In multiple sclerosis and other demyelinating diseases, reductions in axon-insulating myelin impair the propagation of electrical impulses within the CNS. Although myelin is thought to undergo little turnover in the adult brain, increasing evidence points to the importance of active metabolic processes in myelin integrity. In this issue, Zhou et al. reveal that the oligodendrocyte protein Qki regulates lipid metabolism to support myelin maintenance in adult mice. Oligodendrocyte-specific depletion of Qki reduced the levels of myelin-associated lipids and was associated with rapid demyelination and the development of neurological deficits. These effects of Qki loss were mitigated by high-fat diet or treatment with agonists of the PPARβ-RXRα complex, which controls lipid metabolic gene transcription. These insights provide rationale for further study of lipid metabolism in demyelinating disorders. The cover image depicts myelin sheaths (in green) with active lipid supply from oligodendrocytes and an oligodendrocyte (in yellow) without proper lipid supply. Image credit: Ella Maru Studio.
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The editors of JCI and JCI Insight are revisiting our editorial processes in light of the strain that the COVID-19 pandemic places on the worldwide scientific community. Here, we discuss adjustments to our decision framework in light of restrictions placed on laboratory working conditions for many of our authors.
Rexford S. Ahima, Sarah Jackson, Arturo Casadevall, Gregg L. Semenza, Gordon Tomaselli, Kathleen L. Collins, Andrew P. Lieberman, Donna M. Martin, Pavan Reddy
The renaissance of complement diagnostics and therapeutics has introduced precision medicine into a widened field of complement-mediated diseases. In particular, complement-mediated diseases (or complementopathies) with ongoing or published clinical trials of complement inhibitors include paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria, cold agglutinin disease, hemolytic uremic syndrome, nephropathies, HELLP syndrome, transplant-associated thrombotic microangiopathy, antiphospholipid antibody syndrome, myasthenia gravis, and neuromyelitis optica. Recognizing that this field is rapidly expanding, we aim to provide a state-of-the-art review of (a) current understanding of complement biology for the clinician, (b) novel insights into complement with potential applicability to clinical practice, (c) complement in disease across various disciplines (hematology, nephrology, obstetrics, transplantation, rheumatology, and neurology), and (d) the potential future of precision medicine. Better understanding of complement diagnostics and therapeutics will not only facilitate physicians treating patients in clinical practice but also provide the basis for future research toward precision medicine in this field.
Eleni Gavriilaki, Robert A. Brodsky
Regenerative pain medicine, which seeks to harness the body’s own reparative capacity, is rapidly emerging as a field within pain medicine and orthopedics. It is increasingly appreciated that common analgesic mechanisms for these treatments depend on neuroimmune modulation. In this Review, we discuss recent progress in mechanistic understanding of nociceptive sensitization in chronic pain with a focus on neuroimmune modulation. We also examine the spectrum of regenerative outcomes, including preclinical and clinical outcomes. We further distinguish the analgesic mechanisms of regenerative therapies from those of cellular replacement, creating a conceptual and mechanistic framework to evaluate future research on regenerative medicine.
Thomas Buchheit, Yul Huh, William Maixner, Jianguo Cheng, Ru-Rong Ji
The physical integrity of endothelial cells (ECs) lining the blood vessels regulates the inflammatory response. Both innate immunity and inflammatory disorders hinge on the EC-neutrophil interaction. Neutrophil binding, rolling, and migrating along and between ECs is associated with vascular permeability. In this issue of the JCI, Owen-Woods et al. tracked neutrophils in vivo in venules of mouse striated muscle and revealed how endothelial permeability can affect neutrophil trafficking. Strikingly, many neutrophils that migrated between EC junctions were able to rejoin the blood circulation. Further, the chemokine and neutrophil chemoattractant, CXCL1, drove this reverse transendothelial migration (rTEM). This paradigm-shifting study provides a mechanism for distal organ damage as well as an explanation for sepsis-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome.
Alex Marki, Klaus Ley
Brown and beige adipose tissues contain thermogenic fat cells that can be activated by β3-adrenergic receptor agonists. In rodents, such drugs both diminish obesity and improve glucose homeostasis. In this issue of the JCI, O’Mara et al. and Finlin and Memetimin et al. report that chronic administration of the approved β3 agonist mirabegron to human subjects was without effect on body weight or fat mass, but improved several measures of glucose homeostasis. Though the mechanisms mediating these metabolic effects are uncertain, the data suggest that β3 agonists could have therapeutic utility in disorders of glucose homeostasis.
Jeffrey S. Flier
Infection with the Gram-negative bacterium Helicobacter pylori remains the most important modifiable risk factor for the development of gastric cancer, a leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide. How the interactions between H. pylori and its host shape the gastric environment during chronic infection warrants further investigation. In this issue of the JCI, Palrasu et al. used human cell lines and mouse models to provide mechanistic insight into H. pylori’s ability to delay apoptosis in gastric epithelial cells by actively driving the degradation of a proapoptotic factor, SIVA1. Their findings suggest that promoting the survival of gastric epithelial cells has implications not only for H. pylori pathogenesis but for host tumorigenesis.
José B. Sáenz, Jason C. Mills
Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) results from expression of the full-length double homeobox 4 (DUX4-FL) retrogene in skeletal muscle. However, even in cases of severe FSHD the presence of DUX4 is barely detectable. In this issue of the JCI, Bosnakovski et al. used an inducible, muscle-specific human DUX4 to reproduce the low-level, sporadic DUX4 expression of human FSHD muscle as well the myopathology seen in human FSHD disease. Notably, dysregulated fibroadipogenic progenitors accumulated in affected muscles, thus providing a mechanism for the replacement of muscle by fibrosis and fat.
Carlo Serra, Kathryn R. Wagner
Immunosuppression continues to be a necessary component of transplantation, despite its association with a multitude of adverse effects. Numerous efforts have been made to circumvent the need for immunosuppression by using various techniques to achieve donor hyporesponsiveness. In this issue of the JCI, Morath et al. take this endeavor forward. Prior to transplantation, the researchers infused recipients with donor-modified immune cells and achieved immunologic hyporesponsiveness. This successful phase I trial also provides a possible avenue for achieving transplantation without the requisite immunosuppression.
Sam Kant, Daniel C. Brennan
Organ shortage continues to limit the lives of patients who require liver transplantation. While extending criteria for liver organs provides a needed resource, tissue damage from prolonged ischemic injury can result in early allograft dysfunction and consequent rejection. In this issue of the JCI, Nakamura et al. used a mouse transplantation model with prolonged ex vivo cold storage to explore liver graft protection. The authors found that liver grafts with absent carcinoembryonic antigen-related cell adhesion molecule 1 (CEACAM1) exhibited increased ischemia-reperfusion injury inflammation and decreased function in wild-type recipients. The authors went on to correlate CEACAM1 levels with postreperfusion damage in human liver transplant recipients. Notably, this study identified a potential biomarker for liver transplant donor graft quality.
Samer Tohme, David A. Geller
Nerve growth factor (NGF) regulates many aspects of neuronal biology by retrogradely propagating signals along axons to the targets of those axons. How this occurs when axons contain a plethora of proteins that can silence those signals has long perplexed the neurotrophin field. In this issue of the JCI, Li et al. suggest an answer to this vexing problem, while exploring why the Elp1 gene that is mutated in familial dysautonomia (FD) causes peripheral neuropathy. They describe a distinctive function of Elp1 as a protein that is required to sustain NGF signaling by blocking the activity of its phosphatase that shuts off those signals. This finding helps explain the innervation deficits prominent in FD and reveals a unique role for Elp1 in the regulation of NGF-dependent TrkA activity.
David R. Kaplan, William C. Mobley
Alterations in calcium signaling in pancreatic acinar cells can result in pancreatitis. Although pressure changes in the pancreas can elevate cytosolic calcium (Ca2+) levels, it is not known how transient pressure-activated elevations in calcium can cause prolonged calcium changes and consequent pancreatitis. In this issue of the JCI, Swain et al. describe roles for the mechanically activated plasma membrane calcium channels Piezo1 and transient receptor potential vanilloid subfamily 4 (TRPV4) in acinar cells. The authors used genetic deletion models and cell culture systems to investigate calcium signaling. Notably, activation of the Piezo1-dependent TRPV4 pathway was independent of the cholecystokinin (CCK) stimulation pathway. These results elegantly resolve an apparent discrepancy in calcium signaling and the pathogenesis of pancreatitis in pancreatic acinar cells.
Fred Gorelick, Michael H. Nathanson
The pandemic coronavirus infectious disease (COVID-19), caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), is rapidly spreading across the globe. In this issue of the JCI, Chen and colleagues compared the clinical and immunological characteristics between moderate and severe COVID-19. The authors found that respiratory distress on admission is associated with unfavorable outcomes. Increased cytokine levels (IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α), lymphopenia (in CD4+ and CD8+ T cells), and decreased IFN-γ expression in CD4+ T cells are associated with severe COVID-19. Overall, this study characterized the cytokine storm in severe COVID-19 and provides insights into immune therapeutics and vaccine design.
