In this issue, Hillary Hosier, Shelli Farhadian, and colleagues present a case of SARS–CoV-2 infection of the placenta in the second trimester. This case report highlights a patient with severe COVID-19 who was admitted to the hospital at 22 weeks’ gestation with severe preeclampsia and placental abruption. Shown on the cover, pathological examination of the placenta revealed the presence of SARS–CoV-2 spike protein (brown) localized primarily in syncytiotrophoblast cells at the maternal-fetal interface. The report underscores the ongoing need to identify COVID-19’s risks to pregnant women, particularly those susceptible to hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. Image credit: Alice Lu-Culligan.
S Indicates subscriber content
J. Wesley Pike, Mark B. Meyer
Roy M. Gulick, Magdalena E. Sobieszczyk, Donald W. Landry, Anthony N. Hollenberg
The state of latency occurs when a microbe’s persistence in a host produces host damage without perturbing homeostasis sufficiently to cause clinical symptoms or disease. The mechanisms contributing to latency are diverse and depend on the nature of both the microbe and the host. Latency has advantages for both host and microbe. The host avoids progressive damage caused by interaction with the microbe that may translate into disease, and the microbe secures a stable niche in which to survive. Latency is clinically important because some latent microbes can be transmitted to other hosts, and it is associated with a risk for recrudescent microbial growth and development of disease. In addition, it can predispose the host to other diseases, such as malignancies. Hence, latency is a temporally unstable state with an eventual outcome that mainly depends on host immunity. Latency is an integral part of the pathogenic strategies of microbes that require human (and/or mammalian) hosts, including herpesviruses, retroviruses, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and Toxoplasma gondii. However, latency is also an outcome of infection with environmental organisms such as Cryptococcus neoformans, which require no host in their replicative cycles. For most microbes that achieve latency, there is a need for a better understanding and more investigation of host and microbial mechanisms that result in this state.
Liise-anne Pirofski, Arturo Casadevall
Allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (alloHCT) benefits increasing numbers of patients with otherwise lethal diseases. Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), however, remains one of the most potentially life-threatening complications due to its own comorbidities and the side effects of its treatment. In this issue of the JCI, two groups have turned dogma on its head by providing evidence for alternative mechanisms of acute GVHD (aGVHD) in humans. The principle of donor T cell reactivity elicited by host antigen-presenting cells (APCs) expressing MHC-encoded major HLA disparities or expressing minor histocompatibility antigen (miHA) differences presented by identical HLA molecules remains intact. These reports, however, demonstrate that GVHD can additionally result from peripheral host T cells resident in skin and gut being stimulated against donor APCs in the form of monocyte-derived macrophages. Moreover, these donor monocyte-derived macrophages can themselves mediate cytopathic effects against resident host T cells in skin explants and against a keratinocyte-derived cell line.
James W. Young
Heart failure (HF) with reduced contractile function is a common and lethal syndrome in which the heart cannot pump blood to adequately meet bodily demands, resulting in high mortality despite the current standard of care. In modern societies, the most common drivers of HF are ischemic heart disease and hypertension. However, in a substantial subset of cases, patients present with dilated and poorly contracting hearts without evidence of common inciting stressors, a syndrome called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Genome sequencing has identified a host of deleterious germline variants in key cardiomyocyte genes as causes of heritable DCM, including mutations in LMNA, which encodes the nuclear lamina-associated protein lamin A/C. In this issue of the JCI, Auguste et al. generate a mouse model of DCM in which they delete Lmna in cardiomyocytes and discover that bromodomain and extraterminal (BET) protein activation is a druggable epigenetic mechanism of disease pathogenesis in this heritable HF syndrome.
Michael Alexanian, Saptarsi M. Haldar
Orexin/hypocretin neurons located in the lateral hypothalamus play a critical role in the maintenance of arousal and contribute to the regulation of multiple homeostatic and behavioral processes. In this issue of the JCI, Tan and Hang et al. report that feeding a high-fat diet to mice compromised the function of the orexin system, leading to impairments in reward-seeking and active coping mechanisms. The researchers observed changes at the cellular and circuit levels suggesting that reduced excitability of orexin neurons affects behavior through induction of a hypoarousal state.
Natalie J. Michael, Joel K. Elmquist
New York City has been described as the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. While health care workers are notably at increased risk for COVID-19 infection, the impact on resident physicians remains unclear. In this issue of the JCI, Breazzano et al. surveyed resident physicians for their exposure to COVID-19 during the exponential phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. The researchers also assessed how personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing protected health care workers from infection. This study highlights resident physician experiences of the first COVID-19 wave that can inform and improve preparedness for upcoming COVID-19 surges and other future epidemics.
Lauren I. Shapiro, Grace R. Kajita, Julia H. Arnsten, Yaron Tomer
FTY720 is a treatment for relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis (MS). It is an analog of sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) and targets S1P receptors 1, 3, 4, and 5. Recent reports indicate an association between long-term exposure to FTY720 and cases of cryptococcal infection. Here, we studied the effect of FTY720 and its derivative, BAF312, which only target S1P receptors 1 and 5, in a mouse model of cryptococcal infection. We found that treatment with FTY720, but not with BAF312, led to decreased survival and increased organ burden in mouse cryptococcal granulomas. Both FTY720 and BAF312 caused a profound CD4+ and CD8+ T cell depletion in blood and lungs but only treatment with FTY720 led to cryptococcal reactivation. Treatment with FTY720, but not with BAF312, was associated with disorganization of macrophages and with M2 polarization at the granuloma site. In a cell system, FTY720 decreased phagocytosis and production of reactive oxygen species by macrophages, a phenotype recapitulated in the S1pr3–/– knockout macrophages. Our results suggest that FTY720 reactivates cryptococcosis from the granuloma through a S1P receptor 3–mediated mechanism and support the rationale for development of more-specific receptor modulators for therapeutic use of MS.
Arielle M. Bryan, Jeehyun Karen You, Travis McQuiston, Cristina Lazzarini, Zhijuan Qiu, Brian Sheridan, Barbara Nuesslein-Hildesheim, Maurizio Del Poeta
Exposure of mononuclear phagocytes to β-glucan, a naturally occurring polysaccharide, contributes to the induction of innate immune memory, which is associated with long-term epigenetic, metabolic, and functional reprogramming. Although previous studies have shown that innate immune memory induced by β-glucan confers protection against secondary infections, its impact on autoinflammatory diseases, associated with inflammasome activation and IL-1β secretion, remains poorly understood. In particular, whether β-glucan–induced long-term reprogramming affects inflammasome activation in human macrophages in the context of these diseases has not been explored. We found that NLRP3 inflammasome–mediated caspase-1 activation and subsequent IL-1β production were reduced in β-glucan–reprogrammed macrophages. β-Glucan acted upstream of the NLRP3 inflammasome by preventing potassium (K+) efflux, mitochondrial ROS (mtROS) generation, and, ultimately, apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing a CARD (ASC) oligomerization and speck formation. Importantly, β-glucan–induced memory in macrophages resulted in a remarkable attenuation of IL-1β secretion and caspase-1 activation in patients with an NLRP3-associated autoinflammatory disease, cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes (CAPS). Our findings demonstrate that β-glucan–induced innate immune memory represses IL-1β–mediated inflammation and support its potential clinical use in NLRP3-driven diseases.
Giorgio Camilli, Mathieu Bohm, Alícia Corbellini Piffer, Rachel Lavenir, David L. Williams, Benedicte Neven, Gilles Grateau, Sophie Georgin-Lavialle, Jessica Quintin
Myelopoiesis is invariably present and contributes to pathology in animal models of graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). In humans, a rich inflammatory infiltrate bearing macrophage markers has also been described in histological studies. In order to determine the origin, functional properties, and role in pathogenesis of these cells, we isolated single-cell suspensions from acute cutaneous GVHD and subjected them to genotype, transcriptome, and in vitro functional analysis. A donor-derived population of CD11c+CD14+ cells was the dominant population of all leukocytes in GVHD. Surface phenotype and NanoString gene expression profiling indicated the closest steady-state counterpart of these cells to be monocyte-derived macrophages. In GVHD, however, there was upregulation of monocyte antigens SIRPα and S100A8/9 transcripts associated with leukocyte trafficking, pattern recognition, antigen presentation, and costimulation. Isolated GVHD macrophages stimulated greater proliferation and activation of allogeneic T cells and secreted higher levels of inflammatory cytokines than their steady-state counterparts. In HLA-matched mixed leukocyte reactions, we also observed differentiation of activated macrophages with a similar phenotype. These exhibited cytopathicity to a keratinocyte cell line and mediated pathological damage to skin explants independently of T cells. Together, these results define the origin, functional properties, and potential pathogenic roles of human GVHD macrophages.
