In this issue, Yi et al. report integrated genetic and transcriptomic analysis of samples from 134 patients with mantle cell lymphoma. They classify mantle cell lymphoma into 4 clusters based on shared genetic lesions and report gene expression signatures as well as associations with clinical outcomes. Image credit: David A. Litman/Shutterstock.
As the curtain draws on the 5-year term of the JCI editorial board at Johns Hopkins, I am filled with gratitude and would like to extend a warm ayekoo (Ghanaian salutation meaning “well done”) to our editors, staff, reviewers, and scientists for supporting the Journal. I am delighted to welcome the next JCI Editor in Chief, Elizabeth McNally — the first woman to lead the JCI since it was founded almost a century ago — and her team from Northwestern University.
Rexford S. Ahima
Ushma S. Neill
Peter C. Butler, Edwin A.M. Gale
The reality of life in modern times is that our internal circadian rhythms are often out of alignment with the light/dark cycle of the external environment. This is known as circadian disruption, and a wealth of epidemiological evidence shows that it is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease remains the top cause of death in the United States, and kidney disease in particular is a tremendous public health burden that contributes to cardiovascular deaths. There is an urgent need for new treatments for kidney disease; circadian rhythm–based therapies may be of potential benefit. The goal of this Review is to summarize the existing data that demonstrate a connection between circadian rhythm disruption and renal impairment in humans. Specifically, we will focus on chronic kidney disease, lupus nephritis, hypertension, and aging. Importantly, the relationship between circadian dysfunction and pathophysiology is thought to be bidirectional. Here we discuss the gaps in our knowledge of the mechanisms underlying circadian dysfunction in diseases of the kidney. Finally, we provide a brief overview of potential circadian rhythm–based interventions that could provide benefit in renal disease.
Rajesh Mohandas, Lauren G. Douma, Yogesh Scindia, Michelle L. Gumz
Cellular senescence is a fundamental aging mechanism that is currently the focus of considerable interest as a pathway that could be targeted to ameliorate aging across multiple tissues, including the skeleton. There is now substantial evidence that senescent cells accumulate in the bone microenvironment with aging and that targeting these cells prevents age-related bone loss, at least in mice. Cellular senescence also plays important roles in mediating the skeletal fragility associated with diabetes mellitus, radiation, and chemotherapy. As such, there are ongoing efforts to develop “senolytic” drugs that kill senescent cells by targeting key survival mechanisms in these cells without affecting normal cells. Because senescent cells accumulate across tissues with aging, senolytics offer the attractive possibility of treating multiple age-related comorbidities simultaneously.
Sundeep Khosla, Joshua N. Farr, David G. Monroe
Prostate cancer exerts a greater toll on African American men than on White men of European descent (hereafter referred to as European American men): the disparity in incidence and mortality is greater than that of any other common cancer. The disproportionate impact of prostate cancer on Black men has been attributed to the genetics of African ancestry, to diet and lifestyle risk factors, and to unequal access to quality health care. In this Review, all of these influences are considered in the context of the evolving understanding that chronic or recurrent inflammatory processes drive prostatic carcinogenesis. Studies of inherited susceptibility highlight the contributions of genes involved in prostate cell and tissue repair (BRCA1/2, ATM) and regeneration (HOXB13 and MYC). Social determinants of health appear to accentuate these genetic influences by fueling prostate inflammation and associated cell and genome damage. Molecular characterization of the prostate cancers that arise in Black versus White men further implicates this inflammatory microenvironment in disease behavior. Yet, when Black and White men with similar grade and stage of prostate cancer are treated equally, they exhibit equivalent outcomes. The central role of prostate inflammation in prostate cancer development and progression augments the impact of the social determinants of health on disease pathogenesis. And, when coupled with poorer access to high-quality treatment, these inequities result in a disparate burden of prostate cancer on African American men.
William G. Nelson, Otis W. Brawley, William B. Isaacs, Elizabeth A. Platz, Srinivasan Yegnasubramanian, Karen S. Sfanos, Tamara L. Lotan, Angelo M. De Marzo
About 6 million adults in the United States have heart failure, and the mortality five years after diagnosis remains high at approximately 50%. Incomplete understanding of disease pathogenesis limits therapeutics, especially in the case of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, a condition commonly associated with cardiac hypertrophy. Neutrophils, the most abundant leukocyte in blood, have functions beyond antimicrobial activity and participate in both sterile inflammation and disease; however, their role in nonischemic cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure is underexplored. In this issue of the JCI, Tang et al. show that neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation contributes to cardiac hypertrophy and dysfunction in a mouse model of angiotensin II–induced cardiomyopathy, and that Krüppel-like factor 2 (KLF2) functions in neutrophils to oppose this process. Whether a neutrophil-centered strategy may benefit patients with cardiac hypertrophy and failure deserves further investigation.
Dario F. Riascos-Bernal, Nicholas E.S. Sibinga
Sortilin is a glycoprotein mainly known for its role as a trafficking molecule directing proteins to specific secretory or endocytic compartments of the cell. Its actual contribution to essential hypertension has remained hitherto elusive. Combining top-notch in vivo, ex vivo, and in vitro approaches to clinical investigations, Di Pietro et al. explored the signaling pathway evoked by sortilin in endothelial cells and report on such exploration in this issue of the JCI. The researchers identified circulating sortilin as a biomarker associated with high blood pressure. Mechanistically, they demonstrate that sortilin altered sphingolipid/ceramide homeostasis, initiating a signaling cascade that, from sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P), leads to the augmented production of reactive oxygen species. Herein, we discuss the main implications of these findings, and we anticipate some of the potential avenues of investigation prompted by this discovery, which could eventually lead to treatments for cardiometabolic disorders.