Savannah F. Pedersen, Ya-Chi Ho
Hearing loss caused by the death of sensory hair cells of the inner ear is an unfortunate side effect for many patients treated with aminoglycoside antibiotics or platinum-containing chemotherapy agents. In animal models, induction of heat shock confers substantial otoprotection against aminoglycoside- and cisplatin-induced hair cell death. In this issue of the JCI, Breglio et al. demonstrate that inner ear tissue released exosomes carrying heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) in response to heat stress. HSP70 acted by a paracrine mechanism that engaged the Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) on hair cells to protect them from death. Exosomes and the HSP70/TLR4 pathway could thus provide treatment targets for the protection of hair cells from chemically induced death or from other insults, such as noise.
BACKGROUND Mirabegron is a β3-adrenergic receptor (β3-AR) agonist approved only for the treatment of overactive bladder. Encouraging preclinical results suggest that β3-AR agonists could also improve obesity-related metabolic disease by increasing brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis, white adipose tissue (WAT) lipolysis, and insulin sensitivity.METHODS We treated 14 healthy women of diverse ethnicities (27.5 ± 1.1 years of age, BMI of 25.4 ± 1.2 kg/m2) with 100 mg mirabegron (Myrbetriq extended-release tablet, Astellas Pharma) for 4 weeks in an open-label study. The primary endpoint was the change in BAT metabolic activity as measured by [18F]-2-fluoro-d-2-deoxy-d-glucose (18F-FDG) PET/CT. Secondary endpoints included resting energy expenditure (REE), plasma metabolites, and glucose and insulin metabolism as assessed by a frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test.RESULTS Chronic mirabegron therapy increased BAT metabolic activity. Whole-body REE was higher, without changes in body weight or composition. Additionally, there were elevations in plasma levels of the beneficial lipoprotein biomarkers HDL and ApoA1, as well as total bile acids. Adiponectin, a WAT-derived hormone that has antidiabetic and antiinflammatory capabilities, increased with acute treatment and was 35% higher upon completion of the study. Finally, an intravenous glucose tolerance test revealed higher insulin sensitivity, glucose effectiveness, and insulin secretion.CONCLUSION These findings indicate that human BAT metabolic activity can be increased after chronic pharmacological stimulation with mirabegron and support the investigation of β3-AR agonists as a treatment for metabolic disease.TRIAL REGISTRATION Clinicaltrials.gov NCT03049462.FUNDING This work was supported by grants from the Intramural Research Program of the NIDDK, NIH (DK075112, DK075116, DK071013, and DK071014).
Alana E. O’Mara, James W. Johnson, Joyce D. Linderman, Robert J. Brychta, Suzanne McGehee, Laura A. Fletcher, Yael A. Fink, Devika Kapuria, Thomas M. Cassimatis, Nathan Kelsey, Cheryl Cero, Zahraa Abdul Sater, Francesca Piccinini, Alison S. Baskin, Brooks P. Leitner, Hongyi Cai, Corina M. Millo, William Dieckmann, Mary Walter, Norman B. Javitt, Yaron Rotman, Peter J. Walter, Marilyn Ader, Richard N. Bergman, Peter Herscovitch, Kong Y. Chen, Aaron M. Cypess
Lipid-rich myelin forms electrically insulating, axon-wrapping multilayers that are essential for neural function, and mature myelin is traditionally considered metabolically inert. Surprisingly, we discovered that mature myelin lipids undergo rapid turnover, and quaking (Qki) is a major regulator of myelin lipid homeostasis. Oligodendrocyte-specific Qki depletion, without affecting oligodendrocyte survival, resulted in rapid demyelination, within 1 week, and gradually neurological deficits in adult mice. Myelin lipids, especially the monounsaturated fatty acids and very-long-chain fatty acids, were dramatically reduced by Qki depletion, whereas the major myelin proteins remained intact, and the demyelinating phenotypes of Qki-depleted mice were alleviated by a high-fat diet. Mechanistically, Qki serves as a coactivator of the PPARβ-RXRα complex, which controls the transcription of lipid-metabolism genes, particularly those involved in fatty acid desaturation and elongation. Treatment of Qki-depleted mice with PPARβ/RXR agonists significantly alleviated neurological disability and extended survival durations. Furthermore, a subset of lesions from patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis were characterized by preferential reductions in myelin lipid contents, activities of various lipid metabolism pathways, and expression level of QKI-5 in human oligodendrocytes. Together, our results demonstrate that continuous lipid synthesis is indispensable for mature myelin maintenance and highlight an underappreciated role of lipid metabolism in demyelinating diseases.
Xin Zhou, Chenxi He, Jiangong Ren, Congxin Dai, Sharon R. Stevens, Qianghu Wang, Daniel Zamler, Takashi Shingu, Liang Yuan, Chythra R. Chandregowda, Yunfei Wang, Visweswaran Ravikumar, Arvind U.K. Rao, Feng Zhou, Hongwu Zheng, Matthew N. Rasband, Yiwen Chen, Fei Lan, Amy B. Heimberger, Benjamin M. Segal, Jian Hu
Hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) is strikingly upregulated in many types of cancer, and there is great interest in applying inhibitors of HIF as anticancer therapeutics. The most advanced of these are small molecules that target the HIF-2 isoform through binding the PAS-B domain of HIF-2α. These molecules are undergoing clinical trials with promising results in renal and other cancers where HIF-2 is considered to be driving growth. Nevertheless, a central question remains as to whether such inhibitors affect physiological responses to hypoxia at relevant doses. Here, we show that pharmacological HIF-2α inhibition with PT2385, at doses similar to those reported to inhibit tumor growth, rapidly impaired ventilatory responses to hypoxia, abrogating both ventilatory acclimatization and carotid body cell proliferative responses to sustained hypoxia. Mice carrying a HIF-2α PAS-B S305M mutation that disrupts PT2385 binding, but not dimerization with HIF-1β, did not respond to PT2385, indicating that these effects are on-target. Furthermore, the finding of a hypomorphic ventilatory phenotype in untreated HIF-2α S305M mutant mice suggests a function for the HIF-2α PAS-B domain beyond heterodimerization with HIF-1β. Although PT2385 was well tolerated, the findings indicate the need for caution in patients who are dependent on hypoxic ventilatory drive.
Xiaotong Cheng, Maria Prange-Barczynska, James W. Fielding, Minghao Zhang, Alana L. Burrell, Joanna D.C.C. Lima, Luise Eckardt, Isobel L.A. Argles, Christopher W. Pugh, Keith J. Buckler, Peter A. Robbins, Emma J. Hodson, Richard K. Bruick, Lucy M. Collinson, Fraydoon Rastinejad, Tammie Bishop, Peter J. Ratcliffe
Prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) affects at least 10% of newborns globally and leads to the development of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs). Despite its high incidence, there is no consensus on the implications of PAE on metabolic disease risk in adults. Here, we describe a cohort of adults with FASDs that had an increased incidence of metabolic abnormalities, including type 2 diabetes, low HDL, high triglycerides, and female-specific overweight and obesity. Using a zebrafish model for PAE, we performed population studies to elucidate the metabolic disease seen in the clinical cohort. Embryonic alcohol exposure (EAE) in male zebrafish increased the propensity for diet-induced obesity and fasting hyperglycemia in adulthood. We identified several consequences of EAE that may contribute to these phenotypes, including a reduction in adult locomotor activity, alterations in visceral adipose tissue and hepatic development, and persistent diet-responsive transcriptional changes. Taken together, our findings define metabolic vulnerabilities due to EAE and provide evidence that behavioral changes and primary organ dysfunction contribute to resultant metabolic abnormalities.
Olivia Weeks, Gabriel D. Bossé, Isaac M. Oderberg, Sebastian Akle, Yariv Houvras, Paul J. Wrighton, Kyle LaBella, Isabelle Iversen, Sahar Tavakoli, Isaac Adatto, Arkadi Schwartz, Daan Kloosterman, Allison Tsomides, Michael E. Charness, Randall T. Peterson, Matthew L. Steinhauser, Pouneh K. Fazeli, Wolfram Goessling
BACKGROUND Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency decreases the ability of red blood cells (RBCs) to withstand oxidative stress. Refrigerated storage of RBCs induces oxidative stress. We hypothesized that G6PD-deficient donor RBCs would have inferior storage quality for transfusion as compared with G6PD-normal RBCs.METHODS Male volunteers were screened for G6PD deficiency; 27 control and 10 G6PD-deficient volunteers each donated 1 RBC unit. After 42 days of refrigerated storage, autologous 51-chromium 24-hour posttransfusion RBC recovery (PTR) studies were performed. Metabolomics analyses of these RBC units were also performed.RESULTS The mean 24-hour PTR for G6PD-deficient subjects was 78.5% ± 8.4% (mean ± SD), which was significantly lower than that for G6PD-normal RBCs (85.3% ± 3.2%; P = 0.0009). None of the G6PD-normal volunteers (0/27) and 3 G6PD-deficient volunteers (3/10) had PTR results below 75%, a key FDA acceptability criterion for stored donor RBCs. As expected, fresh G6PD-deficient RBCs demonstrated defects in the oxidative phase of the pentose phosphate pathway. During refrigerated storage, G6PD-deficient RBCs demonstrated increased glycolysis, impaired glutathione homeostasis, and increased purine oxidation, as compared with G6PD-normal RBCs. In addition, there were significant correlations between PTR and specific metabolites in these pathways.CONCLUSION Based on current FDA criteria, RBCs from G6PD-deficient donors would not meet the requirements for storage quality. Metabolomics assessment identified markers of PTR and G6PD deficiency (e.g., pyruvate/lactate ratios), along with potential compensatory pathways that could be leveraged to ameliorate the metabolic needs of G6PD-deficient RBCs.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04081272.FUNDING The Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant 71590, the National Blood Foundation, NIH grant UL1 TR000040, the Webb-Waring Early Career Award 2017 by the Boettcher Foundation, and National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute grants R01HL14644 and R01HL148151.
