Alarmins are endogenous molecules that are constitutively available and released upon tissue damage and activate the immune system. Current evidence indicates that uncontrolled and excessive release of alarmins contributes to the dysregulated processes seen in many inflammatory and autoimmune conditions, as well as tumorigenesis and cancer spread. Conversely, alarmins have also been found to play a major role in the orchestration of tissue homeostasis, including repair and remodeling in the heart, skin, and nervous system. Here, we provide an update and overview on alarmins, highlighting the areas that may benefit from this clinical translation.
James K. Chan, Johannes Roth, Joost J. Oppenheim, Kevin J. Tracey, Thomas Vogl, Marc Feldmann, Nicole Horwood, Jagdeep Nanchahal
The lung is a complex organ with multiple functions; in addition to facilitating gas exchange, it also serves as the first line of defense against inhaled environmental pathogens and toxins. Given these critical roles, disruption of normal cell function or cell-cell interactions can have devastating health consequences. The articles of this Review Series highlight recent progress in understanding the pathophysiology of several pulmonary diseases and suggest how these insights are leading to the development of new therapeutic strategies.
Paul W. Noble
Airspaces of the lung are lined by an epithelium whose cellular composition changes along the proximal-to-distal axis to meet local functional needs for mucociliary clearance, hydration, host defense, and gas exchange. Advances in cell isolation, in vitro culture techniques, and genetic manipulation of animal models have increased our understanding of the development and maintenance of the pulmonary epithelium. This review discusses basic cellular mechanisms that regulate establishment of the conducting airway and gas exchange systems as well as the functional maintenance of the epithelium during postnatal life.
Craig R. Rackley, Barry R. Stripp
The acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is an important cause of acute respiratory failure that is often associated with multiple organ failure. Several clinical disorders can precipitate ARDS, including pneumonia, sepsis, aspiration of gastric contents, and major trauma. Physiologically, ARDS is characterized by increased permeability pulmonary edema, severe arterial hypoxemia, and impaired carbon dioxide excretion. Based on both experimental and clinical studies, progress has been made in understanding the mechanisms responsible for the pathogenesis and the resolution of lung injury, including the contribution of environmental and genetic factors. Improved survival has been achieved with the use of lung-protective ventilation. Future progress will depend on developing novel therapeutics that can facilitate and enhance lung repair.
Michael A. Matthay, Lorraine B. Ware, Guy A. Zimmerman
Research on the pathogenesis of asthma has traditionally concentrated on environmental stimuli, genetic susceptibilities, adaptive immune responses, and end-organ alterations (particularly in airway mucous cells and smooth muscle) as critical steps leading to disease. The focus of this cascade has been the response to allergic stimuli. An alternative scheme suggests that respiratory viruses and the consequent response of the innate immune system also drives the development of asthma as well as related inflammatory diseases. This conceptual shift raises the possibility that sentinel cells such as airway epithelial cells, DCs, NKT cells, innate lymphoid cells, and macrophages also represent critical components of asthma pathogenesis as well as new targets for therapeutic discovery. A particular challenge will be to understand and balance the innate as well as the adaptive immune responses to defend the host against acute infection as well as chronic inflammatory disease.
Michael J. Holtzman
The current epidemic of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has produced a worldwide health care burden, approaching that imposed by transmittable infectious diseases. COPD is a multidimensional disease, with varied intermediate and clinical phenotypes. This Review discusses the pathogenesis of COPD, with particular focus on emphysema, based on the concept that pulmonary injury involves stages of initiation (by exposure to cigarette smoke, pollutants, and infectious agents), progression, and consolidation. Tissue damage entails complex interactions among oxidative stress, inflammation, extracellular matrix proteolysis, and apoptotic and autophagic cell death. Lung damage by cigarette smoke ultimately leads to self-propagating processes, resulting in macromolecular and structural alterations — features similar to those seen in aging.
Rubin M. Tuder, Irina Petrache
Pulmonary fibrosis occurs in a variety of clinical settings, constitutes a major cause of morbidity and mortality, and represents an enormous unmet medical need. However, the disease is heterogeneous, and the failure to accurately discern between forms of fibrosing lung diseases leads to inaccurate treatments. Pulmonary fibrosis occurring in the context of connective tissue diseases is often characterized by a distinct pattern of tissue pathology and may be amenable to immunosuppressive therapies. In contrast, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) is a progressive and lethal form of fibrosing lung disease that is recalcitrant to therapies that target the immune system. Although animal models of fibrosis imperfectly recapitulate IPF, they have yielded numerous targets for therapeutic intervention. Understanding the heterogeneity of these diseases and elucidating the final common pathways of fibrogenesis are critical for the development of efficacious therapies for severe fibrosing lung diseases.