Fahimeh Varzideh, Stanislovas S. Jankauskas, Urna Kansakar, Pasquale Mone, Jessica Gambardella, Gaetano Santulli
IL-2 is a pleiotropic cytokine. In this issue of the JCI, Ren et al. report on the development of a low-affinity IL-2 paired with anti–PD-1 (PD-1–laIL-2) that reactivates intratumoral CD8+ T cells, but not CD4+ Treg cells. PD-1–laIL-2 treatment synergized with anti–PD-L1 therapy to overcome tumor resistance to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB) in tumor-bearing mice. Rejection of rechallenged tumors following PD-1–laIL-2 therapy demonstrated the establishment of a potent T cell memory response. Furthermore, PD-1–laIL-2 therapy manifested no obvious toxicity. These findings suggest the potential of PD-1–laIL-2 therapy in treating patients with cancer.
Erin A. Holcomb, Weiping Zou
Propranolol is a nonselective β-adrenergic receptor (AR) blocker that has been the first-line therapy for problematic infantile hemangioma (IH), the most frequent childhood vascular tumor. Although IHs are benign and eventually regress spontaneously, at least 15% of patients require treatment. Despite the extensive use of propranolol for IH treatment, its mode of action remains unclear. In this issue of the JCI, Seebauer et al. investigated the cellular and molecular consequences of propranolol treatment on IH vascular tumor formation in a murine model of IH. The efficacy of propranolol was independent of its β-AR blocker activity and was attributable to the direct targeting of the transcription factor SOX18, which, in turn, reduced hemangioma blood vessel formation. We believe these results will guide clinical translation for the use of more efficient and safer therapies for IH and possibly for other vascular anomalies in which SOX18 plays a role.
Sandra Schrenk, Elisa Boscolo
A sarcomere is the contractile unit of the myofibril in striated muscles such as cardiac and skeletal muscles. The assembly of sarcomeres depends on multiple molecules that serve as raw materials and participate in the assembly process. However, the mechanism of this critical assembly process remains largely unknown. Here, we found that the cell fate determinant Numb and its homolog Numblike regulated sarcomere assembly and maintenance in striated muscles. We discovered that Numb and Numblike are sarcomeric molecules that were gradually confined to the Z-disc during striated muscle development. Conditional knockout of Numb and Numblike severely compromised sarcomere assembly and its integrity and thus caused organelle dysfunction. Notably, we identified that Numb and Numblike served as sarcomeric α-Actin–binding proteins (ABPs) and shared a conserved domain that can bind to the barbed end of sarcomeric α-Actin. In vitro fluorometric α-Actin polymerization assay showed that Numb and Numblike also played a role in the sarcomeric α-Actin polymerization process. Last, we demonstrate that Numb and Numblike regulate sarcomeric α-Actinin–dependent (ACTN-dependent) Z-disc consolidation in the sarcomere assembly and maintenance. In summary, our studies show that Numb and its homolog Numblike regulate sarcomere assembly and maintenance in striated muscles, and demonstrate a molecular mechanism by which Numb/Numblike, sarcomeric α-Actin, and ACTN cooperate to control thin filament formation and Z-disc consolidation.
Baolei Wang, Min Yang, Shujuan Li
Ulcerating skin lesions are manifestations of human ISG15 deficiency, a type I interferonopathy. However, chronic inflammation may not be their exclusive cause. We describe two siblings with recurrent skin ulcers that healed with scar formation upon corticosteroid treatment. Both had a homozygous nonsense mutation in the ISG15 gene, leading to unstable ISG15 protein lacking the functional domain. We characterized ISG15–/– dermal fibroblasts, HaCaT keratinocytes, and human induced pluripotent stem cell–derived vascular endothelial cells. ISG15-deficient cells exhibited the expected hyperinflammatory phenotype, but also dysregulated expression of molecules critical for connective tissue and epidermis integrity, including reduced collagens and adhesion molecules, but increased matrix metalloproteinases. ISG15–/– fibroblasts exhibited elevated ROS levels and reduced ROS scavenger expression. As opposed to hyperinflammation, defective collagen and integrin synthesis was not rescued by conjugation-deficient ISG15. Cell migration was retarded in ISG15–/– fibroblasts and HaCaT keratinocytes, but normalized under ruxolitinib treatment. Desmosome density was reduced in an ISG15–/– 3D epidermis model. Additionally, there were loose architecture and reduced collagen and desmoglein expression, which could be reversed by treatment with ruxolitinib/doxycycline/TGF-β1. These results reveal critical roles of ISG15 in maintaining cell migration and epidermis and connective tissue homeostasis, whereby the latter likely requires its conjugation to yet unidentified targets.