Richard O. Francis, Angelo D’Alessandro, Andrew Eisenberger, Mark Soffing, Randy Yeh, Esther Coronel, Arif Sheikh, Francesca Rapido, Francesca La Carpia, Julie A. Reisz, Sarah Gehrke, Travis Nemkov, Tiffany Thomas, Joseph Schwartz, Chaitanya Divgi, Debra Kessler, Beth H. Shaz, Yelena Ginzburg, James C. Zimring, Steven L. Spitalnik, Eldad A. Hod
Seizures often herald the clinical appearance of gliomas or appear at later stages. Dissecting their precise evolution and cellular pathogenesis in brain malignancies could inform the development of staged therapies for these highly pharmaco-resistant epilepsies. Studies in immunodeficient xenograft models have identified local interneuron loss and excess glial glutamate release as chief contributors to network disinhibition, but how hyperexcitability in the peritumoral microenvironment evolves in an immunocompetent brain is unclear. We generated gliomas in WT mice via in utero deletion of key tumor suppressor genes and serially monitored cortical epileptogenesis during tumor infiltration with in vivo electrophysiology and GCAMP7 calcium imaging, revealing a reproducible progression from hyperexcitability to convulsive seizures. Long before seizures, coincident with loss of inhibitory cells and their protective scaffolding, gain of glial glutamate antiporter xCT expression, and reactive astrocytosis, we detected local Iba1+ microglial inflammation that intensified and later extended far beyond tumor boundaries. Hitherto unrecognized episodes of cortical spreading depolarization that arose frequently from the peritumoral region may provide a mechanism for transient neurological deficits. Early blockade of glial xCT activity inhibited later seizures, and genomic reduction of host brain excitability by deleting MapT suppressed molecular markers of epileptogenesis and seizures. Our studies confirmed xenograft tumor–driven pathobiology and revealed early and late components of tumor-related epileptogenesis in a genetically tractable, immunocompetent mouse model of glioma, allowing the complex dissection of tumor versus host pathogenic seizure mechanisms.
Asante Hatcher, Kwanha Yu, Jochen Meyer, Isamu Aiba, Benjamin Deneen, Jeffrey L. Noebels
Increased microvascular permeability to plasma proteins and neutrophil emigration are hallmarks of innate immunity and key features of numerous inflammatory disorders. Although neutrophils can promote microvascular leakage, the impact of vascular permeability on neutrophil trafficking is unknown. Here, through the application of confocal intravital microscopy, we report that vascular permeability–enhancing stimuli caused a significant frequency of neutrophil reverse transendothelial cell migration (rTEM). Furthermore, mice with a selective defect in microvascular permeability enhancement (VEC-Y685F-ki) showed reduced incidence of neutrophil rTEM. Mechanistically, elevated vascular leakage promoted movement of interstitial chemokines into the bloodstream, a response that supported abluminal-to-luminal neutrophil TEM. Through development of an in vivo cell labeling method we provide direct evidence for the systemic dissemination of rTEM neutrophils, and showed them to exhibit an activated phenotype and be capable of trafficking to the lungs where their presence was aligned with regions of vascular injury. Collectively, we demonstrate that increased microvascular leakage reverses the localization of directional cues across venular walls, thus causing neutrophils engaged in diapedesis to reenter the systemic circulation. This cascade of events offers a mechanism to explain how local tissue inflammation and vascular permeability can induce downstream pathological effects in remote organs, most notably in the lungs.
Charlotte Owen-Woods, Régis Joulia, Anna Barkaway, Loïc Rolas, Bin Ma, Astrid Fee Nottebaum, Kenton P. Arkill, Monja Stein, Tamara Girbl, Matthew Golding, David O. Bates, Dietmar Vestweber, Mathieu-Benoit Voisin, Sussan Nourshargh
BACKGROUND Beige adipose tissue is associated with improved glucose homeostasis in mice. Adipose tissue contains β3-adrenergic receptors (β3-ARs), and this study was intended to determine whether the treatment of obese, insulin-resistant humans with the β3-AR agonist mirabegron, which stimulates beige adipose formation in subcutaneous white adipose tissue (SC WAT), would induce other beneficial changes in fat and muscle and improve metabolic homeostasis.METHODS Before and after β3-AR agonist treatment, oral glucose tolerance tests and euglycemic clamps were performed, and histochemical analysis and gene expression profiling were performed on fat and muscle biopsies. PET-CT scans quantified brown adipose tissue volume and activity, and we conducted in vitro studies with primary cultures of differentiated human adipocytes and muscle.RESULTS The clinical effects of mirabegron treatment included improved oral glucose tolerance (P < 0.01), reduced hemoglobin A1c levels (P = 0.01), and improved insulin sensitivity (P = 0.03) and β cell function (P = 0.01). In SC WAT, mirabegron treatment stimulated lipolysis, reduced fibrotic gene expression, and increased alternatively activated macrophages. Subjects with the most SC WAT beiging showed the greatest improvement in β cell function. In skeletal muscle, mirabegron reduced triglycerides, increased the expression of PPARγ coactivator 1 α (PGC1A) (P < 0.05), and increased type I fibers (P < 0.01). Conditioned media from adipocytes treated with mirabegron stimulated muscle fiber PGC1A expression in vitro (P < 0.001).CONCLUSION Mirabegron treatment substantially improved multiple measures of glucose homeostasis in obese, insulin-resistant humans. Since β cells and skeletal muscle do not express β3-ARs, these data suggest that the beiging of SC WAT by mirabegron reduces adipose tissue dysfunction, which enhances muscle oxidative capacity and improves β cell function.TRIAL REGISTRATION Clinicaltrials.gov NCT02919176.FUNDING NIH: DK112282, P30GM127211, DK 71349, and Clinical and Translational science Awards (CTSA) grant UL1TR001998.
Brian S. Finlin, Hasiyet Memetimin, Beibei Zhu, Amy L. Confides, Hemendra J. Vekaria, Riham H. El Khouli, Zachary R. Johnson, Philip M. Westgate, Jianzhong Chen, Andrew J. Morris, Patrick G. Sullivan, Esther E. Dupont-Versteegden, Philip A. Kern
BACKGROUND The live attenuated BPZE1 vaccine candidate induces protection against B. pertussis and prevents nasal colonization in animal models. Here we report on the responses in humans receiving a single intranasal administration of BPZE1.METHODS We performed multiple assays to dissect the immune responses induced in humans (n = 12) receiving BPZE1, with particular emphasis on the magnitude and characteristics of the antibody responses. Such responses were benchmarked to adolescents (n = 12) receiving the complete vaccination program of the currently used acellular pertussis vaccine (aPV). Using immunoproteomics analysis, potentially novel immunogenic B. pertussis antigens were identified.RESULTS All BPZE1 vaccinees showed robust B. pertussis–specific antibody responses with regard to significant increase in 1 or more of the following parameters: IgG, IgA, and memory B cells to B. pertussis antigens. BPZE1–specific T cells showed a Th1 phenotype, and the IgG exclusively consisted of IgG1 and IgG3. In contrast, all aPV vaccines showed a Th2-biased response. Immunoproteomics profiling revealed that BPZE1 elicited broader and different antibody specificities to B. pertussis antigens as compared with the aPV that primarily induced antibodies to the vaccine antigens. Moreover, BPZE1 was superior at inducing opsonizing antibodies that stimulated ROS production in neutrophils and enhanced bactericidal function, which was in line with the finding that antibodies against adenylate cyclase toxin were only elicited by BPZE1.CONCLUSION The breadth of the antibodies, the Th1-type cellular response, and killing mechanisms elicited by BPZE1 may hold prospects of improving vaccine efficacy and protection against B. pertussis transmission.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02453048, NCT00870350.FUNDING ILiAD Biotechnologies, Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet), Swedish Heart-Lung Foundation.
Ang Lin, Danijela Apostolovic, Maja Jahnmatz, Frank Liang, Sebastian Ols, Teghesti Tecleab, Chenyan Wu, Marianne van Hage, Ken Solovay, Keith Rubin, Camille Locht, Rigmor Thorstensson, Marcel Thalen, Karin Loré
Fibroblasts are key effector cells in tissue remodeling. They remain persistently activated in fibrotic diseases, resulting in progressive deposition of extracellular matrix. Although fibroblast activation may be initiated by external factors, prolonged activation can induce an “autonomous,” self-maintaining profibrotic phenotype in fibroblasts. Accumulating evidence suggests that epigenetic alterations play a central role in establishing this persistently activated pathologic phenotype of fibroblasts. We demonstrated that in fibrotic skin of patients with systemic sclerosis (SSc), a prototypical idiopathic fibrotic disease, TGF-β induced the expression of DNA methyltransferase 3A (DNMT3A) and DNMT1 in fibroblasts in a SMAD-dependent manner to silence the expression of suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 (SOCS3) by promoter hypermethylation. Downregulation of SOCS3 facilitated activation of STAT3 to promote fibroblast-to-myofibroblast transition, collagen release, and fibrosis in vitro and in vivo. Reestablishment of the epigenetic control of STAT3 signaling by genetic or pharmacological inactivation of DNMT3A reversed the activated phenotype of SSc fibroblasts in tissue culture, inhibited TGF-β–dependent fibroblast activation, and ameliorated experimental fibrosis in murine models. These findings identify a pathway of epigenetic imprinting of fibroblasts in fibrotic disease with translational implications for the development of targeted therapies in fibrotic diseases.