Laura Jardine, Urszula Cytlak, Merry Gunawan, Gary Reynolds, Kile Green, Xiao-Nong Wang, Sarah Pagan, Maharani Paramitha, Christopher A. Lamb, Anna K. Long, Erin Hurst, Smeera Nair, Graham H. Jackson, Amy Publicover, Venetia Bigley, Muzlifah Haniffa, A.J. Simpson, Matthew Collin
Th cells integrate signals from their microenvironment to acquire distinct specialization programs for efficient clearance of diverse pathogens or for immunotolerance. Ionic signals have recently been demonstrated to affect T cell polarization and function. Sodium chloride (NaCl) was proposed to accumulate in peripheral tissues upon dietary intake and to promote autoimmunity via the Th17 cell axis. Here, we demonstrate that high-NaCl conditions induced a stable, pathogen-specific, antiinflammatory Th17 cell fate in human T cells in vitro. The p38/MAPK pathway, involving NFAT5 and SGK1, regulated FoxP3 and IL-17A expression in high-NaCl conditions. The NaCl-induced acquisition of an antiinflammatory Th17 cell fate was confirmed in vivo in an experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mouse model, which demonstrated strongly reduced disease symptoms upon transfer of T cells polarized in high-NaCl conditions. However, NaCl was coopted to promote murine and human Th17 cell pathogenicity, if T cell stimulation occurred in a proinflammatory and TGF-β–low cytokine microenvironment. Taken together, our findings reveal a context-dependent, dichotomous role for NaCl in shaping Th17 cell pathogenicity. NaCl might therefore prove beneficial for the treatment of chronic inflammatory diseases in combination with cytokine-blocking drugs.
Julia Matthias, Sylvia Heink, Felix Picard, Julia Zeiträg, Anna Kolz, Ying-Yin Chao, Dominik Soll, Gustavo P. de Almeida, Elke Glasmacher, Ilse D. Jacobsen, Thomas Riedel, Anneli Peters, Stefan Floess, Jochen Huehn, Dirk Baumjohann, Magdalena Huber, Thomas Korn, Christina E. Zielinski
Peripheral neurotoxicity is a debilitating condition that afflicts up to 90% of patients with colorectal cancer receiving oxaliplatin-containing therapy. Although emerging evidence has highlighted the importance of various solute carriers to the toxicity of anticancer drugs, the contribution of these proteins to oxaliplatin-induced peripheral neurotoxicity remains controversial. Among candidate transporters investigated in genetically engineered mouse models, we provide evidence for a critical role of the organic cation transporter 2 (OCT2) in satellite glial cells in oxaliplatin-induced neurotoxicity, and demonstrate that targeting OCT2 using genetic and pharmacological approaches ameliorates acute and chronic forms of neurotoxicity. The relevance of this transport system was verified in transporter-deficient rats as a secondary model organism, and translational significance of preventive strategies was demonstrated in preclinical models of colorectal cancer. These studies suggest that pharmacological targeting of OCT2 could be exploited to afford neuroprotection in cancer patients requiring treatment with oxaliplatin.
Kevin M. Huang, Alix F. Leblanc, Muhammad Erfan Uddin, Ji Young Kim, Mingqing Chen, Eric D. Eisenmann, Alice A. Gibson, Yang Li, Kristen W. Hong, Duncan DiGiacomo, Sherry H. Xia, Paola Alberti, Alessia Chiorazzi, Stephen N. Housley, Timothy C. Cope, Jason A. Sprowl, Jing Wang, Charles L. Loprinzi, Anne Noonan, Maryam B. Lustberg, Guido Cavaletti, Navjot Pabla, Shuiying Hu, Alex Sparreboom
Breast cancer stem cells (BCSCs) play a critical role in cancer recurrence and metastasis. Chemotherapy induces BCSC specification through increased expression of pluripotency factors, but how their expression is regulated is not fully understood. Here, we delineate a pathway controlled by hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) that epigenetically activates pluripotency factor gene transcription in response to chemotherapy. Paclitaxel induces HIF-1–dependent expression of S100A10, which forms a complex with ANXA2 that interacts with histone chaperone SPT6 and histone demethylase KDM6A. S100A10, ANXA2, SPT6, and KDM6A are recruited to OCT4 binding sites and KDM6A erases H3K27me3 chromatin marks, facilitating transcription of genes encoding the pluripotency factors NANOG, SOX2, and KLF4, which along with OCT4 are responsible for BCSC specification. Silencing of S100A10, ANXA2, SPT6, or KDM6A expression blocks chemotherapy-induced enrichment of BCSCs, impairs tumor initiation, and increases time to tumor recurrence after chemotherapy is discontinued. Pharmacological inhibition of KDM6A also impairs chemotherapy-induced BCSC enrichment. These results suggest that targeting HIF-1/S100A10–dependent and KDM6A-mediated epigenetic activation of pluripotency factor gene expression in combination with chemotherapy may block BCSC enrichment and improve clinical outcome.
Haiquan Lu, Yangyiran Xie, Linh Tran, Jie Lan, Yongkang Yang, Naveena L. Murugan, Ru Wang, Yueyang J. Wang, Gregg L. Semenza
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). Donor T cells are key mediators in pathogenesis, but a contribution from host T cells has not been explored, as conditioning regimens are believed to deplete host T cells. To evaluate a potential role for host T cells in GVHD, the origin of skin and blood T cells was assessed prospectively in patients after HSCT in the absence of GVHD. While blood contained primarily donor-derived T cells, most T cells in the skin were host derived. We next examined patient skin, colon, and blood during acute GVHD. Host T cells were present in all skin and colon acute GVHD specimens studied, yet were largely absent in blood. We observed acute skin GVHD in the presence of 100% host T cells. Analysis demonstrated that a subset of host T cells in peripheral tissues were proliferating (Ki67+) and producing the proinflammatory cytokines IFN-γ and IL-17 in situ. Comparatively, the majority of antigen-presenting cells (APCs) in tissue in acute GVHD were donor derived, and donor-derived APCs were observed directly adjacent to host T cells. A humanized mouse model demonstrated that host skin-resident T cells could be activated by donor monocytes to generate a GVHD-like dermatitis. Thus, host tissue-resident T cells may play a previously unappreciated pathogenic role in acute GVHD.
Sherrie J. Divito, Anders T. Aasebø, Tiago R. Matos, Pei-Chen Hsieh, Matthew Collin, Christopher P. Elco, John T. O’Malley, Espen S. Bækkevold, Henrik Reims, Tobias Gedde-Dahl, Michael Hagerstrom, Jude Hilaire, John W. Lian, Edgar L. Milford, Geraldine S. Pinkus, Vincent T. Ho, Robert J. Soiffer, Haesook T. Kim, Martin C. Mihm, Jerome Ritz, Indira Guleria, Corey S. Cutler, Rachael A. Clark, Frode L. Jahnsen, Thomas S. Kupper
γ9δ2T cells play a major role in cancer immune surveillance, yet the clinical translation of their in vitro promise remains challenging. To address limitations of previous clinical attempts using expanded γ9δ2T cells, we explored the clonal diversity of γ9δ2T cell repertoires and characterized their target. We demonstrated that only a fraction of expanded γ9δ2T cells was active against cancer cells and that activity of the parental clone, or functional avidity of selected γ9δ2 T cell receptors (γ9δ2TCRs), was not associated with clonal frequency. Furthermore, we analyzed the target-receptor interface and provided a 2-receptor, 3-ligand model. We found that activation was initiated by binding of the γ9δ2TCR to BTN2A1 through the regions between CDR2 and CDR3 of the TCR γ chain and modulated by the affinity of the CDR3 region of the TCRδ chain, which was phosphoantigen independent (pAg independent) and did not depend on CD277. CD277 was secondary, serving as a mandatory coactivating ligand. We found that binding of CD277 to its putative ligand did not depend on the presence of γ9δ2TCR, did depend on usage of the intracellular CD277, created pAg-dependent proximity to BTN2A1, enhanced cell-cell conjugate formation, and stabilized the immunological synapse (IS). This process critically depended on the affinity of the γ9δ2TCR and required membrane flexibility of the γ9δ2TCR and CD277, facilitating their polarization and high-density recruitment during IS formation.
