Ushma S. Neill
Jillian H. Hurst
Corinne L. Williams
The 2014 NIH Physician-Scientist Workforce (PSW) Working Group report identified distressing trends among the small proportion of physicians who consider research to be their primary occupation. If unchecked, these trends will lead to a steep decline in the size of the workforce. They include high rates of attrition among young investigators, failure to maintain a robust and diverse pipeline, and a marked increase in the average age of physician-scientists, as older investigators have chosen to continue working and too few younger investigators have entered the workforce to replace them when they eventually retire. While the policy debates continue, here we propose four actions that can be implemented now. These include applying lessons from the MD-PhD training experience to postgraduate training, shortening the time to independence by at least 5 years, achieving greater diversity and numbers in training programs, and establishing Physician-Scientist Career Development offices at medical centers and universities. Rather than waiting for the federal government to solve our problems, we urge the academic community to address these goals by partnering with the NIH and national clinical specialty and medical organizations.
Dianna M. Milewicz, Robin G. Lorenz, Terence S. Dermody, Lawrence F. Brass, the National Association of MD-PhD Programs Executive Committee
Central and peripheral tolerance checkpoints are in place to remove autoreactive B cell populations and prevent the development of autoimmunity. In this issue of the
Jean-Claude Weill, Claude-Agnès Reynaud
Immune-suppressive cell populations, including Tregs and suppressor monocytes, have been implicated in long-term survival of allografts in both human transplant recipients and animal models. The factors that drive differentiation and function of these cell populations are not completely understood. In this issue, Bézie and colleagues identify IL-34 as an important mediator of allograft tolerance in a rat model of heart transplantation. Their data support a model in which IL-34 production by Tregs promotes a population of suppressive macrophages that in turn promote Treg differentiation. The results of this study support further exploration of the immunosuppressive properties of IL-34.
James I. Kim, Laurence A. Turka
Glucose stimulation of insulin secretion in pancreatic β cells involves cell depolarization and subsequent opening of voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels to elicit insulin granule exocytosis. This pathway alone does not account for the entire magnitude of the secretory response in β cells. In this issue, Ferdaoussi, Dai, and colleagues reveal that insulin secretion is amplified by cytosolic isocitrate dehydrogenase–dependent transfer of reducing equivalents, which generates NADPH and reduced glutathione, which in turn activates sentrin/SUMO-specific protease-1 (SENP1). β Cell–specific deletion of
Alan D. Attie
David A. Zeevi, Gheona Altarescu, Ariella Weinberg-Shukron, Fouad Zahdeh, Tama Dinur, Gaya Chicco, Yair Herskovitz, Paul Renbaum, Deborah Elstein, Ephrat Levy-Lahad, Arndt Rolfs, Ari Zimran
The development of inhibitory antibodies to factor VIII (FVIII) is a major obstacle in using this clotting factor to treat individuals with hemophilia A. Patients with a congenital absence of FVIII do not develop central tolerance to FVIII, and therefore, any control of their FVIII-reactive lymphocytes relies upon peripheral tolerance mechanisms. Indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase 1 (IDO1) is a key regulatory enzyme that supports Treg function and peripheral tolerance in adult life. Here, we investigated the association between IDO1 competence and inhibitor status by evaluating hemophilia A patients harboring F8-null mutations that were either inhibitor negative (
Davide Matino, Marco Gargaro, Elena Santagostino, Matteo N.D. Di Minno, Giancarlo Castaman, Massimo Morfini, Angiola Rocino, Maria E. Mancuso, Giovanni Di Minno, Antonio Coppola, Vincenzo N. Talesa, Claudia Volpi, Carmine Vacca, Ciriana Orabona, Rossana Iannitti, Maria G. Mazzucconi, Cristina Santoro, Antonella Tosti, Sara Chiappalupi, Guglielmo Sorci, Giuseppe Tagariello, Donata Belvini, Paolo Radossi, Raffaele Landolfi, Dietmar Fuchs, Louis Boon, Matteo Pirro, Emanuela Marchesini, Ursula Grohmann, Paolo Puccetti, Alfonso Iorio, Francesca Fallarino