Clara Dees, Sebastian Pötter, Yun Zhang, Christina Bergmann, Xiang Zhou, Markus Luber, Thomas Wohlfahrt, Emmanuel Karouzakis, Andreas Ramming, Kolja Gelse, Akihiko Yoshimura, Rudolf Jaenisch, Oliver Distler, Georg Schett, Jörg H.W. Distler
BACKGROUND Preclinical experiments have shown that donor blood cells, modified in vitro by an alkylating agent (modified immune cells [MICs]), induced long-term specific immunosuppression against the allogeneic donor.METHODS In this phase I trial, patients received either 1.5 × 106 MICs per kg BW on day –2 (n = 3, group A), or 1.5 × 108 MICs per kg BW on day –2 (n = 3, group B) or day –7 (n = 4, group C) before living donor kidney transplantation in addition to post-transplantation immunosuppression. The primary outcome measure was the frequency of adverse events (AEs) until day 30 (study phase) with follow-up out to day 360.RESULTS MIC infusions were extremely well tolerated. During the study phase, 10 treated patients experienced a total of 69 AEs that were unlikely to be related or not related to MIC infusion. No donor-specific human leukocyte antigen Abs or rejection episodes were noted, even though the patients received up to 1.3 × 1010 donor mononuclear cells before transplantation. Group C patients with low immunosuppression during follow-up showed no in vitro reactivity against stimulatory donor blood cells on day 360, whereas reactivity against third-party cells was still preserved. Frequencies of CD19+CD24hiCD38hi transitional B lymphocytes (Bregs) increased from a median of 6% before MIC infusion to 20% on day 180, which was 19- and 68-fold higher, respectively, than in 2 independent cohorts of transplanted controls. The majority of Bregs produced the immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10. MIC-treated patients showed the Immune Tolerance Network operational tolerance signature.CONCLUSION MIC administration was safe and could be a future tool for the targeted induction of tolerogenic Bregs.TRIAL REGISTRATION EudraCT number: 2014-002086-30; ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT02560220.FUNDING Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Technology, Berlin, Germany, and TolerogenixX GmbH, Heidelberg, Germany.
Christian Morath, Anita Schmitt, Christian Kleist, Volker Daniel, Gerhard Opelz, Caner Süsal, Eman Ibrahim, Florian Kälble, Claudius Speer, Christian Nusshag, Luiza Pego da Silva, Claudia Sommerer, Lei Wang, Ming Ni, Angela Hückelhoven-Krauss, David Czock, Uta Merle, Arianeb Mehrabi, Anja Sander, Matthes Hackbusch, Christoph Eckert, Rüdiger Waldherr, Paul Schnitzler, Carsten Müller-Tidow, Jörg D. Hoheisel, Shakhawan A. Mustafa, Mohamed S.S. Alhamdani, Andrea S. Bauer, Jochen Reiser, Martin Zeier, Michael Schmitt, Matthias Schaier, Peter Terness
Colitis caused by Clostridium difficile infection is a growing cause of human morbidity and mortality, especially after antibiotic use in health care settings. The natural immunity of newborn infants and protective host immune mediators against C. difficile infection are not fully understood, with data suggesting that inflammation can be either protective or pathogenic. Here, we show an essential role for IL-17A produced by γδ T cells in host defense against C. difficile infection. Fecal extracts from children with C. difficile infection showed increased IL-17A and T cell receptor γ chain expression, and IL-17 production by intestinal γδ T cells was efficiently induced after infection in mice. C. difficile–induced tissue inflammation and mortality were markedly increased in mice deficient in IL-17A or γδ T cells. Neonatal mice, with naturally expanded RORγt+ γδ T cells poised for IL-17 production were resistant to C. difficile infection, whereas elimination of γδ T cells or IL-17A each efficiently overturned neonatal resistance against infection. These results reveal an expanded role for IL-17–producing γδ T cells in neonatal host defense against infection and provide a mechanistic explanation for the clinically observed resistance of infants to C. difficile colitis.
Yee-Shiuan Chen, Iuan-Bor Chen, Giang Pham, Tzu-Yu Shao, Hansraj Bangar, Sing Sing Way, David B. Haslam
The prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is increasing worldwide. Although gene-environment interactions have been implicated in the etiology of several disorders, the impact of paternal and/or maternal metabolic syndrome on the clinical phenotypes of offspring and the underlying genetic and epigenetic contributors of NAFLD have not been fully explored. To this end, we used the liver-specific insulin receptor knockout (LIRKO) mouse, a unique nondietary model manifesting 3 hallmarks that confer high risk for the development of NAFLD: hyperglycemia, insulin resistance, and dyslipidemia. We report that parental metabolic syndrome epigenetically reprograms members of the TGF-β pathway, including neuronal regeneration–related protein (NREP) and growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15). NREP and GDF15 modulate the expression of several genes involved in the regulation of hepatic lipid metabolism. In particular, NREP downregulation increases the protein abundance of 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA reductase (HMGCR) and ATP-citrate lyase (ACLY) in a TGF-β receptor/PI3K/protein kinase B–dependent manner, to regulate hepatic acetyl-CoA and cholesterol synthesis. Reduced hepatic expression of NREP in patients with NAFLD and substantial correlations between low serum NREP levels and the presence of steatosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis highlight the clinical translational relevance of our findings in the context of recent preclinical trials implicating ACLY in NAFLD progression.
Dario F. De Jesus, Kazuki Orime, Dorota Kaminska, Tomohiko Kimura, Giorgio Basile, Chih-Hao Wang, Larissa Haertle, Renzo Riemens, Natalie K. Brown, Jiang Hu, Ville Männistö, Amélia M. Silva, Ercument Dirice, Yu-Hua Tseng, Thomas Haaf, Jussi Pihlajamäki, Rohit N. Kulkarni
Lamin A is a component of the inner nuclear membrane that, together with epigenetic factors, organizes the genome in higher order structures required for transcriptional control. Mutations in the lamin A/C gene cause several diseases belonging to the class of laminopathies, including muscular dystrophies. Nevertheless, molecular mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of lamin A–dependent dystrophies are still largely unknown. The polycomb group (PcG) of proteins are epigenetic repressors and lamin A interactors, primarily involved in the maintenance of cell identity. Using a murine model of Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD), we show here that lamin A loss deregulated PcG positioning in muscle satellite stem cells, leading to derepression of non–muscle-specific genes and p16INK4a, a senescence driver encoded in the Cdkn2a locus. This aberrant transcriptional program caused impairment in self-renewal, loss of cell identity, and premature exhaustion of the quiescent satellite cell pool. Genetic ablation of the Cdkn2a locus restored muscle stem cell properties in lamin A/C–null dystrophic mice. Our findings establish a direct link between lamin A and PcG epigenetic silencing and indicate that lamin A–dependent muscular dystrophy can be ascribed to intrinsic epigenetic dysfunctions of muscle stem cells.
Andrea Bianchi, Chiara Mozzetta, Gloria Pegoli, Federica Lucini, Sara Valsoni, Valentina Rosti, Cristiano Petrini, Alice Cortesi, Francesco Gregoretti, Laura Antonelli, Gennaro Oliva, Marco De Bardi, Roberto Rizzi, Beatrice Bodega, Diego Pasini, Francesco Ferrari, Claudia Bearzi, Chiara Lanzuolo
Approximately half of the world’s population is infected with the stomach pathogen Helicobacter pylori. Infection with H. pylori is the main risk factor for distal gastric cancer. Bacterial virulence factors, such as the oncoprotein CagA, augment cancer risk. Yet despite high infection rates, only a fraction of H. pylori–infected individuals develop gastric cancer. This raises the question of defining the specific host and bacterial factors responsible for gastric tumorigenesis. To investigate the tumorigenic determinants, we analyzed gastric tissues from human subjects and animals infected with H. pylori bacteria harboring different CagA status. For laboratory studies, well-defined H. pylori strain B128 and its cancerogenic derivative strain 7.13, as well as various bacterial isogenic mutants were employed. We found that H. pylori compromises key tumor suppressor mechanisms: the host stress and apoptotic responses. Our studies showed that CagA induces phosphorylation of XIAP E3 ubiquitin ligase, which enhances ubiquitination and proteasomal degradation of the host proapoptotic factor Siva1. This process is mediated by the PI3K/Akt pathway. Inhibition of Siva1 by H. pylori increases survival of human cells with damaged DNA. It occurs in a strain-specific manner and is associated with the ability to induce gastric tumor.