Anna Vyborova, Dennis X. Beringer, Domenico Fasci, Froso Karaiskaki, Eline van Diest, Lovro Kramer, Aram de Haas, Jasper Sanders, Anke Janssen, Trudy Straetemans, Daniel Olive, Jeanette Leusen, Lola Boutin, Steven Nedellec, Samantha L. Schwartz, Michael J. Wester, Keith A. Lidke, Emmanuel Scotet, Diane S. Lidke, Albert J.R. Heck, Zsolt Sebestyen, Jürgen Kuball
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) remains an important cause of morbidity and mortality after allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (allo-HCT). For decades, GVHD prophylaxis has included calcineurin inhibitors, despite their incomplete efficacy and impairment of graft-versus-leukemia (GVL). Distinct from pharmacologic immune suppression, we have developed what we believe is a novel, human CD83-targeted chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell for GVHD prevention. CD83 is expressed on allo-activated conventional CD4+ T cells (Tconvs) and proinflammatory dendritic cells (DCs), which are both implicated in GVHD pathogenesis. Human CD83 CAR T cells eradicate pathogenic CD83+ target cells, substantially increase the ratio of regulatory T cells (Tregs) to allo-activated Tconvs, and provide durable prevention of xenogeneic GVHD. CD83 CAR T cells are also capable of treating xenogeneic GVHD. We show that human acute myeloid leukemia (AML) expresses CD83 and that myeloid leukemia cell lines are readily killed by CD83 CAR T cells. Human CD83 CAR T cells are a promising cell-based approach to preventing 2 critical complications of allo-HCT — GVHD and relapse. Thus, the use of human CD83 CAR T cells for GVHD prevention and treatment, as well as for targeting CD83+ AML, warrants clinical investigation.
Bishwas Shrestha, Kelly Walton, Jordan Reff, Elizabeth M. Sagatys, Nhan Tu, Justin Boucher, Gongbo Li, Tayyebb Ghafoor, Martin Felices, Jeffrey S. Miller, Joseph Pidala, Bruce R. Blazar, Claudio Anasetti, Brian C. Betts, Marco L. Davila
Oxidant stress can contribute to health and disease. Here we show that invertebrates and vertebrates share a common stereospecific redox pathway that protects against pathological responses to stress, at the cost of reduced physiological performance, by constraining Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) activity. MICAL1, a methionine monooxygenase thought to exclusively target actin, and MSRB, a methionine reductase, control the stereospecific redox status of M308, a highly conserved residue in the calmodulin-binding (CaM-binding) domain of CaMKII. Oxidized or mutant M308 (M308V) decreased CaM binding and CaMKII activity, while absence of MICAL1 in mice caused cardiac arrhythmias and premature death due to CaMKII hyperactivation. Mimicking the effects of M308 oxidation decreased fight-or-flight responses in mice, strikingly impaired heart function in Drosophila melanogaster, and caused disease protection in human induced pluripotent stem cell–derived cardiomyocytes with catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, a CaMKII-sensitive genetic arrhythmia syndrome. Our studies identify a stereospecific redox pathway that regulates cardiac physiological and pathological responses to stress across species.
Klitos Konstantinidis, Vassilios J. Bezzerides, Lo Lai, Holly M. Isbell, An-Chi Wei, Yuejin Wu, Meera C. Viswanathan, Ian D. Blum, Jonathan M. Granger, Danielle Heims-Waldron, Donghui Zhang, Elizabeth D. Luczak, Kevin R. Murphy, Fujian Lu, Daniel H. Gratz, Bruno Manta, Qiang Wang, Qinchuan Wang, Alex L. Kolodkin, Vadim N. Gladyshev, Thomas J. Hund, William T. Pu, Mark N. Wu, Anthony Cammarato, Mario A. Bianchet, Madeline A. Shea, Rodney L. Levine, Mark E. Anderson
BACKGROUND Despite an increasing appreciation of the roles that myeloid cells play in tumor progression and therapy, challenges remain in interpreting the tumor-associated myeloid response balance and its translational value. We aimed to construct a simple and reliable myeloid signature for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).METHODS Using in situ immunohistochemistry, we assessed the distribution of major myeloid subtypes in both peri- and intratumoral regions of HCC. A 2-feature-based, myeloid-specific prognostic signature, named the myeloid response score (MRS), was constructed using an L1-penalized Cox regression model based on data from a training subset (n = 244), a test subset (n = 244), and an independent internal (n = 341) and 2 external (n = 94; n = 254) cohorts.RESULTS The MRS and the MRS-based nomograms displayed remarkable discriminatory power, accuracy, and clinical usefulness for predicting recurrence and patient survival, superior to current staging algorithms. Moreover, an increase in MRS was associated with a shift in the myeloid response balance from antitumor to protumor activities, accompanied by enhanced CD8+ T cell exhaustion patterns. Additionally, we provide evidence that the MRS was associated with the efficacy of sorafenib treatment for recurrent HCC.CONCLUSION We identified and validated a simple myeloid signature for HCC that showed remarkable prognostic potential and may serve as a basis for the stratification of HCC immune subtypes.FUNDING This work was supported by the National Science and Technology Major Project of China, the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Science and Information Technology of Guangzhou, the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, the Guangdong Basic and Applied Basic Research Foundation, and the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation.
Chong Wu, Jie Lin, Yulan Weng, Dan-Ni Zeng, Jing Xu, Shufeng Luo, Li Xu, Mingyu Liu, Qiaomin Hua, Chao-Qun Liu, Jin-Qing Li, Jing Liao, Cheng Sun, Jian Zhou, Min-Shan Chen, Chao Liu, Zhenhong Guo, Shi-Mei Zhuang, Jin-Hua Huang, Limin Zheng
BACKGROUND Coronavirus disease 19 (COVID-19) is an emerging infectious disease caused by SARS-CoV-2. Antiviral immune response is crucial to achieve pathogen clearance; however, in some patients an excessive and aberrant host immune response can lead to an acute respiratory distress syndrome. The comprehension of the mechanisms that regulate pathogen elimination, immunity, and pathology is essential to better characterize disease progression and widen the spectrum of therapeutic options.METHODS We performed a flow cytometric characterization of immune cell subsets from 30 patients with COVID-19 and correlated these data with clinical outcomes.RESULTS Patients with COVID-19 showed decreased numbers of circulating T, B, and NK cells and exhibited a skewing of CD8+ T cells toward a terminally differentiated/senescent phenotype. In agreement, CD4+ T and CD8+ T, but also NK cells, displayed reduced antiviral cytokine production capability. Moreover, a reduced cytotoxic potential was identified in patients with COVID-19, particularly in those who required intensive care. The latter group of patients also showed increased serum IL-6 levels that inversely correlated to the frequency of granzyme A–expressing NK cells. Off-label treatment with tocilizumab restored the cytotoxic potential of NK cells.CONCLUSION The association between IL-6 serum levels and the impairment of cytotoxic activity suggests the possibility that targeting this cytokine may restore antiviral mechanisms.FUNDING This study was supported by funds from the Department of Experimental and Clinical Medicine of University of Florence (the ex-60% fund and the “Excellence Departments 2018–2022 Project”) derived from Ministero dell’Istruzione, dell’Università e della Ricerca (Italy).
