In this issue of the JCI, Kim and Park et al. demonstrate the critical role of angiopoietin/Tie2 signaling in maintaining Schlemm’s canal integrity throughout adulthood. Impairments in Schlemm’s canal underlie increased intraocular pressure that can lead to vision loss. The cover image visualizes Schlemm’s canal in green and red with associated aqueous veins (thin red vessels) and episcleral veins (thick red vessels). Image credit: Jaeryung Kim.
Alexander J. Adami
Srinivasan Chandrasegaran, C. Korin Bullen, Dana Carroll
There is an increasing recognition that inflammation plays a critical role in neurodegenerative diseases of the CNS, including Alzheimer’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, and the prototypic neuroinflammatory disease multiple sclerosis (MS). Differential immune responses involving the adaptive versus the innate immune system are observed at various stages of neurodegenerative diseases, and may not only drive disease processes but could serve as therapeutic targets. Ongoing investigations into the specific inflammatory mechanisms that play roles in disease causation and progression have revealed lessons about inflammation-driven neurodegeneration that can be applied to other neurodegenerative diseases. An increasing number of immunotherapeutic strategies that have been successful in MS are now being applied to other neurodegenerative diseases. Some approaches suppress CNS immune mechanisms, while others harness the immune system to clear deleterious products and cells. This Review focuses on the mechanisms by which inflammation, mediated either by the peripheral immune response or by endogenous CNS immune mechanisms, can affect CNS neurodegeneration.
Tanuja Chitnis, Howard L. Weiner
Deficiency of the antidiuretic hormone arginine vasopressin (AVP) underlies diabetes insipidus, which is characterized by the excretion of abnormally large volumes of dilute urine and persistent thirst. In this issue of the JCI, Shi et al. report that Sel1L-Hrd1 ER–associated degradation (ERAD) is responsible for the clearance of misfolded pro–arginine vasopressin (proAVP) in the ER. Additionally, mice with Sel1L deficiency, either globally or specifically within AVP-expressing neurons, developed central diabetes insipidus. The results of this study demonstrate a role for ERAD in neuroendocrine cells and serve as a clinical example of the effect of misfolded ER proteins retrotranslocated through the membrane into the cytosol, where they are polyubiquitinated, extracted from the ER membrane, and degraded by the proteasome. Moreover, proAVP misfolding in hereditary central diabetes insipidus likely shares common physiopathological mechanisms with proinsulin misfolding in hereditary diabetes mellitus of youth.
Daniel G. Bichet, Yoann Lussier
Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness, with an estimated world-wide prevalence of 3.5% in members of the population older than 40 years of age. Elevated intraocular pressure as the result of abnormal resistance to aqueous humor drainage is a major contributing, and the only preventable, factor in glaucoma development. Schlemm’s canal (SC), a lymphatic-like vessel encircling the anterior portion of the eye, plays a key role in promoting aqueous humor outflow and maintenance of normal intraocular pressure. The risk of developing glaucoma increases with age; therefore, understanding mechanisms of SC maintenance and how aging affects SC function are of special importance, both for prevention and novel treatment approaches to glaucoma. Using a compelling array of genetic models, Kim et al. report in this issue of the JCI that continuous angiopoietin/TIE2 signaling is required for maintaining SC identity and integrity during adulthood and show that its age-related changes can be rescued by a TIE2 agonistic antibody.
Jeremiah Bernier-Latmani, Tatiana V. Petrova
The tumor suppressor p53, a master regulator of the cellular response to stress, is tightly regulated by the E3 ubiquitin ligase MDM2 via an autoregulatory feedback loop. In addition to its well-established role in tumorigenesis, p53 has also been associated with aging in mice. Several mouse models with aberrantly increased p53 activity display signs of premature aging. However, the relationship between dysfunction of the MDM2/p53 axis and human aging remains elusive. Here, we have identified an antiterminating homozygous germline mutation in MDM2 in a patient affected by a segmental progeroid syndrome. We show that this mutation abrogates MDM2 activity, thereby resulting in enhanced levels and stability of p53. Analysis of the patient’s primary cells, genome-edited cells, and in vitro and in vivo analyses confirmed the MDM2 mutation’s aberrant regulation of p53 activity. Functional data from a zebrafish model further demonstrated that mutant Mdm2 was unable to rescue a p53-induced apoptotic phenotype. Altogether, our findings indicate that mutant MDM2 is a likely driver of the observed segmental form of progeria.
Davor Lessel, Danyi Wu, Carlos Trujillo, Thomas Ramezani, Ivana Lessel, Mohammad K. Alwasiyah, Bidisha Saha, Fuki M. Hisama, Katrin Rading, Ingrid Goebel, Petra Schütz, Günter Speit, Josef Högel, Holger Thiele, Gudrun Nürnberg, Peter Nürnberg, Matthias Hammerschmidt, Yan Zhu, David R. Tong, Chen Katz, George M. Martin, Junko Oshima, Carol Prives, Christian Kubisch
During an immune response, CD8+ T lymphocytes can undergo asymmetric division, giving rise to daughter cells that exhibit distinct tendencies to adopt terminal effector and memory cell fates. Here we show that “pre-effector” and “pre-memory” cells resulting from the first CD8+ T cell division in vivo exhibited low and high rates of endogenous proteasome activity, respectively. Pharmacologic reduction of proteasome activity in CD8+ T cells early during differentiation resulted in acquisition of terminal effector cell characteristics, whereas enhancement of proteasome activity conferred attributes of memory lymphocytes. Transcriptomic and proteomic analyses revealed that modulating proteasome activity in CD8+ T cells affected cellular metabolism. These metabolic changes were mediated, in part, through differential expression of Myc, a transcription factor that controls glycolysis and metabolic reprogramming. Taken together, these results demonstrate that proteasome activity is an important regulator of CD8+ T cell fate and raise the possibility that increasing proteasome activity may be a useful therapeutic strategy to enhance the generation of memory lymphocytes.