Manikandan Palrasu, Elena Zaika, Wael El-Rifai, Monica Garcia-Buitrago, Maria Blanca Piazuelo, Keith T. Wilson, Richard M. Peek Jr., Alexander I. Zaika
The mechanisms by which prostate cancer shifts from an indolent castration-sensitive phenotype to lethal castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) are poorly understood. Identification of clinically relevant genetic alterations leading to CRPC may reveal potential vulnerabilities for cancer therapy. Here we find that CUB domain-containing protein 1 (CDCP1), a transmembrane protein that acts as a substrate for SRC family kinases (SFKs), is overexpressed in a subset of CRPC. Notably, CDCP1 cooperates with the loss of the tumor suppressor gene PTEN to promote the emergence of metastatic prostate cancer. Mechanistically, we find that androgens suppress CDCP1 expression and that androgen deprivation in combination with loss of PTEN promotes the upregulation of CDCP1 and the subsequent activation of the SRC/MAPK pathway. Moreover, we demonstrate that anti-CDCP1 immunoliposomes (anti–CDCP1 ILs) loaded with chemotherapy suppress prostate cancer growth when administered in combination with enzalutamide. Thus, our study identifies CDCP1 as a powerful driver of prostate cancer progression and uncovers different potential therapeutic strategies for the treatment of metastatic prostate tumors.
Abdullah Alajati, Mariantonietta D’Ambrosio, Martina Troiani, Simone Mosole, Laura Pellegrini, Jingjing Chen, Ajinkya Revandkar, Marco Bolis, Jean-Philippe Theurillat, Ilaria Guccini, Marco Losa, Arianna Calcinotto, Gaston De Bernardis, Emiliano Pasquini, Rocco D’Antuono, Adam Sharp, Ines Figueiredo, Daniel Nava Rodrigues, Jonathan Welti, Veronica Gil, Wei Yuan, Tatjana Vlajnic, Lukas Bubendorf, Giovanna Chiorino, Letizia Gnetti, Verónica Torrano, Arkaitz Carracedo, Laura Camplese, Susumu Hirabayashi, Elena Canato, Gianfranco Pasut, Monica Montopoli, Jan Hendrik Rüschoff, Peter Wild, Holger Moch, Johann De Bono, Andrea Alimonti
Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is an autoimmune fibrotic disease whose pathogenesis is poorly understood and lacks effective therapies. We undertook quantitative analyses of T cell infiltrates in the skin of 35 untreated patients with early diffuse SSc and here show that CD4+ cytotoxic T cells and CD8+ T cells contribute prominently to these infiltrates. We also observed an accumulation of apoptotic cells in SSc tissues, suggesting that recurring cell death may contribute to tissue damage and remodeling in this fibrotic disease. HLA-DR–expressing endothelial cells were frequent targets of apoptosis in SSc, consistent with the prominent vasculopathy seen in patients with this disease. A circulating effector population of cytotoxic CD4+ T cells, which exhibited signatures of enhanced metabolic activity, was clonally expanded in patients with systemic sclerosis. These data suggest that cytotoxic T cells may induce the apoptotic death of endothelial and other cells in systemic sclerosis. Cell loss driven by immune cells may be followed by overly exuberant tissue repair processes that lead to fibrosis and tissue dysfunction.
Takashi Maehara, Naoki Kaneko, Cory A. Perugino, Hamid Mattoo, Jesper Kers,, Hugues Allard-Chamard, Vinay S. Mahajan, Hang Liu, Samuel J.H. Murphy, Musie Ghebremichael, David Fox, Aimee S. Payne, Robert Lafyatis, John H. Stone, Dinesh Khanna, Shiv Pillai
Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is caused by loss of repression of the DUX4 gene; however, the DUX4 protein is rare and difficult to detect in human muscle biopsies, and pathological mechanisms are obscure. FSHD is also a chronic disease that progresses slowly over decades. We used the sporadic, low-level, muscle-specific expression of DUX4 enabled by the iDUX4pA-HSA mouse to develop a chronic long-term muscle disease model. After 6 months of extremely low sporadic DUX4 expression, dystrophic muscle presented hallmarks of FSHD histopathology, including muscle degeneration, capillary loss, fibrosis, and atrophy. We investigated the transcriptional profile of whole muscle as well as endothelial cells and fibroadiopogenic progenitors (FAPs). Strikingly, differential gene expression profiles of both whole muscle and, to a lesser extent, FAPs, showed significant overlap with transcriptional profiles of MRI-guided human FSHD muscle biopsies. These results demonstrate a pathophysiological similarity between disease in muscles of iDUX4pA-HSA mice and humans with FSHD, solidifying the value of chronic rare DUX4 expression in mice for modeling pathological mechanisms in FSHD and highlighting the importance FAPs in this disease.
Darko Bosnakovski, Ahmed S. Shams, Ce Yuan, Meiricris T. da Silva, Elizabeth T. Ener, Cory W. Baumann, Angus J. Lindsay, Mayank Verma, Atsushi Asakura, Dawn A. Lowe, Michael Kyba
Familial dysautonomia (FD) is the most prevalent form of hereditary sensory and autonomic neuropathy (HSAN). In FD, a germline mutation in the Elp1 gene leads to Elp1 protein decrease that causes sympathetic neuron death and sympathetic nervous system dysfunction (dysautonomia). Elp1 is best known as a scaffolding protein within the nuclear hetero-hexameric transcriptional Elongator protein complex, but how it functions in sympathetic neuron survival is very poorly understood. Here, we identified a cytoplasmic function for Elp1 in sympathetic neurons that was essential for retrograde nerve growth factor (NGF) signaling and neuron target tissue innervation and survival. Elp1 was found to bind to internalized TrkA receptors in an NGF-dependent manner, where it was essential for maintaining TrkA receptor phosphorylation (activation) by regulating PTPN6 (Shp1) phosphatase activity within the signaling complex. In the absence of Elp1, Shp1 was hyperactivated, leading to premature TrkA receptor dephosphorylation, which resulted in retrograde signaling failure and neuron death. Inhibiting Shp1 phosphatase activity in the absence of Elp1 rescued NGF-dependent retrograde signaling, and in an animal model of FD it rescued abnormal sympathetic target tissue innervation. These results suggest that regulation of retrograde NGF signaling in sympathetic neurons by Elp1 may explain sympathetic neuron loss and physiologic dysautonomia in patients with FD.
Lin Li, Katherine Gruner, Warren G. Tourtellotte
BACKGROUND Neurofibroma/schwannoma hybrid nerve sheath tumors (N/S HNSTs) are neoplasms associated with larger nerves that occur sporadically and in the context of schwannomatosis or neurofibromatosis type 2 or 1. Clinical management of N/S HNSTs is challenging, especially for large tumors, and established systemic treatments are lacking.METHODS We used next-generation sequencing and array-based DNA methylation profiling to determine the clinically actionable genomic and epigenomic landscapes of N/S HNSTs.RESULTS Whole-exome sequencing within a precision oncology program identified an activating mutation (p.Asp769Tyr) in the catalytic domain of the ERBB2 receptor tyrosine kinase in a patient with schwannomatosis-associated N/S HNST, and targeted treatment with the small-molecule ERBB inhibitor lapatinib led to prolonged clinical benefit and a lasting radiographic and metabolic response. Analysis of a multicenter validation cohort revealed recurrent ERBB2 mutations (p.Leu755Ser, p.Asp769Tyr, p.Val777Leu) in N/S HNSTs occurring in patients who met diagnostic criteria for sporadic schwannomatosis (3 of 7 patients), but not in N/S HNSTs arising in the context of neurofibromatosis (6 patients) or outside a tumor syndrome (1 patient), and showed that ERBB2-mutant N/S HNSTs cluster in a distinct subgroup of peripheral nerve sheath tumors based on genome-wide DNA methylation patterns.CONCLUSION These findings uncover a key biological feature of N/S HNSTs that may have important diagnostic and therapeutic implications.FUNDING This work was supported by grant H021 from DKFZ-HIPO, the University Cancer Center Frankfurt, and the Frankfurt Research Funding Clinician Scientist Program.
Michael W. Ronellenfitsch, Patrick N. Harter, Martina Kirchner, Christoph Heining, Barbara Hutter, Laura Gieldon, Jens Schittenhelm, Martin U. Schuhmann, Marcos Tatagiba, Gerhard Marquardt, Marlies Wagner, Volker Endris, Christian H. Brandts, Victor-Felix Mautner, Evelin Schröck, Wilko Weichert, Benedikt Brors, Andreas von Deimling, Michel Mittelbronn, Joachim P. Steinbach, David E. Reuss, Hanno Glimm, Albrecht Stenzinger, Stefan Fröhling
IL-17–producing RORγt+ γδ T cells (γδT17 cells) are innate lymphocytes that participate in type 3 immune responses during infection and inflammation. Herein, we show that γδT17 cells rapidly proliferate within neonatal lymph nodes and gut, where, upon entry, they upregulate T-bet and coexpress IL-17, IL-22, and IFN-γ in a STAT3- and retinoic acid–dependent manner. Neonatal expansion was halted in mice conditionally deficient in STAT5, and its loss resulted in γδT17 cell depletion from all adult organs. Hyperactive STAT5 mutant mice showed that the STAT5A homolog had a dominant role over STAT5B in promoting γδT17 cell expansion and downregulating gut-associated T-bet. In contrast, STAT5B preferentially expanded IFN-γ–producing γδ populations, implying a previously unknown differential role of STAT5 gene products in lymphocyte lineage regulation. Importantly, mice lacking γδT17 cells as a result of STAT5 deficiency displayed a profound resistance to experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Our data identify that the neonatal microenvironment in combination with STAT5 is critical for post-thymic γδT17 development and tissue-specific imprinting, which is essential for infection and autoimmunity.