Muhammad Nasir Hayat Malik, Syed Fakhar-ul-Hassnain Waqas, Jana Zeitvogel, Jingyuan Cheng, Robert Geffers, Zeinab Abu-Elbaha Gouda, Ahmed Mahrous Elsaman, Ahmed R. Radwan, Matthias Schefzyk, Peter Braubach, Bernd Auber, Ruth Olmer, Mathias Müsken, Lennart M. Roesner, Gisa Gerold, Sven Schuchardt, Sylvia Merkert, Ulrich Martin, Felix Meissner, Thomas Werfel, Frank Pessler
It has been revealed that 2′3′-cyclic-GMP-AMP (cGAMP), a second messenger that activates the antiviral stimulator of IFN genes (STING), elicits an antitumoral immune response. Since cGAMP cannot cross the cell membrane, it is not clear how intracellular STING has been activated by extracellular cGAMP until SLC19A1 was identified as an importer to transport extracellular cGAMP into the cytosol. However, SLC19A1-deficient cells also sense extracellular cGAMP, suggesting the presence of mechanisms other than the facilitating transporters for STING sensing extracellular cGAMP. Here, using immunoprecipitation, immunofluorescence, and flow cytometry, we identified an alternatively spliced STING isoform, plasmatic membrane STING (pmSTING), that localized in the plasma membrane with its C-terminus outside the cell, due to a lack of 1 transmembrane domain in its N-terminus compared with canonical STING. Further studies showed that extracellular cGAMP not only promoted the dimerization of pmSTING and interaction of pmSTING with TANK-binding kinase 1 (TBK1) and IFN regulatory factor 3 (IRF3), but also enhanced the phosphorylation of TBK1 and IRF3 and the production of IFN in pmSTING-transfected cells. Additionally, we also identified similar pmSTING isoforms in other species including human. This study suggests a conserved role for pmSTING in sensing extracellular cGAMP and provides insight into the role of cGAMP as an immunotransmitter.
Xiaobo Li, Yuanyuan Zhu, Xiao Zhang, Xiang An, Mingjiao Weng, Jiaqi Shi, Song Wang, Caiqi Liu, Shengnan Luo, Tongsen Zheng
Desmoglein 1 (Dsg1) is a cadherin restricted to stratified tissues of terrestrial vertebrates, which serve as essential physical and immune barriers. Dsg1 loss-of-function mutations in humans result in skin lesions and multiple allergies, and isolated patient keratinocytes exhibit increased proallergic cytokine expression. However, the mechanism by which genetic deficiency of Dsg1 causes chronic inflammation is unknown. To determine the systemic response to Dsg1 loss, we deleted the 3 tandem Dsg1 genes in mice. Whole transcriptome analysis of embryonic Dsg1–/– skin showed a delay in expression of adhesion/differentiation/keratinization genes at E17.5, a subset of which recovered or increased by E18.5. Comparing epidermal transcriptomes from Dsg1-deficient mice and humans revealed a shared IL-17–skewed inflammatory signature. Although the impaired intercellular adhesion observed in Dsg1–/– mice resembles that resulting from anti-Dsg1 pemphigus foliaceus antibodies, pemphigus skin lesions exhibit a weaker IL-17 signature. Consistent with the clinical importance of these findings, treatment of 2 Dsg1-deficient patients with an IL-12/IL-23 antagonist originally developed for psoriasis resulted in improvement of skin lesions. Thus, beyond impairing the physical barrier, loss of Dsg1 function through gene mutation results in a psoriatic-like inflammatory signature before birth, and treatment with a targeted therapy significantly improved skin lesions in patients.
Lisa M. Godsel, Quinn R. Roth-Carter, Jennifer L. Koetsier, Lam C. Tsoi, Amber L. Huffine, Joshua A. Broussard, Gillian N. Fitz, Sarah M. Lloyd, Junghun Kweon, Hope E. Burks, Marihan Hegazy, Saki Amagai, Paul W. Harms, Xianying Xing, Joseph Kirma, Jodi L. Johnson, Gloria Urciuoli, Lynn T. Doglio, William R. Swindell, Rajeshwar Awatramani, Eli Sprecher, Xiaomin Bao, Eran Cohen-Barak, Caterina Missero, Johann E. Gudjonsson, Kathleen J. Green
Bitter taste receptors (taste 2 receptors, TAS2Rs) serve as warning sensors in the lingual system against the ingestion of potentially poisonous food. Here, we investigated the functional role of TAS2Rs in the human gut and focused on their potential to trigger an additional host defense pathway in the intestine. Human jejunal crypts, especially those from individuals with obesity, responded to bitter agonists by inducing the release of antimicrobial peptides (α-defensin 5 and regenerating islet–derived protein 3 α [REG3A]) but also regulated the expression of other innate immune factors (mucins, chemokines) that affected E. coli growth. We found that the effect of aloin on E. coli growth and on the release of the mucus glycoprotein CLCA1, identified via proteomics, was affected by TAS2R43 deletion polymorphisms and thus confirmed a role for TAS2R43. RNA-Seq revealed that denatonium benzoate induced an NRF2-mediated nutrient stress response and an unfolded protein response that increased the expression of the mitokine GDF15 but also ADM2 and LDLR, genes that are involved in anorectic signaling and lipid homeostasis. In conclusion, TAS2Rs in the intestine constitute a promising target for treating diseases that involve disturbances in the innate immune system and body weight control. TAS2R polymorphisms may be valuable genetic markers to predict therapeutic responses.