Primary pain and touch sensory neurons not only detect internal and external sensory stimuli, but also receive inputs from other neurons. However, the neuronal derived inputs for primary neurons have not been systematically identified. Using a monosynaptic rabies viruses–based transneuronal tracing method combined with sensory-specific Cre-drivers, we found that sensory neurons receive intraganglion, intraspinal, and supraspinal inputs, the latter of which are mainly derived from the rostroventral medulla (RVM). The viral-traced central neurons were largely inhibitory but also consisted of some glutamatergic neurons in the spinal cord and serotonergic neurons in the RVM. The majority of RVM-derived descending inputs were dual GABAergic and enkephalinergic (opioidergic). These inputs projected through the dorsolateral funiculus and primarily innervated layers I, II, and V of the dorsal horn, where pain-sensory afferents terminate. Silencing or activation of the dual GABA/enkephalinergic RVM neurons in adult animals substantially increased or decreased behavioral sensitivity, respectively, to heat and mechanical stimuli. These results are consistent with the fact that both GABA and enkephalin can exert presynaptic inhibition of the sensory afferents. Taken together, this work provides a systematic view of and a set of tools for examining peri- and extrasynaptic regulations of pain-afferent transmission.
Yi Zhang, Shengli Zhao, Erica Rodriguez, Jun Takatoh, Bao-Xia Han, Xiang Zhou, Fan Wang
Liver cancer stem cells (CSCs) have been identified and shown to have self-renewal and differentiation properties; however, the biology of these hepatic CSCs remains largely unknown. Here, we analyzed transcriptome gene expression profiles of liver CSCs and non-CSCs from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells lines and found that the transcription factor (TF) ZIC2 is highly expressed in liver CSCs. ZIC2 was required for the self-renewal maintenance of liver CSCs, as ZIC2 depletion reduced sphere formation and xenograft tumor growth in mice. We determined that ZIC2 acts upstream of the TF OCT4 and that ZIC2 recruits the nuclear remodeling factor (NURF) complex to the
Pingping Zhu, Yanying Wang, Lei He, Guanling Huang, Ying Du, Geng Zhang, Xinlong Yan, Pengyan Xia, Buqing Ye, Shuo Wang, Lu Hao, Jiayi Wu, Zusen Fan
Variants near the gene
Robert C. Bauer, Makoto Sasaki, Daniel M. Cohen, Jian Cui, Mikhaila A. Smith, Batuhan O. Yenilmez, David J. Steger, Daniel J. Rader
Recent genome-wide association studies have revealed that variations near the gene locus encoding the transcription factor Krüppel-like factor 14 (
Yanhong Guo, Yanbo Fan, Jifeng Zhang, Gwen A. Lomberk, Zhou Zhou, Lijie Sun, Angela J. Mathison, Minerva T. Garcia-Barrio, Ji Zhang, Lixia Zeng, Lei Li, Subramaniam Pennathur, Cristen J. Willer, Daniel J. Rader, Raul Urrutia, Y. Eugene Chen
Although stem cell populations mediate regeneration of rapid turnover tissues, such as skin, blood, and gut, a stem cell reservoir has not been identified for some slower turnover tissues, such as the pancreatic islet. Despite lacking identifiable stem cells, murine pancreatic β cell number expands in response to an increase in insulin demand. Lineage tracing shows that new β cells are generated from proliferation of mature, differentiated β cells; however, the mechanism by which these mature cells sense systemic insulin demand and initiate a proliferative response remains unknown. Here, we identified the β cell unfolded protein response (UPR), which senses insulin production, as a regulator of β cell proliferation. Using genetic and physiologic models, we determined that among the population of β cells, those with an active UPR are more likely to proliferate. Moreover, subthreshold endoplasmic reticulum stress (ER stress) drove insulin demand–induced β cell proliferation, through activation of ATF6. We also confirmed that the UPR regulates proliferation of human β cells, suggesting that therapeutic UPR modulation has potential to expand β cell mass in people at risk for diabetes. Together, this work defines a stem cell–independent model of tissue homeostasis, in which differentiated secretory cells use the UPR sensor to adapt organ size to meet demand.
