oxidative stress. These data indicate that a threshold of complement activation, involving ASP and C5L2, promotes liver regeneration and suggest a balance between complement-dependent injury and regeneration.
Songqing He, Carl Atkinson, Fei Qiao, Katherine Cianflone, Xiaoping Chen, Stephen Tomlinson
Psoriasis is a common immune-mediated chronic inflammatory skin disorder, but the mechanisms of pathogenesis are still poorly understood. IL-23 is expressed in psoriatic skin, and IL-23 injection produces IL-22–dependent psoriasiform changes in mouse skin. Th17 cells produce IL-22 and display CCR6, the CCL20 receptor; CCR6+ T cells and CCL20 are abundant in psoriatic skin. We investigated a possible role for CCR6 in recruiting Th17 cells and producing psoriasiform pathology by injecting IL-23 into the skin of WT and Ccr6–/– mice. Unlike for WT mice, IL-23–injected ears of Ccr6–/– mice showed neither substantial epidermal/dermal changes nor increased Il22 mRNA expression. However, injection of IL-22 yielded equivalent psoriasiform changes in WT and Ccr6–/– mice. Surprisingly, IL-23–injected ears of WT and Ccr6–/– mice contained similar numbers of Th cells able to make IL-17A and/or IL-22. Furthermore, in ears of Rag1–/– mice, IL-23 initially induced skin changes and levels of Il22 mRNA that were indistinguishable from WT mice, revealing at least one non–T cell source for IL-22. We conclude that CCR6 is essential in a model of IL-23–induced, IL-22–mediated dermatitis, which develops in sequential T cell–independent and T cell–dependent phases. These findings reveal an expanded role for CCR6 in IL-23–related responses and identify CCR6 as a potential therapeutic target in psoriasis.
Michael N. Hedrick, Anke S. Lonsdorf, Aiko-Konno Shirakawa, Chyi-Chia Richard Lee, Fang Liao, Satya P. Singh, Hongwei H. Zhang, Alexander Grinberg, Paul E. Love, Sam T. Hwang, Joshua M. Farber
Tubular damage following ischemic renal injury is often reversible, and tubular epithelial cell (TEC) proliferation is a hallmark of tubular repair. Macrophages have been implicated in tissue repair, and CSF-1, the principal macrophage growth factor, is expressed by TECs. We therefore tested the hypothesis that CSF-1 is central to tubular repair using an acute renal injury and repair model, ischemia/reperfusion (I/R). Mice injected with CSF-1 following I/R exhibited hastened healing, as evidenced by decreased tubular pathology, reduced fibrosis, and improved renal function. Notably, CSF-1 treatment increased TEC proliferation and reduced TEC apoptosis. Moreover, administration of a CSF-1 receptor–specific (CSF-1R–specific) antibody after I/R increased tubular pathology and fibrosis, suppressed TEC proliferation, and heightened TEC apoptosis. To determine the contribution of macrophages to CSF-1–dependent renal repair, we assessed the effect of CSF-1 on I/R in mice in which CD11b+ cells were genetically ablated and determined that macrophages only partially accounted for CSF-1–dependent tubular repair. We found that TECs expressed the CSF-1R and that this receptor was upregulated and coexpressed with CSF-1 in TECs following renal injury in mice and humans. Furthermore, signaling via the CSF-1R stimulated proliferation and reduced apoptosis in human and mouse TECs. Taken together, these data suggest that CSF-1 mediates renal repair by both a macrophage-dependent mechanism and direct autocrine/paracrine action on TECs.