Alessio Mazzoni, Lorenzo Salvati, Laura Maggi, Manuela Capone, Anna Vanni, Michele Spinicci, Jessica Mencarini, Roberto Caporale, Benedetta Peruzzi, Alberto Antonelli, Michele Trotta, Lorenzo Zammarchi, Luca Ciani, Leonardo Gori, Chiara Lazzeri, Andrea Matucci, Alessandra Vultaggio, Oliviero Rossi, Fabio Almerigogna, Paola Parronchi, Paolo Fontanari, Federico Lavorini, Adriano Peris, Gian Maria Rossolini, Alessandro Bartoloni, Sergio Romagnani, Francesco Liotta, Francesco Annunziato, Lorenzo Cosmi
Desmoplasia describes the deposition of extensive extracellular matrix and defines primary pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA). The acellular component of this stroma has been implicated in PDA pathogenesis and is being targeted therapeutically in clinical trials. By analyzing the stromal content of PDA samples from numerous annotated PDA data sets and correlating stromal content with both anatomic site and clinical outcome, we found PDA metastases in the liver, the primary cause of mortality to have less stroma, have higher tumor cellularity than primary tumors. Experimentally manipulating stromal matrix with an anti–lysyl oxidase like-2 (anti-LOXL2) antibody in syngeneic orthotopic PDA mouse models significantly decreased matrix content, led to lower tissue stiffness, lower contrast retention on computed tomography, and accelerated tumor growth, resulting in diminished overall survival. These studies suggest an important protective role of stroma in PDA and urge caution in clinically deploying stromal depletion strategies.
Honglin Jiang, Robert J. Torphy, Katja Steiger, Henry Hongo, Alexa J. Ritchie, Mark Kriegsmann, David Horst, Sarah E. Umetsu, Nancy M. Joseph, Kimberly McGregor, Michael J. Pishvaian, Edik M. Blais, Brian Lu, Mingyu Li, Michael Hollingsworth, Connor Stashko, Keith Volmar, Jen Jen Yeh, Valerie M. Weaver, Zhen J. Wang, Margaret A. Tempero, Wilko Weichert, Eric A. Collisson
Skeletal muscle depends on the precise orchestration of contractile and metabolic gene expression programs to direct fiber-type specification and to ensure muscle performance. Exactly how such fiber type–specific patterns of gene expression are established and maintained remains unclear, however. Here, we demonstrate that histone monomethyl transferase MLL4 (KMT2D), an enhancer regulator enriched in slow myofibers, plays a critical role in controlling muscle fiber identity as well as muscle performance. Skeletal muscle–specific ablation of MLL4 in mice resulted in downregulation of the slow oxidative myofiber gene program, decreased numbers of type I myofibers, and diminished mitochondrial respiration, which caused reductions in muscle fatty acid utilization and endurance capacity during exercise. Genome-wide ChIP-Seq and mRNA-Seq analyses revealed that MLL4 directly binds to enhancers and functions as a coactivator of the myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) to activate transcription of slow oxidative myofiber genes. Importantly, we also found that the MLL4 regulatory circuit is associated with muscle fiber–type remodeling in humans. Thus, our results uncover a pivotal role for MLL4 in specifying structural and metabolic identities of myofibers that govern muscle performance. These findings provide therapeutic opportunities for enhancing muscle fitness to combat a variety of metabolic and muscular diseases.
Lin Liu, Chenyun Ding, Tingting Fu, Zhenhua Feng, Ji-Eun Lee, Liwei Xiao, Zhisheng Xu, Yujing Yin, Qiqi Guo, Zongchao Sun, Wanping Sun, Yan Mao, Likun Yang, Zheng Zhou, Danxia Zhou, Leilei Xu, Zezhang Zhu, Yong Qiu, Kai Ge, Zhenji Gan
BACKGROUND From March 2, 2020, to April 12, 2020, New York City (NYC) experienced exponential growth of the COVID-19 pandemic due to novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). Little is known regarding how physicians have been affected. We aimed to characterize the COVID-19 impact on NYC resident physicians.METHODS IRB-exempt and expedited cross-sectional analysis through survey to NYC residency program directors April 3–12, 2020, encompassing events from March 2, 2020, to April 12, 2020.RESULTS From an estimated 340 residency programs around NYC, recruitment yielded 91 responses, representing 24 specialties and 2306 residents. In 45.1% of programs, at least 1 resident with confirmed COVID-19 was reported. One hundred one resident physicians were confirmed COVID-19–positive, with an additional 163 residents presumed positive for COVID-19 based on symptoms but awaiting or unable to obtain testing. Two COVID-19–positive residents were hospitalized, with 1 in intensive care. Among specialties with more than 100 residents represented, negative binomial regression indicated that infection risk differed by specialty (P = 0.039). In 80% of programs, quarantining a resident was reported. Ninety of 91 programs reported reuse or extended mask use, and 43 programs reported that personal protective equipment (PPE) was suboptimal. Sixty-five programs (74.7%) redeployed residents elsewhere to support COVID-19 efforts.CONCLUSION Many resident physicians around NYC have been affected by COVID-19 through direct infection, quarantine, or redeployment. Lack of access to testing and concern regarding suboptimal PPE are common among residency programs. Infection risk may differ by specialty.FUNDING National Eye Institute Core Grant P30EY019007; Research to Prevent Blindness Unrestricted Grant; Parker Family Chair; University of Pennsylvania.
Mark P. Breazzano, Junchao Shen, Aliaa H. Abdelhakim, Lora R. Dagi Glass, Jason D. Horowitz, Sharon X. Xie, C. Gustavo de Moraes, Alice Chen-Plotkin, Royce W.S. Chen, on behalf of the New York City Residency Program Directors COVID-19 Research Group
Although broadly protective, stem-targeted Abs against the influenza A virus hemagglutinin (HA) have been well studied, very limited information is available on Abs that broadly recognize the head domain. We determined the crystal structure of the HA protein of the avian H7N9 influenza virus in complex with a pan-H7, non-neutralizing, protective human Ab. The structure revealed a B cell epitope in the HA head domain trimer interface (TI). This discovery of a second major protective TI epitope supports a model in which uncleaved HA trimers exist on the surface of infected cells in a highly dynamic state that exposes hidden HA head domain features.
Jinhui Dong, Iuliia Gilchuk, Sheng Li, Ryan Irving, Matthew T. Goff, Hannah L. Turner, Andrew B. Ward, Robert H. Carnahan, James E. Crowe Jr.
Mutation in the LMNA gene, encoding lamin A/C, causes a diverse group of diseases called laminopathies. Cardiac involvement is the major cause of death and manifests as dilated cardiomyopathy, heart failure, arrhythmias, and sudden death. There is no specific therapy for LMNA-associated cardiomyopathy. We report that deletion of Lmna in cardiomyocytes in mice leads to severe cardiac dysfunction, conduction defect, ventricular arrhythmias, fibrosis, apoptosis, and premature death within 4 weeks. The phenotype is similar to LMNA-associated cardiomyopathy in humans. RNA sequencing, performed before the onset of cardiac dysfunction, led to identification of 2338 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in Lmna-deleted cardiomyocytes. DEGs predicted activation of bromodomain-containing protein 4 (BRD4), a regulator of chromatin-associated proteins and transcription factors, which was confirmed by complementary approaches, including chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing. Daily injection of JQ1, a specific BET bromodomain inhibitor, partially reversed the DEGs, including those encoding secretome; improved cardiac function; abrogated cardiac arrhythmias, fibrosis, and apoptosis; and prolonged the median survival time 2-fold in the myocyte-specific Lmna-deleted mice. The findings highlight the important role of LMNA in cardiomyocytes and identify BET bromodomain inhibition as a potential therapeutic target in LMNA-associated cardiomyopathy, for which there is no specific effective therapy.