Darshana Kadekar, Rasmus Agerholm, John Rizk, Heidi A. Neubauer, Tobias Suske, Barbara Maurer, Monica Torrellas Viñals, Elena M. Comelli, Amel Taibi, Richard Moriggl, Vasileios Bekiaris
Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is clearly age-related and represents one of the deadliest cancer types worldwide. As a result of globally increasing risk factors including metabolic disorders, the incidence rates of HCC are still rising. However, the molecular hallmarks of HCC remain poorly understood. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) and NPY receptors represent a highly conserved, stress-activated system involved in diverse cancer-related hallmarks including aging and metabolic alterations, but its impact on liver cancer had been unclear. Here, we observed increased expression of NPY5 receptor (Y5R) in HCC, which correlated with tumor growth and survival. Furthermore, we found that its ligand NPY was secreted by peritumorous hepatocytes. Hepatocyte-derived NPY promoted HCC progression by Y5R activation. TGF-β1 was identified as a regulator of NPY in hepatocytes and induced Y5R in invasive cancer cells. Moreover, NPY conversion by dipeptidylpeptidase 4 (DPP4) augmented Y5R activation and function in liver cancer. The TGF-β/NPY/Y5R axis and DPP4 represent attractive therapeutic targets for controlling liver cancer progression.
Peter Dietrich, Laura Wormser, Valerie Fritz, Tatjana Seitz, Monica De Maria, Alexandra Schambony, Andreas E. Kremer, Claudia Günther, Timo Itzel, Wolfgang E. Thasler, Andreas Teufel, Jonel Trebicka, Arndt Hartmann, Markus F. Neurath, Stephan von Hörsten, Anja K. Bosserhoff, Claus Hellerbrand
Elevated pressure in the pancreatic gland is the central cause of pancreatitis following abdominal trauma, surgery, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, and gallstones. In the pancreas, excessive intracellular calcium causes mitochondrial dysfunction, premature zymogen activation, and necrosis, ultimately leading to pancreatitis. Although stimulation of the mechanically activated, calcium-permeable ion channel Piezo1 in the pancreatic acinar cell is the initial step in pressure-induced pancreatitis, activation of Piezo1 produces only transient elevation in intracellular calcium that is insufficient to cause pancreatitis. Therefore, how pressure produces a prolonged calcium elevation necessary to induce pancreatitis is unknown. We demonstrate that Piezo1 activation in pancreatic acinar cells caused a prolonged elevation in intracellular calcium levels, mitochondrial depolarization, intracellular trypsin activation, and cell death. Notably, these effects were dependent on the degree and duration of force applied to the cell. Low or transient force was insufficient to activate these pathological changes, whereas higher and prolonged application of force triggered sustained elevation in intracellular calcium, leading to enzyme activation and cell death. All of these pathological events were rescued in acinar cells treated with a Piezo1 antagonist and in acinar cells from mice with genetic deletion of Piezo1. We discovered that Piezo1 stimulation triggered transient receptor potential vanilloid subfamily 4 (TRPV4) channel opening, which was responsible for the sustained elevation in intracellular calcium that caused intracellular organelle dysfunction. Moreover, TRPV4 gene–KO mice were protected from Piezo1 agonist– and pressure-induced pancreatitis. These studies unveil a calcium signaling pathway in which a Piezo1-induced TRPV4 channel opening causes pancreatitis.
Sandip M. Swain, Joelle M.-J. Romac, Rafiq A. Shahid, Stephen J. Pandol, Wolfgang Liedtke, Steven R. Vigna, Rodger A. Liddle
Curing HIV infection will require the elimination of a reservoir of infected CD4+ T cells that persists despite HIV-specific cytotoxic T cell (CTL) responses. Although viral latency is a critical factor in this persistence, recent evidence also suggests a role for intrinsic resistance of reservoir-harboring cells to CTL killing. This resistance may have contributed to negative outcomes of clinical trials, where pharmacologic latency reversal has thus far failed to drive reductions in HIV reservoirs. Through transcriptional profiling, we herein identified overexpression of the prosurvival factor B cell lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) as a distinguishing feature of CD4+ T cells that survived CTL killing. We show that the inducible HIV reservoir was disproportionately present in BCL-2hi subsets in ex vivo CD4+ T cells. Treatment with the BCL-2 antagonist ABT-199 was not sufficient to drive reductions in ex vivo viral reservoirs when tested either alone or with a latency-reversing agent (LRA). However, the triple combination of strong LRAs, HIV-specific T cells, and a BCL-2 antagonist uniquely enabled the depletion of ex vivo viral reservoirs. Our results provide rationale for novel therapeutic approaches targeting HIV cure and, more generally, suggest consideration of BCL-2 antagonism as a means of enhancing CTL immunotherapy in other settings, such as cancer.
Yanqin Ren, Szu Han Huang, Shabnum Patel, Winiffer D. Conce Alberto, Dean Magat, Dughan Ahimovic, Amanda B. Macedo, Ryan Durga, Dora Chan, Elizabeth Zale, Talia M. Mota, Ronald Truong, Thomas Rohwetter, Chase D. McCann, Colin M. Kovacs, Erika Benko, Avery Wimpelberg, Christopher Cannon, W. David Hardy, Alberto Bosque, Catherine M. Bollard, R. Brad Jones
BACKGROUND The anti–programmed cell death 1 (anti–PD-1) antibody pembrolizumab is clinically active against non–small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). In addition to T cells, human natural killer (NK) cells, reported to have the potential to prolong the survival of patients with advanced NSCLC, also express PD-1. This study aimed to investigate the safety and efficacy of pembrolizumab plus allogeneic NK cells in patients with previously treated advanced NSCLC.METHODS In total, 109 enrolled patients with a programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1) tumor proportion score (TPS) of 1% or higher were randomly allocated to group A (n = 55 patients given pembrolizumab plus NK cells) or group B (n = 54 patients given pembrolizumab alone). The patients received i.v. pembrolizumab (10 mg/kg) once every 3 weeks and continued treatment until the occurrence of tumor progression or unacceptable toxicity. The patients in group A continuously received 2 cycles of NK cell therapy as 1 course of treatment.RESULTS In our study, patients in group A had longer survival than did patients in group B (median overall survival [OS]: 15.5 months vs. 13.3 months; median progression-free survival [PFS]: 6.5 months vs. 4.3 months; P < 0.05). In group A patients with a TPS of 50% or higher, the median OS and PFS was significantly longer. Moreover, the patients in group A treated with multiple courses of NK cell infusion had better OS (18.5 months) than did those who received a single course of NK cell infusion (13.5 months).CONCLUSION Pembrolizumab plus NK cell therapy yielded improved survival benefits in patients with previously treated PD-L1+ advanced NSCLC.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02843204.FUNDING This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) – Guangdong Joint Foundation of China (no. U1601225); the NSFC (no. 81671965); the Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory Construction Project of China (no. 2017B030314034); and the Key Scientific and Technological Program of Guangzhou City (no. 201607020016).
Mao Lin, Haihua Luo, Shuzhen Liang, Jibing Chen, Aihua Liu, Lizhi Niu, Yong Jiang
An in-depth understanding of immune escape mechanisms in cancer is likely to lead to innovative advances in immunotherapeutic strategies. However, much remains unknown regarding these mechanisms and how they impact immunotherapy resistance. Using several preclinical tumor models as well as clinical specimens, we identified a mechanism whereby CD8+ T cell activation in response to programmed cell death 1 (PD-1) blockade induced a programmed death ligand 1/NOD-, LRR-, and pyrin domain–containing protein 3 (PD-L1/NLRP3) inflammasome signaling cascade that ultimately led to the recruitment of granulocytic myeloid-derived suppressor cells (PMN-MDSCs) into tumor tissues, thereby dampening the resulting antitumor immune response. The genetic and pharmacologic inhibition of NLRP3 suppressed PMN-MDSC tumor infiltration and significantly augmented the efficacy of anti–PD-1 antibody immunotherapy. This pathway therefore represents a tumor-intrinsic mechanism of adaptive resistance to anti–PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy and is a promising target for future translational research.