Rohit B. Sharma, Amy C. O’Donnell, Rachel E. Stamateris, Binh Ha, Karen M. McCloskey, Paul R. Reynolds, Peter Arvan, Laura C. Alonso
Insulin secretion from β cells of the pancreatic islets of Langerhans controls metabolic homeostasis and is impaired in individuals with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Increases in blood glucose trigger insulin release by closing ATP-sensitive K+ channels, depolarizing β cells, and opening voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels to elicit insulin exocytosis. However, one or more additional pathway(s) amplify the secretory response, likely at the distal exocytotic site. The mitochondrial export of isocitrate and engagement with cytosolic isocitrate dehydrogenase (ICDc) may be one key pathway, but the mechanism linking this to insulin secretion and its role in T2D have not been defined. Here, we show that the ICDc-dependent generation of NADPH and subsequent glutathione (GSH) reduction contribute to the amplification of insulin exocytosis via sentrin/SUMO-specific protease-1 (SENP1). In human T2D and an in vitro model of human islet dysfunction, the glucose-dependent amplification of exocytosis was impaired and could be rescued by introduction of signaling intermediates from this pathway. Moreover, islet-specific
Mourad Ferdaoussi, Xiaoqing Dai, Mette V. Jensen, Runsheng Wang, Brett S. Peterson, Chao Huang, Olga Ilkayeva, Nancy Smith, Nathanael Miller, Catherine Hajmrle, Aliya F. Spigelman, Robert C. Wright, Gregory Plummer, Kunimasa Suzuki, James P. Mackay, Martijn van de Bunt, Anna L. Gloyn, Terence E. Ryan, Lisa D. Norquay, M. Julia Brosnan, Jeff K. Trimmer, Timothy P. Rolph, Richard G. Kibbey, Jocelyn E. Manning Fox, William F. Colmers, Orian S. Shirihai, P. Darrell Neufer, Edward T.H. Yeh, Christopher B. Newgard, Patrick E. MacDonald
Biomechanical forces, such as fluid shear stress, govern multiple aspects of endothelial cell biology. In blood vessels, disturbed flow is associated with vascular diseases, such as atherosclerosis, and promotes endothelial cell proliferation and apoptosis. Here, we identified an important role for disturbed flow in lymphatic vessels, in which it cooperates with the transcription factor FOXC2 to ensure lifelong stability of the lymphatic vasculature. In cultured lymphatic endothelial cells,
Amélie Sabine, Esther Bovay, Cansaran Saygili Demir, Wataru Kimura, Muriel Jaquet, Yan Agalarov, Nadine Zangger, Joshua P. Scallan, Werner Graber, Elgin Gulpinar, Brenda R. Kwak, Taija Mäkinen, Inés Martinez-Corral, Sagrario Ortega, Mauro Delorenzi, Friedemann Kiefer, Michael J. Davis, Valentin Djonov, Naoyuki Miura, Tatiana V. Petrova
Regulation of neutrophil activity is critical for immune evasion among extracellular pathogens, yet the mechanisms by which many bacteria disrupt phagocyte function remain unclear. Here, we have shown that the respiratory pathogen
Christopher B. Hergott, Aoife M. Roche, Nikhil A. Naidu, Clementina Mesaros, Ian A. Blair, Jeffrey N. Weiser
In many organs, including the intestine and skin, cancers originate from cells of the stem or progenitor compartment. Despite its nomenclature, the cellular origin of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) remains elusive. In contrast to most organs, the liver lacks a defined stem cell population for organ maintenance. Previous studies suggest that both hepatocytes and facultative progenitor cells within the biliary compartment are capable of generating HCC. As HCCs with a progenitor signature carry a worse prognosis, understanding the origin of HCC is of clinical relevance. Here, we used complementary fate-tracing approaches to label the progenitor/biliary compartment and hepatocytes in murine hepatocarcinogenesis. In genotoxic and genetic models, HCCs arose exclusively from hepatocytes but never from the progenitor/biliary compartment. Cytokeratin 19–, A6- and α-fetoprotein–positive cells within tumors were hepatocyte derived. In summary, hepatocytes represent the cell of origin for HCC in mice, and a progenitor signature does not reflect progenitor origin, but dedifferentiation of hepatocyte-derived tumor cells.