Kathrin I. Liszt, Qiaoling Wang, Mona Farhadipour, Anneleen Segers, Theo Thijs, Linda Nys, Ellen Deleus, Bart Van der Schueren, Christopher Gerner, Benjamin Neuditschko, Laurens J. Ceulemans, Matthias Lannoo, Jan Tack, Inge Depoortere
Oligodendrocytes are the primary target of demyelinating disorders, and progressive neurodegenerative changes may evolve in the CNS. DNA damage and oxidative stress are considered key pathogenic events, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear. Moreover, animal models do not fully recapitulate human diseases, complicating the path to effective treatments. Here we report that mice with cell-autonomous deletion of the nuclear COP9 signalosome component CSN5 (JAB1) in oligodendrocytes develop DNA damage and defective DNA repair in myelinating glial cells. Interestingly, oligodendrocytes lacking JAB1 expression underwent a senescence-like phenotype that fostered chronic inflammation and oxidative stress. These mutants developed progressive CNS demyelination, microglia inflammation, and neurodegeneration, with severe motor deficits and premature death. Notably, blocking microglia inflammation did not prevent neurodegeneration, whereas the deletion of p21CIP1 but not p16INK4a pathway ameliorated the disease. We suggest that senescence is key to sustaining neurodegeneration in demyelinating disorders and may be considered a potential therapeutic target.
Cristina Rivellini, Emanuela Porrello, Giorgia Dina, Simona Mrakic-Sposta, Alessandra Vezzoli, Marco Bacigaluppi, Giorgia Serena Gullotta, Linda Chaabane, Letizia Leocani, Silvia Marenna, Emanuela Colombo, Cinthia Farina, Jia Newcombe, Klaus-Armin Nave, Ruggero Pardi, Angelo Quattrini, Stefano C. Previtali
BACKGROUND Major depressive disorder (MDD) and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are highly comorbid and exhibit strong correlations with one another. We aimed to investigate mechanisms of underlying relationships between PTSD and 3 kinds of depressive phenotypes, namely, MDD, depressed affect (DAF), and depression (DEP, including both MDD and the broad definition of depression).METHODS Genetic correlations between PTSD and the depressive phenotypes were tested using linkage disequilibrium score regression. Polygenic overlap analysis was used to estimate shared and trait-specific causal variants across a pair of traits. Causal relationships between PTSD and the depressive phenotypes were investigated using Mendelian randomization. Shared genomic loci between PTSD and MDD were identified using cross-trait meta-analysis.RESULTS Genetic correlations of PTSD with the depressive phenotypes were in the range of 0.71–0.80. The estimated numbers of causal variants were 14,565, 12,965, 10,565, and 4,986 for MDD, DEP, DAF, and PTSD, respectively. In each case, causal variants contributing to PTSD were completely or largely covered by causal variants defining each of the depressive phenotypes. Mendelian randomization analysis indicated that the genetically determined depressive phenotypes confer a causal effect on PTSD (b = 0.21–0.31). Notably, genetically determined PTSD confers a causal effect on DEP (b = 0.14) and DAF (b = 0.15), but not MDD. Cross-trait meta-analysis of MDD and PTSD identified 47 genomic loci, including 29 loci shared between PTSD and MDD.CONCLUSION Evidence from shared genetics suggests that PTSD is a subtype of MDD. This study provides support to the efforts in reducing diagnostic heterogeneity in psychiatric nosology.FUNDING The National Key Research and Development Program of China and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.
Fuquan Zhang, Shuquan Rao, Hongbao Cao, Xiangrong Zhang, Qiang Wang, Yong Xu, Jing Sun, Chun Wang, Jiu Chen, Xijia Xu, Ning Zhang, Lin Tian, Jianmin Yuan, Guoqiang Wang, Lei Cai, Mingqing Xu, Ancha Baranova
Sortilin has been positively correlated with vascular disorders in humans. No study has yet evaluated the possible direct effect of sortilin on vascular function. We used pharmacological and genetic approaches coupled with study of murine and human samples to unravel the mechanisms recruited by sortilin in the vascular system. Sortilin induced endothelial dysfunction of mesenteric arteries through NADPH oxidase 2 (NOX2) isoform activation, dysfunction that was prevented by knockdown of acid sphingomyelinase (ASMase) or sphingosine kinase 1. In vivo, recombinant sortilin administration induced arterial hypertension in WT mice. In contrast, genetic deletion of sphingosine-1-phosphate receptor 3 (S1P3) and gp91phox/NOX2 resulted in preservation of endothelial function and blood pressure homeostasis after 14 days of systemic sortilin administration. Translating these research findings into the clinical setting, we detected elevated sortilin levels in hypertensive patients with endothelial dysfunction. Furthermore, in a population-based cohort of 270 subjects, we showed increased plasma ASMase activity and increased plasma levels of sortilin, S1P, and soluble NOX2-derived peptide (sNOX2-dp) in hypertensive subjects, and the increase was more pronounced in hypertensive subjects with uncontrolled blood pressure. Our studies reveal what we believe is a previously unrecognized role of sortilin in the impairment of vascular function and in blood pressure homeostasis and suggest the potential of sortilin and its mediators as biomarkers for the prediction of vascular dysfunction and high blood pressure.