Christella E. Widjaja, Jocelyn G. Olvera, Patrick J. Metz, Anthony T. Phan, Jeffrey N. Savas, Gerjan de Bruin, Yves Leestemaker, Celia R. Berkers, Annemieke de Jong, Bogdan I. Florea, Kathleen Fisch, Justine Lopez, Stephanie H. Kim, Daniel A. Garcia, Stephen Searles, Jack D. Bui, Aaron N. Chang, John R. Yates III, Ananda W. Goldrath, Hermen S. Overkleeft, Huib Ovaa, John T. Chang
Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) remain mostly quiescent under steady-state conditions but switch to a proliferative state following hematopoietic stress, e.g., bone marrow (BM) injury, transplantation, or systemic infection and inflammation. The homeostatic balance between quiescence, self-renewal, and differentiation of HSCs is strongly dependent on their interactions with cells that constitute a specialized microanatomical environment in the BM known as the HSC niche. Here, we identified the secreted extracellular matrix protein Del-1 as a component and regulator of the HSC niche. Specifically, we found that Del-1 was expressed by several cellular components of the HSC niche, including arteriolar endothelial cells, CXCL12-abundant reticular (CAR) cells, and cells of the osteoblastic lineage. Del-1 promoted critical functions of the HSC niche, as it regulated long-term HSC (LT-HSC) proliferation and differentiation toward the myeloid lineage. Del-1 deficiency in mice resulted in reduced LT-HSC proliferation and infringed preferentially upon myelopoiesis under both steady-state and stressful conditions, such as hematopoietic cell transplantation and G-CSF– or inflammation-induced stress myelopoiesis. Del-1–induced HSC proliferation and myeloid lineage commitment were mediated by β3 integrin on hematopoietic progenitors. This hitherto unknown Del-1 function in the HSC niche represents a juxtacrine homeostatic adaptation of the hematopoietic system in stress myelopoiesis.
Ioannis Mitroulis, Lan-Sun Chen, Rashim Pal Singh, Ioannis Kourtzelis, Matina Economopoulou, Tetsuhiro Kajikawa, Maria Troullinaki, Athanasios Ziogas, Klara Ruppova, Kavita Hosur, Tomoki Maekawa, Baomei Wang, Pallavi Subramanian, Torsten Tonn, Panayotis Verginis, Malte von Bonin, Manja Wobus, Martin Bornhäuser, Tatyana Grinenko, Marianna Di Scala, Andres Hidalgo, Ben Wielockx, George Hajishengallis, Triantafyllos Chavakis
Sterol regulatory element–binding protein 1c (SREBP-1c) is a central regulator of lipogenesis whose activity is controlled by proteolytic cleavage. The metabolic factors that affect its processing are incompletely understood. Here, we show that dynamic changes in the acyl chain composition of ER phospholipids affect SREBP-1c maturation in physiology and disease. The abundance of polyunsaturated phosphatidylcholine in liver ER is selectively increased in response to feeding and in the setting of obesity-linked insulin resistance. Exogenous delivery of polyunsaturated phosphatidylcholine to ER accelerated SREBP-1c processing through a mechanism that required an intact SREBP cleavage–activating protein (SCAP) pathway. Furthermore, induction of the phospholipid-remodeling enzyme LPCAT3 in response to liver X receptor (LXR) activation promoted SREBP-1c processing by driving the incorporation of polyunsaturated fatty acids into ER. Conversely, LPCAT3 deficiency increased membrane saturation, reduced nuclear SREBP-1c abundance, and blunted the lipogenic response to feeding, LXR agonist treatment, or obesity-linked insulin resistance. Desaturation of the ER membrane may serve as an auxiliary signal of the fed state that promotes lipid synthesis in response to nutrient availability.
Xin Rong, Bo Wang, Elisa N.D. Palladino, Thomas Q. de Aguiar Vallim, David A. Ford, Peter Tontonoz
Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) is a pediatric myeloproliferative neoplasm that bears distinct characteristics associated with abnormal fetal development. JMML has been extensively modeled in mice expressing the oncogenic KrasG12D mutation. However, these models have struggled to recapitulate the defining features of JMML due to in utero lethality, nonhematopoietic expression, and the pervasive emergence of T cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Here, we have developed a model of JMML using mice that express KrasG12D in multipotent progenitor cells (Flt3Cre+ KrasG12D mice). These mice express KrasG12D in utero, are born at normal Mendelian ratios, develop hepatosplenomegaly, anemia, and thrombocytopenia, and succumb to a rapidly progressing and fully penetrant neonatal myeloid disease. Mutant mice have altered hematopoietic stem and progenitor cell populations in the BM and spleen that are hypersensitive to granulocyte macrophage–CSF due to hyperactive RAS/ERK signaling. Biased differentiation in these progenitors results in an expansion of neutrophils and DCs and a concomitant decrease in T lymphocytes. Flt3Cre+ KrasG12D fetal liver hematopoietic progenitors give rise to a myeloid disease upon transplantation. In summary, we describe a KrasG12D mouse model that reproducibly develops JMML-like disease. This model will prove useful for preclinical drug studies and for elucidating the developmental origins of pediatric neoplasms.