Xueru Mu, Regina Español-Suñer, Ingmar Mederacke, Silvia Affò, Rita Manco, Christine Sempoux, Frédéric P. Lemaigre, Arlind Adili, Detian Yuan, Achim Weber, Kristian Unger, Mathias Heikenwälder, Isabelle A. Leclercq, Robert F. Schwabe
Valproic acid (VPA) has been widely used for decades to treat epilepsy; however, its mechanism of action remains poorly understood. Here, we report that the anticonvulsant effects of nonacute VPA treatment involve preservation of the M-current, a low-threshold noninactivating potassium current, during seizures. In a wide variety of neurons, activation of Gq-coupled receptors, such as the m1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor, suppresses the M-current and induces hyperexcitability. We demonstrated that VPA treatment disrupts muscarinic suppression of the M-current and prevents resultant agonist-induced neuronal hyperexcitability. We also determined that VPA treatment interferes with M-channel signaling by inhibiting palmitoylation of a signaling scaffold protein, AKAP79/150, in cultured neurons. In a kainate-induced murine seizure model, administration of a dose of an M-channel inhibitor that did not affect kainate-induced seizure transiently eliminated the anticonvulsant effects of VPA. Retigabine, an M-channel opener that does not open receptor-suppressed M-channels, provided anticonvulsant effects only when administered prior to seizure induction in control animals. In contrast, treatment of VPA-treated mice with retigabine induced anticonvulsant effects even when administered after seizure induction. Together, these results suggest that receptor-induced M-current suppression plays a role in the pathophysiology of seizures and that preservation of the M-current during seizures has potential as an effective therapeutic strategy.
Hee Yeon Kay, Derek L. Greene, Seungwoo Kang, Anastasia Kosenko, Naoto Hoshi
Optical imaging of whole, living animals has proven to be a powerful tool in multiple areas of preclinical research and has allowed noninvasive monitoring of immune responses, tumor and pathogen growth, and treatment responses in longitudinal studies. However, fluorescence-based studies in animals are challenging because tissue absorbs and autofluoresces strongly in the visible light spectrum. These optical properties drive development and use of fluorescent labels that absorb and emit at longer wavelengths. Here, we present a far-red absorbing fluoromodule–based reporter/probe system and show that this system can be used for imaging in living mice. The probe we developed is a fluorogenic dye called SC1 that is dark in solution but highly fluorescent when bound to its cognate reporter, Mars1. The reporter/probe complex, or fluoromodule, produced peak emission near 730 nm. Mars1 was able to bind a variety of structurally similar probes that differ in color and membrane permeability. We demonstrated that a tool kit of multiple probes can be used to label extracellular and intracellular reporter–tagged receptor pools with 2 colors. Imaging studies may benefit from this far-red excited reporter/probe system, which features tight coupling between probe fluorescence and reporter binding and offers the option of using an expandable family of fluorogenic probes with a single reporter gene.