Paola Di Pietro, Albino Carrizzo, Eduardo Sommella, Marco Oliveti, Licia Iacoviello, Augusto Di Castelnuovo, Fausto Acernese, Antonio Damato, Massimiliano De Lucia, Fabrizio Merciai, Paola Iesu, Eleonora Venturini, Raffaele Izzo, Valentina Trimarco, Michele Ciccarelli, Giuseppe Giugliano, Roberto Carnevale, Vittoria Cammisotto, Serena Migliarino, Nicola Virtuoso, Andrea Strianese, Viviana Izzo, Pietro Campiglia, Elena Ciaglia, Bodo Levkau, Annibale A. Puca, Carmine Vecchione
Repair of the infarcted heart requires TGF-β/Smad3 signaling in cardiac myofibroblasts. However, TGF-β–driven myofibroblast activation needs to be tightly regulated in order to prevent excessive fibrosis and adverse remodeling that may precipitate heart failure. We hypothesized that induction of the inhibitory Smad, Smad7, may restrain infarct myofibroblast activation, and we examined the molecular mechanisms of Smad7 actions. In a mouse model of nonreperfused infarction, Smad3 activation triggered Smad7 synthesis in α-SMA+ infarct myofibroblasts, but not in α-SMA–PDGFRα+ fibroblasts. Myofibroblast-specific Smad7 loss increased heart failure–related mortality, worsened dysfunction, and accentuated fibrosis in the infarct border zone and in the papillary muscles. Smad7 attenuated myofibroblast activation and reduced synthesis of structural and matricellular extracellular matrix proteins. Smad7 effects on TGF-β cascades involved deactivation of Smad2/3 and non-Smad pathways, without any effects on TGF-β receptor activity. Unbiased transcriptomic and proteomic analysis identified receptor tyrosine kinase signaling as a major target of Smad7. Smad7 interacted with ErbB2 in a TGF-β–independent manner and restrained ErbB1/ErbB2 activation, suppressing fibroblast expression of fibrogenic proteases, integrins, and CD44. Smad7 induction in myofibroblasts serves as an endogenous TGF-β–induced negative feedback mechanism that inhibits postinfarction fibrosis by restraining Smad-dependent and Smad-independent TGF-β responses, and by suppressing TGF-β–independent fibrogenic actions of ErbB2.
Claudio Humeres, Arti V. Shinde, Anis Hanna, Linda Alex, Silvia C. Hernández, Ruoshui Li, Bijun Chen, Simon J. Conway, Nikolaos G. Frangogiannis
It is widely recognized that inflammation plays a critical role in cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. However, clinical trials targeting cytokines have shown equivocal effects, indicating the need for a deeper understanding of the precise role of inflammation and inflammatory cells in heart failure. Leukocytes from human subjects and a rodent model of heart failure were characterized by a marked reduction in expression of Klf2 mRNA. Using a mouse model of angiotensin II–induced nonischemic cardiac dysfunction, we showed that neutrophils played an essential role in the pathogenesis and progression of heart failure. Mechanistically, chronic angiotensin II infusion activated a neutrophil KLF2/NETosis pathway that triggered sporadic thrombosis in small myocardial vessels, leading to myocardial hypoxia, cell death, and hypertrophy. Conversely, targeting neutrophils, neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), or thrombosis ameliorated these pathological changes and preserved cardiac dysfunction. KLF2 regulated neutrophil activation in response to angiotensin II at the molecular level, partly through crosstalk with HIF1 signaling. Taken together, our data implicate neutrophil-mediated immunothrombotic dysregulation as a critical pathogenic mechanism leading to cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. This neutrophil KLF2-NETosis-thrombosis mechanism underlying chronic heart failure can be exploited for therapeutic gain by therapies targeting neutrophils, NETosis, or thrombosis.
Xinmiao Tang, Peiwei Wang, Rongli Zhang, Ippei Watanabe, Eugene Chang, Vinesh Vinayachandran, Lalitha Nayak, Stephanie Lapping, Sarah Liao, Annmarie Madera, David R. Sweet, Jiemeng Luo, Jinsong Fei, Hyun-Woo Jeong, Ralf H. Adams, Teng Zhang, Xudong Liao, Mukesh K. Jain
Macrophages are highly heterogeneous immune cells that fulfill tissue-specific functions. Tissue-derived signals play a critical role in determining macrophage heterogeneity. However, these signals remain largely unknown. The BMP receptor activin receptor–like kinase 1 (ALK1) is well known for its role in blood vessel formation; however, its role within the immune system has never been revealed to our knowledge. Here, we found that BMP9/BMP10/ALK1 signaling controlled the identity and self-renewal of Kupffer cells (KCs) through a Smad4-dependent pathway. In contrast, ALK1 was dispensable for the maintenance of macrophages located in the lung, kidney, spleen, and brain. Following ALK1 deletion, KCs were lost over time and were replaced by monocyte-derived macrophages. These hepatic macrophages showed significantly reduced expression of the complement receptor VSIG4 and alterations in immune zonation and morphology, which is important for the tissue-specialized function of KCs. Furthermore, we found that this signaling pathway was important for KC-mediated Listeria monocytogenes capture, as the loss of ALK1 and Smad4 led to a failure of bacterial capture and overwhelming disseminated infections. Thus, ALK1 signaling instructs a tissue-specific phenotype that allows KCs to protect the host from systemic bacterial dissemination.