Paul W. Noble, Christina E. Barkauskas, Dianhua Jiang
In the 1960s, my lab was interested in understanding how bilirubin and other organic anions are transferred from the plasma through the liver cell and into the bile. We performed gel filtration of liver supernatants and identified two protein fractions, designated Y and Z, which bound organic anions including bilirubin, and thus we proposed that they were involved in hepatic uptake of organic anions from plasma. Subsequently, the Y and Z proteins responsible for this binding activity were purified, cloned, and sequenced. Y was identified as a member of the glutathione S-transferase (GST) protein family and Z found to be a member of the fatty acid–binding protein (FABP) family. These proteins have since been shown to have additional surprising roles, but understanding of their full role in physiology and disease has not yet been achieved.
Irwin M. Arias
Small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) are emerging as an important new class of genes deregulated in cancer. Orphans snoRNAs are encoded outside of ribosomal protein genes and are involved in either gene splicing or are microRNA precursors. In this issue of JCI, Chu et al. find that ACA11, an orphan snoRNA encoded in an intron of the WHSC1 gene, is aberrantly overexpressed in t(4;14)-positive patients with multiple myeloma (MM), in which it influences growth of MM cells, resistance to chemotherapy, and oxidative stress. These findings represent the first identification of a snoRNA overexpressed as a consequence of a chromosomal translocation, a potent driving force of the neoplastic process in general and hematopoietic malignancies in particular.
Riccardo Taulli, Pier Paolo Pandolfi
In influenza virus infection, antibodies, memory CD8+ T cells, and CD4+ T cells have all been shown to mediate immune protection, but how they operate and interact with one another to mediate efficient immune responses against virus infection is not well understood. In this issue of the JCI, McKinstry et al. have identified unique functions of memory CD4+ T cells beyond providing “help” for B cell and CD8+ T cell responses during influenza virus infection.
Kobporn Boonnak, Kanta Subbarao
Alteration of the ERα/ERβ balance is a critical step in breast cancer development and progression, and selective restoration of the activity of estrogen receptors has been proposed as one of the major therapeutic approaches for breast cancer. In this issue of JCI, Cheng et al. show that, by differentially modulating the stability of ERα and ERβ, PES1 increases the ERα/ERβ ratio and triggers breast tumor growth. These findings highlight PES1 as a potential target for the treatment of breast cancer.
Christoforos Thomas, Jan-Åke Gustafsson
In this issue of JCI, two independent groups describe the effects of germline and liver-specific deletion of Mir122a, the predominant liver miRNA. Their findings reveal a critical role for miR-122 in fat and cholesterol metabolism but suggest that other metabolic actions of the liver are independent of miR-122. Knockout mice also displayed hepatic inflammation, fibrosis, and a high incidence of hepatocellular carcinoma, suggesting that miR-122 has a tumor suppressor role in hepatocytes.
Jessica Wen, Joshua R. Friedman
Many chemotherapeutic regimens produce neutropenia, which predisposes to microbial infection. However, not all neutropenic individuals develop infections, so the ability to predict this outcome would be a powerful clinical tool. In this issue of the JCI, Malka et al. describe a dynamic system model of neutrophil bactericidal activity that confirms and extends the concept of critical neutrophil concentration. The authors demonstrate that when the neutrophil concentration approaches the critical concentration, bacterial populations in contact with them exhibit bistability. Their experimental findings raise the intriguing possibility of greater variability in bactericidal activity of neutrophils from healthy adults than heretofore recognized; their model predicts that this could have life-and-death consequences.
Samuel C. Silverstein, Raul Rabadan
Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a chronic illness caused by complex interactions between genetic and environmental factors that propagate inflammation and damage to the gastrointestinal epithelium. This state of chronic inflammation increases the risk for development of colitis-associated cancer in IBD patients. Thus, the development of targeted therapeutics that can disrupt the cycle of inflammation and epithelial injury is highly attractive. However, such biological therapies, including those targeting epidermal growth factor receptor pathways, pose a risk of increasing cancer rates. Using two mouse models of colitis-associated cancer, we found that epidermal growth factor receptor inactivation accelerated the incidence and progression of colorectal tumors. By modulating inflammation and epithelial regeneration, epidermal growth factor receptor optimized the response to chronic inflammation and limited subsequent tumorigenesis. These findings provide important insights into the pathogenesis of colitis-associated cancer and suggest that epidermal growth factor–based therapies for IBD may reduce long-term cancer risk.