Julia Menke, Yasunori Iwata, Whitney A. Rabacal, Ranu Basu, Yee G. Yeung, Benjamin D. Humphreys, Takashi Wada, Andreas Schwarting, E. Richard Stanley, Vicki R. Kelley
The active vitamin D metabolite 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 [1α,25(OH)2D3] has wide but not fully understood antitumor activity. A previous transcriptomic analysis of 1α,25(OH)2D3 action on human colon cancer cells revealed cystatin D (CST5), which encodes an inhibitor of several cysteine proteases of the cathepsin family, as a candidate target gene. Here we report that 1α,25(OH)2D3 induced vitamin D receptor (VDR) binding to, and activation of, the CST5 promoter and increased CST5 RNA and protein levels in human colon cancer cells. In cells lacking endogenous cystatin D, ectopic cystatin D expression inhibited both proliferation in vitro and xenograft tumor growth in vivo. Furthermore, cystatin D inhibited migration and anchorage-independent growth, antagonized the Wnt/β-catenin signaling pathway, and repressed c-MYC expression. Cystatin D repressed expression of the epithelial-mesenchymal transition inducers SNAI1, SNAI2, ZEB1, and ZEB2 and, conversely, induced E-cadherin and other adhesion proteins. CST5 knockdown using shRNA abrogated the antiproliferative effect of 1α,25(OH)2D3, attenuated E-cadherin expression, and increased c-MYC expression. In human colorectal tumors, expression of cystatin D correlated with expression of VDR and E-cadherin, and loss of cystatin D correlated with poor tumor differentiation. Based on these data, we propose that CST5 has tumor suppressor activity that may contribute to the antitumoral action of 1α,25(OH)2D3 in colon cancer.
Silvia ρlvarez-Díaz, Noelia Valle, José Miguel García, Cristina Peña, José M.P. Freije, Víctor Quesada, Aurora Astudillo, Félix Bonilla, Carlos López-Otín, Alberto Muñoz
Hemangiomas are the most common type of tumor in infants. As they are endothelial cell–derived neoplasias, their growth can be regulated by the autocrine-acting Tie2 ligand angiopoietin 2 (Ang2). Using an experimental model of human hemangiomas, in which polyoma middle T–transformed brain endothelial (bEnd) cells are grafted subcutaneously into nude mice, we compared hemangioma growth originating from bEnd cells derived from wild-type, Ang2+/–, and Ang2–/– mice. Surprisingly, Ang2-deficient bEnd cells formed endothelial tumors that grew rapidly and were devoid of the typical cavernous architecture of slow-growing Ang2-expressing hemangiomas, while Ang2+/– cells were greatly impaired in their in vivo growth. Gene array analysis identified a strong downregulation of NADPH oxidase 4 (Nox4) in Ang2+/– cells. Correspondingly, lentiviral silencing of Nox4 in an Ang2-sufficient bEnd cell line decreased Ang2 mRNA levels and greatly impaired hemangioma growth in vivo. Using a structure-based approach, we identified fulvenes as what we believe to be a novel class of Nox inhibitors. We therefore produced and began the initial characterization of fulvenes as potential Nox inhibitors, finding that fulvene-5 efficiently inhibited Nox activity in vitro and potently inhibited hemangioma growth in vivo. In conclusion, the present study establishes Nox4 as a critical regulator of hemangioma growth and identifies fulvenes as a potential class of candidate inhibitor to therapeutically interfere with Nox function.
Sulochana S. Bhandarkar, Marisa Jaconi, Levi E. Fried, Michael Y. Bonner, Benjamin Lefkove, Baskaran Govindarajan, Betsy N. Perry, Ravi Parhar, Jamie Mackelfresh, Allie Sohn, Michael Stouffs, Ulla Knaus, George Yancopoulos, Yvonne Reiss, Andrew V. Benest, Hellmut G. Augustin, Jack L. Arbiser
Many microRNAs (miRNAs), posttranscriptional regulators of numerous cellular processes and developmental events, are downregulated in tumors. However, their role in tumorigenesis remains largely unknown. In this work, we examined the role of the muscle-specific miRNAs miR-1 and miR-206 in human rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a soft tissue sarcoma thought to arise from skeletal muscle progenitors. We have shown that miR-1 was barely detectable in primary RMS of both the embryonal and alveolar subtypes and that both miR-1 and miR-206 failed to be induced in RMS cell lines upon serum deprivation. Moreover, reexpression of miR-206 in RMS cells promoted myogenic differentiation and blocked tumor growth in xenografted mice by switching the global mRNA expression profile to one that resembled mature muscle. Finally, we showed that the product of the MET proto-oncogene, the Met tyrosine-kinase receptor, which is overexpressed in RMS and has been implicated in RMS pathogenesis, was downregulated in murine satellite cells by miR-206 at the onset of normal myogenesis. Thus, failure of posttranscriptional modulation may underlie Met overexpression in RMS and other types of cancer. We propose that tissue-specific miRNAs such as miR-1 and miR-206, given their ability to modulate hundreds of transcripts and to act as nontoxic differentiating agents, may override the genomic heterogeneity of solid tumors and ultimately hold greater therapeutic potential than single gene–directed drugs.