Balamayoora Theivanthiran, Kathy S. Evans, Nicholas C. DeVito, Michael Plebanek, Michael Sturdivant, Luke P. Wachsmuth, April K.S. Salama, Yubin Kang, David Hsu, Justin M. Balko, Douglas B. Johnson, Mark Starr, Andrew B. Nixon, Alisha Holtzhausen, Brent A. Hanks
Treating neuropathic pain is challenging and novel non–opioid-based medicines are needed. Using unbiased receptomics, transcriptomic analyses, immunofluorescence, and in situ hybridization, we found that the expression of the orphan GPCR Gpr160 and GPR160 increased in the rodent dorsal horn of the spinal cord following traumatic nerve injury. Genetic and immunopharmacological approaches demonstrated that GPR160 inhibition in the spinal cord prevented and reversed neuropathic pain in male and female rodents without altering normal pain response. GPR160 inhibition in the spinal cord attenuated sensory processing in the thalamus, a key relay in the sensory discriminative pathways of pain. We also identified cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptide (CARTp) as a GPR160 ligand. Inhibiting endogenous CARTp signaling in spinal cord attenuated neuropathic pain, whereas exogenous intrathecal CARTp evoked painful hypersensitivity through GPR160-dependent ERK and cAMP response element–binding protein (CREB). Our findings de-orphanize GPR160, identify it as a determinant of neuropathic pain and potential therapeutic target, and provide insights into its signaling pathways. CARTp is involved in many diseases including depression and reward and addiction; de-orphanization of GPR160 is a major step forward understanding the role of CARTp signaling in health and disease.
Gina L.C. Yosten, Caron M. Harada, Chris Haddock, Luigino Antonio Giancotti, Grant R. Kolar, Ryan Patel, Chun Guo, Zhoumou Chen, Jinsong Zhang, Timothy M. Doyle, Anthony H. Dickenson, Willis K. Samson, Daniela Salvemini
Levodopa-induced dyskinesia (LID) poses a significant health care challenge for Parkinson’s disease (PD) patients. Amantadine is currently the only drug proven to alleviate LID. Although its efficacy in treating LID is widely assumed to be mediated by blockade of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptors, our experiments demonstrate that at therapeutically relevant concentrations, amantadine preferentially blocks inward-rectifying K+ channel type 2 (Kir2) channels in striatal spiny projection neurons (SPNs) — not NMDA receptors. In so doing, amantadine enhances dendritic integration of excitatory synaptic potentials in SPNs and enhances — not antagonizes — the induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) at excitatory, axospinous synapses. Taken together, our studies suggest that the alleviation of LID in PD patients is mediated by diminishing the disparity in the excitability of direct- and indirect-pathway SPNs in the on state, rather than by disrupting LTP induction. This insight points to a pharmacological approach that could be used to effectively ameliorate LID and improve the quality of life for PD patients.
Weixing Shen, Wenjie Ren, Shenyu Zhai, Ben Yang, Carlos G. Vanoye, Ananya Mitra, Alfred L. George Jr., D. James Surmeier
Lymph node stromal cells (LNSCs) regulate immunity through constructing lymphocyte niches. LNSC-produced laminin α5 (Lama5) regulates CD4+ T cells but the underlying mechanisms of its functions are poorly understood. Here we show that depleting Lama5 in LNSCs resulted in decreased Lama5 protein in the LN cortical ridge (CR) and around high endothelial venules (HEVs). Lama5 depletion affected LN structure with increased HEVs, upregulated chemokines, and cell adhesion molecules, and led to greater numbers of Tregs in the T cell zone. Mouse and human T cell transendothelial migration and T cell entry into LNs were suppressed by Lama5 through the receptors α6 integrin and α-dystroglycan. During immune responses and allograft transplantation, depleting Lama5 promoted antigen-specific CD4+ T cell entry into the CR through HEVs, suppressed T cell activation, and altered T cell differentiation to suppressive regulatory phenotypes. Enhanced allograft acceptance resulted from depleting Lama5 or blockade of T cell Lama5 receptors. Lama5 and Lama4/Lama5 ratios in allografts were associated with the rejection severity. Overall, our results demonstrated that stromal Lama5 regulated immune responses through altering LN structures and T cell behaviors. This study delineated a stromal Lama5–T cell receptor axis that can be targeted for immune tolerance modulation.
Lushen Li, Marina W. Shirkey, Tianshu Zhang, Yanbao Xiong, Wenji Piao, Vikas Saxena, Christina Paluskievicz, Young Lee, Nicholas Toney, Benjamin M. Cerel, Qinshan Li, Thomas Simon, Kyle D. Smith, Keli L. Hippen, Bruce R. Blazar, Reza Abdi, Jonathan S. Bromberg
BACKGROUND Since December 2019, an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) emerged in Wuhan, and is now becoming a global threat. We aimed to delineate and compare the immunological features of severe and moderate COVID-19.METHODS In this retrospective study, the clinical and immunological characteristics of 21 patients (17 male and 4 female) with COVID-19 were analyzed. These patients were classified as severe (11 cases) and moderate (10 cases) according to the guidelines released by the National Health Commission of China.RESULTS The median age of severe and moderate cases was 61.0 and 52.0 years, respectively. Common clinical manifestations included fever, cough, and fatigue. Compared with moderate cases, severe cases more frequently had dyspnea, lymphopenia, and hypoalbuminemia, with higher levels of alanine aminotransferase, lactate dehydrogenase, C-reactive protein, ferritin, and D-dimer as well as markedly higher levels of IL-2R, IL-6, IL-10, and TNF-α. Absolute numbers of T lymphocytes, CD4+ T cells, and CD8+ T cells decreased in nearly all the patients, and were markedly lower in severe cases (294.0, 177.5, and 89.0 × 106/L, respectively) than moderate cases (640.5, 381.5, and 254.0 × 106/L, respectively). The expression of IFN-γ by CD4+ T cells tended to be lower in severe cases (14.1%) than in moderate cases (22.8%).CONCLUSION The SARS-CoV-2 infection may affect primarily T lymphocytes, particularly CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, resulting in a decrease in numbers as well as IFN-γ production by CD4+ T cells. These potential immunological markers may be of importance because of their correlation with disease severity in COVID-19.TRIAL REGISTRATION This is a retrospective observational study without a trial registration number.FUNDING This work is funded by grants from Tongji Hospital for the Pilot Scheme Project, and partly supported by the Chinese National Thirteenth Five Years Project in Science and Technology for Infectious Disease (2017ZX10202201).
Guang Chen, Di Wu, Wei Guo, Yong Cao, Da Huang, Hongwu Wang, Tao Wang, Xiaoyun Zhang, Huilong Chen, Haijing Yu, Xiaoping Zhang, Minxia Zhang, Shiji Wu, Jianxin Song, Tao Chen, Meifang Han, Shusheng Li, Xiaoping Luo, Jianping Zhao, Qin Ning
Arterial cardiovascular events are the leading cause of death in patients with JAK2V617F myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). However, their mechanisms are poorly understood. The high prevalence of myocardial infarction without significant coronary stenosis or atherosclerosis in patients with MPNs suggests that vascular function is altered. The consequences of JAK2V617F mutation on vascular reactivity are unknown. We observe here increased responses to vasoconstrictors in arteries from Jak2V617F mice resulting from a disturbed endothelial NO pathway and increased endothelial oxidative stress. This response was reproduced in WT mice by circulating microvesicles isolated from patients carrying JAK2V617F and by erythrocyte-derived microvesicles from transgenic mice. Microvesicles of other cellular origins had no effect. This effect was observed ex vivo on isolated aortas, but also in vivo on femoral arteries. Proteomic analysis of microvesicles derived from JAK2V617F erythrocytes identified increased expression of myeloperoxidase as the likely mechanism accounting for their effect. Myeloperoxidase inhibition in microvesicles derived from JAK2V617F erythrocytes suppressed their effect on oxidative stress. Antioxidants such as simvastatin and N-acetyl cysteine improved arterial dysfunction in Jak2V617F mice. In conclusion, JAK2V617F MPNs are characterized by exacerbated vasoconstrictor responses resulting from increased endothelial oxidative stress caused by circulating erythrocyte-derived microvesicles. Simvastatin appears to be a promising therapeutic strategy in this setting.
Johanne Poisson, Marion Tanguy, Hortense Davy, Fatoumata Camara, Marie-Belle El Mdawar, Marouane Kheloufi, Tracy Dagher, Cécile Devue, Juliette Lasselin, Aurélie Plessier, Salma Merchant, Olivier Blanc-Brude, Michèle Souyri, Nathalie Mougenot, Florent Dingli, Damarys Loew, Stephane N. Hatem, Chloé James, Jean-Luc Villeval, Chantal M. Boulanger, Pierre-Emmanuel Rautou
We previously established that global deletion of the enhancer of trithorax and polycomb (ETP) gene, Asxl2, prevents weight gain. Because proinflammatory macrophages recruited to adipose tissue are central to the metabolic complications of obesity, we explored the role of ASXL2 in myeloid lineage cells. Unexpectedly, mice without Asxl2 only in myeloid cells (Asxl2ΔLysM) were completely resistant to diet-induced weight gain and metabolically normal despite increased food intake, comparable activity, and equivalent fecal fat. Asxl2ΔLysM mice resisted HFD-induced adipose tissue macrophage infiltration and inflammatory cytokine gene expression. Energy expenditure and brown adipose tissue metabolism in Asxl2ΔLysM mice were protected from the suppressive effects of HFD, a phenomenon associated with relatively increased catecholamines likely due to their suppressed degradation by macrophages. White adipose tissue of HFD-fed Asxl2ΔLysM mice also exhibited none of the pathological remodeling extant in their control counterparts. Suppression of macrophage Asxl2 expression, via nanoparticle-based siRNA delivery, prevented HFD-induced obesity. Thus, ASXL2 controlled the response of macrophages to dietary factors to regulate metabolic homeostasis, suggesting modulation of the cells’ inflammatory phenotype may impact obesity and its complications.