Philip E. Dubé, Fang Yan, Shivesh Punit, Nandini Girish, Steven J. McElroy, M. Kay Washington, D. Brent Polk
The histone methyltransferase WHSC1 (also known as MMSET) is overexpressed in multiple myeloma (MM) as a result of the t(4;14) chromosomal translocation and in a broad variety of other cancers by unclear mechanisms. Overexpression of WHSC1 did not transform wild-type or tumor-prone primary hematopoietic cells. We found that ACA11, an orphan box H/ACA class small nucleolar RNA (snoRNA) encoded within an intron of WHSC1, was highly expressed in t(4;14)-positive MM and other cancers. ACA11 localized to nucleoli and bound what we believe to be a novel small nuclear ribonucleoprotein (snRNP) complex composed of several proteins involved in postsplicing intron complexes. RNA targets of this uncharacterized snRNP included snoRNA intermediates hosted within ribosomal protein (RP) genes, and an RP gene signature was strongly associated with t(4;14) in patients with MM. Expression of ACA11 was sufficient to downregulate RP genes and other snoRNAs implicated in the control of oxidative stress. ACA11 suppressed oxidative stress, afforded resistance to chemotherapy, and increased the proliferation of MM cells, demonstrating that ACA11 is a critical target of the t(4;14) translocation in MM and suggesting an oncogenic role in other cancers as well.
Liang Chu, Mack Y. Su, Leonard B. Maggi Jr., Lan Lu, Chelsea Mullins, Seth Crosby, Gaofeng Huang, Wee Joo Chng, Ravi Vij, Michael H. Tomasson
Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified a genetic variant at a locus on chromosome 1p13 that is associated with reduced risk of myocardial infarction, reduced plasma levels of LDL cholesterol (LDL-C), and markedly increased expression of the gene sortilin-1 (SORT1) in liver. Sortilin is a lysosomal sorting protein that binds ligands both in the Golgi apparatus and at the plasma membrane and traffics them to the lysosome. We previously reported that increased hepatic sortilin expression in mice reduced plasma LDL-C levels. Here we show that increased hepatic sortilin not only reduced hepatic apolipoprotein B (APOB) secretion, but also increased LDL catabolism, and that both effects were dependent on intact lysosomal targeting. Loss-of-function studies demonstrated that sortilin serves as a bona fide receptor for LDL in vivo in mice. Our data are consistent with a model in which increased hepatic sortilin binds intracellular APOB-containing particles in the Golgi apparatus as well as extracellular LDL at the plasma membrane and traffics them to the lysosome for degradation. We thus provide functional evidence that genetically increased hepatic sortilin expression both reduces hepatic APOB secretion and increases LDL catabolism, providing dual mechanisms for the very strong association between increased hepatic sortilin expression and reduced plasma LDL-C levels in humans.
Alanna Strong, Qiurong Ding, Andrew C. Edmondson, John S. Millar, Katherine V. Sachs, Xiaoyu Li, Arthi Kumaravel, Margaret Ye Wang, Ding Ai, Liang Guo, Eric T. Alexander, David Nguyen, Sissel Lund-Katz, Michael C. Phillips, Carlos R. Morales, Alan R. Tall, Sekar Kathiresan, Edward A. Fisher, Kiran Musunuru, Daniel J. Rader
Liver receptor homolog 1 (LRH-1), an established regulator of cholesterol and bile acid homeostasis, has recently emerged as a potential drug target for liver disease. Although LRH-1 activation may protect the liver against diet-induced steatosis and insulin resistance, little is known about how LRH-1 controls hepatic glucose and fatty acid metabolism under physiological conditions. We therefore assessed the role of LRH-1 in hepatic intermediary metabolism. In mice with conditional deletion of Lrh1 in liver, analysis of hepatic glucose fluxes revealed reduced glucokinase (GCK) and glycogen synthase fluxes as compared with those of wild-type littermates. These changes were attributed to direct transcriptional regulation of Gck by LRH-1. Impaired glucokinase-mediated glucose phosphorylation in LRH-1–deficient livers was also associated with reduced glycogen synthesis, glycolysis, and de novo lipogenesis in response to acute and prolonged glucose exposure. Accordingly, hepatic carbohydrate response element-binding protein activity was reduced in these animals. Cumulatively, these data identify LRH-1 as a key regulatory component of the hepatic glucose-sensing system required for proper integration of postprandial glucose and lipid metabolism.