Gaelle Auguste, Leila Rouhi, Scot J. Matkovich, Cristian Coarfa, Matthew J. Robertson, Grazyna Czernuszewicz, Priyatansh Gurha, Ali J. Marian
No known therapies can prevent anaphylaxis. Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) is an enzyme thought to be essential for high-affinity IgE receptor (FcεRI) signaling in human cells. We tested the hypothesis that FDA-approved BTK inhibitors (BTKis) would prevent IgE-mediated responses including anaphylaxis. We showed that irreversible BTKis broadly prevented IgE-mediated degranulation and cytokine production in primary human mast cells and blocked allergen-induced contraction of isolated human bronchi. To address their efficacy in vivo, we created and used what we believe to be a novel humanized mouse model of anaphylaxis that does not require marrow ablation or human tissue implantation. After a single intravenous injection of human CD34+ cells, NSG-SGM3 mice supported the population of mature human tissue-resident mast cells and basophils. These mice showed excellent responses during passive systemic anaphylaxis using human IgE to selectively evoke human mast cell and basophil activation, and response severity was controllable by alteration of the amount of allergen used for challenge. Remarkably, pretreatment with just 2 oral doses of the BTKi acalabrutinib completely prevented moderate IgE-mediated anaphylaxis in these mice and also significantly protected against death during severe anaphylaxis. Our data suggest that BTKis may be able to prevent anaphylaxis in humans by inhibiting FcεRI-mediated signaling.
Melanie C. Dispenza, Rebecca A. Krier-Burris, Krishan D. Chhiba, Bradley J. Undem, Piper A. Robida, Bruce S. Bochner
NF-κB transcription factors, driven by the IRAK/IKK cascade, confer treatment resistance in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), a cancer characterized by near-universal KRAS mutation. Through reverse-phase protein array and RNA sequencing we discovered that IRAK4 also contributes substantially to MAPK activation in KRAS-mutant PDAC. IRAK4 ablation completely blocked RAS-induced transformation of human and murine cells. Mechanistically, expression of mutant KRAS stimulated an inflammatory, autocrine IL-1β signaling loop that activated IRAK4 and the MAPK pathway. Downstream of IRAK4, we uncovered TPL2 (also known as MAP3K8 or COT) as the essential kinase that propels both MAPK and NF-κB cascades. Inhibition of TPL2 blocked both MAPK and NF-κB signaling, and suppressed KRAS-mutant cell growth. To counter chemotherapy-induced genotoxic stress, PDAC cells upregulated TLR9, which activated prosurvival IRAK4/TPL2 signaling. Accordingly, a TPL2 inhibitor synergized with chemotherapy to curb PDAC growth in vivo. Finally, from TCGA we characterized 2 MAP3K8 point mutations that hyperactivate MAPK and NF-κB cascades by impeding TPL2 protein degradation. Cancer cell lines naturally harboring these MAP3K8 mutations are strikingly sensitive to TPL2 inhibition, underscoring the need to identify these potentially targetable mutations in patients. Overall, our study establishes TPL2 as a promising therapeutic target in RAS- and MAP3K8-mutant cancers and strongly prompts development of TPL2 inhibitors for preclinical and clinical studies.
Paarth B. Dodhiawala, Namrata Khurana, Daoxiang Zhang, Yi Cheng, Lin Li, Qing Wei, Kuljeet Seehra, Hongmei Jiang, Patrick M. Grierson, Andrea Wang-Gillam, Kian-Huat Lim
BACKGROUND Convalescent plasma is the only antibody-based therapy currently available for patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). It has robust historical precedence and sound biological plausibility. Although promising, convalescent plasma has not yet been shown to be safe as a treatment for COVID-19.METHODS Thus, we analyzed key safety metrics after transfusion of ABO-compatible human COVID-19 convalescent plasma in 5000 hospitalized adults with severe or life-threatening COVID-19, with 66% in the intensive care unit, as part of the US FDA expanded access program for COVID-19 convalescent plasma.RESULTS The incidence of all serious adverse events (SAEs), including mortality rate (0.3%), in the first 4 hours after transfusion was <1%. Of the 36 reported SAEs, there were 25 reported incidences of related SAEs, including mortality (n = 4), transfusion-associated circulatory overload (n = 7), transfusion-related acute lung injury (n = 11), and severe allergic transfusion reactions (n = 3). However, only 2 of 36 SAEs were judged as definitely related to the convalescent plasma transfusion by the treating physician. The 7-day mortality rate was 14.9%.CONCLUSION Given the deadly nature of COVID-19 and the large population of critically ill patients included in these analyses, the mortality rate does not appear excessive. These early indicators suggest that transfusion of convalescent plasma is safe in hospitalized patients with COVID-19.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04338360.FUNDING Mayo Clinic, Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (75A50120C00096), National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (UL1TR002377), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (5R35HL139854 and R01 HL059842), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (5T32DK07352), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (PDF-532926-2019), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (R21 AI145356, R21 AI152318, and AI152078), Schwab Charitable Fund, United Health Group, National Basketball Association, Millennium Pharmaceuticals, and Octapharma USA Inc.
Michael J. Joyner, R. Scott Wright, DeLisa Fairweather, Jonathon W. Senefeld, Katelyn A. Bruno, Stephen A. Klassen, Rickey E. Carter, Allan M. Klompas, Chad C. Wiggins, John R.A. Shepherd, Robert F. Rea, Emily R. Whelan, Andrew J. Clayburn, Matthew R. Spiegel, Patrick W. Johnson, Elizabeth R. Lesser, Sarah E. Baker, Kathryn F. Larson, Juan G. Ripoll, Kylie J. Andersen, David O. Hodge, Katie L. Kunze, Matthew R. Buras, Matthew N.P. Vogt, Vitaly Herasevich, Joshua J. Dennis, Riley J. Regimbal, Philippe R. Bauer, Janis E. Blair, Camille M. Van Buskirk, Jeffrey L. Winters, James R. Stubbs, Nigel S. Paneth, Nicole C. Verdun, Peter Marks, Arturo Casadevall
The biology of harlequin ichthyosis (HI), a devastating skin disorder caused by loss-of-function mutations in the gene ABCA12, is poorly understood, and to date, no satisfactory treatment has been developed. We sought to investigate pathomechanisms of HI that could lead to the identification of new treatments for improving patients’ quality of life. In this study, RNA-Seq and functional assays were performed to define the effects of loss of ABCA12 using HI patient skin samples and an engineered CRISPR/Cas9 ABCA12 KO cell line. The HI living skin equivalent (3D model) recapitulated the HI skin phenotype. The cytokines IL-36α and IL-36γ were upregulated in HI skin, whereas the innate immune inhibitor IL-37 was strongly downregulated. We also identified STAT1 and its downstream target inducible nitric oxide synthase (NOS2) as being upregulated in the in vitro HI 3D model and HI patient skin samples. Inhibition of NOS2 using the inhibitor 1400W or the JAK inhibitor tofacitinib dramatically improved the in vitro HI phenotype by restoring the lipid barrier in the HI 3D model. Our study has identified dysregulated pathways in HI skin that are feasible therapeutic targets.
Florence Enjalbert, Priya Dewan, Matthew P. Caley, Eleri M. Jones, Mary A. Morse, David P. Kelsell, Anton J. Enright, Edel A. O’Toole
Although the control of bone-resorbing osteoclasts through osteocyte-derived RANKL is well defined, little is known about the regulation of osteoclasts by osteocyte death. Indeed, several skeletal diseases, such as bone fracture, osteonecrosis, and inflammation are characterized by excessive osteocyte death. Herein we show that osteoclasts sense damage-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) released by necrotic osteocytes via macrophage-inducible C-type lectin (Mincle), which induced their differentiation and triggered bone loss. Osteoclasts showed robust Mincle expression upon exposure to necrotic osteocytes in vitro and in vivo. RNA sequencing and metabolic analyses demonstrated that Mincle activation triggers osteoclastogenesis via ITAM-based calcium signaling pathways, skewing osteoclast metabolism toward oxidative phosphorylation. Deletion of Mincle in vivo effectively blocked the activation of osteoclasts after induction of osteocyte death, improved fracture repair, and attenuated inflammation-mediated bone loss. Furthermore, in patients with osteonecrosis, Mincle was highly expressed at skeletal sites of osteocyte death and correlated with strong osteoclastic activity. Taken together, these data point to what we believe is a novel DAMP-mediated process that allows osteoclast activation and bone loss in the context of osteocyte death.