Dianyuan Zhao, Fengjiao Yang, Yang Wang, Site Li, Yang Li, Fei Hou, Wenting Yang, Di Liu, Yuandong Tao, Qian Li, Jing Wang, Fuchu He, Li Tang
Propranolol and atenolol, current therapies for problematic infantile hemangioma (IH), are composed of R(+) and S(–) enantiomers: the R(+) enantiomer is largely devoid of beta blocker activity. We investigated the effect of R(+) enantiomers of propranolol and atenolol on the formation of IH-like blood vessels from hemangioma stem cells (HemSCs) in a murine xenograft model. Both R(+) enantiomers inhibited HemSC vessel formation in vivo. In vitro, similar to R(+) propranolol, both atenolol and its R(+) enantiomer inhibited HemSC to endothelial cell differentiation. As our previous work implicated the transcription factor sex-determining region Y (SRY) box transcription factor 18 (SOX18) in propranolol-mediated inhibition of HemSC to endothelial differentiation, we tested in parallel a known SOX18 small-molecule inhibitor (Sm4) and show that this compound inhibited HemSC vessel formation in vivo with efficacy similar to that seen with the R(+) enantiomers. We next examined how R(+) propranolol alters SOX18 transcriptional activity. Using a suite of biochemical, biophysical, and quantitative molecular imaging assays, we show that R(+) propranolol directly interfered with SOX18 target gene trans-activation, disrupted SOX18-chromatin binding dynamics, and reduced SOX18 dimer formation. We propose that the R(+) enantiomers of widely used beta blockers could be repurposed to increase the efficiency of current IH treatment and lower adverse associated side effects.
Caroline T. Seebauer, Matthew S. Graus, Lan Huang, Alex McCann, Jill Wylie-Sears, Frank Fontaine, Tara Karnezis, David Zurakowski, Steven J. Staffa, Frédéric Meunier, John B. Mulliken, Joyce Bischoff, Mathias Francois
BACKGROUND Long-term prognosis of WHO grade II low-grade gliomas (LGGs) is poor, with a high risk of recurrence and malignant transformation into high-grade gliomas. Given the relatively intact immune system of patients with LGGs and the slow tumor growth rate, vaccines are an attractive treatment strategy.METHODS We conducted a pilot study to evaluate the safety and immunological effects of vaccination with GBM6-AD, lysate of an allogeneic glioblastoma stem cell line, with poly-ICLC in patients with LGGs. Patients were randomized to receive the vaccines before surgery (arm 1) or not (arm 2) and all patients received adjuvant vaccines. Coprimary outcomes were to evaluate safety and immune response in the tumor.RESULTS A total of 17 eligible patients were enrolled — 9 in arm 1 and 8 in arm 2. This regimen was well tolerated with no regimen-limiting toxicity. Neoadjuvant vaccination induced upregulation of type-1 cytokines and chemokines and increased activated CD8+ T cells in peripheral blood. Single-cell RNA/T cell receptor sequencing detected CD8+ T cell clones that expanded with effector phenotype and migrated into the tumor microenvironment (TME) in response to neoadjuvant vaccination. Mass cytometric analyses detected increased tissue resident–like CD8+ T cells with effector memory phenotype in the TME after the neoadjuvant vaccination.CONCLUSION The regimen induced effector CD8+ T cell response in peripheral blood and enabled vaccine-reactive CD8+ T cells to migrate into the TME. Further refinements of the regimen may have to be integrated into future strategies.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02549833.FUNDING NIH (1R35NS105068, 1R21CA233856), Dabbiere Foundation, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, and Daiichi Sankyo Foundation of Life Science.
Hirokazu Ogino, Jennie W. Taylor, Takahide Nejo, David Gibson, Payal B. Watchmaker, Kaori Okada, Atsuro Saijo, Meghan R. Tedesco, Anny Shai, Cynthia M. Wong, Jane E. Rabbitt, Michael R. Olin, Christopher L. Moertel, Yasuhiko Nishioka, Andres M. Salazar, Annette M. Molinaro, Joanna J. Phillips, Nicholas A. Butowski, Jennifer L. Clarke, Nancy Ann Oberheim Bush, Shawn L. Hervey-Jumper, Philip Theodosopoulos, Susan M. Chang, Mitchel S. Berger, Hideho Okada
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) causes an enormous burden of disease worldwide. As a central aspect of its pathogenesis, M. tuberculosis grows in macrophages, and host and microbe influence each other’s metabolism. To define the metabolic impact of M. tuberculosis infection, we performed global metabolic profiling of M. tuberculosis–infected macrophages. M. tuberculosis induced metabolic hallmarks of inflammatory macrophages and a prominent signature of cholesterol metabolism. We found that infected macrophages accumulate cholestenone, a mycobacterial-derived, oxidized derivative of cholesterol. We demonstrated that the accumulation of cholestenone in infected macrophages depended on the M. tuberculosis enzyme 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-Hsd) and correlated with pathogen burden. Because cholestenone is not a substantial human metabolite, we hypothesized it might be diagnostic of M. tuberculosis infection in clinical samples. Indeed, in 2 geographically distinct cohorts, sputum cholestenone levels distinguished subjects with tuberculosis (TB) from TB-negative controls who presented with TB-like symptoms. We also found country-specific detection of cholestenone in plasma samples from M. tuberculosis–infected subjects. While cholestenone was previously thought to be an intermediate required for cholesterol degradation by M. tuberculosis, we found that M. tuberculosis can utilize cholesterol for growth without making cholestenone. Thus, the accumulation of cholestenone in clinical samples suggests it has an alternative role in pathogenesis and could be a clinically useful biomarker of TB infection.