Maaike H. Oosterveer, Chikage Mataki, Hiroyasu Yamamoto, Taoufiq Harach, Norman Moullan, Theo H. van Dijk, Eduard Ayuso, Fatima Bosch, Catherine Postic, Albert K. Groen, Johan Auwerx, Kristina Schoonjans
The DNA damage response (DDR) is a complex regulatory network that is critical for maintaining genome integrity. Posttranslational modifications are widely used to ensure strict spatiotemporal control of signal flow, but how the DDR responds to environmental cues, such as changes in ambient oxygen tension, remains poorly understood. We found that an essential component of the ATR/CHK1 signaling pathway, the human homolog of the Caenorhabditis elegans biological clock protein CLK-2 (HCLK2), associated with and was hydroxylated by prolyl hydroxylase domain protein 3 (PHD3). HCLK2 hydroxylation was necessary for its interaction with ATR and the subsequent activation of ATR/CHK1/p53. Inhibiting PHD3, either with the pan-hydroxylase inhibitor dimethyloxaloylglycine (DMOG) or through hypoxia, prevented activation of the ATR/CHK1/p53 pathway and decreased apoptosis induced by DNA damage. Consistent with these observations, we found that mice lacking PHD3 were resistant to the effects of ionizing radiation and had decreased thymic apoptosis, a biomarker of genomic integrity. Our identification of HCLK2 as a substrate of PHD3 reveals the mechanism through which hypoxia inhibits the DDR, suggesting hydroxylation of HCLK2 is a potential therapeutic target for regulating the ATR/CHK1/p53 pathway.
Liang Xie, Xinchun Pi, Ashutosh Mishra, Guohua Fong, Junmin Peng, Cam Patterson
The second-largest cause of X-linked mental retardation is a deficiency in creatine transporter (CRT; encoded by SLC6A8), which leads to speech and language disorders with severe cognitive impairment. This syndrome, caused by the absence of creatine in the brain, is currently untreatable because CRT is required for creatine entry into brain cells. Here, we developed a brain-specific Slc6a8 knockout mouse (Slc6a8–/y) as an animal model of human CRT deficiency in order to explore potential therapies for this syndrome. The phenotype of the Slc6a8–/y mouse was comparable to that of human patients. We successfully treated the Slc6a8–/y mice with the creatine analog cyclocreatine. Brain cyclocreatine and cyclocreatine phosphate were detected after 9 weeks of cyclocreatine treatment in Slc6a8–/y mice, in contrast to the same mice treated with creatine or placebo. Cyclocreatine-treated Slc6a8–/y mice also exhibited a profound improvement in cognitive abilities, as seen with novel object recognition as well as spatial learning and memory tests. Thus, cyclocreatine appears promising as a potential therapy for CRT deficiency.
Yuko Kurosawa, Ton J. DeGrauw, Diana M. Lindquist, Victor M. Blanco, Gail J. Pyne-Geithman, Takiko Daikoku, James B. Chambers, Stephen C. Benoit, Joseph F. Clark
Memory CD4+ T cells combat viral infection and contribute to protective immune responses through multiple mechanisms, but how these pathways interact is unclear. We found that several pathways involving memory CD4+ T cells act together to effectively clear influenza A virus (IAV) in otherwise unprimed mice. Memory CD4+ T cell protection was enhanced through synergy with naive B cells or CD8+ T cells and maximized when both were present. However, memory CD4+ T cells protected against lower viral doses independently of other lymphocytes through production of IFN-γ. Moreover, memory CD4+ T cells selected for epitope-specific viral escape mutants via a perforin-dependent pathway. By deconstructing protective immunity mediated by memory CD4+ T cells, we demonstrated that this population simultaneously acts through multiple pathways to provide a high level of protection that ensures eradication of rapidly mutating pathogens such as IAV. This redundancy indicates the need for reductionist approaches for delineating the individual mechanisms of protection mediated by memory CD4+ T cells responding to pathogens.
K. Kai McKinstry, Tara M. Strutt, Yi Kuang, Deborah M. Brown, Stewert Sell, Richard W. Dutton, Susan L. Swain
The initiation of breast cancer is associated with increased expression of tumor-promoting estrogen receptor α (ERα) protein and decreased expression of tumor-suppressive ERβ protein. However, the mechanism underlying this process is unknown. Here we show that PES1 (also known as Pescadillo), an estrogen-inducible protein that is overexpressed in breast cancer, can regulate the balance between ERα and ERβ. We found that PES1 modulated many estrogen-responsive genes by enhancing the transcriptional activity of ERα while inhibiting transcriptional activity of ERβ. Consistent with this regulation of ERα and ERβ transcriptional activity, PES1 increased the stability of the ERα protein and decreased that of ERβ through the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, mediated by the carboxyl terminus of Hsc70-interacting protein (CHIP). Moreover, PES1 transformed normal human mammary epithelial cells and was required for estrogen-induced breast tumor growth in nude mice. Further analysis of clinical samples showed that expression of PES1 correlated positively with ERα expression and negatively with ERβ expression and predicted good clinical outcome in breast cancer. Our data demonstrate that PES1 contributes to breast tumor growth through regulating the balance between ERα and ERβ and may be a better target for the development of drugs that selectively regulate ERα and ERβ activities.