Darja Andreev, Mengdan Liu, Daniela Weidner, Katerina Kachler, Maria Faas, Anika Grüneboom, Ursula Schlötzer-Schrehardt, Luis E. Muñoz, Ulrike Steffen, Bettina Grötsch, Barbara Killy, Gerhard Krönke, Andreas M. Luebke, Andreas Niemeier, Falk Wehrhan, Roland Lang, Georg Schett, Aline Bozec
The amyloid hypothesis posits that the amyloid-beta (Aβ) protein precedes and requires microtubule-associated protein tau in a sort of trigger-bullet mechanism leading to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathology. This sequence of events has become dogmatic in the AD field and is used to explain clinical trial failures due to a late start of the intervention when Aβ already activated tau. Here, using a multidisciplinary approach combining molecular biological, biochemical, histopathological, electrophysiological, and behavioral methods, we demonstrated that tau suppression did not protect against Aβ-induced damage of long-term synaptic plasticity and memory, or from amyloid deposition. Tau suppression could even unravel a defect in basal synaptic transmission in a mouse model of amyloid deposition. Similarly, tau suppression did not protect against exogenous oligomeric tau–induced impairment of long-term synaptic plasticity and memory. The protective effect of tau suppression was, in turn, confined to short-term plasticity and memory. Taken together, our data suggest that therapies downstream of Aβ and tau together are more suitable to combat AD than therapies against one or the other alone.
Daniela Puzzo, Elentina K. Argyrousi, Agnieszka Staniszewski, Hong Zhang, Elisa Calcagno, Elisa Zuccarello, Erica Acquarone, Mauro Fa’, Domenica D. Li Puma, Claudio Grassi, Luciano D’Adamio, Nicholas M. Kanaan, Paul E. Fraser, Ottavio Arancio
The origin and fate of renal myofibroblasts is not clear after acute kidney injury (AKI). Here, we demonstrate that myofibroblasts were activated from quiescent pericytes (qPericytes) and the cell numbers increased after ischemia/reperfusion injury–induced AKI (IRI-AKI). Myofibroblasts underwent apoptosis during renal recovery but one-fifth of them survived in the recovered kidneys on day 28 after IRI-AKI and their cell numbers increased again after day 56. Microarray data showed the distinctive gene expression patterns of qPericytes, activated pericytes (aPericytes, myofibroblasts), and inactivated pericytes (iPericytes) isolated from kidneys before, on day 7, and on day 28 after IRI-AKI. Hypermethylation of the Acta2 repressor Ybx2 during IRI-AKI resulted in epigenetic modification of iPericytes to promote the transition to chronic kidney disease (CKD) and aggravated fibrogenesis induced by a second AKI induced by adenine. Mechanistically, transforming growth factor-β1 decreased the binding of YBX2 to the promoter of Acta2 and induced Ybx2 hypermethylation, thereby increasing α-smooth muscle actin expression in aPericytes. Demethylation by 5-azacytidine recovered the microvascular stabilizing function of aPericytes, reversed the profibrotic property of iPericytes, prevented AKI-CKD transition, and attenuated fibrogenesis induced by a second adenine-AKI. In conclusion, intervention to erase hypermethylation of pericytes after AKI provides a strategy to stop the transition to CKD.
Yu-Hsiang Chou, Szu-Yu Pan, Yu-Han Shao, Hong-Mou Shih, Shi-Yao Wei, Chun-Fu Lai, Wen-Chih Chiang, Claudia Schrimpf, Kai-Chien Yang, Liang-Chuan Lai, Yung-Ming Chen, Tzong-Shinn Chu, Shuei-Liong Lin
Connexin-43 (Cx43) gap junctions provide intercellular coupling, which ensures rapid action potential propagation and synchronized heart contraction. Alterations in Cx43 localization and reductions in gap junction coupling occur in failing hearts, contributing to ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. Recent reports have found that an internally translated Cx43 isoform, GJA1-20k, is an auxiliary subunit for the trafficking of Cx43 in heterologous expression systems. Here, we have created a mouse model by using CRISPR technology to mutate a single internal translation initiation site in Cx43 (M213L mutation), which generates full-length Cx43, but not GJA1-20k. We found that GJA1M213L/M213L mice had severely abnormal electrocardiograms despite preserved contractile function, reduced total Cx43, and reduced gap junctions, and they died suddenly at 2 to 4 weeks of age. Heterozygous GJA1M213L/WT mice survived to adulthood with increased ventricular ectopy. Biochemical experiments indicated that cytoplasmic Cx43 had a half-life that was 50% shorter than membrane-associated Cx43. Without GJA1-20k, poorly trafficked Cx43 was degraded. The data support that GJA1-20k, an endogenous entity translated independently of Cx43, is critical for Cx43 gap junction trafficking, maintenance of Cx43 protein, and normal electrical function of the mammalian heart.
Shaohua Xiao, Daisuke Shimura, Rachel Baum, Diana M. Hernandez, Sosse Agvanian, Yoshiko Nagaoka, Makoto Katsumata, Paul D. Lampe, Andre G. Kleber, TingTing Hong, Robin M. Shaw
Mechanisms driving tumor progression from less aggressive subtypes to more aggressive states represent key targets for therapy. We identified a subset of luminal A primary breast tumors that give rise to HER2-enriched (HER2E) subtype metastases, but remain clinically HER2 negative (cHER2–). By testing the unique genetic and transcriptomic features of these cases, we developed the hypothesis that FGFR4 likely participates in this subtype switching. To evaluate this, we developed 2 FGFR4 genomic signatures using a patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model treated with an FGFR4 inhibitor, which inhibited PDX growth in vivo. Bulk tumor gene expression analysis and single-cell RNA sequencing demonstrated that the inhibition of FGFR4 signaling caused molecular switching. In the Molecular Taxonomy of Breast Cancer International Consortium (METABRIC) breast cancer cohort, FGFR4-induced and FGFR4-repressed signatures each predicted overall survival. Additionally, the FGFR4-induced signature was an independent prognostic factor beyond subtype and stage. Supervised analysis of 77 primary tumors with paired metastases revealed that the FGFR4-induced signature was significantly higher in luminal/ER+ tumor metastases compared with their primaries. Finally, multivariate analysis demonstrated that the FGFR4-induced signature also predicted site-specific metastasis for lung, liver, and brain, but not for bone or lymph nodes. These data identify a link between FGFR4-regulated genes and metastasis, suggesting treatment options for FGFR4-positive patients, whose high expression is not caused by mutation or amplification.
Susana Garcia-Recio, Aatish Thennavan, Michael P. East, Joel S. Parker, Juan M. Cejalvo, Joseph P. Garay, Daniel P. Hollern, Xiaping He, Kevin R. Mott, Patricia Galván, Cheng Fan, Sara R. Selitsky, Alisha R. Coffey, David Marron, Fara Brasó-Maristany, Octavio Burgués, Joan Albanell, Federico Rojo, Ana Lluch, Eduardo Martinez de Dueñas, Jeffery M. Rosen, Gary L. Johnson, Lisa A. Carey, Aleix Prat, Charles M. Perou
TGF-β is a master regulator of fibrosis, driving the differentiation of fibroblasts into apoptosis-resistant myofibroblasts and sustaining the production of extracellular matrix (ECM) components. Here, we identified the nuclear long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) H19X as a master regulator of TGF-β–driven tissue fibrosis. H19X was consistently upregulated in a wide variety of human fibrotic tissues and diseases and was strongly induced by TGF-β, particularly in fibroblasts and fibroblast-related cells. Functional experiments following H19X silencing revealed that H19X was an obligatory factor for TGF-β–induced ECM synthesis as well as differentiation and survival of ECM-producing myofibroblasts. We showed that H19X regulates DDIT4L gene expression, specifically interacting with a region upstream of the DDIT4L gene and changing the chromatin accessibility of a DDIT4L enhancer. These events resulted in transcriptional repression of DDIT4L and, in turn, in increased collagen expression and fibrosis. Our results shed light on key effectors of TGF-β–induced ECM remodeling and fibrosis.