Stefan P. Tarnawsky, Michihiro Kobayashi, Rebecca J. Chan, Mervin C. Yoder
The gene that encodes de novo DNA methyltransferase 3A (DNMT3A) is frequently mutated in acute myeloid leukemia genomes. Point mutations at position R882 have been shown to cause a dominant negative loss of DNMT3A methylation activity, but 15% of DNMT3A mutations are predicted to produce truncated proteins that could either have dominant negative activities or cause loss of function and haploinsufficiency. Here, we demonstrate that 3 of these mutants produce truncated, inactive proteins that do not dimerize with WT DNMT3A, strongly supporting the haploinsufficiency hypothesis. We therefore evaluated hematopoiesis in mice heterozygous for a constitutive null Dnmt3a mutation. With no other manipulations, Dnmt3a+/– mice developed myeloid skewing over time, and their hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells exhibited a long-term competitive transplantation advantage. Dnmt3a+/– mice also spontaneously developed transplantable myeloid malignancies after a long latent period, and 3 of 12 tumors tested had cooperating mutations in the Ras/MAPK pathway. The residual Dnmt3a allele was neither mutated nor downregulated in these tumors. The bone marrow cells of Dnmt3a+/– mice had a subtle but statistically significant DNA hypomethylation phenotype that was not associated with gene dysregulation. These data demonstrate that haploinsufficiency for Dnmt3a alters hematopoiesis and predisposes mice (and probably humans) to myeloid malignancies by a mechanism that is not yet clear.
Christopher B. Cole, David A. Russler-Germain, Shamika Ketkar, Angela M. Verdoni, Amanda M. Smith, Celia V. Bangert, Nichole M. Helton, Mindy Guo, Jeffery M. Klco, Shelly O’Laughlin, Catrina Fronick, Robert Fulton, Gue Su Chang, Allegra A. Petti, Christopher A. Miller, Timothy J. Ley
TGF-β1 signaling is a critical driver of collagen accumulation and fibrotic disease but also a vital suppressor of inflammation and epithelial cell proliferation. The nature of this multifunctional cytokine has limited the development of global TGF-β1 signaling inhibitors as therapeutic agents. We conducted phenotypic screens for small molecules that inhibit TGF-β1–induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition without immediate TGF-β1 receptor (TβR) kinase inhibition. We identified trihydroxyphenolic compounds as potent blockers of TGF-β1 responses (IC50 ~50 nM), Snail1 expression, and collagen deposition in vivo in models of pulmonary fibrosis and collagen-dependent lung cancer metastasis. Remarkably, the functional effects of trihydroxyphenolics required the presence of active lysyl oxidase–like 2 (LOXL2), thereby limiting effects to fibroblasts or cancer cells, the major LOXL2 producers. Mechanistic studies revealed that trihydroxyphenolics induce auto-oxidation of a LOXL2/3–specific lysine (K731) in a time-dependent reaction that irreversibly inhibits LOXL2 and converts the trihydrophenolic to a previously undescribed metabolite that directly inhibits TβRI kinase. Combined inhibition of LOXL2 and TβRI activities by trihydrophenolics resulted in potent blockade of pathological collagen accumulation in vivo without the toxicities associated with global inhibitors. These findings elucidate a therapeutic approach to attenuate fibrosis and the disease-promoting effects of tissue stiffness by specifically targeting TβRI kinase in LOXL2-expressing cells.
Ying Wei, Thomas J. Kim, David H. Peng, Dana Duan, Don L. Gibbons, Mitsuo Yamauchi, Julia R. Jackson, Claude J. Le Saux, Cheresa Calhoun, Jay Peters, Rik Derynck, Bradley J. Backes, Harold A. Chapman
Blood vessels in the tumor periphery have high pericyte coverage and are resistant to vascular disrupting agents (VDAs). VDA treatment resistance leads to a viable peripheral tumor rim that contributes to treatment failure and disease recurrence. Here, we provide evidence to support a hypothesis that shifting the target of VDAs from tumor vessel endothelial cells to pericytes disrupts tumor peripheral vessels and the viable rim, circumventing VDA treatment resistance. Through chemical engineering, we developed Z-GP-DAVLBH (from the tubulin-binding VDA desacetylvinblastine monohydrazide [DAVLBH]) as a prodrug that can be selectively activated by fibroblast activation protein α (FAPα) in tumor pericytes. Z-GP-DAVLBH selectively destroys the cytoskeleton of FAPα-expressing tumor pericytes, disrupting blood vessels both within the core and around the periphery of tumors. As a result, Z-GP-DAVLBH treatment eradicated the otherwise VDA-resistant tumor rim and led to complete regression of tumors in multiple lines of xenografts without producing the drug-related toxicity that is associated with similar doses of DAVLBH. This study demonstrates that targeting tumor pericytes with an FAPα-activated VDA prodrug represents a potential vascular disruption strategy in overcoming tumor resistance to VDA treatments.