Riccardo Taulli, Francesca Bersani, Valentina Foglizzo, Alessandra Linari, Elisa Vigna, Marc Ladanyi, Thomas Tuschl, Carola Ponzetto
IL-17 and IL-22 have been shown to increase protection against certain bacteria and fungal pathogens in experimental models. However, no human studies have demonstrated a crucial role of IL-17 and IL-22 in protection against infections. We show here that Leishmania donovani, which can cause the lethal visceral disease Kala Azar (KA), stimulates the differentiation of Th17 cells, which produce IL-17, IL-22, and IFN-γ. Analysis of Th1, Th2, and Th17 cytokine responses by cultured PBMCs from individuals in a cohort of subjects who developed KA or were protected against KA during a severe outbreak showed that IL-17 and IL-22 were strongly and independently associated with protection against KA. Our results suggest that, along with Th1 cytokines, IL-17 and IL-22 play complementary roles in human protection against KA, and that a defect in Th17 induction may increase the risk of KA.
Maira G.R. Pitta, Audrey Romano, Sandrine Cabantous, Sandrine Henri, Awad Hammad, Bouréma Kouriba, Laurent Argiro, Musa el Kheir, Bruno Bucheton, Charles Mary, Sayda Hassan El-Safi, Alain Dessein
Recombinant adeno-associated viruses (AAVs) have been used widely for in vivo gene therapy. However, adaptive immune responses to AAV have posed a significant hurdle in clinical application of AAV vectors. Recent advances have suggested a crucial role for innate immunity in shaping adaptive immune responses. How AAV activates innate immunity, and thereby promotes AAV-targeted adaptive immune responses, remains unknown. Here we show that AAV activates mouse plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) via TLR9 to produce type I IFNs. In vivo, the TLR9-MyD88 pathway was crucial to the activation of CD8+ T cell responses to both the transgene product and the AAV capsid, leading to loss of transgene expression and the generation of transgene product–specific and AAV-neutralizing antibodies. We further demonstrate that TLR9-dependent activation of adaptive immunity targeting AAV was mediated by type I IFNs and that human pDCs could be activated in vitro to induce type I IFN production via TLR9. These results reveal an essential role for the TLR9-MyD88–type I IFN pathway in induction of adaptive immune responses to AAV and suggest that strategies that interfere with this pathway may improve the outcome of AAV-mediated gene therapy in humans.
Jiangao Zhu, Xiaopei Huang, Yiping Yang
The retinoic acid–inducible gene I (RIG-I) and melanoma differentiation–associated antigen 5 (MDA-5) helicases sense viral RNA in infected cells and initiate antiviral responses such as the production of type I IFNs. Here we have shown that RIG-I and MDA-5 also initiate a proapoptotic signaling pathway that is independent of type I IFNs. In human melanoma cells, this signaling pathway required the mitochondrial adapter Cardif (also known as IPS-1) and induced the proapoptotic BH3-only proteins Puma and Noxa. RIG-I– and MDA-5–initiated apoptosis required Noxa but was independent of the tumor suppressor p53. Triggering this pathway led to efficient activation of mitochondrial apoptosis, requiring caspase-9 and Apaf-1. Surprisingly, this proapoptotic signaling pathway was also active in nonmalignant cells, but these cells were much less sensitive to apoptosis than melanoma cells. Endogenous Bcl-xL rescued nonmalignant, but not melanoma, cells from RIG-I– and MDA-5–mediated apoptosis. In addition, we confirmed the results of the in vitro studies, demonstrating that RIG-I and MDA-5 ligands both reduced human tumor lung metastasis in immunodeficient NOD/SCID mice. These results identify an IFN-independent antiviral signaling pathway initiated by RIG-I and MDA-5 that activates proapoptotic signaling and, unless blocked by Bcl-xL, results in apoptosis. Due to their immunostimulatory and proapoptotic activity, RIG-I and MDA-5 ligands have therapeutic potential due to their ability to overcome the characteristic resistance of melanoma cells to apoptosis.