Elena Pachera, Shervin Assassi, Gloria A. Salazar, Mara Stellato, Florian Renoux, Adam Wunderlin, Przemyslaw Blyszczuk, Robert Lafyatis, Fina Kurreeman, Jeska de Vries-Bouwstra, Tobias Messemaker, Carol A. Feghali-Bostwick, Gerhard Rogler, Wouter T. van Haaften, Gerard Dijkstra, Fiona Oakley, Maurizio Calcagni, Janine Schniering, Britta Maurer, Jörg H.W. Distler, Gabriela Kania, Mojca Frank-Bertoncelj, Oliver Distler
Globoid cell leukodystrophy (GLD; Krabbe disease) is a progressive, incurable neurodegenerative disease caused by deficient activity of the hydrolytic enzyme galactosylceramidase (GALC). The ensuing cytotoxic accumulation of psychosine results in diffuse central and peripheral nervous system (CNS, PNS) demyelination. Presymptomatic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) is the only treatment for infantile-onset GLD; however, clinical outcomes of HSCT recipients often remain poor, and procedure-related morbidity is high. There are no effective therapies for symptomatic patients. Herein, we demonstrate in the naturally occurring canine model of GLD that presymptomatic monotherapy with intrathecal AAV9 encoding canine GALC administered into the cisterna magna increased GALC enzyme activity, normalized psychosine concentration, improved myelination, and attenuated inflammation in both the CNS and PNS. Moreover, AAV-mediated therapy successfully prevented clinical neurological dysfunction, allowing treated dogs to live beyond 2.5 years of age, more than 7 times longer than untreated dogs. Furthermore, we found that a 5-fold lower dose resulted in an attenuated form of disease, indicating that sufficient dosing is critical. Finally, postsymptomatic therapy with high-dose AAV9 also significantly extended lifespan, signifying a treatment option for patients for whom HSCT is not applicable. If translatable to patients, these findings would improve the outcomes of patients treated either pre- or postsymptomatically.
Allison M. Bradbury, Jessica H. Bagel, Duc Nguyen, Erik A. Lykken, Jill Pesayco Salvador, Xuntian Jiang, Gary P. Swain, Charles A. Assenmacher, Ian J. Hendricks, Keiko Miyadera, Rebecka S. Hess, Arielle Ostrager, Patricia ODonnell, Mark S. Sands, Daniel S. Ory, G. Diane Shelton, Ernesto R. Bongarzone, Steven J. Gray, Charles H. Vite
Cachexia, a devastating wasting syndrome characterized by severe weight loss with specific losses of muscle and adipose tissue, is driven by reduced food intake, increased energy expenditure, excess catabolism, and inflammation. Cachexia is associated with poor prognosis and high mortality and frequently occurs in patients with cancer, chronic kidney disease, infection, and many other illnesses. There is no effective treatment for this condition. Hypothalamic melanocortins have a potent and long-lasting inhibitory effect on feeding and anabolism, and pathophysiological processes increase melanocortin signaling tone, leading to anorexia, metabolic changes, and eventual cachexia. We used 3 rat models of anorexia and cachexia (LPS, methylcholanthrene sarcoma, and 5/6 subtotal nephrectomy) to evaluate efficacy of TCMCB07, a synthetic antagonist of the melanocortin-4 receptor. Our data show that peripheral treatment using TCMCB07 with intraperitoneal, subcutaneous, and oral administration increased food intake and body weight and preserved fat mass and lean mass during cachexia and LPS-induced anorexia. Furthermore, administration of TCMCB07 diminished hypothalamic inflammatory gene expression in cancer cachexia. These results suggest that peripheral TCMCB07 treatment effectively inhibits central melanocortin signaling and therefore stimulates appetite and enhances anabolism, indicating that TCMCB07 is a promising drug candidate for treating cachexia.
Xinxia Zhu, Michael F. Callahan, Kenneth A. Gruber, Marek Szumowski, Daniel L. Marks
Leber’s hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is a maternally inherited eye disease. X-linked nuclear modifiers were proposed to modify the phenotypic manifestation of LHON-associated mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations. By whole-exome sequencing, we identified the X-linked LHON modifier (c.157C>T, p.Arg53Trp) in PRICKLE3 encoding a mitochondrial protein linked to biogenesis of ATPase in 3 Chinese families. All affected individuals carried both ND4 11778G>A and p.Arg53Trp mutations, while subjects bearing only a single mutation exhibited normal vision. The cells carrying the p.Arg53Trp mutation exhibited defective assembly, stability, and function of ATP synthase, verified by PRICKLE3-knockdown cells. Coimmunoprecipitation indicated the direct interaction of PRICKLE3 with ATP synthase via ATP8. Strikingly, cells bearing both p.Arg53Trp and m.11778G>A mutations displayed greater mitochondrial dysfunction than those carrying only a single mutation. This finding indicated that the p.Arg53Trp mutation acted in synergy with the m.11778G>A mutation and deteriorated mitochondrial dysfunctions necessary for the expression of LHON. Furthermore, we demonstrated that Prickle3-deficient mice exhibited pronounced ATPase deficiencies. Prickle3-knockout mice recapitulated LHON phenotypes with retinal deficiencies, including degeneration of retinal ganglion cells and abnormal vasculature. Our findings provided new insights into the pathophysiology of LHON that were manifested by interaction between mtDNA mutations and X-linked nuclear modifiers.
Jialing Yu, Xiaoyang Liang, Yanchun Ji, Cheng Ai, Junxia Liu, Ling Zhu, Zhipeng Nie, Xiaofen Jin, Chenghui Wang, Juanjuan Zhang, Fuxin Zhao, Shuang Mei, Xiaoxu Zhao, Xiangtian Zhou, Minglian Zhang, Meng Wang, Taosheng Huang, Pingping Jiang, Min-Xin Guan
BACKGROUND The effects of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in pregnancy remain relatively unknown. We present a case of second trimester pregnancy with symptomatic COVID-19 complicated by severe preeclampsia and placental abruption.METHODS We analyzed the placenta for the presence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS–CoV-2) through molecular and immunohistochemical assays and by and electron microscopy and measured the maternal antibody response in the blood to this infection.RESULTS SARS–CoV-2 localized predominantly to syncytiotrophoblast cells at the materno-fetal interface of the placenta. Histological examination of the placenta revealed a dense macrophage infiltrate, but no evidence for the vasculopathy typically associated with preeclampsia.CONCLUSION This case demonstrates SARS–CoV-2 invasion of the placenta, highlighting the potential for severe morbidity among pregnant women with COVID-19.FUNDING Beatrice Kleinberg Neuwirth Fund and Fast Grant Emergent Ventures funding from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. The funding bodies did not have roles in the design of the study or data collection, analysis, and interpretation and played no role in writing the manuscript.
Hillary Hosier, Shelli F. Farhadian, Raffaella A. Morotti, Uma Deshmukh, Alice Lu-Culligan, Katherine H. Campbell, Yuki Yasumoto, Chantal B.F. Vogels, Arnau Casanovas-Massana, Pavithra Vijayakumar, Bertie Geng, Camila D. Odio, John Fournier, Anderson F. Brito, Joseph R. Fauver, Feimei Liu, Tara Alpert, Reshef Tal, Klara Szigeti-Buck, Sudhir Perincheri, Christopher Larsen, Aileen M. Gariepy, Gabriela Aguilar, Kristen L. Fardelmann, Malini Harigopal, Hugh S. Taylor, Christian M. Pettker, Anne L. Wyllie, Charles Dela Cruz, Aaron M. Ring, Nathan D. Grubaugh, Albert I. Ko, Tamas L. Horvath, Akiko Iwasaki, Uma M. Reddy, Heather S. Lipkind
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by plaques containing amyloid-β (Aβ) and neurofibrillary tangles composed of aggregated, hyperphosphorylated tau. Beyond tau and Aβ, evidence suggests that microglia play an important role in AD pathogenesis. Rare variants in the microglia-expressed triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) gene increase AD risk 2- to 4-fold. It is likely that these TREM2 variants increase AD risk by decreasing the response of microglia to Aβ and its local toxicity. However, neocortical Aβ pathology occurs many years before neocortical tau pathology in AD. Thus, it will be important to understand the role of TREM2 in the context of tauopathy. We investigated the impact of the AD-associated TREM2 variant (R47H) on tau-mediated neuropathology in the PS19 mouse model of tauopathy. We assessed PS19 mice expressing human TREM2CV (common variant) or human TREM2R47H. PS19-TREM2R47H mice had significantly attenuated brain atrophy and synapse loss versus PS19-TREM2CV mice. Gene expression analyses and CD68 immunostaining revealed attenuated microglial reactivity in PS19-TREM2R47H versus PS19-TREM2CV mice. There was also a decrease in phagocytosis of postsynaptic elements by microglia expressing TREM2R47H in the PS19 mice and in human AD brains. These findings suggest that impaired TREM2 signaling reduces microglia-mediated neurodegeneration in the setting of tauopathy.