Minfeng Chen, Xueping Lei, Changzheng Shi, Maohua Huang, Xiaobo Li, Baojian Wu, Zhengqiu Li, Weili Han, Bin Du, Jianyang Hu, Qiulin Nie, Weiqian Mai, Nan Ma, Nanhui Xu, Xinyi Zhang, Chunlin Fan, Aihua Hong, Minghan Xia, Liangping Luo, Ande Ma, Hongsheng Li, Qiang Yu, Heru Chen, Dongmei Zhang, Wencai Ye
Autoreactive CD4 T cells that differentiate into pathogenic Th17 cells can trigger autoimmune diseases. Therefore, investigating the regulatory network that modulates Th17 differentiation may yield important therapeutic insights. miR-146a has emerged as a critical modulator of immune reactions, but its role in regulating autoreactive Th17 cells and organ-specific autoimmunity remains largely unknown. Here, we have reported that miR-146a–deficient mice developed more severe experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of human multiple sclerosis (MS). We bred miR-146a–deficient mice with 2D2 T cell receptor–Tg mice to generate 2D2 CD4 T cells that are deficient in miR-146a and specific for myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG), an autoantigen in the EAE model. miR-146a–deficient 2D2 T cells induced more severe EAE and were more prone to differentiate into Th17 cells. Microarray analysis revealed enhancements in IL-6– and IL-21–induced Th17 differentiation pathways in these T cells. Further study showed that miR-146a inhibited the production of autocrine IL-6 and IL-21 in 2D2 T cells, which in turn reduced their Th17 differentiation. Thus, our study identifies miR-146a as an important molecular brake that blocks the autocrine IL-6– and IL-21–induced Th17 differentiation pathways in autoreactive CD4 T cells, highlighting its potential as a therapeutic target for treating autoimmune diseases.
Bo Li, Xi Wang, In Young Choi, Yu-Chen Wang, Siyuan Liu, Alexander T. Pham, Heesung Moon, Drake J. Smith, Dinesh S. Rao, Mark P. Boldin, Lili Yang
The mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) kinase promotes cell growth by activating biosynthetic pathways and suppressing catabolic pathways, particularly that of macroautophagy. A prerequisite for mTORC1 activation is its translocation to the lysosomal surface. Deregulation of mTORC1 has been associated with the pathogenesis of several diseases, but its role in skeletal disorders is largely unknown. Here, we show that enhanced mTORC1 signaling arrests bone growth in lysosomal storage disorders (LSDs). We found that lysosomal dysfunction induces a constitutive lysosomal association and consequent activation of mTORC1 in chondrocytes, the cells devoted to bone elongation. mTORC1 hyperphosphorylates the protein UV radiation resistance–associated gene (UVRAG), reducing the activity of the associated Beclin 1–Vps34 complex and thereby inhibiting phosphoinositide production. Limiting phosphoinositide production leads to a blockage of the autophagy flux in LSD chondrocytes. As a consequence, LSD chondrocytes fail to properly secrete collagens, the main components of the cartilage extracellular matrix. In mouse models of LSD, normalization of mTORC1 signaling or stimulation of the Beclin 1–Vps34–UVRAG complex rescued the autophagy flux, restored collagen levels in cartilage, and ameliorated the bone phenotype. Taken together, these data unveil a role for mTORC1 and autophagy in the pathogenesis of skeletal disorders and suggest potential therapeutic approaches for the treatment of LSDs.
Rosa Bartolomeo, Laura Cinque, Chiara De Leonibus, Alison Forrester, Anna Chiara Salzano, Jlenia Monfregola, Emanuela De Gennaro, Edoardo Nusco, Isabella Azario, Carmela Lanzara, Marta Serafini, Beth Levine, Andrea Ballabio, Carmine Settembre
Maintenance of muscle structure and function depends on the precise organization of contractile proteins into sarcomeres and coupling of the contractile apparatus to the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR), which serves as the reservoir for calcium required for contraction. Several members of the Kelch superfamily of proteins, which modulate protein stability as substrate-specific adaptors for ubiquitination, have been implicated in sarcomere formation. The Kelch protein Klhl31 is expressed in a muscle-specific manner under control of the transcription factor MEF2. To explore its functions in vivo, we created a mouse model of Klhl31 loss of function using the CRISPR-Cas9 system. Mice lacking Klhl31 exhibited stunted postnatal skeletal muscle growth, centronuclear myopathy, central cores, Z-disc streaming, and SR dilation. We used proteomics to identify several candidate Klhl31 substrates, including Filamin-C (FlnC). In the Klhl31-knockout mice, FlnC protein levels were highly upregulated with no change in transcription, and we further demonstrated that Klhl31 targets FlnC for ubiquitination and degradation. These findings highlight a role for Klhl31 in the maintenance of skeletal muscle structure and provide insight into the mechanisms underlying congenital myopathies.