Long Cheng, Jieping Li, Yongjian Han, Jing Lin, Chang Niu, Zhichao Zhou, Bin Yuan, Ke Huang, Jiezhi Li, Kai Jiang, Hao Zhang, Lihua Ding, Xiaojie Xu, Qinong Ye
miR-122, an abundant liver-specific microRNA (miRNA), regulates cholesterol metabolism and promotes hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication. Reduced miR-122 expression in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) correlates with metastasis and poor prognosis. Nevertheless, the consequences of sustained loss of function of miR-122 in vivo have not been determined. Here, we demonstrate that deletion of mouse Mir122 resulted in hepatosteatosis, hepatitis, and the development of tumors resembling HCC. These pathologic manifestations were associated with hyperactivity of oncogenic pathways and hepatic infiltration of inflammatory cells that produce pro-tumorigenic cytokines, including IL-6 and TNF. Moreover, delivery of miR-122 to a MYC-driven mouse model of HCC strongly inhibited tumorigenesis, further supporting the tumor suppressor activity of this miRNA. These findings reveal critical functions for miR-122 in the maintenance of liver homeostasis and have important therapeutic implications, including the potential utility of miR-122 delivery for selected patients with HCC and the need for careful monitoring of patients receiving miR-122 inhibition therapy for HCV.
Shu-hao Hsu, Bo Wang, Janaiah Kota, Jianhua Yu, Stefan Costinean, Huban Kutay, Lianbo Yu, Shoumei Bai, Krista La Perle, Raghu R. Chivukula, Hsiaoyin Mao, Min Wei, K. Reed Clark, Jerry R. Mendell, Michael A. Caligiuri, Samson T. Jacob, Joshua T. Mendell, Kalpana Ghoshal
MicroRNA-122 (miR-122), which accounts for 70% of the liver’s total miRNAs, plays a pivotal role in the liver. However, its intrinsic physiological roles remain largely undetermined. We demonstrated that mice lacking the gene encoding miR-122a (Mir122a) are viable but develop temporally controlled steatohepatitis, fibrosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). These mice exhibited a striking disparity in HCC incidence based on sex, with a male-to-female ratio of 3.9:1, which recapitulates the disease incidence in humans. Impaired expression of microsomal triglyceride transfer protein (MTTP) contributed to steatosis, which was reversed by in vivo restoration of Mttp expression. We found that hepatic fibrosis onset can be partially attributed to the action of a miR-122a target, the Klf6 transcript. In addition, Mir122a–/– livers exhibited disruptions in a range of pathways, many of which closely resemble the disruptions found in human HCC. Importantly, the reexpression of miR-122a reduced disease manifestation and tumor incidence in Mir122a–/– mice. This study demonstrates that mice with a targeted deletion of the Mir122a gene possess several key phenotypes of human liver diseases, which provides a rationale for the development of a unique therapy for the treatment of chronic liver disease and HCC.
Wei-Chih Tsai, Sheng-Da Hsu, Chu-Sui Hsu, Tsung-Ching Lai, Shu-Jen Chen, Roger Shen, Yi Huang, Hua-Chien Chen, Chien-Hsin Lee, Ting-Fen Tsai, Ming-Ta Hsu, Jaw-Ching Wu, Hsien-Da Huang, Ming-Shi Shiao, Michael Hsiao, Ann-Ping Tsou
Squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) are heterogeneous and aggressive skin tumors for which innovative, targeted therapies are needed. Here, we identify a p53/TACE pathway that is negatively regulated by FOS and show that the FOS/p53/TACE axis suppresses SCC by inducing differentiation. We found that epidermal Fos deletion in mouse tumor models or pharmacological FOS/AP-1 inhibition in human SCC cell lines induced p53 expression. Epidermal cell differentiation and skin tumor suppression were caused by a p53-dependent transcriptional activation of the metalloprotease TACE/ADAM17 (TNF-α–converting enzyme), a previously unknown p53 target gene that was required for NOTCH1 activation. Although half of cutaneous human SCCs display p53-inactivating mutations, restoring p53/TACE activity in mouse and human skin SCCs induced tumor cell differentiation independently of the p53 status. We propose FOS/AP-1 inhibition or p53/TACE reactivating strategies as differentiation-inducing therapies for SCCs.
Juan Guinea-Viniegra, Rainer Zenz, Harald Scheuch, María Jiménez, Latifa Bakiri, Peter Petzelbauer, Erwin F. Wagner
Intrahepatic cholangiocarcinomas (ICCs) are primary liver tumors with a poor prognosis. The development of effective therapies has been hampered by a limited understanding of the biology of ICCs. Although ICCs exhibit heterogeneity in location, histology, and marker expression, they are currently thought to derive invariably from the cells lining the bile ducts, biliary epithelial cells (BECs), or liver progenitor cells (LPCs). Despite lack of experimental evidence establishing BECs or LPCs as the origin of ICCs, other liver cell types have not been considered. Here we show that ICCs can originate from fully differentiated hepatocytes. Using a mouse model of hepatocyte fate tracing, we found that activated NOTCH and AKT signaling cooperate to convert normal hepatocytes into biliary cells that act as precursors of rapidly progressing, lethal ICCs. Our findings suggest a previously overlooked mechanism of human ICC formation that may be targetable for anti-ICC therapy.