Pallavi Chandra, Héloise Coullon, Mansi Agarwal, Charles W. Goss, Jennifer A. Philips
Studies using the nonhuman primate model of Mycobacterium tuberculosis/simian immunodeficiency virus coinfection have revealed protective CD4+ T cell–independent immune responses that suppress latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) reactivation. In particular, chronic immune activation rather than the mere depletion of CD4+ T cells correlates with reactivation due to SIV coinfection. Here, we administered combinatorial antiretroviral therapy (cART) 2 weeks after SIV coinfection to study whether restoration of CD4+ T cell immunity occurred more broadly, and whether this prevented reactivation of LTBI compared to cART initiated 4 weeks after SIV. Earlier initiation of cART enhanced survival, led to better control of viral replication, and reduced immune activation in the periphery and lung vasculature, thereby reducing the rate of SIV-induced reactivation. We observed robust CD8+ T effector memory responses and significantly reduced macrophage turnover in the lung tissue. However, skewed CD4+ T effector memory responses persisted and new TB lesions formed after SIV coinfection. Thus, reactivation of LTBI is governed by very early events of SIV infection. Timing of cART is critical in mitigating chronic immune activation. The potential novelty of these findings mainly relates to the development of a robust animal model of human M. tuberculosis/HIV coinfection that allows the testing of underlying mechanisms.
Riti Sharan, Shashank R. Ganatra, Allison N. Bucsan, Journey Cole, Dhiraj K. Singh, Xavier Alvarez, Maya Gough, Cynthia Alvarez, Alyssa Blakley, Justin Ferdin, Rajesh Thippeshappa, Bindu Singh, Ruby Escobedo, Vinay Shivanna, Edward J. Dick Jr., Shannan Hall-Ursone, Shabaana A. Khader, Smriti Mehra, Jyothi Rengarajan, Deepak Kaushal
BACKGROUND Severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is associated with a dysregulated immune response, which can result in cytokine-release syndrome and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Patients with COVID-19–associated ARDS have elevated free serum levels of the cytokine lymphotoxin-like inducible protein that competes with glycoprotein D for herpesvirus entry on T cells (LIGHT; also known as TNFSF14). Such patients may benefit from LIGHT-neutralization therapy.METHODS This randomized, double-blind, multicenter, proof-of-concept trial enrolled adults hospitalized with COVID-19–associated pneumonia and mild to moderate ARDS. Patients received standard of care plus a single dose of a human LIGHT–neutralizing antibody (CERC-002) or placebo. The primary endpoint was the proportion of patients receiving CERC-002 who remained alive and free of respiratory failure through day 28. Safety was assessed via adverse event monitoring.RESULTS For most of the 83 enrolled patients, standard of care included systemic corticosteroids (88.0%) or remdesivir (57.8%). A higher proportion of patients remained alive and free of respiratory failure through day 28 after receiving CERC-002 (83.9%) versus placebo (64.5%; P = 0.044), including in patients 60 years of age or older (76.5% vs. 47.1%, respectively; P = 0.042). Mortality rates were 7.7% (CERC-002) and 14.3% (placebo) on day 28 and 10.8% and 22.5%, respectively, on day 60. Treatment-emergent adverse events were less frequent with CERC-002 than placebo.CONCLUSION For patients with COVID-19–associated ARDS, adding CERC-002 to standard-of-care treatment reduces LIGHT levels and might reduce the risk of respiratory failure and death.TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT04412057.FUNDING Avalo Therapeutics.
David S. Perlin, Garry A. Neil, Colleen Anderson, Inbal Zafir-Lavie, Shane Raines, Carl F. Ware, H. Jeffrey Wilkins
Mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) is a phenotypically and genetically heterogeneous malignancy in which the genetic alterations determining clinical indications are not fully understood. Here, we performed a comprehensive whole-exome sequencing analysis of 152 primary samples derived from 134 MCL patients, including longitudinal samples from 16 patients and matched RNA-Seq data from 48 samples. We classified MCL into 4 robust clusters (C1–C4). C1 featured mutated immunoglobulin heavy variable (IGHV), CCND1 mutation, amp(11q13), and active B cell receptor (BCR) signaling. C2 was enriched with del(11q)/ATM mutations and upregulation of NF-κB and DNA repair pathways. C3 was characterized by mutations in SP140, NOTCH1, and NSD2, with downregulation of BCR signaling and MYC targets. C4 harbored del(17p)/TP53 mutations, del(13q), and del(9p), and active MYC pathway and hyperproliferation signatures. Patients in these 4 clusters had distinct outcomes (5-year overall survival [OS] rates for C1–C4 were 100%, 56.7%, 48.7%, and 14.2%, respectively). We also inferred the temporal order of genetic events and studied clonal evolution of 16 patients before treatment and at progression/relapse. Eleven of these samples showed drastic clonal evolution that was associated with inferior survival, while the other samples showed modest or no evolution. Our study thus identifies genetic subsets that clinically define this malignancy and delineates clonal evolution patterns and their impact on clinical outcomes.