Robert Besch, Hendrik Poeck, Tobias Hohenauer, Daniela Senft, Georg Häcker, Carola Berking, Veit Hornung, Stefan Endres, Thomas Ruzicka, Simon Rothenfusser, Gunther Hartmann
The hepatic energy state, defined by adenine nucleotide levels, couples metabolic pathways with energy requirements. This coupling is fundamental in the adaptive response to many conditions and is impaired in metabolic disease. We have found that the hepatic energy state is substantially reduced following exercise, fasting, and exposure to other metabolic stressors in C57BL/6 mice. Glucagon receptor signaling was hypothesized to mediate this reduction because increased plasma levels of glucagon are characteristic of metabolic stress and because this hormone stimulates energy consumption linked to increased gluconeogenic flux through cytosolic phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase (PEPCK-C) and associated pathways. We developed what we believe to be a novel hyperglucagonemic-euglycemic clamp to isolate an increment in glucagon levels while maintaining fasting glucose and insulin. Metabolic stress and a physiological rise in glucagon lowered the hepatic energy state and amplified AMP-activated protein kinase signaling in control mice, but these changes were abolished in glucagon receptor–null mice and mice with liver-specific PEPCK-C deletion. 129X1/Sv mice, which do not mount a glucagon response to hypoglycemia, displayed an increased hepatic energy state compared with C57BL/6 mice in which glucagon was elevated. Taken together, these data demonstrate in vivo that the hepatic energy state is sensitive to glucagon receptor activation and requires PEPCK-C, thus providing new insights into liver metabolism.
Eric D. Berglund, Robert S. Lee-Young, Daniel G. Lustig, Sara E. Lynes, E. Patrick Donahue, Raul C. Camacho, M. Elizabeth Meredith, Mark A. Magnuson, Maureen J. Charron, David H. Wasserman
The mineralocorticoid aldosterone is a major regulator of sodium transport in target epithelia and contributes to the control of blood pressure and cardiac function. It specifically functions to increase renal absorption of sodium from tubular fluid via regulation of the α subunit of the epithelial sodium channel (αENaC). We previously used microarray technology to identify the immediate transcriptional targets of aldosterone in a mouse inner medullary collecting duct cell line and found that the transcript induced to the greatest extent was the circadian clock gene Period 1. Here, we investigated the role of Period 1 in mediating the downstream effects of aldosterone in renal cells. Aldosterone treatment stimulated expression of Period 1 (Per1) mRNA in renal collecting duct cell lines and in the rodent kidney. RNA silencing of Period 1 dramatically decreased expression of mRNA encoding αENaC in the presence or absence of aldosterone. Furthermore, expression of αENaC-encoding mRNA was attenuated in the renal medulla of mice with disruption of the Per1 gene, and these mice exhibited increased urinary sodium excretion. Renal αENaC-encoding mRNA was expressed in an apparent circadian pattern, and this pattern was dramatically altered in mice lacking functional Period genes. These results suggest a role for Period 1 in the regulation of the renal epithelial sodium channel and more broadly implicate the circadian clock in control of sodium balance.
Michelle L. Gumz, Lisa R. Stow, I. Jeanette Lynch, Megan M. Greenlee, Alicia Rudin, Brian D. Cain, David R. Weaver, Charles S. Wingo