Biao Fan, Yann Malato, Diego F. Calvisi, Syed Naqvi, Nataliya Razumilava, Silvia Ribback, Gregory J. Gores, Frank Dombrowski, Matthias Evert, Xin Chen, Holger Willenbring
Exaggerated contraction of airway smooth muscle is the major cause of symptoms in asthma, but the mechanisms that prevent exaggerated contraction are incompletely understood. Here, we showed that integrin α9β1 on airway smooth muscle localizes the polyamine catabolizing enzyme spermidine/spermine N1-acetyltransferase (SSAT) in close proximity to the lipid kinase PIP5K1γ. As PIP5K1γ is the major source of PIP2 in airway smooth muscle and its activity is regulated by higher-order polyamines, this interaction inhibited IP3-dependent airway smooth muscle contraction. Mice lacking integrin α9β1 in smooth muscle had increased airway responsiveness in vivo, and loss or inhibition of integrin α9β1 increased in vitro airway narrowing and airway smooth muscle contraction in murine and human airways. Contraction was enhanced in control airways by the higher-order polyamine spermine or by cell-permeable PIP2, but these interventions had no effect on airways lacking integrin α9β1 or treated with integrin α9β1–blocking antibodies. Enhancement of SSAT activity or knockdown of PIP5K1γ inhibited airway contraction, but only in the presence of functional integrin α9β1. Therefore, integrin α9β1 appears to serve as a brake on airway smooth muscle contraction by recruiting SSAT, which facilitates local catabolism of polyamines and thereby inhibits PIP5K1γ. Targeting key components of this pathway could thus lead to new treatment strategies for asthma.
Chun Chen, Makoto Kudo, Florentine Rutaganira, Hiromi Takano, Candace Lee, Amha Atakilit, Kathryn S. Robinett, Toshimitsu Uede, Paul J. Wolters, Kevan M. Shokat, Xiaozhu Huang, Dean Sheppard
Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) represent a promising source of midbrain dopaminergic (DA) neurons for applications in Parkinson disease. However, ESC-based transplantation paradigms carry a risk of introducing inappropriate or tumorigenic cells. Cell purification before transplantation may alleviate these concerns and enable identification of the specific DA neuron stage most suitable for cell therapy. Here, we used 3 transgenic mouse ESC reporter lines to mark DA neurons at 3 stages of differentiation (early, middle, and late) following induction of differentiation using Hes5::GFP, Nurr1::GFP, and Pitx3::YFP transgenes, respectively. Transplantation of FACS-purified cells from each line resulted in DA neuron engraftment, with the mid-stage and late-stage neuron grafts being composed almost exclusively of midbrain DA neurons. Mid-stage neuron cell grafts had the greatest amount of DA neuron survival and robustly induced recovery of motor deficits in hemiparkinsonian mice. Our data suggest that the Nurr1+ stage (middle stage) of neuronal differentiation is particularly suitable for grafting ESC-derived DA neurons. Moreover, global transcriptome analysis of progeny from each of the ESC reporter lines revealed expression of known midbrain DA neuron genes and also uncovered previously uncharacterized midbrain genes. These data demonstrate remarkable fate specificity of ESC-derived DA neurons and outline a sequential stage-specific ESC reporter line paradigm for in vivo gene discovery.
Yosif M. Ganat, Elizabeth L. Calder, Sonja Kriks, Jenny Nelander, Edmund Y. Tu, Fan Jia, Daniela Battista, Neil Harrison, Malin Parmar, Mark J. Tomishima, Urs Rutishauser, Lorenz Studer
Pain and depression are frequently comorbid disorders, but the mechanism underlying this association is unknown. Here, we report that brain indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1), a rate-limiting enzyme in tryptophan metabolism, plays a key role in this comorbidity. We found that chronic pain in rats induced depressive behavior and IDO1 upregulation in the bilateral hippocampus. Upregulation of IDO1 resulted in the increased kynurenine/tryptophan ratio and decreased serotonin/tryptophan ratio in the bilateral hippocampus. We observed elevated plasma IDO activity in patients with both pain and depression, as well as in rats with anhedonia induced by chronic social stress. Intra-hippocampal administration of IL-6 in rats, in addition to in vitro experiments, demonstrated that IL-6 induces IDO1 expression through the JAK/STAT pathway. Further, either Ido1 gene knockout or pharmacological inhibition of hippocampal IDO1 activity attenuated both nociceptive and depressive behavior. These results reveal an IDO1-mediated regulatory mechanism underlying the comorbidity of pain and depression and suggest a new strategy for the concurrent treatment of both conditions via modulation of brain IDO1 activity.