Wei Zou, Nidhi Rohatgi, Jonathan R. Brestoff, John R. Moley, Yongjia Li, Jesse W. Williams, Yael Alippe, Hua Pan, Terri A. Pietka, Gabriel Mbalaviele, Elizabeth P. Newberry, Nicholas O. Davidson, Anwesha Dey, Kooresh I. Shoghi, Richard D. Head, Samuel A. Wickline, Gwendalyn J. Randolph, Nada A. Abumrad, Steven L. Teitelbaum
Hair cells, the mechanosensory receptors of the inner ear, are responsible for hearing and balance. Hair cell death and consequent hearing loss are common results of treatment with ototoxic drugs, including the widely used aminoglycoside antibiotics. Induction of heat shock proteins (HSPs) confers protection against aminoglycoside-induced hair cell death via paracrine signaling that requires extracellular heat shock 70-kDa protein (HSP70). We investigated the mechanisms underlying this non–cell-autonomous protective signaling in the inner ear. In response to heat stress, inner ear tissue releases exosomes that carry HSP70 in addition to canonical exosome markers and other proteins. Isolated exosomes from heat-shocked utricles were sufficient to improve survival of hair cells exposed to the aminoglycoside antibiotic neomycin, whereas inhibition or depletion of exosomes from the extracellular environment abolished the protective effect of heat shock. Hair cell–specific expression of the known HSP70 receptor TLR4 was required for the protective effect of exosomes, and exosomal HSP70 interacted with TLR4 on hair cells. Our results indicate that exosomes are a previously undescribed mechanism of intercellular communication in the inner ear that can mediate nonautonomous hair cell survival. Exosomes may hold potential as nanocarriers for delivery of therapeutics against hearing loss.
Andrew M. Breglio, Lindsey A. May, Melanie Barzik, Nora C. Welsh, Shimon P. Francis, Tucker Q. Costain, Lizhen Wang, D. Eric Anderson, Ronald S. Petralia, Ya-Xian Wang, Thomas B. Friedman, Matthew J.A. Wood, Lisa L. Cunningham
Tumor-associated peptide–human leukocyte antigen complexes (pHLAs) represent the largest pool of cell surface–expressed cancer-specific epitopes, making them attractive targets for cancer therapies. Soluble bispecific molecules that incorporate an anti-CD3 effector function are being developed to redirect T cells against these targets using 2 different approaches. The first achieves pHLA recognition via affinity-enhanced versions of natural TCRs (e.g., immune-mobilizing monoclonal T cell receptors against cancer [ImmTAC] molecules), whereas the second harnesses an antibody-based format (TCR-mimic antibodies). For both classes of reagent, target specificity is vital, considering the vast universe of potential pHLA molecules that can be presented on healthy cells. Here, we made use of structural, biochemical, and computational approaches to investigate the molecular rules underpinning the reactivity patterns of pHLA-targeting bispecifics. We demonstrate that affinity-enhanced TCRs engage pHLA using a comparatively broad and balanced energetic footprint, with interactions distributed over several HLA and peptide side chains. As ImmTAC molecules, these TCRs also retained a greater degree of pHLA selectivity, with less off-target activity in cellular assays. Conversely, TCR-mimic antibodies tended to exhibit binding modes focused more toward hot spots on the HLA surface and exhibited a greater degree of crossreactivity. Our findings extend our understanding of the basic principles that underpin pHLA selectivity and exemplify a number of molecular approaches that can be used to probe the specificity of pHLA-targeting molecules, aiding the development of future reagents.
Christopher J. Holland, Rory M. Crean, Johanne M. Pentier, Ben de Wet, Angharad Lloyd, Velupillai Srikannathasan, Nikolai Lissin, Katy A. Lloyd, Thomas H. Blicher, Paul J. Conroy, Miriam Hock, Robert J. Pengelly, Thomas E. Spinner, Brian Cameron, Elizabeth A. Potter, Anitha Jeyanthan, Peter E. Molloy, Malkit Sami, Milos Aleksic, Nathaniel Liddy, Ross A. Robinson, Stephen Harper, Marco Lepore, Chris R. Pudney, Marc W. van der Kamp, Pierre J. Rizkallah, Bent K. Jakobsen, Annelise Vuidepot, David K. Cole
Although CEACAM1 (CC1) glycoprotein resides at the interface of immune liver injury and metabolic homeostasis, its role in orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) remains elusive. We aimed to determine whether/how CEACAM1 signaling may affect hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) and OLT outcomes. In the mouse, donor liver CC1 null mutation augmented IRI-OLT (CC1-KO→WT) by enhancing ROS expression and HMGB1 translocation during cold storage, data supported by in vitro studies where hepatic flush from CC1-deficient livers enhanced macrophage activation in bone marrow–derived macrophage cultures. Although hepatic CC1 deficiency augmented cold stress–triggered ASK1/p-p38 upregulation, adjunctive ASK1 inhibition alleviated IRI and improved OLT survival by suppressing p-p38 upregulation, ROS induction, and HMGB1 translocation (CC1-KO→WT), whereas ASK1 silencing (siRNA) promoted cytoprotection in cold-stressed and damage-prone CC1-deficient hepatocyte cultures. Consistent with mouse data, CEACAM1 expression in 60 human donor liver biopsies correlated negatively with activation of the ASK1/p-p38 axis, whereas low CC1 levels associated with increased ROS and HMGB1 translocation, enhanced innate and adaptive immune responses, and inferior early OLT function. Notably, reduced donor liver CEACAM1 expression was identified as one of the independent predictors for early allograft dysfunction (EAD) in human OLT patients. Thus, as a checkpoint regulator of IR stress and sterile inflammation, CEACAM1 may be considered as a denominator of donor hepatic tissue quality, and a target for therapeutic modulation in OLT recipients.
Kojiro Nakamura, Shoichi Kageyama, Fady M. Kaldas, Hirofumi Hirao, Takahiro Ito, Kentaro Kadono, Kenneth J. Dery, Hidenobu Kojima, David W. Gjertson, Rebecca A. Sosa, Maciej Kujawski, Ronald W. Busuttil, Elaine F. Reed, Jerzy W. Kupiec-Weglinski
Chronic pancreatitis (CP) is considered an irreversible fibroinflammatory pancreatic disease. Despite numerous animal model studies, questions remain about local immune characteristics in human CP. We profiled pancreatic immune cell characteristics in control organ donors and CP patients including those with hereditary and idiopathic CP undergoing total pancreatectomy with islet autotransplantation. Flow cytometric analysis revealed a significant increase in the frequency of CD68+ macrophages in idiopathic CP. In contrast, hereditary CP samples showed a significant increase in CD3+ T cell frequency, which prompted us to investigate the T cell receptor β (TCRβ) repertoire in the CP and control groups. TCRβ sequencing revealed a significant increase in TCRβ repertoire diversity and reduced clonality in both CP groups versus controls. Interestingly, we observed differences in Vβ-Jβ gene family usage between hereditary and idiopathic CP and a positive correlation of TCRβ rearrangements with disease severity scores. Immunophenotyping analyses in hereditary and idiopathic CP pancreases indicate differences in innate and adaptive immune responses, which highlights differences in immunopathogenic mechanisms of disease among subtypes of CP. TCR repertoire analysis further suggests a role for specific T cell responses in hereditary versus idiopathic CP pathogenesis, providing insights into immune responses associated with human CP.
Bomi Lee, Julia Z. Adamska, Hong Namkoong, Melena D. Bellin, Josh Wilhelm, Gregory L. Szot, David M. Louis, Mark M. Davis, Stephen J. Pandol, Aida Habtezion
Whether mutations in cancer driver genes directly affect cancer immune phenotype and T cell immunity remains a standing question. ARID1A is a core member of the polymorphic BRG/BRM-associated factor chromatin remodeling complex. ARID1A mutations occur in human cancers and drive cancer development. Here, we studied the molecular, cellular, and clinical impact of ARID1A aberrations on cancer immunity. We demonstrated that ARID1A aberrations resulted in limited chromatin accessibility to IFN-responsive genes, impaired IFN gene expression, anemic T cell tumor infiltration, poor tumor immunity, and shortened host survival in many human cancer histologies and in murine cancer models. Impaired IFN signaling was associated with poor immunotherapy response. Mechanistically, ARID1A interacted with EZH2 via its carboxyl terminal and antagonized EZH2-mediated IFN responsiveness. Thus, the interaction between ARID1A and EZH2 defines cancer IFN responsiveness and immune evasion. Our work indicates that cancer epigenetic driver mutations can shape cancer immune phenotype and immunotherapy.
Jing Li, Weichao Wang, Yajia Zhang, Marcin Cieślik, Jipeng Guo, Mengyao Tan, Michael D. Green, Weimin Wang, Heng Lin, Wei Li, Shuang Wei, Jiajia Zhou, Gaopeng Li, Xiaojun Jing, Linda Vatan, Lili Zhao, Benjamin Bitler, Rugang Zhang, Kathleen R. Cho, Yali Dou, Ilona Kryczek, Timothy A. Chan, David Huntsman, Arul M. Chinnaiyan, Weiping Zou