Ming Zhang, Subhasish K. Chakraborty, Padma Sampath, Juan J. Rojas, Weizhou Hou, Saumya Saurabh, Steve H. Thorne, Marcel P. Bruchez, Alan S. Waggoner
We recently reported that abundant deposits of the extracellular matrix polysaccharide hyaluronan (HA) are characteristic of autoimmune insulitis in patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D), but the relevance of these deposits to disease was unclear. Here, we have demonstrated that HA is critical for the pathogenesis of autoimmune diabetes. Using the DO11.10xRIPmOVA mouse model of T1D, we determined that HA deposits are temporally and anatomically associated with the development of insulitis. Moreover, treatment with an inhibitor of HA synthesis, 4-methylumbelliferone (4-MU), halted progression to diabetes even after the onset of insulitis. Similar effects were seen in the NOD mouse model, and in these mice, 1 week of treatment was sufficient to prevent subsequent diabetes. 4-MU reduced HA accumulation, constrained effector T cells to nondestructive insulitis, and increased numbers of intraislet FOXP3+ Tregs. Consistent with the observed effects of 4-MU treatment, Treg differentiation was inhibited by HA and anti-CD44 antibodies and rescued by 4-MU in an ERK1/2-dependent manner. These data may explain how peripheral immune tolerance is impaired in tissues under autoimmune attack, including islets in T1D. We propose that 4-MU, already an approved drug used to treat biliary spasm, could be repurposed to prevent, and possibly treat, T1D in at-risk individuals.
Nadine Nagy, Gernot Kaber, Pamela Y. Johnson, John A. Gebe, Anton Preisinger, Ben A. Falk, Vivekananda G. Sunkari, Michel D. Gooden, Robert B. Vernon, Marika Bogdani, Hedwich F. Kuipers, Anthony J. Day, Daniel J. Campbell, Thomas N. Wight, Paul L. Bollyky
Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS) is an X-linked immunodeficiency characterized by microthrombocytopenia, eczema, and high susceptibility to developing tumors and autoimmunity. Recent evidence suggests that B cells may be key players in the pathogenesis of autoimmunity in WAS. Here, we assessed whether WAS protein deficiency (WASp deficiency) affects the establishment of B cell tolerance by testing the reactivity of recombinant antibodies isolated from single B cells from 4 WAS patients before and after gene therapy (GT). We found that pre-GT WASp-deficient B cells were hyperreactive to B cell receptor stimulation (BCR stimulation). This hyperreactivity correlated with decreased frequency of autoreactive new emigrant/transitional B cells exiting the BM, indicating that the BCR signaling threshold plays a major role in the regulation of central B cell tolerance. In contrast, mature naive B cells from WAS patients were enriched in self-reactive clones, revealing that peripheral B cell tolerance checkpoint dysfunction is associated with impaired suppressive function of WAS regulatory T cells. The introduction of functional WASp by GT corrected the alterations of both central and peripheral B cell tolerance checkpoints. We conclude that WASp plays an important role in the establishment and maintenance of B cell tolerance in humans and that restoration of WASp by GT is able to restore B cell tolerance in WAS patients.
Francesca Pala, Henner Morbach, Maria Carmina Castiello, Jean-Nicolas Schickel, Samantha Scaramuzza, Nicolas Chamberlain, Barbara Cassani, Salome Glauzy, Neil Romberg, Fabio Candotti, Alessandro Aiuti, Marita Bosticardo, Anna Villa, Eric Meffre
Cytokines and metabolic pathway–controlling enzymes regulate immune responses and have potential as powerful tools to mediate immune tolerance. Blockade of the interaction between CD40 and CD40L induces long-term cardiac allograft survival in rats through a CD8+CD45RClo Treg potentiation. Here, we have shown that the cytokine IL-34, the immunoregulatory properties of which have not been previously studied in transplantation or T cell biology, is expressed by rodent CD8+CD45RClo Tregs and human FOXP3+CD45RCloCD8+ and CD4+ Tregs. IL-34 was involved in the suppressive function of both CD8+ and CD4+ Tregs and markedly inhibited alloreactive immune responses. Additionally, in a rat cardiac allograft model, IL-34 potently induced transplant tolerance that was associated with a total inhibition of alloantibody production. Treatment of rats with IL-34 promoted allograft tolerance that was mediated by induction of CD8+ and CD4+ Tregs. Moreover, these Tregs were capable of serial tolerance induction through modulation of macrophages that migrate early to the graft. Finally, we demonstrated that human macrophages cultured in the presence of IL-34 greatly expanded CD8+ and CD4+ FOXP3+ Tregs, with a superior suppressive potential of antidonor immune responses compared with non–IL-34–expanded Tregs. In conclusion, we reveal that IL-34 serves as a suppressive Treg–specific cytokine and as a tolerogenic cytokine that efficiently inhibits alloreactive immune responses and mediates transplant tolerance.