Maud Gratuze, Cheryl E.G. Leyns, Andrew D. Sauerbeck, Marie-Kim St-Pierre, Monica Xiong, Nayeon Kim, Javier Remolina Serrano, Marie-Ève Tremblay, Terrance T. Kummer, Marco Colonna, Jason D. Ulrich, David M. Holtzman
Despite effective antiretroviral therapy, HIV-1–infected cells continue to produce viral antigens and induce chronic immune exhaustion. We propose to identify HIV-1–suppressing agents that can inhibit HIV-1 reactivation and reduce HIV-1–induced immune activation. Using a newly developed dual-reporter system and a high-throughput drug screen, we identified FDA-approved drugs that can suppress HIV-1 reactivation in both cell line models and CD4+ T cells from virally suppressed HIV-1–infected individuals. We identified 11 cellular pathways required for HIV-1 reactivation as druggable targets. Using differential expression analysis, gene set enrichment analysis, and exon-intron landscape analysis, we examined the impact of drug treatment on the cellular environment at a genome-wide level. We identified what we believe to be a new function of a JAK inhibitor, filgotinib, that suppresses HIV-1 splicing. First, filgotinib preferentially suppresses spliced HIV-1 RNA transcription. Second, filgotinib suppresses HIV-1–driven aberrant cancer-related gene expression at the integration site. Third, we found that filgotinib suppresses HIV-1 transcription by inhibiting T cell activation and by modulating RNA splicing. Finally, we found that filgotinib treatment reduces the proliferation of HIV-1–infected cells. Overall, the combination of a drug screen and transcriptome analysis provides systematic understanding of cellular targets required for HIV-1 reactivation and drug candidates that may reduce HIV-1–related immune activation.
Yang-Hui Jimmy Yeh, Katharine M. Jenike, Rachela M. Calvi, Jennifer Chiarella, Rebecca Hoh, Steven G. Deeks, Ya-Chi Ho
The brain has evolved in an environment where food sources are scarce, and foraging for food is one of the major challenges for survival of the individual and species. Basic and clinical studies show that obesity or overnutrition leads to overwhelming changes in the brain in animals and humans. However, the exact mechanisms underlying the consequences of excessive energy intake are not well understood. Neurons expressing the neuropeptide hypocretin/orexin (Hcrt) in the lateral/perifonical hypothalamus (LH) are critical for homeostatic regulation, reward seeking, stress response, and cognitive functions. In this study, we examined adaptations in Hcrt cells regulating behavioral responses to salient stimuli in diet-induced obese mice. Our results demonstrated changes in primary cilia, synaptic transmission and plasticity, cellular responses to neurotransmitters necessary for reward seeking, and stress responses in Hcrt neurons from obese mice. Activities of neuronal networks in the LH and hippocampus were impaired as a result of decreased hypocretinergic function. The weakened Hcrt system decreased reward seeking while altering responses to acute stress (stress-coping strategy), which were reversed by selectively activating Hcrt cells with chemogenetics. Taken together, our data suggest that a deficiency in Hcrt signaling may be a common cause of behavioral changes (such as lowered arousal, weakened reward seeking, and altered stress response) in obese animals.
Ying Tan, Fu Hang, Zhong-Wu Liu, Milan Stoiljkovic, Mingxing Wu, Yue Tu, Wenfei Han, Angela M. Lee, Craig Kelley, Mihály Hajós, Lingeng Lu, Luis de Lecea, Ivan De Araujo, Marina R. Picciotto, Tamas L. Horvath, Xiao-Bing Gao
Patients with diabetes develop endothelial dysfunction shortly after diabetes onset that progresses to vascular disease underlying the majority of diabetes-associated comorbidities. Increased lipid peroxidation, mitochondrial calcium overload, and mitochondrial dysfunction are characteristics of dysfunctional endothelial cells in diabetic patients. We here identified that targeting the lipid peroxidation product 12(S)-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid–induced [12(S)-HETE–induced] activation of the intracellularly located cation channel transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) in endothelial cells is a means to causally control early-stage vascular disease in type I diabetic mice. Mice with an inducible, endothelium-specific 12/15-lipoxygenase (12/15Lo) knockout were protected similarly to TRPV1-knockout mice from type 1 diabetes–induced endothelial dysfunction and impaired vascular regeneration following arterial injury. Both 12(S)-HETE in concentrations found in diabetic patients and TRPV1 agonists triggered mitochondrial calcium influx and mitochondrial dysfunction in endothelial cells, and 12(S)-HETE effects were absent in endothelial cells from TRPV1-knockout mice. As a therapeutic consequence, we found that a peptide targeting 12(S)-HETE–induced TRPV1 interaction at the TRPV1 TRP box ameliorated diabetes-induced endothelial dysfunction and augmented vascular regeneration in diabetic mice. Our findings suggest that pharmacological targeting of increased endothelial lipid peroxidation can attenuate diabetes-induced comorbidities related to vascular disease.
Mandy Otto, Clarissa Bucher, Wantao Liu, Melanie Müller, Tobias Schmidt, Marina Kardell, Marvin Noel Driessen, Jan Rossaint, Eric R. Gross, Nana-Maria Wagner
Dysregulation of autophagy in diabetic kidney disease (DKD) has been reported, but the underlying mechanism and its pathogenic role remain elusive. We show that autophagy was inhibited in DKD models and in human diabetic kidneys. Ablation of autophagy-related gene 7 (Atg7) from kidney proximal tubules led to autophagy deficiency and worse renal hypertrophy, tubular damage, inflammation, fibrosis, and albuminuria in diabetic mice, indicating a protective role of autophagy in DKD. Autophagy impairment in DKD was associated with the downregulation of unc-51–like autophagy-activating kinase 1 (ULK1), which was mediated by the upregulation of microRNA-214 (miR-214) in diabetic kidney cells and tissues. Ablation of miR-214 from kidney proximal tubules prevented a decrease in ULK1 expression and autophagy impairment in diabetic kidneys, resulting in less renal hypertrophy and albuminuria. Furthermore, blockade of p53 attenuated miR-214 induction in DKD, leading to higher levels of ULK1 and autophagy, accompanied by an amelioration of DKD. Compared with nondiabetic samples, renal biopsies from patients with diabetes showed induction of p53 and miR-214, associated with downregulation of ULK1 and autophagy. We found a positive correlation between p53/miR-214 and renal fibrosis, but a negative correlation between ULK1/LC3 and renal fibrosis in patients with diabetes. Together, these results identify the p53/miR-214/ULK1 axis in autophagy impairment in diabetic kidneys, pinpointing possible therapeutic targets for DKD.
Zhengwei Ma, Lin Li, Man J. Livingston, Dongshan Zhang, Qingsheng Mi, Ming Zhang, Han-Fei Ding, Yuqing Huo, Changlin Mei, Zheng Dong
Jia Wang, Peng Cheng, Marat S. Pavlyukov, Hai Yu, Zhuo Zhang, Sung-Hak Kim, Mutsuko Minata, Ahmed Mohyeldin, Wanfu Xie, Dongquan Chen, Violaine Goidts, Brendan Frett, Wenhao Hu, Hongyu Li, Yong Jae Shin, Yeri Lee, Do-Hyun Nam, Harley I. Kornblum, Maode Wang, Ichiro Nakano