James B. Papizan, Glynnis A. Garry, Svetlana Brezprozvannaya, John R. McAnally, Rhonda Bassel-Duby, Ning Liu, Eric N. Olson
Bile acids function not only as detergents that facilitate lipid absorption but also as signaling molecules that activate the nuclear receptor farnesoid X receptor (FXR). FXR agonists are currently being evaluated as therapeutic agents for a number of hepatic diseases due to their lipid-lowering and antiinflammatory properties. FXR is also essential for maintaining bile acid homeostasis and prevents the accumulation of bile acids. Elevated bile acids activate FXR, which in turn switches off bile acid synthesis by reducing the mRNA levels of bile acid synthesis genes, including cholesterol 7α-hydroxylase (Cyp7a1). Here, we show that FXR activation triggers a rapid posttranscriptional mechanism to degrade Cyp7a1 mRNA. We identified the RNA-binding protein Zfp36l1 as an FXR target gene and determined that gain and loss of function of ZFP36L1 reciprocally regulate Cyp7a1 mRNA and bile acid levels in vivo. Moreover, we found that mice lacking hepatic ZFP36L1 were protected from diet-induced obesity and steatosis. The reduced adiposity and antisteatotic effects observed in ZFP36L1-deficient mice were accompanied by impaired lipid absorption that was consistent with altered bile acid metabolism. Thus, the ZFP36L1-dependent regulation of bile acid metabolism is an important metabolic contributor to obesity and hepatosteatosis.
Elizabeth J. Tarling, Bethan L. Clifford, Joan Cheng, Pauline Morand, Angela Cheng, Ellen Lester, Tamer Sallam, Martin Turner, Thomas Q. de Aguiar Vallim
Tumors adapt to an unfavorable microenvironment by controlling the balance between cell proliferation and cell motility, but the regulators of this process are largely unknown. Here, we show that an alternatively spliced isoform of syntaphilin (SNPH), a cytoskeletal regulator of mitochondrial movements in neurons, is directed to mitochondria of tumor cells. Mitochondrial SNPH buffers oxidative stress and maintains complex II–dependent bioenergetics, sustaining local tumor growth while restricting mitochondrial redistribution to the cortical cytoskeleton and tumor cell motility. Conversely, introduction of stress stimuli to the microenvironment, including hypoxia, acutely lowered SNPH levels, resulting in bioenergetics defects and increased superoxide production. In turn, this suppressed tumor cell proliferation but increased tumor cell invasion via greater mitochondrial trafficking to the cortical cytoskeleton. Loss of SNPH or expression of an SNPH mutant lacking the mitochondrial localization sequence resulted in increased metastatic dissemination in xenograft or syngeneic tumor models in vivo. Accordingly, tumor cells that acquired the ability to metastasize in vivo constitutively downregulated SNPH and exhibited higher oxidative stress, reduced cell proliferation, and increased cell motility. Therefore, SNPH is a stress-regulated mitochondrial switch of the cell proliferation-motility balance in cancer, and its pathway may represent a therapeutic target.
M. Cecilia Caino, Jae Ho Seo, Yuan Wang, Dayana B. Rivadeneira, Dmitry I. Gabrilovich, Eui Tae Kim, Ashani T. Weeraratna, Lucia R. Languino, Dario C. Altieri
The master cytokine TGF-β mediates tissue fibrosis associated with inflammation and tissue injury. TGF-β induces fibroblast activation and differentiation into myofibroblasts that secrete extracellular matrix proteins. Canonical TGF-β signaling mobilizes Smad2 and Smad3 transcription factors that control fibrosis by promoting gene expression. However, the importance of TGF-β–Smad2/3 signaling in fibroblast-mediated cardiac fibrosis has not been directly evaluated in vivo. Here, we examined pressure overload–induced cardiac fibrosis in fibroblast- and myofibroblast-specific inducible Cre-expressing mouse lines with selective deletion of the TGF-β receptors Tgfbr1/2, Smad2, or Smad3. Fibroblast-specific deletion of Tgfbr1/2 or Smad3, but not Smad2, markedly reduced the pressure overload–induced fibrotic response as well as fibrosis mediated by a heart-specific, latency-resistant TGF-β mutant transgene. Interestingly, cardiac fibroblast–specific deletion of Tgfbr1/2, but not Smad2/3, attenuated the cardiac hypertrophic response to pressure overload stimulation. Mechanistically, loss of Smad2/3 from tissue-resident fibroblasts attenuated injury-induced cellular expansion within the heart and the expression of fibrosis-mediating genes. Deletion of Smad2/3 or Tgfbr1/2 from cardiac fibroblasts similarly inhibited the gene program for fibrosis and extracellular matrix remodeling, although deletion of Tgfbr1/2 uniquely altered expression of an array of regulatory genes involved in cardiomyocyte homeostasis and disease compensation. These findings implicate TGF-β–Smad2/3 signaling in activated tissue-resident cardiac fibroblasts as principal mediators of the fibrotic response.