Hyangin Kim, Lucy Chen, Grewo Lim, Backil Sung, Shuxing Wang, Michael F. McCabe, Gabriel Rusanescu, Liling Yang, Yinghong Tian, Jianren Mao
Mutations that activate the fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) receptor are among the most prevalent mutations in acute myeloid leukemias. The oncogenic role of FLT3 mutants has been attributed to the abnormal activation of several downstream signaling pathways, such as STAT3, STAT5, ERK1/2, and AKT. Here, we discovered that the cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (CDK1) pathway is also affected by internal tandem duplication mutations in FLT3. Moreover, we also identified C/EBPα, a granulopoiesis-promoting transcription factor, as a substrate for CDK1. We further demonstrated that CDK1 phosphorylates C/EBPα on serine 21, which inhibits its differentiation-inducing function. Importantly, we found that inhibition of CDK1 activity relieves the differentiation block in cell lines with mutated FLT3 as well as in primary patient–derived peripheral blood samples. Clinical trials with CDK1 inhibitors are currently under way for various malignancies. Our data strongly suggest that targeting the CDK1 pathway might be applied in the treatment of FLT3ITD mutant leukemias, especially those resistant to FLT3 inhibitor therapies.
Hanna S. Radomska, Meritxell Alberich-Jordà, Britta Will, David Gonzalez, Ruud Delwel, Daniel G. Tenen
Viruses are leading causes of severe acute lower respiratory infections (LRIs). These infections evoke incomplete immunity, as individuals can be repeatedly reinfected throughout life. We report that acute viral LRI causes rapid pulmonary CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocyte (TCD8) functional impairment via programmed death–1/programmed death ligand–1 (PD-1/PD-L1) signaling, a pathway previously associated with prolonged antigenic stimulation during chronic infections and cancer. PD-1–mediated TCD8 impairment occurred acutely in mice following infection with human metapneumovirus or influenza virus. Viral antigen was sufficient for PD-1 upregulation, but induction of PD-L1 was required for impairment. During secondary viral infection or epitope-only challenge, memory TCD8 rapidly reexpressed PD-1 and exhibited severe functional impairment. Inhibition of PD-1 signaling using monoclonal antibody blockade prevented TCD8 impairment, reduced viral titers during primary infection, and enhanced protection of immunized mice against challenge infection. Additionally, PD-1 and PD-L1 were upregulated in the lungs of patients with 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, or parainfluenza virus infection. These results indicate that PD-1 mediates TCD8 functional impairment during acute viral infection and may contribute to recurrent viral LRIs. Therefore, the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway may represent a therapeutic target in the treatment of respiratory viruses.
John J. Erickson, Pavlo Gilchuk, Andrew K. Hastings, Sharon J. Tollefson, Monika Johnson, Melissa B. Downing, Kelli L. Boyd, Joyce E. Johnson, Annette S. Kim, Sebastian Joyce, John V. Williams
Cancer is principally considered a genetic disease, and numerous mutations are thought essential to drive its growth. However, the existence of genomically stable cancers and the emergence of mutations in genes that encode chromatin remodelers raise the possibility that perturbation of chromatin structure and epigenetic regulation are capable of driving cancer formation. Here we sequenced the exomes of 35 rhabdoid tumors, highly aggressive cancers of early childhood characterized by biallelic loss of SMARCB1, a subunit of the SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complex. We identified an extremely low rate of mutation, with loss of SMARCB1 being essentially the sole recurrent event. Indeed, in 2 of the cancers there were no other identified mutations. Our results demonstrate that high mutation rates are dispensable for the genesis of cancers driven by mutation of a chromatin remodeling complex. Consequently, cancer can be a remarkably genetically simple disease.
Ryan S. Lee, Chip Stewart, Scott L. Carter, Lauren Ambrogio, Kristian Cibulskis, Carrie Sougnez, Michael S. Lawrence, Daniel Auclair, Jaume Mora, Todd R. Golub, Jaclyn A. Biegel, Gad Getz, Charles W.M. Roberts
Disruption of cellular processes affected by multiple genes and accumulation of numerous insults throughout life dictate the progression of age-related disorders, but their complex etiology is poorly understood. Postmitotic neurons, such as photoreceptor cells in the retina and epithelial cells in the adjacent retinal pigmented epithelium, are especially susceptible to cellular senescence, which contributes to age-related retinal degeneration (ARD). The multigenic and complex etiology of ARD in humans is reflected by the relative paucity of effective compounds for its early prevention and treatment. To understand the genetic differences that drive ARD pathogenesis, we studied A/J mice, which develop ARD more pronounced than that in other inbred mouse models. Although our investigation of consomic strains failed to identify a chromosome associated with the observed retinal deterioration, pathway analysis of RNA-Seq data from young mice prior to retinal pathological changes revealed that increased vulnerability to ARD in A/J mice was due to initially high levels of inflammatory factors and low levels of homeostatic neuroprotective factors. The genetic signatures of an uncompensated preinflammatory state and ARD progression identified here aid in understanding the susceptible genetic loci that underlie pathogenic mechanisms of age-associated disorders, including several human blinding diseases.