Shuhua Yi, Yuting Yan, Meiling Jin, Supriyo Bhattacharya, Yi Wang, Yiming Wu, Lu Yang, Eva Gine, Guillem Clot, Lu Chen, Ying Yu, Dehui Zou, Jun Wang, An T. Phan, Rui Cui, Fei Li, Qi Sun, Qiongli Zhai, Tingyu Wang, Zhen Yu, Lanting Liu, Wei Liu, Rui Lyv, Weiwei Sui, Wenyang Huang, Wenjie Xiong, Huijun Wang, Chengwen Li, Zhijian Xiao, Mu Hao, Jianxiang Wang, Tao Cheng, Silvia Bea, Alex F. Herrera, Alexey Danilov, Elias Campo, Vu N. Ngo, Lugui Qiu, Lili Wang
PD-1 signaling on T cells is the major pathway that limits T cell immunity, but the efficacy of anti–PD-1 therapy has been limited to a small proportion of patients with advanced cancers. We fortuitously observed that anti–PD-1 therapy depends on IL-2 signaling, which raises the possibility that a lack of IL-2 limits anti–PD-1–induced effector T cell expansion. To selectively deliver IL-2 to PD-1+CD8+ tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs), we engineered a low-affinity IL-2 paired with anti–PD-1 (PD-1–laIL-2), which reduced affinity to peripheral Treg cells but enhanced avidity to PD-1+CD8+ TILs. PD-1–laIL-2 exerted better tumor control and lower toxicity than single or mixed treatments. Mechanistically, PD-1–laIL-2 could effectively expand dysfunctional and tumor-specific CD8+ T cells. Furthermore, we discovered that presumably dysfunctional PD-1+TIM3+ TILs are the dominant tumor-specific T cells responding to PD-1–laIL-2. Collectively, these results highlight that PD-1–laIL-2 can target and reactivate tumor-specific TILs for tumor regression as a unique strategy with stronger efficacy and lower toxicity.
Zhenhua Ren, Anli Zhang, Zhichen Sun, Yong Liang, Jianfeng Ye, Jian Qiao, Bo Li, Yang-Xin Fu
Mutations in Dyrk1b are associated with metabolic syndrome and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in humans. Our investigations showed that DYRK1B levels are increased in the liver of patients with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) and in mice fed with a high-fat, high-sucrose diet. Increasing Dyrk1b levels in the mouse liver enhanced de novo lipogenesis (DNL), fatty acid uptake, and triacylglycerol secretion and caused NASH and hyperlipidemia. Conversely, knockdown of Dyrk1b was protective against high-calorie-induced hepatic steatosis and fibrosis and hyperlipidemia. Mechanistically, Dyrk1b increased DNL by activating mTORC2 in a kinase-independent fashion. Accordingly, the Dyrk1b-induced NASH was fully rescued when mTORC2 was genetically disrupted. The elevated DNL was associated with increased plasma membrane sn-1,2-diacylglyerol levels and increased PKCε-mediated IRKT1150 phosphorylation, which resulted in impaired activation of hepatic insulin signaling and reduced hepatic glycogen storage. These findings provide insights into the mechanisms that underlie Dyrk1b-induced hepatic lipogenesis and hepatic insulin resistance and identify Dyrk1b as a therapeutic target for NASH and insulin resistance in the liver.
Neha Bhat, Anand Narayanan, Mohsen Fathzadeh, Mario Kahn, Dongyan Zhang, Leigh Goedeke, Arpita Neogi, Rebecca L. Cardone, Richard G. Kibbey, Carlos Fernandez-Hernando, Henry N. Ginsberg, Dhanpat Jain, Gerald I. Shulman, Arya Mani
Background It is unclear how excess adiposity and insulin resistance affect β cell function, insulin secretion, and insulin clearance in people with obesity.Methods We used a hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp procedure and a modified oral glucose tolerance test to evaluate the interrelationships among obesity, insulin sensitivity, insulin kinetics, and glycemic status in 5 groups of individuals: normoglycemic lean and obese individuals with (a) normal fasting glucose and normal glucose tolerance (Ob-NFG-NGT), (b) NFG and impaired glucose tolerance (Ob-NFG-IGT), (c) impaired fasting glucose and IGT (Ob-IFG-IGT), or (d) type 2 diabetes (Ob-T2D).Results Glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS), an assessment of β cell function, was greater in the Ob-NFG-NGT and Ob-NFG-IGT groups than in the lean group, even when insulin sensitivity was matched in the obese and lean groups. Insulin sensitivity, not GSIS, was decreased in the Ob-NFG-IGT group compared with the Ob-NFG-NGT group, whereas GSIS, not insulin sensitivity, was decreased in the Ob-IFG-IGT and Ob-T2D groups compared with the Ob-NFG-NGT and Ob-NFG-IGT groups. Insulin clearance was directly related to insulin sensitivity and inversely related to the postprandial increase in insulin secretion and plasma insulin concentration.Conclusion Increased adiposity per se, not insulin resistance, enhanced insulin secretion in people with obesity. The obesity-induced increase in insulin secretion, in conjunction with a decrease in insulin clearance, sufficiently raised the plasma insulin concentrations needed to maintain normoglycemia in individuals with moderate, but not severe, insulin resistance. A deterioration in β cell function, not a decrease in insulin sensitivity, was a determinant of IFG and ultimately leads to T2D.CLINICAL TRIALS REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02706262, NCT04131166, and NCT01977560.FUNDING NIH (P30 DK056341, P30 DK020579, and UL1 TR000448); American Diabetes Association (1-18-ICTS-119); Longer Life Foundation; Pershing Square Foundation; and Washington University-Centene ARCH Personalized Medicine Initiative (P19-00559).
Bettina Mittendorfer, Bruce W. Patterson, Gordon I. Smith, Mihoko Yoshino, Samuel Klein