Hadi Khalil, Onur Kanisicak, Vikram Prasad, Robert N. Correll, Xing Fu, Tobias Schips, Ronald J. Vagnozzi, Ruijie Liu, Thanh Huynh, Se-Jin Lee, Jason Karch, Jeffery D. Molkentin
Herpes simplex virus–1 (HSV-1) is the most common cause of sporadic viral encephalitis, which can be lethal or result in severe neurological defects even with antiviral therapy. While HSV-1 causes encephalitis in spite of HSV-1–specific humoral and cellular immunity, the mechanism by which HSV-1 evades the immune system in the central nervous system (CNS) remains unknown. Here we describe a strategy by which HSV-1 avoids immune targeting in the CNS. The HSV-1 UL13 kinase promotes evasion of HSV-1–specific CD8+ T cell accumulation in infection sites by downregulating expression of the CD8+ T cell attractant chemokine CXCL9 in the CNS of infected mice, leading to increased HSV-1 mortality due to encephalitis. Direct injection of CXCL9 into the CNS infection site enhanced HSV-1–specific CD8+ T cell accumulation, leading to marked improvements in the survival of infected mice. This previously uncharacterized strategy for HSV-1 evasion of CD8+ T cell accumulation in the CNS has important implications for understanding the pathogenesis and clinical treatment of HSV-1 encephalitis.
Naoto Koyanagi, Takahiko Imai, Keiko Shindo, Ayuko Sato, Wataru Fujii, Takeshi Ichinohe, Naoki Takemura, Shigeru Kakuta, Satoshi Uematsu, Hiroshi Kiyono, Yuhei Maruzuru, Jun Arii, Akihisa Kato, Yasushi Kawaguchi
Macrophages are attracted to developing tumors and can participate in immune surveillance to eliminate neoplastic cells. In response, neoplastic cells utilize NF-κB to suppress this killing activity, but the mechanisms underlying their self-protection remain unclear. Here, we report that this dynamic interaction between tumor cells and macrophages is integrally linked by a soluble factor identified as growth and differentiation factor 15 (GDF-15). In vitro, tumor-derived GDF-15 signals in macrophages to suppress their proapoptotic activity by inhibiting TNF and nitric oxide (NO) production. In vivo, depletion of GDF-15 in Ras-driven tumor xenografts and in an orthotopic model of pancreatic cancer delayed tumor development. This delay correlated with increased infiltrating antitumor macrophages. Further, production of GDF-15 is directly regulated by NF-κB, and the colocalization of activated NF-κB and GDF-15 in epithelial ducts of human pancreatic adenocarcinoma supports the importance of this observation. Mechanistically, we found that GDF-15 suppresses macrophage activity by inhibiting TGF-β–activated kinase (TAK1) signaling to NF-κB, thereby blocking synthesis of TNF and NO. Based on these results, we propose that the NF-κB/GDF-15 regulatory axis is important for tumor cells in evading macrophage immune surveillance during the early stages of tumorigenesis.
Nivedita M. Ratnam, Jennifer M. Peterson, Erin E. Talbert, Katherine J. Ladner, Priyani V. Rajasekera, Carl R. Schmidt, Mary E. Dillhoff, Benjamin J. Swanson, Ericka Haverick, Raleigh D. Kladney, Terence M. Williams, Gustavo W. Leone, David J. Wang, Denis C. Guttridge
The kidney glomerular capillaries are frequent sites of immune complex deposition and subsequent neutrophil accumulation in post-infectious and rapidly progressive glomerulonephritis. However, the mechanisms of neutrophil recruitment remain enigmatic, and there is no targeted therapeutic to avert this proximal event in glomerular inflammation. The uniquely human activating Fc receptor FcγRIIA promotes glomerular neutrophil accumulation and damage in anti–glomerular basement membrane–induced (anti-GBM–induced) glomerulonephritis when expressed on murine neutrophils. Here, we found that neutrophils are directly captured by immobilized IgG antibodies under physiological flow conditions in vitro through FcγRIIA-dependent, Abl/Src tyrosine kinase–mediated F-actin polymerization. Biophysical measurements showed that the lifetime of FcγRIIA-IgG bonds increased under mechanical force in an F-actin–dependent manner, which could enable the capture of neutrophils under physiological flow. Kidney intravital microscopy revealed that circulating neutrophils, which were similar in diameter to glomerular capillaries, abruptly arrested following anti-GBM antibody deposition via neutrophil FcγRIIA and Abl/Src kinases. Accordingly, inhibition of Abl/Src with bosutinib reduced FcγRIIA-mediated glomerular neutrophil accumulation and renal injury in experimental, crescentic anti-GBM nephritis. These data identify a pathway of neutrophil recruitment within glomerular capillaries following IgG deposition that may be targeted by bosutinib to avert glomerular injury.
Hiroshi Nishi, Kazuhiro Furuhashi, Xavier Cullere, Gurpanna Saggu, Mark J. Miller, Yunfeng Chen, Florencia Rosetti, Samantha L. Hamilton, Lihua Yang, Spencer P. Pittman, Jiexi Liao, Jan M. Herter, Jeffrey C. Berry, Daniel J. DeAngelo, Cheng Zhu, George C. Tsokos, Tanya N. Mayadas
It remains controversial whether current antiretroviral therapy (ART) fully suppresses the cycles of HIV replication and viral evolution in vivo. If replication persists in sanctuary sites such as the lymph nodes, a high priority should be placed on improving ART regimes to target these sites. To investigate the question of ongoing viral replication on current ART regimens, we analyzed HIV populations in longitudinal samples from 10 HIV-1–infected children who initiated ART when viral diversity was low. Eight children started ART at less than ten months of age and showed suppression of plasma viremia for seven to nine years. Two children had uncontrolled viremia for fifteen and thirty months, respectively, before viremia suppression, and served as positive controls for HIV replication and evolution. These latter 2 children showed clear evidence of virus evolution, whereas multiple methods of analysis bore no evidence of virus evolution in any of the 8 children with viremia suppression on ART. Phylogenetic trees simulated with the recently reported evolutionary rate of HIV-1 on ART of 6 × 10–4 substitutions/site/month bore no resemblance to the observed data. Taken together, these data refute the concept that ongoing HIV replication is common with ART and is the major barrier to curing HIV-1 infection.