Debarshi Mustafi, Tadao Maeda, Hideo Kohno, Joseph H. Nadeau, Krzysztof Palczewski
Neutropenia, which may develop as a consequence of chemotherapy, increases the risk of bacterial infection. Similarly, increased risk of bacterial infection appears in disorders of phagocytic functions, such as the genetic disorder chronic granulomatous disease. To elucidate the organizing principles behind these distinct immunodeficiency conditions, we investigated the interaction between in vitro bacteria and human neutrophils by experiments and mathematical modeling. The model and the experiments showed that the in vitro bacterial dynamics exhibit bistability for a certain range of neutrophil concentration and function. Thus, there is a critical bacterial concentration above which infection develops, and below which neutrophils defeat the bacteria. Whereas with normal neutrophil concentration and function, an infection may develop when the initial bacterial concentration is very high, under neutropenic conditions or when there is neutrophil dysfunction, the critical bacterial concentration can be lower, within the clinically relevant range. We conclude that critical bacterial concentration has clinically relevant implications. The individual maximum bearable bacterial concentration depended on neutrophil concentration, phagocytic activity, and patient barrier integrity; thus, the resulting maximal bearable bacterial concentration may vary by orders of magnitude between patients. Understanding the interplay between neutrophils and bacteria may enhance the development of new therapeutic approaches to bacterial infections.
Roy Malka, Baruch Wolach, Ronit Gavrieli, Eliezer Shochat, Vered Rom-Kedar
Several lines of evidence suggest a link between age-related macular degeneration and retinal cholesterol maintenance. Cytochrome P450 27A1 (CYP27A1) is a ubiquitously expressed mitochondrial sterol 27-hydroxylase that plays an important role in the metabolism of cholesterol and cholesterol-related compounds. We conducted a comprehensive ophthalmic evaluation of mice lacking CYP27A1. We found that the loss of CYP27A1 led to dysregulation of retinal cholesterol homeostasis, including unexpected upregulation of retinal cholesterol biosynthesis. Cyp27a1–/– mice developed retinal lesions characterized by cholesterol deposition beneath the retinal pigment epithelium. Further, Cyp27a1-null mice showed pathological neovascularization, which likely arose from both the retina and the choroid, that led to the formation of retinal-choroidal anastomosis. Blood flow alterations and blood vessel leakage were noted in the areas of pathology. The Cyp27a1–/– retina was hypoxic and had activated Müller cells. We suggest a mechanism whereby abolished sterol 27-hydroxylase activity leads to vascular changes and identify Cyp27a1–/– mice as a model for one of the variants of type 3 retinal neovascularization occurring in some patients with age-related macular degeneration.
Saida Omarova, Casey D. Charvet, Rachel E. Reem, Natalia Mast, Wenchao Zheng, Suber Huang, Neal S. Peachey, Irina A. Pikuleva
Lichen Jing, Jürgen Haas, Tiana M. Chong, Joseph J. Bruckner, Greg C. Dann, Lichun Dong, Joshua O. Marshak, Christopher L. McClurkan, Tori N. Yamamoto, Susanne M. Bailer, Kerry J. Laing, Anna Wald, Georges M.G.M. Verjans, David M. Koelle
Emmanuel S. Buys, Michael J. Raher, Andrew Kirby, Mohd Shahid, David M. Baron, Sarah R. Hayton, Laurel T. Tainsh, Patrick Y. Sips, Kristen M. Rauwerdink, Qingshang Yan, Robert E.T. Tainsh, Hannah R. Shakartzi, Christine Stevens, Kelly Decaluwé, Maria da Gloria Rodrigues-Machado, Rajeev Malhotra, Johan Van de Voorde, Tong Wang, Peter Brouckaert, Mark J. Daly, Kenneth D. Bloch
Rivka A. Rachel, Helen L. May-Simera, Shobi Veleri, Norimoto Gotoh, Byung Yoon Choi, Carlos Murga-Zamalloa, Jeremy C. McIntyre, Jonah Marek, Irma Lopez, Alice N. Hackett, Jun Zhang, Matthew Brooks, Anneke I. den Hollander, Philip L. Beales, Tiansen Li, Samuel G. Jacobson, Raman Sood, Jeffrey R. Martens, Paul Liu, Thomas B. Friedman, Hemant Khanna, Robert K. Koenekoop, Matthew W. Kelley, Anand Swaroop