Séverine Bézie, Elodie Picarda, Jason Ossart, Laurent Tesson, Claire Usal, Karine Renaudin, Ignacio Anegon, Carole Guillonneau
Erythropoiesis is an important response to certain types of stress, including hypoxia, hemorrhage, bone marrow suppression, and anemia, that result in inadequate tissue oxygenation. This stress-induced erythropoiesis is distinct from basal red blood cell generation; however, neither the cellular nor the molecular factors that regulate this process are fully understood. Here, we report that type 1 conventional dendritic cells (cDC1s), which are defined by expression of CD8α in the mouse and XCR1 and CLEC9 in humans, are critical for induction of erythropoiesis in response to stress. Specifically, using murine models, we determined that engagement of a stress sensor, CD24, on cDC1s upregulates expression of the Kit ligand stem cell factor on these cells. The increased expression of stem cell factor resulted in Kit-mediated proliferative expansion of early erythroid progenitors and, ultimately, transient reticulocytosis in the circulation. Moreover, this stress response was triggered in part by alarmin recognition and was blunted in CD24 sensor– and CD8α+ DC-deficient animals. The contribution of the cDC1 subset to the initiation of stress erythropoiesis was distinct from the well-recognized role of macrophages in supporting late erythroid maturation. Together, these findings offer insight into the mechanism of stress erythropoiesis and into disorders of erythrocyte generation associated with stress.
Taeg S. Kim, Mark Hanak, Paul C. Trampont, Thomas J. Braciale
Adoptively transferred tumor-infiltrating T lymphocytes (TILs) that mediate complete regression of metastatic melanoma have been shown to recognize mutated epitopes expressed by autologous tumors. Here, in an attempt to develop a strategy for facilitating the isolation, expansion, and study of mutated antigen–specific T cells, we performed whole-exome sequencing on matched tumor and normal DNA isolated from 8 patients with metastatic melanoma. Candidate mutated epitopes were identified using a peptide-MHC–binding algorithm, and these epitopes were synthesized and used to generate panels of MHC tetramers that were evaluated for binding to tumor digests and cultured TILs used for the treatment of patients. This strategy resulted in the identification of 9 mutated epitopes from 5 of the 8 patients tested. Cells reactive with 8 of the 9 epitopes could be isolated from autologous peripheral blood, where they were detected at frequencies that were estimated to range between 0.4% and 0.002%. To the best of our knowledge, this represents the first demonstration of the successful isolation of mutation-reactive T cells from patients’ peripheral blood prior to immune therapy, potentially providing the basis for designing personalized immunotherapies to treat patients with advanced cancer.
Cyrille J. Cohen, Jared J. Gartner, Miryam Horovitz-Fried, Katerina Shamalov, Kasia Trebska-McGowan, Valery V. Bliskovsky, Maria R. Parkhurst, Chen Ankri, Todd. D. Prickett, Jessica S. Crystal, Yong F. Li, Mona El-Gamil, Steven A. Rosenberg, Paul F. Robbins
Chang H. Lee, Bhranti Shah, Eduardo K. Moioli, Jeremy J. Mao
Xiaohuan Guo, Yang-Xin Fu