Gert U. Van Zyl, Mary Grace Katusiime, Ann Wiegand, William R. McManus, Michael J. Bale, Elias K. Halvas, Brian Luke, Valerie F. Boltz, Jonathan Spindler, Barbara Laughton, Susan Engelbrecht, John M. Coffin, Mark F. Cotton, Wei Shao, John W. Mellors, Mary F. Kearney
Inadequate pancreatic β cell function underlies type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Strategies to expand functional cells have focused on discovering and controlling mechanisms that limit the proliferation of human β cells. Here, we developed an engraftment strategy to examine age-associated human islet cell replication competence and reveal mechanisms underlying age-dependent decline of β cell proliferation in human islets. We found that exendin-4 (Ex-4), an agonist of the glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor (GLP-1R), stimulates human β cell proliferation in juvenile but not adult islets. This age-dependent responsiveness does not reflect loss of GLP-1R signaling in adult islets, since Ex-4 treatment stimulated insulin secretion by both juvenile and adult human β cells. We show that the mitogenic effect of Ex-4 requires calcineurin/nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT) signaling. In juvenile islets, Ex-4 induced expression of calcineurin/NFAT signaling components as well as target genes for proliferation-promoting factors, including NFATC1, FOXM1, and CCNA1. By contrast, expression of these factors in adult islet β cells was not affected by Ex-4 exposure. These studies reveal age-dependent signaling mechanisms regulating human β cell proliferation, and identify elements that could be adapted for therapeutic expansion of human β cells.
Chunhua Dai, Yan Hang, Alena Shostak, Greg Poffenberger, Nathaniel Hart, Nripesh Prasad, Neil Phillips, Shawn E. Levy, Dale L. Greiner, Leonard D. Shultz, Rita Bottino, Seung K. Kim, Alvin C. Powers
Skeletal muscle is a key organ in energy homeostasis owing to its high requirement for nutrients. Heterotrimeric G proteins converge signals from cell-surface receptors to potentiate or blunt responses against environmental changes. Here, we show that muscle-specific ablation of Gα13 in mice promotes reprogramming of myofibers to the oxidative type, with resultant increases in mitochondrial biogenesis and cellular respiration. Mechanistically, Gα13 and its downstream effector RhoA suppressed nuclear factor of activated T cells 1 (NFATc1), a chief regulator of myofiber conversion, by increasing Rho-associated kinase 2–mediated (Rock2-mediated) phosphorylation at Ser243. Ser243 phosphorylation of NFATc1 was reduced after exercise, but was higher in obese animals. Consequently, Gα13 ablation in muscles enhanced whole-body energy metabolism and increased insulin sensitivity, thus affording protection from diet-induced obesity and hepatic steatosis. Our results define Gα13 as a switch regulator of myofiber reprogramming, implying that modulations of Gα13 and its downstream effectors in skeletal muscle are a potential therapeutic approach to treating metabolic diseases.
Ja Hyun Koo, Tae Hyun Kim, Shi-Young Park, Min Sung Joo, Chang Yeob Han, Cheol Soo Choi, Sang Geon Kim
The short-limbed dwarfism metaphyseal chondrodysplasia type Schmid (MCDS) is linked to mutations in type X collagen, which increase ER stress by inducing misfolding of the mutant protein and subsequently disrupting hypertrophic chondrocyte differentiation. Here, we show that carbamazepine (CBZ), an autophagy-stimulating drug that is clinically approved for the treatment of seizures and bipolar disease, reduced the ER stress induced by 4 different MCDS-causing mutant forms of collagen X in human cell culture. Depending on the nature of the mutation, CBZ application stimulated proteolysis of misfolded collagen X by either autophagy or proteasomal degradation, thereby reducing intracellular accumulation of mutant collagen. In MCDS mice expressing the Col10a1.pN617K mutation, CBZ reduced the MCDS-associated expansion of the growth plate hypertrophic zone, attenuated enhanced expression of ER stress markers such as Bip and Atf4, increased bone growth, and reduced skeletal dysplasia. CBZ produced these beneficial effects by reducing the MCDS-associated abnormalities in hypertrophic chondrocyte differentiation. Stimulation of intracellular proteolysis using CBZ treatment may therefore be a clinically viable way of treating the ER stress–associated dwarfism MCDS.
Lorna A. Mullan, Ewa J. Mularczyk, Louise H. Kung, Mitra Forouhan, Jordan M.A. Wragg, Royston Goodacre, John F. Bateman, Eileithyia Swanton, Michael D. Briggs, Raymond P. Boot-Handford
P-element–induced wimpy testes (Piwi) proteins are known for suppressing retrotransposon activation in the mammalian germline. However, whether Piwi protein or Piwi-dependent functions occur in the mammalian soma is unclear. Contrary to germline-restricted expression, we observed that Piwi-like Miwi2 mRNA is indeed expressed in epithelial cells of the lung in adult mice and that it is induced during pneumonia. Further investigation revealed that MIWI2 protein localized to the cytoplasm of a discrete population of multiciliated airway epithelial cells. Isolation and next-generation sequencing of MIWI2-positive multiciliated cells revealed that they are phenotypically distinct from neighboring MIWI2-negative multiciliated cells. Mice lacking MIWI2 exhibited an altered balance of airway epithelial cells, demonstrating fewer multiciliated cells and an increase in club cells. During pneumococcal pneumonia, Miwi2-deficient mice exhibited increased expression of inflammatory mediators and increased immune cell recruitment, leading to enhanced bacterial clearance. Taken together, our data delineate MIWI2-dependent functions outside of the germline and demonstrate the presence of distinct subsets of airway multiciliated cells that can be discriminated by MIWI2 expression. By demonstrating roles for MIWI2 in airway cell identity and pulmonary innate immunity, these studies elucidate unanticipated physiological functions for Piwi proteins in somatic tissues.
Gregory A. Wasserman, Aleksander D. Szymaniak, Anne C. Hinds, Kazuko Yamamoto, Hirofumi Kamata, Nicole M.S. Smith, Kristie L. Hilliard, Claudia Carrieri, Adam T. Labadorf, Lee J. Quinton, Xingbin Ai, Xaralabos Varelas, Felicia Chen, Joseph P. Mizgerd, Alan Fine, Dónal O’Carroll, Matthew R. Jones
Primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) is often caused by elevated intraocular pressure (IOP), which arises due to increased resistance to aqueous humor outflow (AHO). Aqueous humor flows through Schlemm’s canal (SC), a lymphatic-like vessel encircling the cornea, and via intercellular spaces of ciliary muscle cells. However, the mechanisms underlying increased AHO resistance are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that signaling between angiopoietin (Angpt) and the Angpt receptor Tie2, which is critical for SC formation, is also indispensable for maintaining SC integrity during adulthood. Deletion of Angpt1/Angpt2 or Tie2 in adult mice severely impaired SC integrity and transcytosis, leading to elevated IOP, retinal neuron damage, and impairment of retinal ganglion cell function, all hallmarks of POAG in humans. We found that SC integrity is maintained by interconnected and coordinated functions of Angpt-Tie2 signaling, AHO, and Prox1 activity. These functions diminish in the SC during aging, leading to impaired integrity and transcytosis. Intriguingly, Tie2 reactivation using a Tie2 agonistic antibody rescued the POAG phenotype in Angpt1/Angpt2-deficient mice and rejuvenated the SC in aged mice. These results indicate that the Angpt-Tie2 system is essential for SC integrity. The impairment of this system underlies POAG-associated pathogenesis, supporting the possibility that Tie2 agonists could be a therapeutic option for glaucoma.
Jaeryung Kim, Dae-Young Park, Hosung Bae, Do Young Park, Dongkyu Kim, Choong-kun Lee, Sukhyun Song, Tae-Young Chung, Dong Hui Lim, Yoshiaki Kubota, Young-Kwon Hong, Yulong He, Hellmut G. Augustin, Guillermo Oliver, Gou Young Koh
Peptide hormones are crucial regulators of many aspects of human physiology. Mutations that alter these signaling peptides are associated with physiological imbalances that underlie diseases. However, the conformational maturation of peptide hormone precursors (prohormones) in the ER remains largely unexplored. Here, we report that conformational maturation of proAVP, the precursor for the antidiuretic hormone arginine-vasopressin, within the ER requires the ER-associated degradation (ERAD) activity of the Sel1L-Hrd1 protein complex. Serum hyperosmolality induces expression of both ERAD components and proAVP in AVP-producing neurons. Mice with global or AVP neuron–specific ablation of Se1L-Hrd1 ERAD progressively developed polyuria and polydipsia, characteristics of diabetes insipidus. Mechanistically, we found that ERAD deficiency causes marked ER retention and aggregation of a large proportion of all proAVP protein. Further, we show that proAVP is an endogenous substrate of Sel1L-Hrd1 ERAD. The inability to clear misfolded proAVP with highly reactive cysteine thiols in the absence of Sel1L-Hrd1 ERAD causes proAVP to accumulate and participate in inappropriate intermolecular disulfide–bonded aggregates, promoted by the enzymatic activity of protein disulfide isomerase (PDI). This study highlights a pathway linking ERAD to prohormone conformational maturation in neuroendocrine cells, expanding the role of ERAD in providing a conducive ER environment for nascent proteins to reach proper conformation.
Guojun Shi, Diane R.M. Somlo, Geun Hyang Kim, Cristina Prescianotto-Baschong, Shengyi Sun, Nicole Beuret, Qiaoming Long, Jonas Rutishauser, Peter Arvan, Martin Spiess, Ling Qi
Yaniv Zohar, Gizi Wildbaum, Rostislav Novak, Andrew L. Salzman, Marcus Thelen, Ronen Alon, Yiftah Barsheshet, Christopher L. Karp, Nathan Karin
Cong Jin, Christopher P. Shelburne, Guojie Li, Erin N. Potts, Kristina J. Riebe, Gregory D. Sempowski, W. Michael Foster, Soman N. Abraham